Multnomah University Student Kailani West (‘23) and Professor Greg Burch are Awarded the Hatfield Prize from the Center for Public Justice

January 19, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, VA — The Hatfield Prize student-faculty pair of Kailani West (Multnomah University ‘23) and faculty advisor Greg Burch, Ph.D. was announced today by the Center for Public Justice (CPJ), a Christian civic education and public policy research organization based in Alexandria, VA. The Hatfield Prize honors the late Senator Mark O. Hatfield, a U.S. Senator from Oregon known for integrating his Christian faith and his public policy commitments. This prize is made possible through the generous support of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The findings and conclusions presented in The Hatfield Prize reports are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of these foundations.

This year’s awardees are three student-and-faculty pairs: Emily Steen (‘23) and Mark Mulder, Ph.D., at Calvin University, Adriana Cisneros Emerson (‘23) and Isabella Cavalcanti Junqueira, Ph.D., at LeTourneau University, and Kailani West (‘23) and Greg Burch, Ph.D., at Multnomah University.

Kailani West (‘23) is a student at Multnomah University studying global studies with a concentration in culture and diversity. She serves as the student intern for the school’s Voices of Scholars program. She led the Global Outreach committee at her former college and now teaches English at Pamoja House International. She will be conducting research for the Center for Public Justice concerning undocumented women’s access to food and nutritional assistance programs.

Greg W. Burch, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Chair of the Global Studies department at Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon where he also serves as director for the Graduate Degree Program in Global Development and Justice.

Kailani West, advised by Greg Burch, Ph.D., will focus her research on undocumented women, refugees, and immigrants and the need for accessible WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) resources in Rockwood, Oregon. Aware of the social-economical barriers in the marginalized community of Rockwood, West wants to assist women through timely, achievable solutions.

“I am thrilled to join Multnomah student Kailiani West in her research project focused on supporting vulnerable women and children in need of supplemental nutritional support through WIC programs,” said Burch. “In addition to researching the needs of women and children in Rockwood, a community very close to the campus of Multnomah University, the opportunity to amplify voices and agency is critical to the heart of this project.”


West has firsthand experience with the programs she is researching. “Not only was my mother a recipient of WIC when I was a child, but millions of women in the United States also receive WIC. But the problem is that many women who qualify for WIC who do not receive WIC. This research on WIC access is important [because WIC] provides a range of services for mothers, helping the mothers and their infants and young children in their first few years of important growth.”



“Many refugee and immigrant women don’t realize that they are eligible for government assistance from programs like WIC,” said Emily Fromke, Program Director of Shared Justice at the Center for Public Justice, “Kailaini’s research, supported by Greg, will help communities like Rockwood learn how to ensure that those who need food assistance the most — like new moms learning how to navigate a new country — are able to access the programs created to assist them.”

Through the Hatfield Prize reports, award recipients integrate faith with academic scholarship, pursuing today’s pressing social challenges through a public justice framework that recognizes the unique roles and responsibilities of government and civil society. Students, with support from their faculty advisors, articulate the normative principles that ought to guide society’s response to issues like the social safety net, and then make practical applications and recommendations for ways in which government and civil society can promote human flourishing in their local communities.

Click here to learn more about The Hatfield Prize or CPJ. Students and faculty advisors are available for interviews regarding their research plans and topics.

The Hatfield Prize awards funding annually to three student-faculty pairs from Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) institutions to conduct research on policies that impact vulnerable children, families, and communities. The Hatfield Prize is made possible through the generous support of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Shared Justice is the Center for Public Justice’s program for college students and young adults exploring the intersection of faith, politics, and public justice. Shared Justice provides Christian young adults with access to mentorship, a learning community, and a platform for practicing citizenship.