The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst honored the exemplary achievement, initiative and leadership of some of its most talented and accomplished graduating seniors during Undergraduate Commencement on Friday, May 10 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

Three of the ten members of the graduating class are within the Department of Political Science. They were honored as 21st Century Leaders at Undergraduate Commencement:

In 1972, the US Congress passed Title IX  to address sex discrimination in educational institutions receiving federal aid. Four decades on, Elizabeth A. SharrowJames N. Druckman and Jacob E. Rothschild take a close look at current perceptions of how Title IX has been implemented, with a specific focus on its effects on college athletes. They find that not only are student athletes aware that there should be gender equity – and in fact recognize existing inequities – they are also willing to take action to promote more equitable practices by universities.

Alexandria Nylen, an advanced PhD Candidate in International Relations, has had a paper accepted in the very prestigious European Journal of International Relations! This journal is ranked 6th by the most recent Teaching and Research in International Politics survey. EJIR accepts only 12% of papers, and to publish there as a PhD candidate is a tremendous achievement. 

Two outstanding staff members have been recognized this spring for their exemplary work in the UMass College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS). Mary Ann Libardi, Director of Personnel for the SBS Dean’s Office, and Aaron Tauscher, Financial Manager for the Department of Political Science, were chosen by a committee of their peers from a highly competitive pool of nominees. The Outstanding Staff Award is given to those who have made an impact on SBS by fostering a collaborative environment, creating a positive work environment, implementing innovative work processes or systems, and exemplifying integrity and dedication.

Congratulations to Luz Maria Sanchez Duque who was awarded a Graduate School Fieldwork Grant for her dissertation work. These grants were very competitive, with only 34% of applications awarded funding. Congratulations Luz Maria on this important accomplishment!


“The rhetoric from the media and politicians is they’re brainwashed, they’re deceived, they’re lovestruck, they don’t know what they’re doing,” said Meredith Loken, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who has studied women who join violent extremist groups. “But even if they didn’t pick up guns,” she said, many were “actively contributing to this group.” (The New York Times, 5/8/19)

Nick Akerman, a UMass Political Science alum from 1968 writes an Op-Ed column on the New York Times about the Mueller investigation on President Trump. Akerman was a prosecutor in the investigation that led to Richard Nixon's resignation, and he explains in his column why the case against Trump, while equally meritorious, has been more difficult to prove.

While most college courses involve tests or papers, the final exam for students in a course on “The Politics of the End of the World” at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Commonwealth Honors College involved researching, recording and releasing a podcast that explored major changes in Massachusetts history. The students’ podcasts have been published online and are now available for download and steaming via Spotify, Stitcher and at

Congratulations to Sam Stoddard, who just accepted a visiting assistant professor position in American Politics at the College of the Holy Cross! This is a wonderful recognition of Sam's outstanding research and excellent teaching record.

TEHRAN - Peter M. Haas, a professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst says that the crux of the argument about secular and religious states in IR is still seen as the conflict between animating pressures on people:  religious, post religious, secular.