Caleb Stowell: Springboarding from CCS into the Future

By Hank McIntire

Caleb Stowell

        Caleb Stowell, Wood Research Assistant for the Quill Project at Utah Valley University.

Caleb Stowell graduated from Utah Valley University in May 2023, earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with an emphasis in political philosophy, while minoring in Constitutional Studies. A Wood Research Assistant in the Center for Constitutional Studies, he will continue with CCS in a post-baccalaureate position.

A resident of Decatur, Ga., Caleb comes from a long line of medical professionals. His grandfather and uncle were surgeons, his father is an M.D. with a Ph.D., and his mother has a doctorate in Public Health. He planned to enter the “family business” and study Pre-Med at the University of Georgia on a full-ride scholarship.

But things changed during his senior year of high school. Caleb took a year off to deal with some personal struggles, and then in 2018 he chose to follow his girlfriend to Utah—a good environment, he felt—where she would attend Brigham Young University, while he would enroll at UVU.

As an incoming freshman, Caleb took a required American Heritage class. “I always enjoyed history, but I had never been politically engaged,” he recalled. “Politics were more at the front of everybody else’s mind. This American Heritage course was well taught, and I wanted to explore more about the foundations of what we were learning.”

That first-semester course was life-changing for Caleb, which is more than could be said for the girlfriend—they broke up after two months. Shortly after that, he met his future wife and changed his major to Political Science, with the full support of his parents. “It’ll be nice to have something different in the family,” his mother said.

In 2021, Scott Paul, executive director of CCS, visited one of Caleb’s political-science classes and told students about the Quill Project, where students conduct constitutional research as employees of the Center.

The job “was a godsend,” said Caleb, explaining that he picked up Quill quickly because it was very technical, his previous employment having been science related. “The students were very welcoming, and UVU’s large student base made it nice to find people with similar interests.”

Caleb started out as a member of the team working on the Idaho and Washington state constitutions under a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. He later became a team lead on the project that is modeling the Illinois state constitution.

He found the work fascinating. “I gained a deeper understanding of how constitutions are built, trying to contextualize them the times in which they were drafted, and finding little nuggets that you would never know about,” said Caleb. “It’s been an awesome opportunity.”

Caleb’s plans beyond graduation will still involve CCS, as he will be working for a year in a post-baccalaureate position, continuing his state-constitution research. “I’ll take the LSAT this fall and begin applying to law schools in order to start in 2024,” he said. “I hope to get a clerkship when I finish. I enjoyed my criminal-justice classes at UVU, so I’d like to work for the FBI.”

He credits the Center with giving him a springboard to his future.

“The opportunities have made me more professional,” Caleb said. “The Center has helped me develop leadership skills and provided me with a lot of connections with leading scholars and experts.”

“I am better because of the culture of the Center,” he continued. “They have great leadership, and the full-time staff form a great structure. It’s an inviting place. It cultivates learning and scholarship in a way I’ve never experienced before.”