Past Winners of Best Student Paper Competitions


2021 Best Undergraduate Honors Theses


The Impact of Institutions on Access to Voting on US Reservations and Tribal Lands

Sela Dragich, Georgetown University


Social Capital and Disasters: A Study of Post-Hurricane Behavior & Attitudes in the United States

Lee Hughes, University of Vermont

Instrumental vs. Expressive: A Study of Voter Behavioral Models Through the Lens of Identity in the 2016 Presidential Election

Kaitlyn Fales, Bryant University

2021 Best Undergraduate Paper


Violence Against Journalists in Mexico

Dillon Schweers, University of Mary Washington


Fiscally Floundering or Credibly Conscientious? Are the States Living Within Their Means?

Christopher Alhorn, University of Alabama in Huntsville

Implied Consent: A Review of Judicial Process and Constitutional Law

Brendon Camp, Lamar University

2017 Best Undergraduate Honor Theses


To Trust or Not to Trust? Is That the Question?

John Miller, Georgetown University


Exploring ‘The Compassion Gap:' An Analysis of Gender and Support for Foreign Assistance in Congress

Emily Breakell, College of the Holy Cross

Dixiecrats and Republicans: The Changing Political Landscape of the Florida Panhandle

Georgia Pevy, University of South Florida

2017 Best Undergraduate Class Papers


A Curious Trinity: War, Media, and Public Opinion

Laura Olson, US Air Force Academy


Ideological Magnetism, or Recoiling” Are Votes Influenced by Alignment or Opposition

Eric Burgess, Oakland University

A Comparison of Female Conscription: Israel versus the United States

Kendall Parker, University of Mary Washington

2016 Best Undergraduate Honor Theses
When Does Counterinsurgency Work? An Analysis of Counterinsurgency Campaigns After 1945
Maryum Alam, Hofstra University

Flip-Flopping Politicians: How Voters Punish and Reward Changing Opinion
Sophie Laing, Tufts University

Exploring ‘The Compassion Gap:” An Analysis of Gender and Support for Foreign Assistance in Congress
Mallary Taylor, Furman University

2016 Best Undergraduate Class Papers

Why Intervene: Influences on US Military Intervention
Elizabeth Kafer, Creighton University


Holding Culture Close: How Immigration Faciliates the Rise of the European Right
Christopher Dopuch, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Explaining the Emergence of Populism: Political Parties, the State, and the Crises of Representation in Venezuela and Chile
Will Freeman, Tufts University

2015 Best Undergraduate Honor Theses
User Not Found: The Dynamics of Egyptian Political Parties and Islamist Groups on Twitter
Dennis Quinn, Georgetown University


Uprooted and Unsettled: A Comparative Analysis of the Protracted Displacement of Azerbaijanis and
Matej Jungwirth, Beloit College

Explaining Support for Authoritarianism in New Democracies
Andrew Goss, University of Vermont

2015 Best Undergraduate Class Papers
Award not given

2013 Best Undergraduate Honor Theses

Decentralization and Corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa 
Maximilian Weylandt, Dickinson College

Evaluating the Crying Double Standard in American Politics
Kira Hessekiel, Tufts University

Undocumented Developments: Immigrant Students and State Policy-Making
Lisa Frank, Georgetown University


2013 Best Undergraduate Class Papers

Palestinian Refugee Camps: Explaining the Intolerability of Camp Living Conditions
Aubree Johnson, Creighton University


Balancing Act or Inflation Obsession: Content Analysis of Fed Annual Reports
Cameron G. DeHart, Ohio State University

Explaining Policy Convergence: The Bologna Process and the Factors that Influence Cross-Cultural Policy Convergence
Amanda Michalski, Furman University


2012 Best Undergraduate Honors Theses

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions? The Effect of U.S. Military Aid Windfalls on Human Development Results in Aid-Receiving Countries
Trevor Kosmo, Georgetown University

Political Representation, Legislative Responsiveness, and Polarized Labor Markets: The Politics of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States
Jonathon Robinson, George Washington University

The Alien Tort Claims Act: Pushing Accountability of International Human Rights Violations through US Courts,
Tricia Jhunjhnuwala, Rutgers University



2012 Best Undergraduate Class Papers

Choosing Justly: Evaluating Voting Systems with Social Choice Theory
James Weismuller, Macalester College

The Ghosts of Violence Past: The Impact of Sexual and Gender-based Violence on Social Capital in Post-conflict Uganda
Taylor Jacoby, Brigham Young University

Telling the Truth: How Truth Commission Findings are Presented to the Public
Lindsay Harroff, Furman University


2011 Best Undergraduate Class Papers



Causes of Ethnic Conflict: Examining the Role of Religious Diversity and Contagion Effects

Mai Mai Nguyen, Creighton University



Persuasion and the Bully Pulpit: Expanded Evidence on Strategies of Presidential Leadership

Anne Morris, University of Mary Washington


Wretched Isolation: American High School Civics Education and Youth Voter Turnout

Aaron Spangler, Temple University



2011 Best Undergraduate Honors Theses



Toward Democratic 'No-Rule': A conceptual Response to Contemporary Challenges to Political Freedom

Alexander Brockwehl, Union College



Buying Democracy: An Analysis of the Legislative, Judicial, and Empirical History of Campaign Finance Reform

Miles Gilmour, University of Texas-Austin


Diversity on the Bench: The Appointment of Women to the Federal Courts

Allison Lehrer, University of Vermont


2010 Best Undergraduate Class Paper



Modeling Consensus with Think Indifference:  A Fuzzy Approach to Theory and Application

Michael Gibilisco, Creighton University



Professional Reputation: Why the First Year of the Presidency is Overstated

Nicholas Jacobs, University of Mary Washington

Obscenity Regulation within the Context of Public Support of Art: Reconsidering the Scatological Art of Andres Serrano

Ryan Cribbs, Univ. of Pittsburgh at Johnstown



2010 Best Undergraduate Honors Thesis



A Global Analysis of Women in Political office: The Disjuncture between Elections and Apppointments

Alexa Leigh Sendukas, University of Texas at Austin



Competing to Become Backward: A Study of Demands for Scheduled Tribe Status in India

Komal Hiranandani, Georgetown University


Economic Survival Mode and its Detrimental Effect on the Rule of Law: A Case Study in Argentina

Caryn Devins, University of Vermont



2009 Best Undergraduate Class Paper



From Kulturkampf to Kampf der Kulturen: Political Recognition and Representation of Islam in Germany in the Example of Islam Instruction in German Public Schools

Julia Norton, Connecticut College.



Disturbing the Dragon: Chinese Threat Perceptions and the Influence of the United States

Andrew Berglund, Christopher Newport University.


Are Losers Funny or is it the Funny Who Lose?

Shea Hack and Meredith Rees, Purdue University



2009 Best Undergraduate Honors Thesis



Beyond Modernization Theory: Democracy and Development in Latin America

Peter Johannessen, University of Vermont.



Manly Women: A Look at the Effects of Masculine Qualities on Women's Political Progress

Audrey Curtis, Dominican University of California.


The Bench or the Benjamins:  An Analysis of Judicial Recruitment and the Effects of Inadequate Compensation on the Federal Judiciary

Joseph Hack, Georgetown University.



2008 Best Undergraduate Class Paper



Too Much Cleavage?  Regional Implications for Democratic Consolidation in Post-Communist Ukraine

Alex Jakublow, University of Richmond


Generational Differences:  Examining Significant Factors Influencing Political Participation among Cohorts

Erin Phillips, Christopher Newport University



Extracting Fuzzy Preference Functions from Empirical Data

Joshua Potter, Creighton University


The Politics of Pharmaceutical Crops

Michelle Price, Gustavus Adolphus College



2008 Best Undergraduate Honors Thesis



Flip-Flops, Bigots, and Baby Boomers:  The Formation of Media Narratives in Modern Political Campaigns

Or Skolnik, Georgetown University



Crisis or Constitution:  Rethinking Judicial Deference on Administrative Detention in the U. S., the UK, and Israel

Justin Simeone, University of Mary Washington


The Equity Effects of Education Finance Reform in Missouri

Rafi Nolan-Abrahamian, Tufts University



2007 Best Undergraduate Class Papers



Public Support for Environmental Protection: Financial Sacrifices vs. Active Support

Sarah Arpin, Creighton University



Beyond the Shouting Match: Bilingual Education in Massachusetts and American National Identity

Michael Swigert, Tufts University


State Independence, Leadership Stability, and the Severity of Ethnic Conflict

Petra Hendrickson, Indiana State University


2007 Best Undergraduate Honors Theses (two first-place winners)



From Contention to Cooperation: Influences on Party Strategy in Northern Ireland from 1992 to 2007

K. Casey Dunning, Emory University


To Lie or Not to Lie, It Depends on the Question: Understanding Vote Over-reporting in Surveys

Diana Watral, Georgetown University



Unnoticed, Underfinanced, and Underreported Humanitarian Crises:  The Gap in Foreign Aid Decision Making

Jeneca Parker,  Furman University



2006 Best Undergraduate Class Papers



Religion and Environmentalism in America: An Analysis of Green Consciousness among the Christian Right

Marjorie Palmer, Sewanee: University of the South.



The Free Exercise Clause: A Guarantee of Equality or Exemptions?

Jacqueline Kroll, University of Richmond.


The Effects of Economic Conditions on President Bush's Approval

Jonathan Olmstead, University of Delaware.


Crimes Against Civil Liberty: An Analysis of the United States Government's Involvement in Guantanamo Bay

Denene Wambach, Temple University.



2006 Best Undergraduate Honors Theses



You Can Lead a Horse to Water . . .  Youth Voting and the Personal Touch

Timothy Ryan, Tufts University.



Media Coverage of Genocide: A Comparison of the Rwandan and Sudanese Cases

Sarah Ekels, Dickinson College.


A Study of Absentee Voting in Maryland

Bryan David Jennings, St. Mary's College of Maryland.



2005 Best Undergraduate Class Papers



Candidates' Use of the Media in the Most Recent Elections in Canada, Great Britain and the United States

Kate Metcalf, University of Richmond



The Publication of Polls and Voter Selection

Caitlin Dwyer, Hartwick College


In the Converage of the Rolling Stone:  The Significance of Politics in a Medium of Popular Culture

Andrew Bloeser, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point



2005 Best Undergraduate Honors Theses



UnderstandinG Civil Liberties Judgments after September 11: An Experimental Study

Chase Samples, Furman University



Affecting Citizen Satisfaction: Transitions to Mixed-Member Electoral Systems in Latin America and the Effects on Citizen Satisfaction

Jason Eichorst, Texas A&M University


Amoral Liberals, Liberal Democrats, and  Moral Republicans: Some Explanations for the Democratic Party's Apparent Debility

Jacqueline Chattopadhyay, University of California-Irvine



2004 Best Undergraduate Class Papers



Democracy without Democratic Journalism? A Content Analysis of The San Francisco Chronicle during the Policy-defining Period prior to the Iraq War

Andrew Bloeser, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point



Education in Plato's Republic

Ariel Dillon, Santa Clara University


Why XY? Explaining Variation in Male Support for Politically Active Women

Katie Jerabek, Creighton University



2004 Best Undergraduate Honors Theses



The Selection and Appointment Process for Federal Reserve Governors and Bank Presidents

Michael Gramins, Georgetown University



After Afghanistan: Al Qaeda's Future in Failed States

Andrew Miller, Dickinson College


Partition as a Solution of Ethnic Conflicts: The Significance of Third-Party Guarantees

Michael McFarland, New York University



2003 Best Undergraduate Class Papers



Reducing Drug Use: The Effectiveness of the Harm Reduction and Prohibition Models in Comparison

A. Scott Hauser, University of Idaho



The Non-Voter Puzzle Solved: Weak Partisanship Explains Demographic that do not Match Candidate Preference

Erik Johnston, University of Mary Washington


Determinants of the Outcome of U. S. House Open Seat Elections

Scott Keller, Purdue University



2003 Best Undergraduate Honors Theses



Amicus Curiae Briefs in the United States Supreme Court: Utility from the Perspective of Former Law Clerks

Kelly Lynch, University of Pennsylvania



Violent Democracy: Reconciling the Coexistence of Institutional Democracy and Violence in Colombia

Beth Neitzel, Macalester College


A Decision-Theoretic Examination of the Retirements of U. S. Federal Judges, 1789-2002

Jessica M. Perry, Emory University



2001 Best Undergraduate Class Papers



Duelling Paradigms: The Void within the Realism-Globalism Dichotomy and Its Implications for U. S. Foreign Policy

David J. Brule, Stephen F. Austin State University



Divided Government, Congress, and Balkan Policy

Brett S. Yellen, Tufts University


Mixed Electoral Rules and their Implications for Party Nomination Strategies: The Cases of Russia and Ukraine

Ryan Kennedy, Truman State University



2001 Best Undergraduate Honors Theses



The Interaction of the Supreme Court, the Media and the Public: A Study on How the Media and the Court Influence the Public

Lauren Ernst, George Washington University



Politics of Humanitarianism: The Implications that Kosovo and the Extradition of Pinochet Provide for the Future of Human Rights Enforcement

Jessica Shapiro, Johns Hopkins University


The Rise of the Republican Party in the North Carolina General Assembly, 1894-2000

Seth Whitaker, North Carolina Central University



2000 Best Undergraduate Class Papers



The Determinants of Labor PAC Allocation to Incumbent Congressional Candidates 1996-1998

Brandon Fitzsimmons, Creighton University


RUNNER-UP: Political Women: Participation, Orientation and Party Identification

Sara Barokas, University of Mary Washington


A Breath of Fresh Air in Northeast Asia/A Proposed Revision to US-Japan Defense Guidelines

Cadet Guyton Lee Robinson, U. S. Military Academy



2000 Best Undergraduate Honors Theses



The Silent Constitution: An Argument Toward Developing a Conception of our Silent Constitution

Christopher Joseph Roche, Johns Hopkins University


Better Bitch than Mouse: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Feminism, and VMI

Carey Olney, Centenary College of Louisiana



At the Will of the Party: A Study of Political Liberalization in China during the 1990's

Michael Mell, Connecticut College



1999 Best Undergraduate Class Papers



Early Warning: A Collective Measure for the Prevention of Ethnic Conflict

Amy Nelson, Moorhead State University



Has the Shooting Begun? A Test of the Culture War Theory on the Issue of Gay Rights

Mari K. Bonthius, St. Olaf College


Gaining Support through Casework: A Quantitative Study of Contractors and the Support They Give Their Representative

Edwin W. Egee V, Mary Washington College


1999 Best Undergraduate Honors Theses



A Living Past, a Dying Present: An Analysis of Nationalism, National Identity and Ethnopolitics in the Conflict between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

Jennifer L. Tate, Southwestern University



The Effect of Political Factors, Economic Conditions, and PAC Contributions on U. S. Senate Votes Concerning Chinese MFN Status in the Post-Tianamen Square Era

D. Michael Nardis, Georgetown University


Secular vs. Spiritual: The Development of the State in Medieval Political Thought

Julia Tyurina, University of Arkansas






Responding to Hate Speech: The Appropriateness of Discriminatory Harassment Codes in College Communities

Mary Carolyn Harris, University of the South (Sewanee)



The Role of the Speaker, the Chair of the Education Committee, and Other Mechanisms Involved in the Legislative Journey of School Choice Through the North Carolina House of Representatives

Brian Christopher Castrucci, North Carolina State University


Breaking Gender Barriers: Women's Committee Assignments in the House from the 90th to 104th Congresses

Shari Knoerzer, Nebraska Wesleyan University






The Cultivation of the Soul and the Just Society: The State of the Self in Maslow and Plato

Michael Todd Sansbury, The University of the South (Sewanee)



Feminists and Conservative Women: From the Time of ERA to the Present

Anne E. Daugherty, University of Mary Washington


Educating Tomorrow's Citizens

Iara Duarte Peng, Rollins College





Need There Be a Taming of the News? How the Mass Media Affect U. S. Foreign Policy

David Campbell, Brigham Young University



Best Graduate Student Papers (This award category was eliminated in 2002)

2001:  First Place: "Black Feminist Consciousness: Finally It's Been Factored," by Evelyn Simien, Purdue University, Delta Omega Chapter



Amateur or Professional? The California Legislature in the Term Limited Era

Renee B. Van Vechten, University of California, Irvine


Electoral System Design in Russian Oblasts and Republics: A Four Case Comparison

Bryon Moraski, University of Iowa


Managerialism and Public Participatory Geographic Information Systems

Paul Schlomer and Manjusha Gupte, Purdue University


The Supreme Court's Nullification of Congressional Statutes: An Analysis of the Effect of Political Parties Across Three Partisan Eras

Linda Camp Keith, Univ. Of North Texas