Bush School Capstones Recognized for Outstanding Research

May 24, 2016

Recipients of the McGrew Capstone Award


Two capstone research teams from the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, have been recognized with the James W. McGrew Research Award for outstanding research from the Central Texas Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. The award recognizes two capstone research projects—team-based, applied research projects led by a faculty member and conducted on behalf of a client organization.

The winning capstone from the Public Service and Administration Department, titled “Reorganizing Groundwater Regulations in Texas,” was led by Dr. James Griffin and focused on policy options for the regulation of groundwater in the state. Capstone team members included Wayne Beckermann, Ross Brady, Amber Capps, Braden Kennedy, Peyton McGee, Kayla Northcutt, Mason Parish, Abdullilah Qadeer, and Shuting Shan.

“This project was outstanding in several respects, including the extensive research, policy analysis, and policy relevance,” said Dr. Mary Hilderbrand, chair of the Public Service and Administration Department’s McGrew Award Committee. “The students had to deal with complex technical issues and integrate technical, economic, and political analysis.  Furthermore, the research was innovative in its conclusions and in the options it presented.”

The winning capstone from the International Affairs Department, titled “Deterring Attacks on US Allies: The Role of Military Exercises,” was led by Dr. Jasen Castillo and sought to determine when military exercises bolster deterrence and when they might undermine it. Capstone members included Robert Allison, Kerrie Ford, Alaina Garrett, Matthew Grimm, and Nathaniel Haight.

“The outside evaluators of this capstone found the argument about the ways that military exercises could actually undermine deterrence to be presented in a clear and convincing fashion,” said Dr. Gregory Gause, chair of the International Affairs Department’s McGrew Award Committee. “Past historical cases were skillfully used to illustrate the more general argument, and their presentation was compelling and included well-organized visual aids.”

Each of these teams was honored at a banquet in Kyle, Texas, on May 19th; and each will receive a prize of $1,000 from the School.

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