Research & Scholarship

Student Awards

Each year, the Department of Political Science awards a series of prizes to deserving Tufts University Political Science and International Relations majors.

The James Vance Elliott Award is awarded in the senior year to students majoring in Political Science whose achievements best combine academic excellence with active participation and effective leadership in campus and civic affairs. The award recognizes the distinguished career of, former Chair (1956) and Professor of Political Science, James Vance Elliott.

The Peter Belfer Award is given annually for the outstanding piece of written work done in a political science course or independently by a political science major. This award was established in 1973 by Mrs. Ann Belfer Goldstein in memory of her late husband, Peter Belfer, A'67.


May 2017 Winners

Reba Orloff and Alexander Trubowitz are the recipients of the 2017 Elliott Award. The James Vance Elliott Political Science Prize is awarded in the senior year to students majoring in Political Science whose achievements best combine academic excellence with active participation and effective leadership in campus and civic affairs.

The triple Belfer Award Winners for Best thesis written for the PS department in 2017:

Reba Orloff A'17 for Analyzing the American Wage Gap. Thesis Chair Jeff Berry characterized Reba's work as "an unusually sophisticated study of the gender gap in the 50 states," adding that in her study Reba makes "ambitious use of advanced statistical techniques."

Umar Shareef A'17 for Ibn Khaldun: Scientific Instruction as Prolonging the Polity's Life. Thesis chair Malik Mufti described Umar's work as "a sophisticated in-depth study of an important but difficult thinker."

David Westby A'17 for Ultras in Spain: A Study on the Relationship between Macro-level Cleavages and Micro-level Actors. Thesis chair Consuelo Cruz remarked that David's thesis is exemplary on three counts: relentless engagement with the theoretical and empirical materials, originality of thought, and a compelling analytical narrative.


May 2016 Winners

Kumar Ramanathan, senior and Political Science Major, is the recipient of 2016 Belfer and Elliott awards, and is a winner of the Howard Penniman Graduate Scholarships from Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.

Sophie Laing, senior and Political Science major, is the recipient of the Peter Belfer Award for the Best Political Science Thesis of the 2015-2016 academic year. This award is given out annually for an outstanding piece of work done in a political science course or independently by a Political Science major. Sophie is also the a runner-up for the 2016 Best Undergraduate Honors Thesis Award from Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society. Her thesis was titled "Flip-Flopping Politicians: How Voters Punish and Reward Changing Opinion."

William Freeman, senior and Political Science major recipient of the James Vance Elliot Award for excellence in academia and civic affairs, is the recipient of the Peter Belfer Award for the Best Paper written for a Political Science assignment in the 2015-2016 academic year. The Belfer Award is given out annually for an outstanding piece of work done in a political science course or independently by a Political Science major. Will is also the runner-up for the 2016 Best Paper Award from Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society. His paper was titled "Explaining the Emergence of Populism: Political Parties, the State, and the Crises of Representation in Venezuela and Chile."

To read more on Kumar, Sophie and Will check out our October Majors' Newsletter

Joscelyn García, senior and Political Science major, is the recipient of the Peter Belfer Award for the Best Paper written for a Political Science assignment in the 2015-2016 academic year. This award is given out annually for an outstanding piece of work done in a political science course or independently by a Political Science major.

Kathryn Mueller, senior and Political Science major, is the recipient of the James Vance Elliott Award. The James Vance Elliott Political Science Prize is awarded in the senior year to students majoring in Political Science whose achievements best combine academic excellence with active participation and effective leadership in campus and civic affairs.

Read about previous award winners >