UConn Department of Political Science
Spring 2019 | Vol. 6, No. 4
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POLS News and Notes Graphic

A Note from the Department Head

The spring semester is racing to its conclusion, but there are still plenty of reasons to stop by the Department before that happens. Our annual student awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday, April 30. Another event this month will feature Professor Steven Levitsky of Harvard University, who will deliver the Louis Gerson Lecture on “How Democracies Die.” If we don’t see you this spring, please have a terrific summer, and watch for more newsletters in the fall!

David Yalof
Professor and Head, Department of Political Science

Odia Kane stands in front of a poster presentation

Honors Student Receives Two Prestigious Awards

Odia Kane ’19 (CLAS), a double major in political science and cognitive sciences, just keeps piling up the honors. In recent weeks she has won both UConn’s 100 Years of Women Scholarship Award and the 2019 NAACP UConn Chapter’s Student Lifetime Achievement Award.

A portion of the Tethered Fates book cover

Professor’s Latest Book Draws Rave Reviews

Scholars in human rights, international affairs, and labor relations are all praising Associate Professor Shareen Hertel’s most recent book, Tethered Fates: Companies, Communities and Rights at Stake (Oxford, 2019). The book reveals the limitations of the “Business as Usual” model of corporate social responsibility.

Mary Vlamis presenting in front of a white screen at a conference

Undergraduate Researcher Shines at Major Conference

Mary Vlamis, a double major in political science and economics, impressed many at the Midwest Political Science Association’s conference in early April. There she presented research that she co-authored with Associate Professor Virginia Hettinger.

Yonatan Morse head shot

Junior Scholar’s First Published Book is Both Timely and Sophisticated

Assistant Professor Yonatan Morse recently published his first book, How Autocrats Compete: Parties, Politics and Unfair Elections in Africa (Cambridge, 2019). Using case studies from Tanzania, Cameroon, and Kenya, Morse seeks to explain variation in electoral authoritarian competition.


Natalie Florea Hudson ’07 Ph.D. was recently awarded the 2019 Women of the University of Dayton Trailblazers award. This award recognizes women who have made a significant impact on the university. She is currently an associate professor of political science, the interim chairwoman of the Political Science Department, and the director of Human Rights Studies at the university.

Ken Smith ’60 (CLAS), ’61 MA is currently conducting a project on presidential candidate ratings and has designed a candidate evaluation sheet. His system considers the many different aspects of a candidate that become important to the public during an election season. For more information or to see a sample of the rating system, please contact Ken via email. You can also find Ken’s recently published book, Project Management PRAXIS, on Amazon.

Submit your news >>

Associate Professor Virginia Hettinger was honored in the Brookings Institute Newsletter by a former student, John Hudak '05 (CLAS), as part of Women’s History Month. This edition of the newsletter highlighted women who shaped the careers of the scholars at the Institute. Hudak used the occasion to “tip [his] hat” to Hettinger, who is “a spectacular scholar, mentor and person, but for whom [he] would not be at Brookings writing this piece or any other.”

Professor Christine Sylvester’s newest book, Curating and Re-Curating the American Wars in Vietnam and Iraq, was published by Oxford University Press in March.

Associate Professor Jeremy Pressman wrote a piece for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog entitled, “Trump’s Golan Heights tweet disregards decades of U.S. commitment to U.N. resolutions.”

More faculty achievements >>

Leann Mclaren ’19 (CLAS) recently celebrated several milestones. She was selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide for an NSF graduate research fellowship in the Social Science-Political Science category. In March, she delivered a poster presentation entitled, “West Indian Diasporic Consciousness: The Case of Hartford, CT,” at the 2019 annual meeting of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists in Baton Rouge, LA. Finally, she has been accepted into Ph.D. programs in political science at Cornell, Duke, Purdue, and UC San Diego.

Derefe Chevannes, a current Ph.D. student, has accepted an offer to join the Department of Political Science at the University of Memphis as a tenure-track assistant professor in the area of political theory. Derefe will start his new position in the fall.

Ph.D. candidate Dabney Waring joined Professor Zehra Arat to present their paper, “Automation Anxiety and the Right to Work,” to the Economic and Social Rights Group of the Human Rights Institute on March 1, 2019. They also presented the reviewed version, “Discontented Workers, Automation Anxiety, and the Right to Work,” at the Annual Convention of the ISA held in Toronto this past March.

In March, Odia Kane ’19 (CLAS) presented her thesis at the 2019 National Conference of Black Political Scientists in Baton Rouge, LA. She has also been invited to be a student speaker at the CLAS commencement exercises in May.

Gerson Lecture: How Democracies Die
Steve Levitsky, Harvard University
April 18, 2019
5:00 p.m.
Oak Hall, Room 101
Storrs, CT
Department of Political Science Awards Ceremony and Pi Sigma Alpha Induction
April 30, 2019
6:30 p.m.
Dodd Center, Konover Auditorium
Storrs, CT
More upcoming events >>
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UConn Department of Political Science
365 Fairfield Way, U-1024
Storrs, CT 06269-1024

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