Thank You

Justin Larson ’13, ’14 MA

Super-heroes are people with extraordinary powers who are morally driven to save the world.

Justin Larson ’13, ’14 MA is using his intellectual super-powers to save the planet – he may not wear a cape, but his research is winning awards. Working on his PhD in economics at UNCG, Larson not only has the intellect to research and understand the implications of economic policies, but also the communication skills to convey his research to decision-makers.

The BB&T Capitalism, Markets, and Morality Program Fellowship Endowment Fund in the UNCG Excellence Foundation, Inc. was established to “strengthen students’ understanding of the moral foundations of market-driven capitalism.” Larson is the recipient of this fellowship. Entering his final year of PhD work, Larson describes the fellowship’s impact on his process:

“The BB&T Fellowship led to my first semester as an instructor of international economics. As part of my responsibilities, I created new course material that emphasized the importance of markets and institutions that lead to a sustainable economy. Doing so gave me inspiration for my research interests: the intersection of markets and environmental issues. Specifically, my dissertation looks at the effectiveness of market-based emissions policies. My hope is to be able to influence legislation as our society attempts to tackle the environmental problems we face now and will face in the future.”

“North Carolina’s Clean Smokestacks Act and Emissions: Untangling a Tangled Relationship” is the title of the project Larson presented at the 2017 UNCG Graduate Research and Creativity Expo. His inquiry considered whether the Clean Smokestacks Act caused a reduction in emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from coal-fired power plants in North Carolina; he used Continuous Emissions Monitoring System data in his research. Larson was a winner in the Professional Programs category for his clarity of communication to a non-specialized audience and implementing organization, knowledge, creativity, and originality in his presentation. Larson’s ability to explain the significance of this research – why it matters – was also considered by judges.

“I truly enjoyed the questions and feedback I received at the expo,” Larson reflected. “If the goal of my research is to educate and potentially influence decision-makers, then those people have to understand what I’m saying.  That experience has helped me, both as a researcher and a teacher, and will continue to help me moving forward.”

A skilled researcher who examines and communicates the environmental impact of economic policy – Justin Larson is a super-hero for the future, supported by BB&T’s visionary fellowship, propelling his ideas to take flight.

Who needs a cape?

Story by Zoe Dillard, Donor Relations


Endowments provide donors with opportunities to create living legacies and touch the lives of future generations.

Learn More

P. Kevin Williamson

Associate Vice Chancellor