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 2018 Winners

Misha Linnehan and Zara Rancheva are the recipients of the 2018 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 2018 Belfer Award for Best Thesis was given to Lorenza Ramirez for her thesis, "Apruebo Este Mensaje:" How the Language of Political Communication Affects the Political Attitudes of Linguistically Diverse Latino Voters. This thesis was written under the supervision of Professor Natalie Masuoka, who wrote of this project: "Ramirez finds that not only does it matter whether or not [a political advertisement] is communicated in Spanish but also that how Spanish is communicated (the type of accent, the type of speaker, etc) influences Latino voter attitudes.  [Lorenza] shows that bilingual Latinos respond very differently to political ads compared to those who are English dominant. It is an enjoyable read and demonstrates the superior quality of research our students are capable of producing for the thesis program."

The 2018 Belfer Award for Best Paper was given to Benjamin Kaminoff for his paper, which was written as an Independent Study, Running as a Gay Man in 2018: Do Homophobic Views Still Impact the Congressional Campaigns of LGBTQ Politicians? This paper was written under the supervision of Professor Natalie Masuoka, who wrote, "This paper shows just how unusual American public opinion about gay rights is relative to other issues--it is an issue where Americans really have shifted in their biases towards LGBT identified individuals and developed a more neutral or even positive perception of these individuals, yet at the same time continue to hold latent stereotypes. I am so impressed with the amount of fieldwork Ben conducted for this study. Even with all this fieldwork, Ben composed an extremely well written paper which includes an impressive review of the academic literature.  It is really a perfect candidate for the Belfer award."


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.

Read about previous award winners >