November 7, 2003

Update - Adams Fellowship Program

The John & Abigail Adams Fellowship Program was established in 2002 to encourage promising upper-level college students to pursue research that will benefit the homeschool community. We intend to establish a long-term relationship with these students as they graduate and enter professional fields.

In April 2003 HSLDA welcomed two new fellows: Heather Conder and Joel Campbell. Heather graduates from Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach this December. Her paper, No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: Are Homeschoolers Sufficiently Protected? focused on the problem of homeschoolers being potentially included in the mandatory state testing required under the No Child Left Behind Act and how homeschoolers can protect themselves from this erroneous inclusion. “The most beneficial part of the fellowship for me was researching the subject. It led me in so many directions and introduced me to a new field,” said Heather at the conclusion of the 2003 program.

Joel’s research paper, Heritage of the Lord or Creature of the State? - Promoting Parental Rights in the Modern Era, explored the historical framework of parental control over education. He examined the modern-day attacks on parental rights and established a strategy for defending parental rights against the encroachments of the state. “My research in parental rights, under supervision of outstanding mentors, has greatly benefited me in law school; it is my hope to use what I learned during my fellowship in my future practice of law,” said Joel, a graduate student at Oak Brook College of Law in Fresno, California. He will earn his J.D. in the spring of 2004.

Both fellows presented at HSLDA’s National Christian Leadership Conference in Virginia Beach.

“The Adams Fellowship program is a unique way HSLDA can help advance home education freedom. Encouraging quality young people to contribute to this cause will, in the long term, bear substantial fruit,” said Adams Fellowship founder and National Center for Home Education Director, Tom Washburne.

Recently HSLDA contacted our 2002 Fellows to get an update on their lives. Sarah Hunt, 2002 fellow, is graduating this December from the University of New Mexico with her B.A. in Political Science. Since the finish of the 2002 fellowship, Sarah, a homeschool graduate, has continued her research on the topic of home education. Her senior thesis, The Land of the Free and Home School of the Brave, received praise from her thesis advisor who said, “Here’s proof that homeschoolers are not withdrawing from society.” In addition, Sarah was provided with the opportunity to present her Adams Fellowship paper at the Roswell, NM Federated Republican Women meeting. The future looks bright for Sarah who is a Rhodes Scholarship Nominee and intends to head for graduate school. “The fellowship sharpened my future career goals. In addition to law school, I would like to pursue a M.A. in education or sociology, so that I can continue to do research that will benefit the homeschool community and the cause of freedom in education.”

Brian Matz, Adams alumni, is completing his coursework at St. Louis University in Missouri. He will take his Ph.D exams this February. Since concluding the 2002 fellowship, Brian has had several opportunities to speak with others about the positive work of organizations, like HSLDA, and the benefits of homeschooling. Brian was even asked to teach a class-session on homeschooling for the course, “Marriage and Family” at St. Louis University. “There was visible movement of the class from a negative stance towards homeschooling at the beginning,” explained Brian, “towards a receptivity to homeschooling by the end of the session. I prepared [from] my own research, and also from information provided to me by HSLDA…”

For more information about the 2004 Adams Fellowship go to: www.adamsfellowship.org or contact fellowship coordinator, Sarah Mehrens at: AdamsFellowship@hslda.org.