Baylor Student-Faculty Duo Receive 2024 Hatfield Prize

Pair awarded Hatfield Prize from the Center for Public Justice to advance Christian faith and social policy  

January 31, 2024
2024 Hatfield Prize recipients, Colby Humphrey Ph.D., and Jackson Boone, mechanical engineering major.

Colby Humphrey, Ph.D., lecturer in political science, and Jackson Boone, a William Carey Crane Scholar, Baylor Engage Fellow and senior mechanical engineering major, have received the 2024 Hatfield Prize from the Center for Public Justice. (Robert Rogers/Baylor University)

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WACO, Texas (Jan. 31, 2024) – The Center for Public Justice (CPJ) has awarded its prestigious 2024 Hatfield Prize to Baylor University senior mechanical engineering major Jackson Boone, a William Carey Crane Scholar and Baylor Engage Fellow from Calvert City, Kentucky, and Colby Humphrey, Ph.D., lecturer in political science, in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. 

The Hatfield Prize is awarded annually to three student-faculty pairs in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Mark O. Hatfield, who was known for his Christian faith and commitment to working across differences to find common ground.  

As Hatfield Prize recipients, Boone and Humphrey will conduct research on social policy that impacts the well-being of vulnerable children, families and communities through a semester-long research project. In addition to having their research published in a CPJ policy report, they each will receive a $6,500 award.

Boone and Humphrey’s research will focus on the workforce development effort in Waco while integrating a Christian faith focus. While workforce development is often understood as job training, Boone and Humphrey said that there is much more to unpack.  

“We are looking at programs provided by city government, education centers, nonprofits and churches to determine if the current programs are succeeding in their goal to train and equip Wacoans with the necessary skills to succeed in today’s economy,” Boone said.  

Boone and Humphrey come from two different academic backgrounds – mechanical engineering and political science, but their differing expertise lends itself well to the topic's interdisciplinary nature and gives the researchers the ability to explore a topic through a unique lens.  

“Policy is essential, but there are local relationships and connections that are key as well,” Humphrey said. “Approaching this from multiple backgrounds will give us a broader perspective and perhaps speak to existing gaps when evaluating this space. We will be able to look at the other needs people have to thrive, from housing to childcare to transportation and how they interact.”  

Focusing on the role that organizations outside of public policy play such as churches and nonprofits, Boone and Humphrey hope to paint a bigger picture of Waco and enact change in the community.  

“As a researcher, examining how a local community is tackling these questions is unique,” Humphrey said. “We will be able to tell the story of Waco that will inform local decision-makers and speak to broader trends we are seeing in Texas and American society more broadly.” 

As an undergraduate student, Boone understands the importance of the award and the future influence of his research.  

“I’m afforded a unique opportunity to bring about change in the community that could positively impact lives,” Boone said. “We have an opportunity to highlight the important work volunteers, churchgoers and city officials in the community are doing to lift up their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.”  


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.  


Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) has been preparing its students for more than 25 years as innovators for worldwide impact by training graduates for professional practice and responsible leadership with a Christian worldview. Students can choose from majors including bioinformatics, computer science, data science, electrical and computer engineering, general engineering and mechanical engineering. ECS also offers graduate programs in all areas of study within the School. We stand out from the crowd through Christian commitment, R1 research, a strong community, personalized career support, expert accessibility, and leading practical experience. Visit the ECS website to learn more and follow on Instagram and Facebook


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments in the sciences, humanities, fine arts and social sciences, as well as 11 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. The College’s undergraduate Unified Core Curriculum, which routinely receives top grades in national assessments, emphasizes a liberal education characterized by critical thinking, communication, civic engagement and Christian commitment. Arts & Sciences faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit the College of Arts & Sciences website