Brandon Waller, ‘17, of Ardmore, Pa., is conducting ethics research in Richmond, Va., through the University of Richmond’s Summer Fellowship (URSF) program.

This summer, hundreds of UR students are completing summer fellowships through The Richmond Guarantee, a University promise to provide a fellowship for at least one summer research or internship experience for all traditional undergraduate students.

Waller, a leadership studies major and member of UR’s football team, has always been fascinated with health care and hopes to pursue a career in hospital administration.  Under the guidance of Jessica Flanigan, assistant professor of leadership studies and philosophy, politics, economics and law at UR, Waller’s research focuses on the Affordable Care Act. Specifically he is closely examining the component of the law that requires people to either buy health insurance or pay a fine. Waller is comparing his own conclusions on the ethical implications of this mandate to his research on other people’s reactions.

“Learning ethics has been some of the most difficult thinking I’ve done, but it has been very rewarding as well,” said Waller. “Now I view situations more clearly and have discovered some of my own definitions of right and wrong.”

“Not only does this research directly impact my understanding of how health systems work, I am learning how complex some of the issues facing Americans today really are while reducing my own ignorance to a sector that will always affect my life,” he added.

Regarding the URSF program, Waller said it allows him to further pursue his academic interests while not interfering with his athletic commitment. “I’m grateful that I’ve gotten this summer fellowship because I’m able to both do the research I enjoy and stay in Richmond to meet my football needs,” Waller said.

To learn more about The Richmond Guarantee and other UR students benefitting from this program, visit

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Associate Professor of Leadership Studies and Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law, Richard L. Morrill Chair in Ethics & Democratic Values
Political Philosophy