DPU grad named Borst Fellow, will work with Indiana Senate fiscal leaders in 2012 session

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
DePauw University graduate James Duncan (right) meets with former Indiana Senate Finance chairman Lawrence Borst at the Statehouse Tuesday. Duncan was selected as the sixth winner of the Borst Fellowship, a program the 38-year legislative veteran created so "the best and brightest" young people might become involved in state government.

State Sen. Connie Lawson has announced that Avon resident and 2010 DePauw University graduate James Duncan has been named the sixth winner of the Lawrence M. Borst Fellowship.

Lawson (R-Danville) said Duncan is working under Senate Senior Fiscal Analyst David Reynolds, a position he will continue throughout the 2012 session of the Indiana General Assembly.

In that role, Duncan will assist staff, attend committee meetings and work with Reynolds in helping provide the Senate with important up-to-date fiscal information.

Lawson praised the Borst Fellowship Program and said it was refreshing to see young people like Duncan become involved in such a complex part of state government.

"More than five years after wielding the gavel for the final time in a Senate Finance Committee meeting, its retired chairman Lawrence Borst continues to make a difference in the Indiana General Assembly for young people like James Duncan," Lawson said. "The Borst Fellowship is designed to encourage and develop young leaders in the Indiana legislative process and I'm pleased a Hendricks County resident and DePauw alumnus has this great opportunity."

Named in honor of the 38-year legislative veteran, the Borst Fellowship began in 2006 and is offered each year beginning in the fall semester with its completion coming at the end of the legislative session.

The one-year experience consists of a 20-hour workweek during the fall semester while the student is enrolled full-time in graduate school and a full-time workweek during the spring semester and legislative session.

Duncan and his impressive credentials are certainly no stranger to the Indiana Statehouse, Lawson said. He has interned for Gov. Mitch Daniels' office as well as for Sen. Lawson. Duncan has also worked for Mary E. Borst, daughter-in-law of the former longtime senator, at Ivy Tech, where he taught online classes in personal finance and professional development.

"Given the work I've already had the opportunity to do here at the Statehouse, this just seemed like a logical extension to take a more direct role and help support the legislators," Duncan said.

Borst -- chairman of the Senate Finance Committee for nearly three decades -- said he had been inspired by former Indiana Gov. Robert Orr, who established a similar governor's fellow program shortly after taking office in 1981.

"It's my attempt to introduce the best and brightest to state government," Borst said. "They can understand more about the finances of the state, see first-hand how budgets define policy priorities and understand the impact they have on programs and people. As they work as leaders in their respective communities, hopefully they'll continue to build on the leadership qualities they've gained while working with Indiana government."

Duncan said this experience would help him in his graduate work to obtain a master's in public affairs degree from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Indianapolis. Duncan then intends to continue in the field by pursuing his law degree.

"It's going to give me a unique experience in a wider range of issues, aside from just working toward a budget," Duncan said of working through the "short" session of the Indiana General Assembly, which begins in January and concludes in mid-March. "This is the only place where I'm going to find this opportunity."

Administered by the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and the Senate Internship Program, the Borst Fellowship is open to SPEA graduate students.

For more information on the fellowship, contact Luke Bickel at (317) 278-0308 or lbickel@iupui.edu.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: