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The Department of Political Science is pleased to annouce that two of our alumni are recipients of the 2011 UMass Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Peter Trovato '05 (political science and journalism) is founder of the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund, a non-profit organization that offers educational assistance grants to the children of fallen soldiers from Massachusetts.

Larry Kocot '82 (legal studies) is deputy director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform and a visiting fellow in the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution.

John Brigham gave an invited presentation at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Oñati, Spain on Monday, March 14. His presentation -- co-presented with Susan Ball, Director of Programs at the New York Foundation for the Arts -- linked the "Chaos and Classicism" exhibition currently at the Guggenheim in Bilbao with the strongly neo-classical US Supreme Court building, thereby raising issues about how architecture reflects and reinforces social and cultural trends.

Jesse Rhodes has received a grant from the Spencer Foundation to explore "How Education Accountability Shapes Citizens' Civic Attitudes and Behavior." 

Stuart Shulman has received a $50,000 grant from the Smithsonian Institution to develop tools which can rapidly mine public discourse and concerns about climate change. The project, "Mapping and Mining Climate Discourse Online" partners with Rutgers University and Texifter, LLC, a software start-up company founded by Shulman, to increase the functionality of cloud-based text analysis software to better capture public opinion about climate change.  The project will result in a climate change outreach and education platform.

Peter Haas was a plenary keynote speaker at the Universcience Conference, "the Scholar, the Politician, and the Citizen" in Paris, France on March 11, 2011. Haas' lecture, "Science and Politics," offered lessions about institutional design and practices for scientific management within international relations. 

Professor Haas was also an invited speaker at the Séminaire Développement durable et économie de l'environnement at Sciences Po while in Paris.

 The UMass Amherst Mock Trial team went undefeated to place 2nd at the Northeast Regional Mock Trial Competition at Clark University in Worcester on February 26 and 27. They will advance to the regional championship on March 11-13 in White Plains, NY. This marks the first time in program history that UMass has advanced to the championship round.

Peter Haas presented "Actors and International Environmental Governance: Best and Worst Practices for Improving Climate Change Governance" at the International Relations and Climate Change Conference at Princeton University on February 19, 2011. The presentation sought to develop a research protocol for better understanding best and worst practices for global environmental governance.

With a strong background in Egyptian affairs, Professor Amel Ahmed recent visited WGBY to provide personal insight to the crisis in Tahrir Square and Egypt more generally. Having recently visited Egypt in 2010, Ahmed's on-the-ground experience illuminates a situation clouded in confusion by providing first-hand accounts of the conditions in the challenged state. Embedded below is the interview with WGBY.

Assistant Professor Angelica Bernal has been awarded a Family Research Scholarship from the Center for Research on Families (CRF) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Professor Bernal is one of six faculty chosen for this year's Family Scholars program. 

As a CRF Fellow, Professor Bernal will research "The Impact of Petroleum Contamination, Litigation & Legal Activism on Indigenous Families in Ecuador¹s Amazonian Region."

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