Systemic change must be guided by good analysis. Teaching, learning and doing that analysis is part of the mission of a Vincentian university.
Dr. Jim Kling, associate professor of management at Niagara University, and Alex Keller, ’15, recently had the paper, “Fighting for an End to Federal Ethanol Mandates may be an Ideal Social Justice Cause for Students at U.S. Catholic Universities,” published in the Journal of Vincentian Social Action
Keller explained that the idea of selecting the topic of U.S. ethanol policy for his senior Honors thesis was Dr. Kling’s, but that he was “hooked” once he started researching it.
“It was fascinating to see just how widespread the impact of U.S. federal ethanol policy is and how it effects everything from gas mileage to global food prices,” said Keller, who wrote his Honors thesis on the general topic of U.S. ethanol mandates and their positive and negative impacts, and found them to be mostly negative.
Dr. Kling later worked on adding the social action perspective and informed Keller of an opportunity to present at the 23rd Annual International Vincentian Business Ethics Conference, with more of a focus on food prices and ethical implications. With the success of their presentation, they submitted it to the Journal of Vincentian Social Action.
“The first step was obviously completing the thesis itself for my NU Honors requirement,” Keller explained about how he developed a thesis idea into a journal publication. “That involved a full semester of extensive research and outlining the progression of the paper, and another semester actually writing it.
“I broke it down into sections detailing the history of U.S. ethanol production and policy, environmental impacts, engine performance and gas mileage comparisons, efficiency of production, and the impact on food prices both domestically and abroad. Most of these analyses showed that current ethanol policy has a net negative impact, but the most striking was the impact on global food prices.”
Keller grew up in Kenmore, N.Y., and attended Niagara University from 2011-2015 on a full-tuition Honors scholarship. He graduated summa cum laude in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in management, including a concentration in supply chain management and a minor in Spanish. While at Niagara, he was inducted into the Delta Epsilon Sigma and Beta Gamma Sigma honor societies. He was also active on the rugby team and president/co-founder of the men’s club volleyball team. He is currently a production planner at PCB Piezotronics in Buffalo, and the head varsity volleyball coach at his former high school, Kenmore West.
Dr. Kling frequently advises Honors student theses, and said of Alex, “His enthusiasm for the topic and attention to detail were outstanding. It was a pleasure to work with Alex on his thesis and this quality work deserved to be published.”