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Graduate Accomplishments

Department of Political Science graduate students have won several major awards for research and teaching across a variety of perspectives and topics. A selection of these grants and awards are presented below.


Martha BalagueraInter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Fellowship (2016-2017)
Martha received a one-year fellowship to conduct ethnographic research in Mexico for the project 'We are all migrants,' a study of citizenship in transit and the perils and promises of crossing Mexico. Her research examines how the meaning and practice of citizenship is transformed through the encounter of citizens and noncitizens in the context of international migration, with a focus on the experiences of transit of people from Central America crossing Mexico.

Martha BalagueraUMass Graduate School Summer 2016 Dissertation Fellowship (Summer 2016)

Martha BalagueraJoyce Berkman Outstanding Feminist Research Award (2014-2015)

Mia CostaJohn Sprague Award (July 2016)
The APSA Political Networks Section’s John Sprague Award is given annually to the author of the best paper on political networks presented by a graduate student at a political science conference in the previous year. The award is given based upon the contribution of the research to the study of political networks, broadly construed. The awardees’ research may be substantive, theoretical, or methodological, so long as it meets the committee’s definition of "excellence."

Mia CostaPluribus Project - Political Game Changer (2015-2016)
Research support ($15,000) from the Environmental Defense Fund for get-out-the-vote field experiment Highbeam Research

Ivelisse Cuevas-MolinaAPSA 2016-2017 Latino Scholarship Fund Recipient (2016-2017)

Usmaan Farooqui: UMass Graduate School Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (2017)

Alyssa Grahame: Fulbright Fellowship Research Grant and Leifur Eirikson Fellowship (2014-2015)
PhD student Alyssa Maraj Grahame has received a 2014-2015 Fulbright Scholarship to continue her dissertation research in Iceland. Grahame, who has spent the spring semester in Iceland through the National Science Foundation-funded Culture and Heritage in European Societies and Spaces (CHESS) Program, will use the Fulbright funding to investigate Iceland’s Pots and Pans Revolution in light of the ongoing European economic crises.

James Heilman: Adam Smith Fellowship (2015-2016)
One year fellowship to participate in discussions and events hosted by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University on foundational texts in political economy.

Kevin Anthony HendersonViiV Healthcare Point Scholar (2016-2017)
Renewable scholarship up to four years. Press coverage in The Advocate

Mohsen Jalali: UMass Graduate School Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (2017)

Rebecca Lisi: National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant for her dissertation "Latino Race Cards? Demographic Change, Negative Campaign Advertisements, and White Mobilization," a multi-method research project. Rebecca wrote her NSF proposal during a Dissertation Writing Retreat sponsored by the Graduate School and the University Writing Center during the summer of 2015. A childcare reimbursement helped offset additional expenses during this period of writing. In 2015 Rebecca won a Graduate School Dissertation Research Grant. 

Alix Olson: 2018 APSA Program Chair for the "Caucus for a New Political Science" (2016-2017)
Alix was elected Program Chair for the section "Caucus for a New Political Science" for the 2018 APSA annual conference to be held in Boston, MA. She was elected after serving as the Caucus Representative for the past two years. Her responsibility involves selecting papers and panels as well as choosing plenary speakers for the 2018 APSA annual meeting.

Alix Olson: Five College Women's Studies Research Center Associateship (2016-2017)
Alix’s research is entitled “Resilient Conscripts: Resistance Under Neoliberalism.” Detailed information about Alix’s research and portfolio may be found on the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center web page.

Khorapin Phuaphansawat2016 Pattana Kitiarsa Prize (July 2016)
This award is given for the best student paper on Southeast Asia by the Association for Asian Studies. Her paper is entitled, "’My Eyes are Open but My Lips are Whispering’: Anti-Royalism in Thailand after the 2006 Coup d’Etat." Her advisor, Professor Timothy Pachirat, has called her paper politically courageous and intellectually innovative.

Tyler SchuenemannFulbright Fellowship – Oman (2015-2016)
Dissertation fieldwork in Oman, including interviews, ethnography, and archival research (10 months).

Tyler Schuenemann: Dissertation Research Grant - UMass Amherst (2015-2016)
Funds to pay a research assistant to help translate 50 interviews from various Omani dialects, which were archived as part of an oral history project that documented the impact of Cyclone Gonu (2007) on the eastern coast of Oman.

Tyler Schuenemann: Critical Language Scholarship - Language Study Grant (2014-2015)
Intensive study of the Arabic language in Nizwa, Oman (2 months).

Eric Sippert: UMass Graduate School Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (2017)

Kira Tait: Fulbright Group Projects Abroad Award for Zulu language study in South Africa (Summer 2017).
The Fulbright-Hays Zulu offers students an opportunity to advance their language and cultural competency in the Zulu language through interaction with Zulu-speaking faculty, staff, students and families in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The eight-week program combines intensive classroom instruction with home stays (urban and rural settings), lecture seminars, outreach cultural activities, and visits to historical and cultural sites.

Alper Yagci:  Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies (Mellon/ACLS Grant 2015)
Alper received a Mellon ACLS grant for his dissertation research, ""Managing the Agricultural Biotechnology Revolution: Responses to Transgenic Seeds in Developing Countries." Yagci also received a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Grant and, previously, a dissertation proposal grant from the Social Science Research Council.

Basileus Zeno: Civil Society Scholar Award - Open Society Institute 
Doctoral student Zeno has been awarded a highly competitive $10,000 Civil Society Scholar Award from the Open Society Institute. The Civil Society Scholar Awards (CSSA) support international academic mobility to enable doctoral students and university faculty to access resources that enrich socially engaged research and critical scholarship in their home country or region. The awards support activities such as fieldwork (data collection); research visits to libraries, archives, or universities; course/curriculum development; and international collaborations leading to peer-reviewed publication. Civil Society Scholars are selected on the basis of their outstanding contributions to research or other engagement with local communities, to furthering debates on challenging societal questions, and to strengthening critical scholarship and academic networks within their fields.


Basileus Zeno: Nominated for the Distinguished Teaching Award (2016-2017)  The University of Massachusetts Amherst Distinguished Teaching Award nomination begins with a nomination by one's students.

Kevin Anthony Henderson: Pi Sigma Alpha Best Teaching Assistantship Award (2015-2016)
The Pi Sigma Alpha Best Teaching Assistantship Award is voted upon by all political science and legal studies majors for the best teaching assistant in the Political Science Department at UMass Amherst.

Tyler Schuenemann: Pi Sigma Alpha Best Teaching Assistant, Department of Political Science (2014-2015)
Voted "Best Teaching Assistant" for the 2014-2015 academic year by students and members of the Delta Lambda chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.


Mia Costa (Dec 2015)

  • Prestage-Cook Travel Award, Southern Political Science Association
  • Travel to 2016 SPSA conference.

Kevin Anthony Henderson (Spring 2016)

  • WGSS Duke University Feminist Theory Workshop Travel Grant.
  • Competitive Grant from the Department of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to attend the Duke University Feminist Theory Workshop.

Kevin Anthony Henderson (Spring 2015)

  • LASA Travel Grant
  • Competitive award from the Latin American Studies Association.  Paid for lodging costs during the 2015 International Congress.

Kaylee Johnson (Jan 2015)

  • Prestage-Cook Travel Award, Southern Political Science Association
  • Funded travel to participation in Southern Political Science Association's annual conference.