About Catalyst

The internet can be a noisy place. Sometimes just logging into social media feels like stepping onto a battlefield, except nobody knows who’s on which team and what the teams even mean anymore.

Maybe it shouldn’t be that surprising. After all, there really are pressing social problems that deserve attention. But the endless stream of rants, complaints, and calls for government to step in and solve this or that can get exhausting. Solutions are rarely offered, and when they are, it is often just a call to join a protest or sign onto a specific political agenda.

But people are not helpless. Individuals, whether on their own or with others in their community, are actually quite capable, and can meet society’s challenges when empowered to do so. That’s where Catalyst comes in.

As a new generation enters the workforce for the first time, issues of student debt, educational choices, job prospects, and personal privacy suddenly become vitally important. Whether it’s re-thinking the way our healthcare system works or figuring out how to make housing affordable, Catalyst offers a positive, solutions-oriented alternative source of commentary on the issues that matter most.

As Catalyst grows, we will continuously strive to present readers with new ideas, independent thinking, and real-world stories of those individuals and communities quietly working hard to address the very issues that we are so often told can only be solved through external intervention. Every individual has the potential to change things for the better, to be a catalyst.

Catalyst is a project of the Independent Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan, public-policy research and educational organization, with the mission to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity.

Editor-in-Chief

Ben Wilterdink is Editor-in-Chief of Catalyst, a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, and Director of Programs at the Archbridge Institute. He has served as Director of Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC); Research Manager for Tax and Fiscal Policy in the Center for State Fiscal Reform at ALEC; and Economic Policy Advisor for the electoral campaign of Andrew Griffin for U.S. Congressman. He received his B.S. in government from Liberty University.
Catalyst articles by Ben Wilterdink

Fellows

Jonathon Hauenschild is a Catalyst Policy Fellow and a nerd’s nerd. He is currently a technology policy analyst for an Arlington, Virginia-based think tank, where he spends his days thinking about what innovations are next, how “privacy” impacts our daily lives, and about how Star Wars > Star Trek. When he is not writing about technology policy, you can probably find Jonathon on his porch smoking a fine cigar or pipe wishing he was in the mountains skiing.
Catalyst articles by Jonathon Hauenschild
Ryan Khurana is a Catalyst Policy Fellow, Executive Director of the Institute for Advancing Prosperity, and a tech policy fellow at Young Voices.
Catalyst articles by Ryan Khurana
Ross Marchand is a Catalyst Policy Fellow and the director of policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. He focuses on a range of issues, ranging from health-care reform to internet regulation to Postal Service-related issues. Ross is an alumnus of the Mercatus Center MA Fellowship at George Mason University, where he received his MA in economics in 2016. He has interned for the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council, analyzing and blogging on a variety of public policy issues.
Catalyst articles by Ross Marchand
Elliot Young is a Catalyst Policy Fellow and currently serves as a Project Analyst of Global Supply Chain at Smith and Nephew Inc, where he specializes in large dataset analytics, portfolio optimization, and project streamlining. Prior to joining Smith & Nephew, Elliot has held numerous roles in economic policy analysis, including as Research Analyst for the ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform, and Research Manager at the Institute to Reduce Spending. Elliot earned his Bachelor’s in Economics from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.
Catalyst articles by Elliot Young
Nick Zaiac is a Catalyst Policy Fellow and a Fellow in Commercial Freedom at the R Street Institute where his portfolio includes housing, postal and transportation issues. He holds a master’s degree in economics from George Mason University. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Ali.
Catalyst articles by Nick Zaiac