Carolina Fellowship

Live oaks in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
July 26 - 30, 2021
Montage Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, SC

The Carolina Fellowship is a five-day-long intensive series of seminars that explore the foundational principles of the United States in the context of Western civilization.

Intended for recent graduates, graduate students, and young professionals from North America who have demonstrated leadership potential, its purpose is to ground future leaders in the ideals of responsible liberty at an early stage of their academic and professional development.

Convened in beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina, the program serves as a retreat where participants explore the interrelationships that exist between liberty, prosperity, and beauty while acquiring the necessary tools to further their education and become effective leaders in their respective communities and career fields.


During the program, fellows will explore topics such as:

  • Civic Engagement and Volunteerism
  • First Principles of Liberty
  • Constitutionalism, Law, and Democracy
  • The Nature of Human Rights
  • Economics and Entrepreneurship
  • Foreign Policy and National Defense
  • Religion and Society
  • Architecture, Art, and Beauty
  • Leadership Virtues and Skills

2021 Carolina Fellowship Faculty

Mr. Det Bowers is a principal at Wilson Kibler, South Carolina’s most accomplished independent full-service commercial real estate firm. Prior to joining Wilson Kibler, Mr. Bowers served as a licensed attorney practicing in federal, state, and municipal courts. Other business involvements have included real estate development, retail development and operations, agribusiness, forestry products, outdoor advertising, and insurance.

Dr. Bruce Caldwell is the director of Duke University’s Center for the History of Political Economy. A historian of economic thought, Dr. Caldwell is an author and general editor, currently working on a family-authorized biography of F.A. Hayek. He is a former president of the Southern Economic Association and the History of Economics Society, and has held fellowships at NYU, LSE, and Clare Hall, Cambridge, where he is a Life Fellow.

Dr. Tim Eriksen is an acclaimed musician who has transformed the American tradition with his interpretations of old ballads, love songs, shape-note gospel, and dance tunes from New England and Southern Appalachia. He combines vocals with inventive accompaniment on banjo, fiddle, guitar, and bajo sexto. Dr. Eriksen’s compositions have been featured in films and documentaries. He has extensively contributed to an Oscar-winning film and a Grammy-nominated album. His collaborations range from hardcore punk and Bosnian pop to symphony orchestra.

Prof. Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies, and the Diller-von Fustenburg Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He has authored over twenty books and has received numerous awards including an Emmy, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Arthur Ross Prize, the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service, the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement, and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism. Prof. Ferguson is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, an advisory firm. He also serves on the board of Affiliated Managers Group.

Dr. Robert Jeffrey a professor of government and international affairs at Wofford College. He previously served as a presidential appointee in the Reagan Administration and sat on the academic board of advisors at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. He has authored multiple books and publications and now teaches on topics ranging from American political thought and constitutional law to British politics and literature.

Mr. Catesby Leigh is a co-founder and research fellow at the National Civic Art Society. After graduating from Princeton, he spent most of the 1980s as a foreign correspondent for the Atlanta-based Cox Newspapers in South America. He grew increasingly interested in traditional architectural environments and was struck by their modernist counterparts’ failure to achieve comparable levels of physical or visual amenity. Leigh’s first architecture articles appeared in 1991, and since then he has contributed art and architecture criticism to a wide range of publications.

Dr. Joshua Mitchell is a professor of political theory and served as the chairman of the Government Department at Georgetown University. During the 2008-10 academic years, Dr. Mitchell served as the acting chancellor of The American University of Iraq – Sulaimani. His research interest lies in the relationship between political thought and theology in the West. He is widely published and has authored numerous books. In addition to teaching at Georgetown University, Dr. Mitchell writes extensively about contemporary American politics and is an avid conservationist.

Dr. Juliana Geran Pilon is a senior fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization and the Director of their summer program. After receiving her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago, she held post-doctoral fellowships in international relations at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and the Institute of Humane Studies. Dr. Pilon is the author of eight books and over 200 articles on international affairs and philosophy.

Dr. Roger Pilon holds the Cato Institute’s B. Kenneth Simon Chair in Constitutional Studies, which he has held since it was established in 1998. He joined Cato as a senior fellow in October 1988 and, until 2019, served as director of Cato’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, which he founded in 1989. Prior to joining Cato, Pilon held five senior posts in the Reagan administration. He lectures and debates at universities and law schools across the country and abroad, and he testifies often before the U.S. Congress.

Dr. Jay W. Richards is a research assistant professor in the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, and the executive editor of The Stream. Richards is author or editor of more than a dozen books and is also executive producer of several documentaries. His articles and essays have been published in Harvard Business ReviewThe Wall Street Journal, and The Federalist, among other outlets.

Mr. Justin Shubow is President of the National Civic Art Society and former Chairman of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. He is the author of a variety of architectural commentaries, has taught courses on the topics of public art and architecture, and has overseen restoration projects. He is a member of the board of advisors of the Roger Scruton Legacy Foundation and the board of academic advisors of the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization.

Dr. Christopher Tollefsen is a distinguished professor and chair of philosophy at the University of South Carolina. He is a leading scholar of natural law and natural rights, who has expertise on the classical, medieval, and modern traditions of thought. He has made important contributions to philosophical scholarship in the areas of bioethics, the ethics of inquiry, and the role of intention in shaping the meaning of human action. He is currently working on projects related to human rights as a follow up to his recent work with the U.S. State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights.

Meet Our 2021 Carolina Fellows

Tyler Ashman is a first year student at the University of Chicago, where he will be pursuing a joint law and divinity degree. As an undergraduate at the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, he completed a theatre and music theatre certificate. He was also a participant in the American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Honors Academy and a fellow with the Hertog Foundation’s summer program.

Sophie Belton is an incoming first year law student at the University of Houston. Previously, she served with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students at Texas A&M University, where she mentored college women in human, spiritual, intellectual, and apostolic formation. She holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a Business and Public Policy Certificate from the University of Texas.

Dr. Guy Burnett earned a B.S. from Utah State University, an M.A. from the University of Utah, and a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of The Safeguard of Liberty and Property: The Supreme Court, Kelo v. New London, and the Takings Clause. His articles have appeared in SocietyPolitical Behavior, the Claremont Review of Books, and City Journal.

Nicholas Clifford is a first year law student at Indiana University. Previously, he was a summer clerk for Hon. Judge Heather Welch. Nick was also a fellow at the Hudson Institute and the Hertog Foundation and a federal affairs intern at the Cato Institute. He received a B.A. from Indiana University, where he studied law, public policy, and economics.

Jonathan Feld is an incoming law student at Yale Law School. He previously served as a research assistant in the president’s office of the American Enterprise Institute and as a research assistant for Commissioner Adam White of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. He earned his M.Phil. from Jesus College, Cambridge, and received his A.B. from Princeton University

Joshua Glenn is a co-founder and financial advisor at The Glenn Group, where he develops customized wealth management and investment strategies. He is a member of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce, the Touchdown Club, and the Young Professionals of Sumter, where he currently serves as President. Josh received a B.S. in economics from Clemson University.

Taylor Hall is CEO of South Carolina’s Conservative Future and the principal of Locked on Strategies, a strategic communications, public affairs, and marketing company in Greenville, South Carolina. After graduating from Furman University, Taylor served on Governor Nikki Haley’s senior staff in several roles, including personnel director, cabinet liaison, and political director. He is also an officer in the Tennessee Air National Guard.

Petria Hoffpauir is assistant director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism and a Ph.D. candidate at Claremont Graduate University. She holds a B.A. in government from Skidmore College and an M.A. in politics from Claremont Graduate University. Previously, she served as coordinator for the Salvatori Center Program on Leo Strauss at Claremont McKenna College and fellowship coordinator for the Claremont Institute.

Kaycee Ikeonu is an incoming master’s student at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland, where he will study international affairs. Kaycee has written on and discussed his interests in comparative economic systems at the Hoover Institution, the Institute for Humane Studies, and the Institute for Liberal Studies. He is currently a research analyst at a boutique political-risk consulting firm.

Zachary Jones is the communications coordinator for U.S. Senator Rick Scott and is pursuing an M.Div. at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received his B.S. in political science and international affairs from Florida State University. He has also completed internships with The Heritage Foundation and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Eliora Katz is a professional staff member on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. Previously, Eliora served in the office of the Secretary of Defense, as a Bartley Fellow on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, and as a research assistant in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. She studied philosophy and political science at the University of Chicago, Illinois.

John Metts is a senior brokerage associate with Wilson Kibler, Inc., in their Columbia, South Carolina office. At Wilson Kibler, John founded a quarterly political event called “Breakfast for the Busy,” which engages the local business community with policy makers from the city council and state legislature. John graduated from the University of South Carolina where he studied history and political science.

Marcos Mullin serves as a policy analyst in the Budget and Policy Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Previously, Marcos interned for The Heritage Foundation, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Acton Institute. He holds a B.A. in economics and public administration from the University of Texas–San Antonio and will be matriculating to Harvard Law School this fall.

Lt. Akshat Patel is a submarine warfare officer and certified nuclear engineer in the U.S. Navy. During his service aboard the U.S.S. Hawaii, he executed missions vital to national security and transited through the world’s most challenging straits. Akshat’s most recent assignment is to Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois, where he supervises the training and mentorship of the next generation of sailors.

Charles Pisaruk served in the U.S. Marine Corps, completed a B.A. in liberal arts from St. John’s College, and received an M.A. in humanities from The University of Chicago. After working at a tech startup for a few years, Charles founded a company that is currently building a close-reading app.

Alexandra Quillen is a program officer at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). She co-manages the What Will They Learn?® project, Oases of Excellence and Hidden Gems networks, and directs the ACTA summer internship program. Previously, she interned with The Heritage Foundation and participated in summer fellowships with the American Enterprise Institute and the Hertog Foundation. She is a graduate of Morehead State University.

Nayeli Riano is a Ph.D. student in political theory at Georgetown University. She holds an M.Litt. from the University of St. Andrews, where she also worked as a research assistant for the Institute of Intellectual History. She completed her B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania. Nayeli’s book, “Dwellings Far from Desperate Fields”: Essays on Faith, Memory, and Modernity, will be published this fall.

Gillian Richards is an incoming master’s student in human rights at The Catholic University of America, where she also received a B.A. in philosophy. During her time there, she worked as a copy editor at Regnery Publishing. Gillian’s academic interests include political economy, religious liberty, the role of mediating institutions, and Catholic social teaching.

Rebecca Richards is a program manager at the Fund for Academic Renewal, a program of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, where she helps donors to higher education target their philanthropy. She received a University Scholars degree from Baylor University where she concentrated in philosophy. Rebecca was also a John Jay Fellowship participant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Stephen Sholl is a junior fellow with the Budapest Fellowship Program, where he works with Hungary’s Committee of National Remembrance researching the legacy of communism. He is also pursuing an M.A. in public and international affairs at Virginia Tech. Previously, he acquired an M.A. in international conflict and security from the University of Kent and a B.A. in history from Freed-Hardeman University.

Tyler Syck is a Ph.D. candidate in American politics and political theory at the University of Virginia, where he has also served as a Bradley Fellow and a graduate fellow in UVA’s Democracy initiative. Tyler received a B.A. from Morehead State University, where he studied government and history, and an M.A. from UVA in American politics and political theory.

Peter Trabinski is an executive director at an international financial institution, where he oversees operations and strategy. Previously, he worked in Poland’s banking sector where he held managerial positions and spearheaded innovative IT projects. Peter received an M.A. in law from Warsaw University, an Executive M.A. in national security from IWP, and an M.Eng. in cybersecurity and policy from George Washington University.

Tommy Waller is the director of infrastructure security at the Center for Security Policy. He previously served as a U.S. Marine and was deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, and South America. His formal education includes numerous military schools and colleges, a degree in international relations from Tulane University and executive education from the Wharton School.

Sarah Wilson is the associate director of development for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). Previously, she served at the Ohio Department of Education and in grant development and management for the School of Public Affairs at Morehead State University. Sarah holds an M.P.A. and a B.A. from Morehead State University.

Ari Wisch served as senior counselor to U.S. TSA Administrator David Pekoske. He previously served as the lead foreign affairs staffer at the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where he led the Committee’s work on foreign affairs and transportation security, including its efforts urging the president to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, its oversight of the Iran nuclear deal, and its oversight of TSA.

Questions regarding the Fellowship can be directed to Vice President of Education Dr. Murray Bessette at

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