April 2017 – William Connor McCanless
Honors: University Honors Society, Engineering Honors Society, VP of Programming for Texas A&M University Community Council, Aggie Pitch Challenge Finalist
William Connor McCanless is a freshman at Texas A&M University majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He participated in the Aggies Challenge, which engages students with hands on projects that push their innovation, creativity, and communication skills. William and his team were received honorable mention and was awarded funding to continue developing their project. William has also served his community as the VP of Programming for his University’s Community Council which earned him “the best students on campus” award.
William participated in the Institute’s “We the Students” essay contest and attended Constitutional Academy in 2016. At Constitutional Academy, he was voted “Most Patriotic Student” by his peers. Thinking back on the Academy, William said “my experiences with the Institute, especially the Academy, have been stellar. There are so many great and wonderful people at the Institute who are willing to help you learn about the Constitution, government, debate, and how to respect different point of views.” William feels that Constitutional Academy has expanded his horizons, giving him exposure to opportunities such as government jobs and internships.
William holds the United States Constitution and our nation’s Founders in high regard. He views them as, “extraordinary gentlemen that recognized that man is supposed to be governed by laws, not by man, if they are to live a free live from oppression.” In addition, William “strongly believes in inalienable rights” and views the government as the protector of individual rights. William sees constitutional government as the best way to secure the blessings of liberty and property.
After completing his Mechanical Engineering degree at Texas A&M University, William hopes to start his own business as a venture capitalist, which will allow him to innovate and invest in other people’s ideas and businesses. His goal in life is to benefit other people.
October 2016 – Jesse Dennis
Lyceum Scholars Program
Young Americans for Liberty Member, WeRoar Member, Sigma Kappa Sorority Member
4 – Year High School Scholar-Athlete, 2015 We the Students Essay Contest Participant, Latin Honor Society, Science Honor Society
Jesse was first introduced to the Bill of Rights Institute through the We the Students essay contest. She notes that the competition was, “an incredibly liberating experience as it allowed me to write about problems and issues that matter to me.” She has been impressed how the Institute “encourages young Americans everywhere to be informed and civically-minded.”
She currently is a freshman at Clemson University participating in the Lyceum Scholars Program, which is America’s first academic program dedicated to studying the moral, political and economic foundations of a free society. When asked about why she chose the program, she said, “Lyceum Scholars offered her the unique opportunity to immerse herself in classical liberal thought, while at the same time providing her with a well-rounded liberal arts education in a football-obsessed school.”
Since arriving at Clemson University Jesse has also been active within an organization called WeRoar, whose main goal on campus is to support the right of free speech. As a supporter of free speech, Jesse believes that “open discourse and robust debate are fundamental to how Americans should approach politics, especially on college campuses.”
As a combined economics and political science major, Jesse would like to work for a non-profit or think tank after college in order to help facilitate growth and progress in America.
Wichita, Kansas • Constitutional Academy 2015
U.S. Army Reserve Office Training Corps 2015-Present
Eagle Scout Award with Gold and Bronze Palms, National Youth Leadership Training Participant and Silver Tomahawk Award, God and Country Four Star Award, Philmont Crew Leader and Arrowhead Award, Graduated Magna Cum Laude from high school.
Armed Forces Proficiency Badge, Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society member, Lambda Sigma Honors Society Omega Chapter Vice President.
Wyatt attended Constitutional Academy in 2015 and immediately became a favorite among staff and his peers for his positive attitude and robust additions to group discussions. A serial bookworm, Wyatt uses Institute resources on a regular basis and even spent his own money to have his Academy readings packet spiral bound (and says that the pages are dog eared from repeated use)!
When reflecting on the Founding era, Wyatt said: “The examples of the character that the men of the Founding Generation exemplified have always inspired me: the sense of civic duty of men like Dr. Joseph Warren, and the humility of George Washington, as well as the intellectual and insatiable curiosity of Jefferson. I have tried, and often failed, to model my own character after the positive traits the men, but they have always been models of the kinds of men I hope to be some day. Additionally, while the Constitution is not a document that grants people their rights, I have tried, in my personal life, to look at the it and the freedoms it safeguards and always try to give others the same respect of their rights and freedoms that I would expect.”
Wyatt is currently a cadet in the U.S. Army Reserve Office Training Corps. Post graduation, he plans to commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and serve as an attorney in the Army. He has already received accolades in his program. Last semester, he wrote a paper about a documentary following a certain unit in Afghanistan, analyzing it from a point of view of mistakes and successes in counterinsurgency operations. After mentioning it in passing to his Senior Military Instructor, a Master Sergeant, he requested a copy of it and Wyatt came find out a few weeks later that he, along with the six other members of the ROTC department (one Sergeant First Class, two Captains, Two Majors, and a Lieutenant Colonel) had conducted a round table discussion of the paper. “To have my own writing reviewed by those seven men, with over 130 years of combined experience in the Army, was a huge honor for me.”
Wyatt claims that his kryptonite is a cup of coffee and a new bookstore. “I have always been a very nerdy and bookish kid, and that has translated to, in my young adult years, a massive book collection. I am known to sit for hours reading about politics, law, history, military strategy and tactics, and theology for hours on end, sometimes into the midnight hours, even if I have to be up at five the next morning for PT. At college this year, I had close to a hundred books in my dorm that weren’t textbooks.”
Pittsburgh, PA • Constitutional Academy 2012
Eagle Scout Award
Robert is currently a sophomore at Cornell University with a robust level of involvement (both academically and socially) on campus. He is the Arts and Sciences Representative for the Cornell University Student Assembly, Second Vice-Chair of the Cornell Republicans, Chair for the Art’s and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council, an analyst for the Cornell Hedge Fund, and a brother in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Robert identifies utmost reverence and respect for the Constitution. As the governing document of our nation, he believes it encapsulates the framework for classical liberalism that puts agency in the individual, ensures rights, and is based on natural law. He says that, “my love of the Constitution comes from my belief that legitimate government can only arise out of a democratically adopted social contract, which protects the God given rights of men and women. “
His future goals include working in finance after graduating from Cornell, developing invaluable business experience during his career, and running for office in the Senate by the time he is in his mid 30’s.
Favorite Quote: “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tyner, NC • Constitutional Academy 2014
12th Place Policy Debate, 2014 NCFCA National Championship
Eagle Scout Award
Civil Air Patrol Billy Mitchell Award (Cadet 2nd Lieutenant)
Razi has been heavily involved in extracurricular activities. He was the Hillsdale College Student Federation Representative and Publications Committee Chairman and was part of his high school’s baseball and Policy Debate teams. Outside of school, he served in various organizations including the Civil Air Patrol, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Young America’s Foundation.
“My love for the civics has come straight form the Constitution. The Constitution provided America with the most enduring government in history. It is not arbitrary and proceeds from a rational understanding of human nature. This understanding paved the way for a system of government which is impervious to the dominance of a single faction and effective at safeguarding liberty since 1787. The U.S. Constitution is longest sustaining constitution in world history and represents the standard for American government by consent. It is a product of the natural law tradition and designed to secure mankind’s God-given rights from tyrannical despotism.
My peers say that I am thoughtful, kind and a man of convictions. Many also note that my dedication to excellence is unmatched.
I am pursuing degrees in Politics and History at Hillsdale College, volunteering on campus, and spending my summers interning in Washington, DC.
I aim to attend law school to study constitutional law. Upon graduation, I intend to study at the Naval Justice School and serve as a Judge Advocate in the United States Navy. Post my military career, I aspire to public office in order to proudly protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
I strive to establish a peer group of the most perspicacious and virtuous students. I am proud to say that I have succeeded. My peers hold me accountable in my Christian faith and while they often extol my character, I proudly credit them with having helped shape it.