Politics and International Relations

Graduating Politics & IR students earn awards and high academic honors

Graduates represent extraordinary academic achievements, intellectual curiosity, and global perspectives

Each year, the Department of Politics and International Relations honors particularly accomplished graduates majoring in Politics or International Relations with several awards. This year, the Department announced the following awards at our end-of-year celebration on May 3:

  • The Heller Prize was established by Flloyd E. Heller, Jr., 1933, in his will as a memorial to his father, Flloyd E. Heller, Sr., his wife, Mary Francis Heller and himself. The prize is awarded to a student in his/her senior years who has achieved outstanding grades and accomplishment. This year, the Heller Prize was awarded to Clara Kiss. Clara’s academic accomplishments merited her selection as one of only two juniors from Ursinus to be inducted into the nation’s preeminent national honor society, Phi Beta Kappa. A double major in International Relations and French, Clara studied abroad in Brussels, Belgium, where she also interned full-time at a non-profit that provides social and legal assistance to African immigrants in a neighborhood of Brussels. Clara expanded her research on Belgium’s relations with its former colonies this year, presenting part of this last fall at the Northeast Political Science Association’s annual meeting and a subsequent version at CoSA 2018.

  • The Joseph Melrose, Jr. Prize was established in 2016 in memory of of the late U.S. Ambassador Joseph H. Melrose Jr. ’66 and is awarded to the graduating senior or seniors who, in the judgment of the faculty, have demonstrated a strong intellectual curiosity, concern for overlooked and underdeveloped areas, a global perspective and a sense of adventure. This year, the Melrose Prize was awarded jointly to Mary Atta-Dakwa and Roseangela Hartford.

    • Mary, a double major in International Relations and Applied Economics, wrote her interdisciplinary honors thesis Aiding to Repair: An Analysis of the Impact of Foreign Aid in Rwanda After the 1994 Genocide on the role of foreign aid in promoting reconstruction in Rwanda. She spent one semester studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, taking courses at a Spanish university in Economics in Spanish language. Consistent with the legacy of Ambassador Melrose’s investment in the Ursinus Model United Nations program, Mary successfully led the Ursinus delegation throughout two semesters of preparation to the 2018 National Model United Nations conference in New York City. Under her leadership, the delegation earned four awards.
    • Rosie, a double major in International Relations and Spanish, spent one semester in Costa Rica for her studies and internship experience on environmental education, followed by field research in Guatemala, where she volunteered at a grassroots organization working to expand economic and educational opportunities for returned migrants and Mayan communities. Rosie went on this year to do honors research comparing indigenous women’s political involvement and community leadership in Costa Rica and Guatemala. This coming year, Rosie will be spending time in Peru as the recipient of a Charles Rice scholarship to study the role of religion in indigenous communities in Peru.
  • The Eugene Miller Prize was endowed by the Honorable Hermann Frederick Eilts ’43 for the best essay written in the fields of Politics and International Relations. It was awarded jointly to Lily Talerman and Christopher Tan.

    • Lily received the Miller prize for her honor’s thesis From Democrats to “Deplorables”: The Trumpization of the Republican Party. Her thesis advisor described this thesis as a model of thoughtful research design, thorough research, careful analysis, and graceful writing, further noting that it is evidence of her intellectual sophistication and a testament to the power of the written word when placed in capable hands.
    • Chris received the Miller prize for his capstone research paper on The Future of Chinese-American Relations: The Conflict in the South China Sea from a Constructivist Perspective. In this and his other work, Chris stands out as a clear and lucid writer with strong analytical skills. His other achievements as a writer include two consecutive first-place finishes at the Schellhase Ethics Essay contest.
  • The Mary Onopchenko Prize was created in memory of Mary Onopchenko ’85 for an outstanding senior who plans a career in law. This year, the Onopchenko Prize was awarded to Alexandra Lynch. Noreen Walsh and Russ Krause, who co-teach legal writing, describe Allie as an excellent, logical and straightforward writer. Allie excelled during the oral argument phase of Moot Court as well.

  • The Robert Trucksess Prize was established by Robert Trucksess ’19 for a student in the senior class who plans to study law and has shown unusual promise. This year, the Trucksess Prize was awarded to Callie Terris. Callie’s 2016 Summer Fellows project on bias in the American jury system and her 2018 departmental honors thesis on privacy, the Fourth Amendment, and evolving communications technology attest to her credentials as a legal scholar.

In addition to departmental awards, nine students majoring in Politics and International Relations graduated as members of Phi Beta Kappa, the prestigious national honor society.

  • Mary Atta-Dakwa
  • Anna Crowder
  • Roseangela Hartford
  • Clara Kiss (inducted as a junior)
  • Lily Talerman
  • Christopher Tan
  • Callie Terris
  • Blake Thomson
  • Hanchen Zheng

Congratulations to our award recipients and honorees!