Visiting fellows meet with students to discuss the state of fiscal policy

March 12, 2024 - Features

by Abbie Clements | Student Events Assistant


Student Advisory Board members participated in an evening workshop with Dole Institute Visiting Fellows Rachel Snyderman and Emily Wielk.



In early February, the Dole Institute collaborated with the Bipartisan Policy Center to bring visiting fellows Rachel Snyderman and Emily Wielk to the Institute for discussions on the state of fiscal policy in the United States.

Prior to their public program, members of the Institute’s Student Advisory Board joined Snyderman and Wielk for an interactive workshop focusing on the subject. When introducing themselves, many students admitted that they had limited knowledge of fiscal policy. So, to start the night, both guests provided background information on fiscal policy by sharing key terms and definitions and explaining the nation’s current financial state through insightful graphs. Following this segment, students asked questions about how to lead the nation to a more sustainable fiscal path.

“I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting our guests made the topic of fiscal policy,” said Kenna McNally, a sophomore Student Advisory Board member. “As a strategic communications major, I didn’t have much background knowledge going into the event but the guests’ presentation, as well as their budget simulators, gave me a better understanding of the state of our fiscal system and the steps that need to be taken to repair it.”

During dinner, both guests shared insights into their career paths and offered advice to the students.

“The BPC fellows provided tremendous career advice for those interested in political careers, think-tank positions, and government-related careers,” said Raina Peter, a student outreach coordinator at the Dole Institute. “As a graduating senior, I am interested in moving to D.C. and I found their advice invaluable.”


Student Advisory Board members participate in a federal budget simulator for insight into the development of the federal budget.


As part of the workshop, participants had the opportunity to try out the federal budget simulator—an interactive simulator that puts an individual in the seat of a government appropriator to determine how to balance government spending and income. Students experimented with federal revenue, deciding where and how tax money moved, while also adjusting federal spending. The objective of this exercise was to move the country towards a more sustainable budget. Many students felt particularly strongly about federal spending on Social Security, with people taking diverse stances on the issue.

After using the simulator, the guests introduced the BPC’s new tax receipt calculator. Here, users can input how much they pay in taxes, and the program gives an itemized list of where that money goes—providing further explanation of the federal budget.

To wrap up the workshop, students played in a competitive trivia game about fiscal policy. After a heated game, the Templin team showed they had learned the most about fiscal policy that night.


Dole Institute Visiting Fellow Rachel Snyderman answers audience questions after discussing the state of fiscal policy with Friends of the Dole Institute.


The following morning, Snyderman spoke with community members during her program, “Grappling with the Nation’s Pressing Fiscal Challenges,” which focused on the fiscal direction of the nation and potential solutions to current issues. To see the program, watch it on demand here.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Student Advisory Board, please email and learn more online at



Abbie Clements serves as the Dole Institute’s Student Events Assistant. Through this, Abbie supports many administrative duties leading up to events and organizes student volunteers for these events. She is a sophomore studying Political Science and Strategic Communications and is an active member of the KU Mock Trial team.

About the Dole Institute
The Dole Institute was dedicated on July 22, 2003, at the University of Kansas on Senator Bob Dole’s 80th birthday. Home to the personal archives of both Senator Bob and Senator Elizabeth Dole, with a museum facility on par with the U.S. Presidential libraries, the Dole Institute has been a vibrant political forum promoting civil discourse, civic engagement, and idea exchange across the political spectrum for 20 years.

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