Brashear Undergraduate Research Program

The Brashear Undergraduate Research Program promotes literacy and scholarship in economics by facilitating a range of faculty-led undergraduate research projects. The program is open to all undergraduates at Appalachian State University. 


The Brashear Essay Prize was established in 1995 and intended to “promote literacy and scholarship in economics.” Since 1995, the field of economics has experienced revolutions in computing power, statistical techniques and methods of communication. As a result, undergraduate economics students have fundamentally changed the way they demonstrate “literacy and scholarship in economics.” Literacy has evolved from the scholarly essay to the description of empirical research.

In August 2019, the Department of Economics renamed the Brashear Essay to the Brashear Undergraduate Research Program. The intention of the program is to encourage a more broad-based faculty-led undergraduate student research program. The goal is to encourage student research presentations at venues such as State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium (November), National Conference on Undergraduate Research (March), Celebration of Student Research and Creative Endeavors (April, on campus) or Undergraduate sessions at various economics conferences (

The new program will promote intellectual curiosity and enhance critical-thinking, analytical, writing, and presentation skills. Students will benefit by gaining more interaction with economics faculty outside the classroom, gaining a better understanding of research methods, and enhancing their resume (and providing an additional talking point during job interviews).


Nominations are made by the faculty mentor and must include following information:

  • (1) Paper Prize: We invite undergraduate majors in economics to submit research papers to be considered for the Brashear Prize. While students in Senior Seminar (ECO 4810) are highly encouraged to submit papers, the committee will consider research paper submissions from all economics majors. Instructors and advisors are encouraged to nominate deserving papers for the prize. A committee will select a single winner from submitted papers. The author of the paper judged to be of the highest quality will receive the prize of $500. 
  •  Prize 2) Non-paper Prize: We also invite submissions of broadly defined student research, such as research posters, presentations, reports, etc. The priority will be given to faculty-nominated submissions. A committee will select a single winner from non-paper submissions. The author of the project judged to be of the highest quality will receive the prize of $200.

Nominations should be emailed to Jeanne Lawrence, by Thursday, April 21st @ 5:00pm.  Student recognition will made at the annual Department of Economics Student Celebration Luncheon on Reading Day.




  • Logan Decker -Paper “Road Salt, Lake Quality and Home Values." 
  • Caleb Garuio - Presentation“The Effect of Pandemic Precautions on NFL Ticket Consumption.” 


  • Stephen Justice. "A Slippery Slope: A Hedonic Value Study of Landslide Risk and Economic Costs in Watauga County"


  • Myles Grady (with Luis Rangel), "Economic Impact of Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in Wester North Carolina"
  • Jessica Robinson, "The Effect of International Trade on Food Security"
  • Kali Smith, "Environmental Gentrification in Brownfield Redevelopment in Charlotte, NC"


  • Mikayla Gibbes, "The Spanish Bullfight: An Analysis of Spectator Behavior"
  • Parker Redding, "Intangible Benefits of Division I Intercollegiate Athletic Success"


  • Brant Armstrong, “Does the consumption of red meat cause heart disease?”
  • Weston Goldberg, “Explaining migration patterns among counties of North Carolina” 
  • A.J. Herrin, “The effect of NFL performance measures on economic well-being variables”
  • Matthew Kay, “Correlation of 911 call volume per capita in North Carolina counties to external factors” 
  • Andreanna Ruscio, “The impact of obesity rates on economic growth” 
  • Benjamin J. Sullivan, “The effect of evergreen loss on property values in Watauga County, NC” 
  • Andrew Thurlow, “Steroid use and its impact on Major League Baseball” 
  • Samuel Welch, “The price of rice in China:  the effect that the rice price has on GDP growth” 
  • Ariana Welsh, “Improving the economic system of a third world village” 
  • Trey Worley, “The economics of specialty coffee prices:  effects of quality in Latin America”


  • Lorenzo Hernandez, "Will the Price of Freshwater Increase in The United States?"
  • Ned Hulseman, "A Study of the Causes of Income Inequality and Review of the Varying Evidence?"
  • Elizabeth Indermaur, "David Ricardo's Theory of Comparative Advantage; Its Development and Implications"
  • Mark Jacobs, "The Physiocrats"
  • Jabari Myles, "Quality of Government Effects on Perception of Levels of Corruption in the Public Sector"
  • Travis Poplin, "Predicting NFL game outcomes with Fantasy League Data"
  • Garrett Simmons, "Vintage guitars: An analysis of vintage guitar characteristics and their effects on current auction prices"
  • Andrew Smith, "Using Tour Data to Predict Enrollment at Appalachian State"
  • Theodore Thibodeau, "An Analysis of Economic Inequality"
  • Evan Truxton, "The Effect of State Taxation and Expenditures on Economic Growth"


  • Robyn Cramer, "Willingness to Pay for a National Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard"
  • Joshua Gorsuch, "Do Expected Outcomes of Elections Influence Customer Spending?"
  • Caroline Harris, "Internal Characteristics Influencing Tertiary Emigration Rules"
  • Logan Hemric, "Do Economics Majors Perform Better in BSG Online?"
  • Brandon Lee, "Immigration in the United States: An Economic Analysis of the Effects on High School Completion"
  • Allison Martin, "Examining Income Inequality and Economic Growth in the United States 1957-2010"
  • Adam Murr, "Brownfield Redevelopment's Impact on Home Values in Greensboro North Carolina"
  • Kevin Patel, "An Econometric Examination of Carbon Emissions in the United States"
  • Kiefer Smith, "The Effect of Being a High-Usage Oil Nation on National GDP"


  • Chris Ashley, "Modeling Life Expectancy: Insights through Panel Data"
  • Luke Henry, "Work Week and Life Satisfaction"
  • Kendall McNeill, "Does Increasing The Minimum Wage Reduce Poverty?"
  • Alexander G. Schiller, "The Effect of Per-Capita Trade on Income in Mexico between 1993 and 2013: A Regression and In-Sample Forecast Analysis"
  • Jake Wujastyk, "Factors Affecting Solar Projects Located in Different Areas of the United States"


  • Zachary Adams, "Development of Education in Appalachia and Economic Repercussions"
  • Jeffrey Artley, "National Nominal Debt's Effect on the Indebted Country's Inflation Rate"
  • Christopher Ashley, "United States Public University Veteran Population"
  • Travis Ashley, "The Net Economic Value of Multiple Parking Locations at the Valle Country Fair: A Polychotomous Choice Contingent Valuation Approach"
  • Michael Bulmer, "The Effects of Adverse Winter Weather on Freshman Retention Rates in the Southern Appalachian Region"
  • David Diaz, "The Effect of Civil Wars on Economic Growth"
  • Armon Geranmayeh, "State Failure and Its Impact on World Violence"
  • Joshua Gorsuch, "Developments in the Brazilian Macroeconomy 1990-2012"
  • Stephanie Hodges, "Economic, Societal, and Regulatory Factors Affecting Gun Violence in the United States"
  • Timothy Hyde, "Working with the Behemoth: The Effects of Free Trade with the United States on Smaller Economies"
  • Michael Johnson, "The Influence of Driving on the Averaged High School Graduation Rate"
  • Andrew Kinney, "Mobile Telecommunication's Effect on Output, Welfare, and Productivity Growth"
  • Travis Ott, "The Effect of Income Taxes on the Unemployment Rate"
  • Kyle Shanaberger, "Allocation of Stimulus Funds to Congressional Districts: Was it Politically Motivated?"
  • Linsey Smith, "Effects of Fatigue on Pilot Decision Making"
  • James Frank Thomas, "Substance Use Sexual Debut and High School GPAs"
  • Carter Wong, "India's Elaborate Economic System"


  • Bradley Cooksen, "The Economic Benefits of Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park"
  • William Mautz, "Forecasting Total Public Debt"
  • Austin Wagner, "Predicting Congressional Elections with Economic Indicators"
  • Paul Krause, "Does the Presence of Alternative Education Affect Students' Performance?"
  • Joshua Gorsuch, "An Examination of Corruption and Interaction Effects as Determinants of FDI"
  • Brad Triplett, "An Analysis of the Importation, Exportation, and Consumption of Wine in the Modern Globalized World"
  • Michael Crawford, "Economic Effects of Discrimination"


  • Elizabeth Marquardt, "Mountain Home Music: A Combined Revealed-Stated Preference Study with a Test of Predictive Validity"
  • James Rutherford, "Estimating the Determinants of the Value of Morgan Silver Dollars"
  • Aaron Wallace, "Valuing the Economic Impact of Greenway Trails in Western North Carolina"
  • Matt Dawson, "Customer Satisfaction and Retention Analysis for the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center"
  • Jeff Frazer, "Perception versus Reality: An Empirical Review of the Corruption Perception Index"


  • Steven Oliverio, "National Brand or Store Brand: Are They Really Substitutes?"
  • Amanda Airington, "Brand Loyalty"
  • Tyler Froelich, Travis Johnson, Sean Lawler, and Mark Wilson, "Voluntary Contributions Mechanism"
  • Dominique Deshommes, "The Caribbean Basin Initiative: Impact on Two Developing Economies"
  • Matt McMahon, "Price Dispersion - A Study of the U.S. Gasoline Market"
  • Ross Rebhan, "A study of the relationship between Natural Disaster's and Economic Growth: The Endogenous Growth Theory, The Law of Unintended Consequences"
  • Shawn Rider, "Hofstede Index – UAI and Economic Growth During a Global Recession."
  • Andrew Borgna, "The Wal-Mart Effect"
  • Chad Ross, "Automobile Insurance and Traffic Fatalities."
  • Catherine Wood, "Examining Winners and Losers – A Surry County Globalization Study"


Biography of John Brashear

John Hibbs Brashear was born in Youngstown, Ohio, where he graduated from South High School in 1934. After attending the University of Florida at Gainesville for two years, he worked at the City Trust and Savings Bank in Youngstown. During this time he completed a course of study at the American Institute of Banking in Youngstown.

Professor Brashear joined the U.S. Army in 1942 and served in the European theatre in the field artillery. He was awarded the Purple Heart and was honorably discharged in January 1946.

After leaving the service, Professor Brashear resumed his studies at the University of Florida, where he was elected to membership in Beta Gamma Sigma. He was also a member of Delta Chi, a social fraternity. He received the B.A. degree in Business administration in 1943 and his M.A. in 1950.

In 1951, Professor Brashear joined the Economics Department of Elon College, North Carolina, where he chaired the department for five years. In the summer of 1955, he was awarded a faculty research grant at Duke University. In 1956, he became a member of the Department of Economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, while he continued his academic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1967, he became a member of the Economics Department at Appalachian State University, from which he retired as Professor Emeritus in 1980.

On the Appalachian campus, he was chairman of the Faculty Senate, chairman of the College of Business Building Committee, and served on many other committees.

Professor Brashear was a member of the American Association of University Professors, the Southern Economic Association, the Southern Finance Association, and the North Carolina Education Association.

He is survived by his wife, Lucy Moore Brashear, Professor Emeriti from Appalachian State University, and two children, Anne Brashear Gonzalez and Jason Brashear.