Student Achievements and Awards


What Are Our Students Up To?

Our students are actively involved in and around campus, in the city of Columbus, in Ohio, across the nation, and around the world.

Political Science Alumnus Wins Fulbright

TJ Beavers

TJ Beavers, a 2016 graduate of the Department of Political Science, was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English and conduct research in Warsaw, Poland. TJ wrote the following about his grant and his time at Ohio State: 

"As I am writing this post, I am a little more than a month out from moving to Warsaw, Poland, to begin my Fulbright grant as a teaching assistant in the Department of Political Science and Journalism for the University of Warsaw. In addition to teaching Polish students about aspects of American government and society, I will also be conducting a project for the grant analyzing Polish perspectives on American political issues. Upon returning, my plan is to attend law school with the intention of becoming a public health lawyer. 

If it were not for the Ohio State University, and in particular, its Department of Political Science, I imagine that the opportunities currently afforded to me would not be available. It was through the department that I was able to enjoy unique experiences such as interning at the Parliament of Canada, helping to directly impact the experiences of other undergraduate political science majors by serving on the department’s Undergraduate Studies Committee, and having access to some of the most accomplished and student-oriented faculty in the country. Throughout my time at Ohio State, the rigor of the classes and the high expectations of the faculty helped shape me into a better analyst, a better writer, a better problem-solver, and into a better citizen. 

Looking back on my undergraduate experiences and ahead to my future, I have only one piece of advice to offer both prospective and current undergraduate majors. A degree in political science is not rigid insofar as it leaves you with a binary choice of law or academia. It is a program that challenges your abilities and helps to develop the skills necessary to achieve any career goal or dream. You should decide upon the degree based on your interests and not disproportionately on the thought of what comes next. Rather, let your academic interests and passions guide you. Whether you believe it or not, by doing just that, you will be more than prepared for the opportunities you face after graduation." 

Political Science Alumna Named 2016 Rhodes Scholar

Ilhan Dahir

Ilhan Dahir (Political Science; English, 2015) has been named a 2016 Rhodes Scholar. The scholarship supports two years of graduate study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Thirty-two scholarships are awarded annually to outstanding seniors and recent graduates across the United States. Dahir is Ohio State's sixth Rhodes Scholar; the university's last scholar was Jessica Hanzlik in 2008.

The daughter of Somali immigrants in Columbus, Dahir was selected for her commitment to the empowerment of refugee communities around the world and her potential as a leader and advocate for refugees and communities in turmoil. She is currently on a Fulbright Fellowship teaching English in Turkey.

While at Ohio State, Dahir did her senior thesis on the role of western foreign fighters in the Islamic State group and represented the U.S. at an international discussion in Brussels on countering violent extremism. She was involved with Face to Face – Faith to Faith, an organization of Christian, Jewish and Muslim teenagers working to develop effective leaders for a multi-faith global society. After going through the leadership program herself, she returned as a counselor to help empower more future leaders.

Dahir was Morrill Scholar, Buckeye Leadership Fellow and member of the university Honors Program. In 2012, Ilhan was named a White House Champion of Change, and in 2014, she was invited to participate in the Department of Homeland Security’s Community Engagement Program.

Dahir served as editor of Alger Magazine, Ohio State’s student magazine on political science and international relations; interned with the Ohio Democratic Party and the Canadian Parliament; led the university’s Collegiate Council on World Affairs as the chapter’s secretary; and organized for prison reform through the Ohio Student Organization, a statewide nonprofit group advocating for progressive public policy.

As a Rhodes Scholar, Dahir will spend two years at the University of Oxford in England, obtaining master’s degrees in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies and Global Governance and Diplomacy before returning to the U.S. to attend law school and begin a career as an international human rights attorney. She plans to dedicate her career to advocating for refugees and communities in turmoil.

“Since I have had extensive experience working within refugee communities as the founder of a Somali mentorship program in the central Ohio region, I am immensely aware of the difficultly new citizens have in adjusting to their new communities. Navigating social spheres is difficult enough, but the intricacies of legality pose a different and ultimately more complicated challenge,” said Dahir. 

Political Science Student Places First for "Outstanding Paper"

Photo of Ryan Lefler-Moore

Ryan Lefler-Moore was awarded first place in the "Outstanding Paper" category at the 12th Annual All Politics is Local conference hosted by Walsh University in April 2015. Students from 17 colleges and universities in Ohio, New York and West Virginia participated in the conference, which offers undergraduate students the chance to present papers in the domestic, international or philosophical areas of political science and international relations.

Lefler-Moore’s paper, entitled “Chinese Expansion and Global Economic Governance: Implications for the International Economic System”, was written as his senior honors thesis for the political science program. This same paper, which was sponsored by Dr. Randall Schweller, was also awarded the Henry R. Spencer Award for Outstanding Senior Honors Thesis by the Department of Political Science.

Lefler-Moore graduated in May 2015 with a double major in Political Science and Economics.

Congratulations Ryan! 

Mock Trial Team Competes at National Championship

The Ohio State University’s undergraduate Mock Trial team recently competed in the American Mock Trial Association’s National Championships, held in Minneapolis, MN April 22-24. The team placed 8th out of 48 teams and Ohio State Mock Trial President Eric Roytman won his second All-American attorney award. This marks the fifth consecutive year that the team has gone to the national championships.

The Mock Trial team, composed of nearly 30 undergraduate students and five coaches, is supported by the Department of Political Science and aims to provide students with valuable experience in the courtroom by replicating all aspects of the legal process. Preparations for next year’s case are already underway, and tryouts for new members will be held at the beginning of the fall semester, following the annual Involvement Fair.

Congratulations to all the students and coaches of the Ohio State Mock Trial team on this impressive achievement!

2018 Mock Trial Team Nationals

Political Science Student Named 2013 Marshall Scholar


Alex Chaitoff, a fourth-year student majoring in microbiology and political science, has been named a 2013 Marshall Scholar. He is one of thirty-four 2013 Marshall Scholars across the nation and only the sixth ever in Ohio’s history. Next year, Chaitoff will have the opportunity to pursue a Master of Public Health at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. 

The Marshall Scholarship was founded by a 1953 Act of Parliament to honor U.S. Secretary of State George C Marshall and commemorate the Marshall Plan. The Scholarship funds up to three years of graduate study for American students at any institution in the United Kingdom in any field of study.  The program is intended to strengthen the relationships between the British and American people, their governments and their institutions. To learn more about the Marshall Scholarship please visit the Marshall Scholarship website.

Winning the Marshall Scholarship has been an amazing experience for Alex, and he has expressed his sincere gratitude to those around him for helping him work to achieve this award.

“I am extremely honored to have been awarded the Marshall Scholarship. While technically it means that I will be able to study for my Master of Public Health in the United Kingdom, I think it represents much more. It represents the unique academic and social opportunities at this university, and it is a reflection on the approachability and helpfulness of the accomplished faculty. I’m excited to use this award to work towards my ultimate goal of contributing to better health outcomes through policy and program initiatives, but I know I would never have even been competitive for it without the support of this school, so I'm also very proud to represent The Ohio State University.”

During his college career, Chaitoff has been very active in starting and leading groups around campus such as the Pure Water Access Project, Inc., Global Health Initiative, Undergraduate Research Office Student Advisory Committee, Mock Trial Team and AirCollegia, LLC. In addition, Chaitoff has won many awards including the distinction of 2012 Truman Scholar, Ohio State Presidential Scholarship Recipient, Ohio State Denman Undergraduate Research First and Third Place Winner, National Merit Finalist. Alex is also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi fraternity. 

This 2012, Alex presented at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting where he discussed his research. Below is a brief introduction to his study:

“Racial healthcare disparities are well documented in the literature. However, little has been done to explore the connection between perception of one’s own racial identity and their usage of the healthcare system. Furthermore, group-identity theory has not been applied to healthcare as a possible explanation for differing patterns of utilization. This project seeks to accomplish two goals – to identify if there is a link between a measure of perception of race and utilization of healthcare, and to explore how social and/or historical characteristics may play a role in that observed pattern.”

After Chaitoff is done with his Master’s program, he plans to return to the United States to pursue a Medical Degree.

Boren Scholarship


Political science student Brian Yeh has been awarded the Boren Scholarship to study Chinese intensively in Beijing for the 2012-2013 school year. This tremendous opportunity will afford Brian the opportunity to learn more about other cultures while working on his own language skills, which he hopes to use to improve the U.S.-China relations in the future. He will complete a 1-year service requirement with the federal government after studying Mandarian Chinese with the Middlebury School in China program hosted at Capital Normal University.

Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in regions all over the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented including areas such as Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. These scholars represent a variety of academic backgrounds, but all are interested in studying diverse languages including Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, and many others.
These scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which centers on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study critical to U.S. national security. For more information about the Boren Scholarships and applications please visit their Boren Awards website.

Brian Yeh is a junior at Ohio State and is double majoring in economic and political science, with a minor in Chinese. Brian's research interests lie in matters of East Asian Security and U.S.-China relations. His ultimate goal is to become a Foreign Affairs Officer at the State Department or the Department of Defense, where he hopes to help formulate policy toward china. He also plans to attend graduate school in the future.