Politics and International Relations

Congratulations to Politics & IR students on Commencement Awards and Honors

Students were recognized for academic achievements, research, and global engagement

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 a virtual ceremony on May 18:

  • For outstanding coursework and academic achievements, Sophia King won the Heller Prize. Sophia, a Melrose Fellow, conducted Honors research that led to her thesis, Health Care Access for Children in Latinx Immigrant Families in the Greater Philadelphia Area. 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 to the student who has achieved outstanding grades and accomplishments.

  • For his Distinguished Honors thesis, Garrett Bullock received the Eugene Miller Prize. In his thesis, The Belt and Road Initiative: China’s Rise, America’s Balance, and Latin America’s Struggle, Garrett built on archival research and fieldwork in China and Argentina. Garrett also earned a prestigious Watson Fellowship, allowing him to travel the world after graduation. 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.

  • Jake Detweiler was awarded the Joseph Melrose, Jr. Prize. Jake, also a Melrose Fellow, spent his junior year studying at Akita International University in Japan. Jake was also part of an award-winning delegation to the 2018 National Model United Nations conference. 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 a graduating senior who, in the judgment of the faculty, has demonstrated a strong intellectual curiosity, concern for overlooked and underdeveloped areas, a global perspective and a sense of adventure.

  • 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 Noah Garber. Noah also conducted Honors research, leading to his thesis Piety and Mayhem: How Extremist Groups Misuse Religious Doctrine to Condone Violence and Achieve Political Goals.

  • 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 Kim Wieghaus.

  • Kayla Hofmann, head delegate of the 2019-2020 Model United Nations delegation, graduated with Honors. Her thesis, The Case of Kashmir: Ethnic Mobilization and Insurgency, addressed the role of ethnic identity in the Kashmir conflict. After graduating from Ursinus, Kayla will pursue a Master’s degree in International Development at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

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

  • Garrett Bullock
  • Charley Darkes-Burkey
  • Kayla Hofmann
  • Sophia King
  • Dan Powell

Congratulations to our award recipients and honorees!