Incentivized competition produces solutions

Lawyers and wealth are typically associated with each other, resulting in a competitive admissions process at law schools.

Kevin Hulick, a senior at Youngstown State University, said he plans to attend law school at the University of Virginia, where he’s already been accepted; however, he said he feels the successful young lawyer portrait painted by many law schools is just an illusion.

Desolate job prospects for young graduates, low starting salaries and high amounts of debt make what appears to be a sound career choice into a mere uncertainty.

This was the topic of Hulick’s essay. It took first place at the Stocks Essay Contest, which was hosted by the economics department and had Tomi Ovaska, an associate professor of economics, at the helm.

All majors were encouraged to submit essays of no longer than 2,500 words that comprehensively analyzed a policy dilemma and provided viable solutions.

Ovaska said he was overwhelmed with the amount of submissions — more than 60 — as well as the vast assortment of topics researched. Students wrote on issues such as the long-term effect of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the defense budget’s effect on the economy, legalizing marijuana and Senate Bill 5.

The three winners, along with the seven other top 10 finalists, were recognized at the Omicron Delta Epsilon dinner in the Ohio Room of Kilcawley Center on Tuesday night.

The evening, Ovaska said, was “to celebrate our smart students.”

Roughly 35 faculty members and students and their families attended to hear a keynote from Wesley Gillespie, senior vice president of FirstMerit Bank, and witness new members’ induction into the society.

The focal point of the evening was announcement of the essay contest’s results.

Hulick snagged the top $250 prize, which has eluded him for four years. Ovaska said Hulick’s constant participation has made him a better writer.

“The previous two years, he was in the final 10. Now, he got it,” Ovaska said.

Hulick admitted the irony in his critique of law schools.

“It makes me hesitant, to be honest,” Hulick said. “I thought about taking a year off, but I know I’m going to law school regardless.”

Senior Barbara Neiswanger took second place, winning $150, with her essay, “Environmental Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing and Shale Extraction — Policy Analysis.”

Neiswanger said she doesn’t have a concrete opinion over whether fracking is good or bad, but feels people in this area may be overlooking the potential environmental consequences in favor of economic gain.

Lucas Benson’s essay, “The Leasing of the Ohio Turnpike,” took third place, and earned him $100.