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Recent Departmental Awards

Francis R. Aumann Award for Distinguished Senior Achievement

The Francis R. Aumann Award is presented to the best all-around senior students in political science. This award was established by alumni, friends, and associates of Dr. Aumann, professor emeritus, as a way of rewarding scholastic excellence and promoting the academic goals of the department. The winners receive $500.  

2024 Award Recipient

Emma O’Keefe

Lawrence J.R. Herson Award for Academic Excellence

The Herson Award recognizes those seniors who have demonstrated outstanding academic excellence and are graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA. The award is named in honor of one of our most distinguished emeritus faculty, Lawrence J.R. Herson, a long-time member of the department who served as Department Chair and went on to become Dean of the College. The winners receive $500.  

2024 Award Recipients


Nigel Becker

Jenine Elmosleh

Heba Latif

Aron Olegnowicz

Zachary Rodier

Ella Roxey

Andrew Wong

William Jennings Bryan Prize for Best Paper in American Politics and Political Theory

This award was established by Mr. Bryan in 1898 and is given for the best papers written for a course in the field of American Politics and Political Theory. The winners receive $500.

2024 Award Recipients

American Politics: Emma Wozniak, “Predicting the Positions of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas and Sotomayor in Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC”

Political Theory: Emily Rice, “Beauvoir, Federici, and Butler on Womanhood” 

Jacobina Aman Award for Best Paper in Comparative Politics and International Relations

This award was established in 1959 with a bequest from Katherine A. Siebert in memory of her mother, Jacobina Aman, and is given for the best paper written for a course in the field of International Relations or Comparative Politics. The winners receive $500. 

2024 Award Recipients

Comparative Politics: John Swartz, “Varieties of Democratic Backsliding and Why They Matter’’

International Relations: Lyrin McKibben, “Power from Two Perspectives” 

Henry R. Spencer Award for Outstanding Senior Honors Thesis in Political Science

Henry R. Spencer was the founding chair of the Department of Political Science in 1909. Henry R. Spencer served 38 years until he stepped down in 1947. The winner(s) will be awarded $500 for outstanding senior thesis.

2024 Award Recipients

Charles Costanzo, “Hot Topics in the House: The Formation and Importance of Congressional Speech Networks” 

Madison Meixner, “Public Perception on the Recent Implication of Gender Quotas: A Case Study in Sierra Leone”