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The Department of Political Science is pleased to announce five new tenure-track faculty hires for the 2015-2016 academic year:


Stephanie Chan, a second year political science major, was invited to present an undergraduate research poster at the 2015 Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Annual Meeting April 15-19, 2015 in Chicago, IL. 

MJ Peterson, professor of political science, has been elected secretary of the Faculty Senate beginning July 1. She was elected at the April 9 meeting of the senate and replaces Ernest May, music, who has been secretary since 2000.

Peterson points out she is not the first woman to hold the job. Micheline Dufau of the French and Italian department served as secretary in 1970-71. More recently, Marilyn Billings of the Library served as acting secretary during the spring 2010 term while Ernest May was on leave.

Lauren McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies, was one of twenty one international honorary guests at the XVI International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow April 7-10, 2015. 

Tapped for her expertise of Russia's law enforcement institutions and human trafficking, Professor McCarthy's keynote focused on the 2003 Russian law which criminalized human trafficking for the first time. 

Nick Xenos, Professor of Political Science, has been named a fellow with the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) at UMass Amherst for academic year 2015-2016. 

ISI is "a forum for faculty at the University of Massachusetts to engage with one another in a spirit of intellectual and creative adventure in a range of settings and environments." 

On March 29 and 30, visiting Professor and Armenian Ambassador Armen Baibourtian led 27 Political Science students on a tour of the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City. The trip allowed students to connect their studies at UMass with the outside world and gain insight on the different routes their future endeavors may take.  It is the third time in the past several years that Ambassador Baibourtian has been able to supplement his classwork with a field trip of this kind.

Political Science PhD student Alper H. Yagci has received a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) for academic year 2015-2016. The prestigious Mellon/ACLS Fellowship carries with it a $30,000 stipend, additional research support funds, and professional development support for entering the academic job market. Yagci is one of 70 fellows awarded a fellowship from a pool of nearly 1,000 applicants.

Ann Merriam Feinberg ‘68 (Government), counsel at Connecticut Community Foundation, attributes her success in part to a willingness to take some risks and make changes in her life, even if those changes might be uncomfortable at first.

Amel Ahmed, Assistant Professor of Political Science, has received a research grant from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UMass to explore the dynamics of 19th century party formation in the US. 

Working with Census and qualitative data, Professor Ahmed seeks to explain the absence of a viable worker's party during the 19th century. "I argue that it was institutional changes early in the 19th century that were responsible for [the lack of such a party]," she says.

Elizabeth Sharrow, Assistant Professor of Political Science and History, has been awarded a 2015-2016 research fellowship from the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, a part of the Massachusetts Historical Society.