Westfield Native Selected For U.S. Naval Academy Trident Scholar Program

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Midshipman 2nd class (junior) Jacob M. Stevens-Haas of Westfield has been selected by the Naval Academy as a Trident Scholar for the 2010-2011 academic year.  The Trident Scholar program provides exceptionally capable midshipmen in high academic standing the opportunity to engage in independent study and research during their senior year.

A class of 2007 graduate of Westfield High School, Stevens-Haas was a member of Fed Challenge.  He received a direct appointment to the Naval Academy where he is now a quantitative economics major.

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Stevens-Haas’ Trident Scholar project is entitled “Is an Interest-Free Economy a Viable Option?”  He will be aided in his research by Assistant Professor Katherine A. Smith of the Naval Academy economics department and Assistant Professor Leah Jager of the Naval Academy mathematics department.

According to Stevens-Haas’ proposal, his project seeks “to answer the question, ‘Would an economy that prohibits interest on loans, like that existing in some Islamic cultures, have milder credit crises?’”  He will create a “financial model using various nations’ GDP volatility data and evaluate whether, theoretically, interest-free finance is beneficial.”

The Naval Academy Trident Scholar program began in 1963 to provide opportunity for a limited number of exceptionally capable students to engage in independent study and research during their senior year.  Each year, midshipmen in the top ten percent of their class at the end of the fall semester of their junior year are invited to submit research project proposals and programs of study for evaluation.  Trident Scholars have modified academic programs for their first class (senior) year, substituting research courses and theses for traditional courses within their major.

Midshipmen chosen for the Trident Scholar program for the next academic year are named each spring.

“The exceptional quality of this and other Naval Academy student research programs can be directly attributed to the sustained and consistent support provided to the Naval Academy by the Office of Naval Research (ONR),” said Dr. Carl Wick, associate director for midshipmen research at the academy.

In the past three years, ONR has contributed more than $8 million to support over 80 program areas of science and technology research at the Naval Academy.

In April 2011, each scholar’s project accomplishments will be assessed by the Trident Scholar Committee through an evaluation of his/her final written report and poster presentation.  The Trident prize will be awarded to the scholar producing the most outstanding Trident project for the 2011 graduating class.

Naval Academy Academic Dean and Provost Dr. Andrew Phillips announced that a total of ten Trident Scholars have been selected to represent the academy for the 2010-2011 school year.


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