Senior Thesis Awards

Best Thesis 2022

Keck Center Best Thesis in Political Economy

“In Search of Unicorns: An Analysis of Japan’s Startup Ecosystem”

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Kaito Komoriya

Keck Center Best Thesis in U.S. Foreign Policy

“A Critical Analysis of American Policy in Syria During the Syrian Civil War”

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Sydney Heath

Keck Center Best Thesis in Foreign Affairs

“The War Made the Guards, and the Guards Made War: The Role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in State Formation in Post-Revolutionary Iran”

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Elena Neff

Best Thesis in Comparative Politics

“The Impact of Social Movements on Austerity Measures: An Analysis of Argentina’s Piquetero Movement and Greece’s Anti-Austerity Movement”

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Katrina Frei-Herrmann

Keck Center Best Thesis in International Security

“Environmental Degradation Caused by Turkish Activities and Policies

in Kurdish Areas” 

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Yara Ismael

Keck Center Best Thesis on International Institutions

“The Exclusion of Cultural Genocide from International Criminal Law and China's Uyghur Genocide”  


Kelsey Clarke

Best Thesis 2021

Best Thesis in Comparative Politics  

“Making the Connections: Gender Quotas, Representation, and Critical Mass in Latin America

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Katherine O'Neill

Best Thesis in International Security

“Stronger as One? Examining US-Saudi Relations Since 9/11”

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Caroline Jenkins

Best Thesis in International Human Rights

“Safe Third Country Concept: A Poor Instrument of Refugee Governance"

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Sahib Bhasin

Best Thesis in Contemporary International Policy

“The Chinese National and Subnational Governance During the Public Health Crisis of COVID-19"

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Xinyi Zhang

Best Thesis in Foreign Affairs and International Diplomacy

“The Sri-Lanka-China-India Triangle: A Regional Power Transition"

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Nandeeni Patel

Best Thesis in U.S. Foreign Policy 

"U.S. Government Responses to Genocide: A Comparison of the 20th and 21st Centuries"

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Tallan Donine

Best Thesis 2020

Best Field Work 

"Industrial Policy for Regional Development in Lithuania.”


Guoda Terleckaite

Best Thesis in International Political Economy 

“Buying Influence? An Analysis of the Political and Economic Impacts of Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in the European Union.”


Ethan Kable

Best Thesis in Comparative Politics  

“Nearly Halfway There: The Future of Hong Kong, China,

and One Country-Two Systems.”


Lery Hiciano

Best Thesis in Comparative Political Economy 

“The US-China Race for AI Leadership: Why Smart Industrial Policy can Make a Difference?”


Jenifer Hanki

Best Original Idea in an IR Thesis 

“Hong Kong Identity on the Rise: Understanding the Role of Subnational Identity in the 2019-2020 Hong Kong Protests”


Gemma Sykes

Best Thesis 2019


Recipients are... 

Megan Blomberg Best Thesis in Comparative Politics 2019

Title: How do Democracies Address Malnutrition?: A Synthetic Theory to Explain Brazil and Peru’s Success


Natalie Coffin Best Thesis in International Political Economy (co-winner) 2019

Title: Assessing and Addressing Threats to the US from Sovereign Wealth Funds: Case Studies on the Russian, Chinese, and Saudi Arabian Funds.


Samuel Fraser Becker Best Thesis in International Political Economy (co-winner) 2019

Title: Leveraging Trade Agreements to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Accordance with the Paris Agreemen


Charlotte Reinnoldt Best Thesis in Comparative Political Economy 2019

Title: Asserting Indigenous Identity to Substantiate Customary Forest Claims: A Case Study of the Dayaks of

West Kalimantan, Indonesia


Seoyoon Choi Best Thesis in Original Idea 2019

​Title: The Ghost of Modernity: Normative Power of Modernity as Propaganda


Ruiyang Reyna Wang Best Thesis in International Security 2019

Title: A Slight Re-telling of the David and Goliath Story: Surprising Power Dynamics in Proxy Relationships

Madeline Lee Best Thesis in Field Work (co-winner) 2019

Title: Accounting for Intermediaries and Transnational Linkages in the Multi-Level Perspective: Mongolia’s Renewable Energy Transition


William Cullen Best Thesis in Field Work (co-winner) 2019

​Title: A Comparative Analysis to Understand the Subnational Motivations for Renewable Energy Development in India