October 5, 2009

Urban policy competition seeks solutions for Baltimore

Baltimore-area undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in solving urban problems have an opportunity to test their ideas, be recognized by city decision-makers and win up to $4,000 by entering the 2010 Abell Award in Urban Policy competition. Co-sponsored by the Abell Foundation and the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies, the award is given annually to the students who author the most compelling papers on a pressing problem facing the city of Baltimore. The first place prize is $4,000, and second place is $1,000.

“The purpose of this award is to encourage fresh thinking about the serious challenges facing this city and to tap the intellectual capacity of the city’s college and graduate students,” said Bob Embry, president of the Abell Foundation.

The contest is open to full-time undergraduate and graduate students at Coppin State University; Goucher College; The Johns Hopkins University; Loyola University Maryland; Morgan State University; the College of Notre Dame; Towson University; the University of Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland, College Park; and Stevenson University.

Winners are selected by a panel of judges comprising Baltimore opinion leaders and practitioners. Past winners have focused on strategies for reusing vacant properties, new approaches for preventing and reducing youth violence, the impact of zero-tolerance school discipline policies, measures to reduce infant mortality and policies to reduce high Latina birth rates.

“The judges and I have been extremely impressed with the thoughtful analysis and creative solutions that are offered by these papers,” said Sandra Newman, professor and director of the IPS Center on Housing, Neighborhoods and Communities, who oversees the competition. “It is clear that Baltimore’s graduate and undergraduate students have much to contribute to the solution of these very challenging problems, both during their schooling and, hopefully, beyond.”

In addition to the monetary award, winners will have their papers distributed to key city and state decision-makers, featured in the Abell Foundation newsletter and posted on the IPS Web site, http://ips.jhu.edu.

The competition is a three-step process: Applicants must complete and submit a one-page contest entry form by Oct. 23, a thorough abstract by Nov. 23 and a final paper by March 5, 2010.

For details, including the entry form, a sample abstract, official guidelines, FAQs and examples of winning papers, go to http://ips.jhu.edu/pub/Abell-Award-in-Urban-Policy or e-mail abellaward@jhu.edu.