Political Science and International Affairs


Department News:


Department Graduate selected for Virginia Governor’s Fellowship

The Department congratulates Chris Cassingham on being named a Virginia Governor’s fellow.  Cassingham, who graduated in 2018 with a degree in Political science, was chosen from rising college seniors and graduates from around the country for one of the 23 coveted spots in the 2018 Governor’s Fellows Program.

Chris Cassingham

Chris Cassingham

For more information, visit: http://www.umw.edu/news/2018/05/31/new-umw-grad-heads-to-virginia-governors-office/ 


Department Student and Faculty Member Honored at Graduation

 The University of Mary Washington presented its top honors during commencement ceremonies Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12. Kendall M. Parker of Fredericksburg received the Colgate W. Darden Jr. Award, which is presented to the student with the highest grade-point average (GPA) in the four-year undergraduate program. Parker finished with a 3.99 GPA. Robert Barr, associate professor of political science, received the Grellet C. Simpson Award, the institution’s most prestigious annual award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. The recipient is routinely a senior member of the faculty.

 Political Science Major Kendall Parker finished her undergraduate career with all A’s, including one A-minus. “I do know it wasn’t a course in her major, where she ended with a perfect 4.0 grade point,” said Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, who recognized Parker with the prestigious award. A political science major with a minor in business administration, Parker earned an honorable mention in a national undergraduate paper competition. She is a member of the national senior honor society Mortar Board; the national political honorary society Pi Sigma Alpha; and the national collegiate athletic honor society Chi Alpha Sigma. An exceptional player on the UMW basketball team, she set a school record for the number of three-pointers made in a single game. “As her thesis advisor put it, she’s not just good in one area: she’s an outstanding scholar, an accomplished athlete, and a wonderful person,” said Mikhalevsky who described Parker as a “triple threat.”


Kendall Parker received the Darden Award.

Kendall Parker received the Darden Award.

Associate Professor Robert Barr has put his students at the center of his teaching since he arrived a Mary Washington in 2005, Mikhalevsky said. Students and faculty praise him for his frank and accessible manner, and his willingness to spend hours mentoring students, challenging them to push for excellence. “While his courses are demanding, his students consistently comment on how much they are challenged and learn, how effectively he engages students in discussions, and how obvious it is that he cares about all of his students,” said Mikhalevsky, adding that students flock to him for advice. “By expressing confidence in his students, he helps them excel.” Recipient of the University’s Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award in 2010, Barr also received a Jepson Fellowship and a prestigious research grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation. An expert in Latin American politics, he has published numerous articles in academic journals. Barr holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in foreign affairs and a bachelor’s degree in economics with a minor in international relations from the University of Virginia.

Associate Professor Robert Barr

Associate Professor Robert Barr received the Grellet C. Simpson Award.

  For more information on the honors at graduation, visit:  http://www.umw.edu/news/2018/05/12/umw-awards-top-honors-at-commencement/

 Job Opportunity

The company OGSystems is looking for any recent grads that are excellent writers and solid analytical thinkers for their junior Proposal Writer position.

 If you are interested in a career in the intel space (you would receive a TS/SCI clearance), contact the below email address for more details. Check out their website at ogsystems.com (note that the job is not up on the website yet)

 Aaron Snow, Proposal Writer & Senior Consultant , OG Systems
P: 703 870 7552 ex 256

Join the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) for

Diplomacy in Action:

A Discussion with Women Ambassadors

During this discussion, women ambassadors will speak about their extensive experience working in the highest positions within the foreign policy sphere. You’ll get an inside look into the professional lives, skills, and experiences of some of the most powerful women policymakers in the international field.Following the discussion, PLEN invites all attendees to a network reception directly following the program, as part of the PLEN Women in Global Policy Seminar.

 Light refreshments will be served. Purchase tickets here.

Date and Time

Thu, May 17, 2018, 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM EDT


University of California, Washington Center,
1608 Rhode Island Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC
Schedule of Events
:3:30 pm – 5:00 pm: A Discussion with Women Ambassadors
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Women in Global Policy Networking Reception.
For any questions, contact PLEN at plen@plen.org.

2018 PSA Induction Ceremony and Senior Reception

PSA President Marina Castro-Mierelles and Vice President Caroline Mullin

PSA President Marina Castro-Mierelles and Vice President Caroline Mullin

The UMW Department of Political Science and International Affairs held its 2018 Pi Sigma Alpha (PSA) Induction Ceremony and first annual Senior Reception on April 16th in Lee Hall.

Pi Sigma Alpha is the scholastic honorary society for Political Science. In addition to congratulating the newly inducted members on their achievement, new officers for Kappa Upsilon chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha were elected for the next academic year. Click here for a list of the new inductees. The PSA Executive Board for 2018-2019 welcomes President Julia Gibbons, Vice-President John Cronin, and two executive board members, Kyle Lehmann and Tess Darroch.

PSA 2018-2019 Executive Board (left to right: Tess Darroch, Kyle Lehmann, John Cronin, and Julia Gibbons)

PSA 2018-2019 Executive Board (left to right: Tess Darroch, Kyle Lehmann, John Cronin, and Julia Gibbons)

The Department announced this year’s awards for outstanding faculty and student achievement.

  • Surupa Gupta, Associate Professor of Political Science, was awarded this year’s John F. Kramer Faculty Excellence Award, which recognizes a colleague’s “dedication to students, service to the University, and contributions to academia.”
  • Ariadne Randolph is this year’s outstanding graduating senior in International Affairs and recipient of the Lewis Fickett Award. Ariadne graduated from UMW in December 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs. Her thesis, “Ghost Ships on The Horizon: Looking for Peace in the Deadliest Waters in the World,” was supervised by Professor Jason Davidson.
  • Marina Castro-Mierelles is this year’s outstanding graduating senior in Political Science and recipient of the Ann Fitschen Award.  Marina will graduate in May 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with honors. Her thesis, “Resilience of the Termite Elixir in Menem’s Argentina,” is supervised by Professor Robert Barr. In 2017-2018, Marina served as the president of UMW’s Pi Sigma Alpha Chapter. As department winners, Ariadne’s and Marina’s names will appear in the 2018 UMW Commencement program.
Professor Gupta and Julia Gibbons

Professor Gupta and Julia Gibbons

 The Department congratulates the following majors for their outstanding achievements in writing during the 2017-18 academic year:

  • Kendall Parker, “A Comparison of Female Conscription: Israel versus the United States.” Runner-Up, Pi Sigma Alpha 2017 Best Undergraduate Class Paper.  Paper written in Spring 2017 for PS491B3: Women and Public Policy supervised by Professor Rosalyn Cooperman
  • Kenyon Huber-Wilker, “The Demise of Democracy in Hungary.” Finalist Essay, 2018 Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference (NAFAC). Paper supervised by Professor Jack Kramer.
  • Chloe Rippel, “Some Better Way for People to Live: The Politics of Law and Order in The Virginian (1929), The Ox-Bow Incident,and High Noon.” UMW Writing Center Award – Best Social Sciences Senior paper. Written in Fall 2017 for PSCI 450: S. Political Film supervised by Professor Stephen Farnsworth.
  • Marina Castro-Meirelles, “A Conceptual Exploration of Clientelism.” UMW Writing Center Award – Best Social Sciences Senior paper. Paper written in Fall 2017 for PSCI 491: Individual Study supervised by Professor Rob Barr.
Marina Castro-Mierelles and Kendall Parker

Marina Castro-Mierelles and Kendall Parker


Fall 2018 Courses!

Political Science  Seminars

                      Seminar                                                Political Science Subfield

 PSCI 471 C7: US Constitutional Reform            American Government

 PSCI 471 DD: Democracy in Decline               Comparative Politics

International Affairs  Support Courses

  PSCI 471 DD: Democracy in Decline

 HIST 471F9: Moscow & Washington: Cold War

 SPAN481K: Gender and Violence in Spain

 ANTH350: Amazonian Societies

 FREN335B: Quebecois Literature & Culture


Applications Open for

Defense Intelligence Agency

2019 Summer Internship Program

This program provides current college students with the opportunity to gain practical work experience through research, report writing, briefing development and delivery, policy writing and intelligence analysis. Interns will gain valuable on-the-job experience while providing support to DIA’s mission. They are also exposed to the broader intelligence community through field trips, information sessions, and panel discussions. Interns will be appointed for a 10 to 12-week period from June through August 2019.
To apply for the program, see the vacancy announcements on https://diajobs.dia.mil/, or go the DIA webpage (www.dia.mil) and select “Search Vacancies” under the DIA Careers page for the fields listed under “Career Fields.” The majority of summer internship positions will be in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area; however, limited opportunities are available at other locations throughout the world. Due to the large number of applications received in response to internship opportunities, this vacancy announcement will be closed when a limited (depending on career field) number of applications are received, but no later than April 13, 2018. Complete applications must include an unofficial transcript and veterans are required to attach their DD 214.

For additional information regarding DIA Summer Internship Program, visit http://www.dia.mil/Careers/Students.  Have questions? Contact the Human Resources Operations Center (HROC) at 202-231-4762 or ~HROCRequest@dodiis.mil. 


Political Science and International Affairs

 Careers and Graduate School Panel Discussion

Featuring the experience and advice of alumni

Andrew Lowdon (’14),
Law Clerk to The Hon. Anthony J. Trenga, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
 Sean O’Brien (’09)
Project Manager, Internet2
 William Sacripanti (’14)
Research Assistant, The House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
 Nadine Zaatar (’11)  
Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State
 Art Speyer (’93)
Senior Intelligence Analyst, Marine Corps Intelligence Activity

When: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 4 PM

Where: Monroe, 346

Contact Prof. Emile Lester for details: elester@umw.edu or ext. 1146

Executive Director of 1791 Delegates

Reverend Nathan C. Walker:

“Religion and Political Contempt”



When: Wednesday, March 14 at 4PM

Where: Monroe Hall, Room 346

Sponsored by PSIA, Diversity Unity Coordinating Committee, and House Episcopal Luthern Campus Ministry

For more information contact Professor Lester: elester@umw.edu


The UMW Women’s and Gender Studies Program presents

Starving for Justice: Women, Work and the Resistance
Dr. Dina Siddiqi

Professor, Department of Economics and Social Sciences,
BRAC University, Bangladesh

 Dr. Dina Siddiqi divides her time between New York and Dhaka, where she teaches Anthropology. Her publications, grounded in the study of Bangladesh, cover a broad spectrum: the global garment industry; gender justice and non-state dispute resolution systems, and the intersections of Islam, nationalism and feminist cultural politics. She is currently working on a book entitled Elusive Solidarities: “Muslim” Women and Transnational Feminism at Work. She is also part of the Advisory Council of the South Asian Network of Gender Activists and Trainers (SANGAT). She has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

When: 7pm, Monday, November 13, 2017
Where: Combs 139

Sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the Departments of Political Science and International Affairs; Classics, Philosophy and Religion; and Sociology and Anthropology
This UMW program is free and open to the public.
Questions? Contact Kristin Marsh (kmarsh@umw.edu) or Surupa Gupta (sgupta@umw.edu)

The Project 2049 Institute is now accepting

Internship Applications

for Spring 2018!

 The Project 2049 Institute is pleased to announce the following internship opportunity in Spring 2018 for current students and recent graduates:


Position Responsibilities:

  • Assist with the Institute’s research projects and ongoing programs
  • Assist with administrative tasks, event planning, and other logistics
  • Help maintain and update the Institute’s social media outlets
  • Independent research with opportunities to publish on the Institute’s blog, the AsiaEye.
  • Attend local events based on research and project interests
  • Complete projects both in teams and individually

Minimum Requirements:

  • Excellent research and writing skills
  • Interest in Asia and Asian affairs
  • Prior research or work experience related to the Asia-Pacific region
  • Proficiency in Chinese (Mandarin, simplified or traditional) is desirable
  • Current undergraduate, graduate student, or recent graduate
  • Self-motivated and ability to work independently

Benefits of Internship:

  • Gain research experience in Asia security issues
  • Learn about the non-profit and think tank industry from all levels of the Institute’s management
  • Opportunities to network with government and the private sector professionals working on Asia-Pacific security and policy
  • Opportunities to contribute to the Institute’s AsiaEye blog
  • Monthly stipend
To apply for this position, please electronically submit a cover letter, resume, and a short writing sample to project2049@project2049.net

The deadline for application submissions is 11:59 pm on Friday, December 1, 2017.

For more information on the Project 2049 Institute, visit their website, and follow their Facebook and Twitter @Project2049. 


 Spring 2018 Courses!

 Political Science Seminars

Seminar                                                              Political Science Subfield

PSCI 471C7: US Civil Military Relations         American Government or

                                                                                International Relations

PSCI 471 D3: American Public Opinion         American Government

PSCI 471SS: Politics of Africa                       Comparative Politics

International Affairs Support Courses

German 485F: Berlin Wall: A Concrete History

HIST 300A5: Modern Middle East History

HIST 300B6: History Ideas in Early Modern Europe

HIST 300CC: History of Food in Global Context

HIST 300YY: From Mongols to Ottomans

PSCI 471C7: US Civil Military Relations

PSCI 471SS: Politics of Africa



 11th Korea-America Student Conference Opportunity

 The 11th KASC is now accepting applications for the next generation of Asia-Pacific leaders!

A delegation of 36 students will be competitively selected to represent the United States of America and the Republic of Korea in the 11th KASC (18 American students and 18 Korean students). Delegates will travel to two locations in the United States (Missoula, Montana and Seattle, Washington) and two locations in South Korea (Busan and Seoul).

Over three weeks, they will have the unique opportunity to engage in academic, cultural, and professional exchange in both countries. They will participate in lectures, seminars, roundtable discussions, networking events, and cultural activities alongside their peers. Delegates will discuss, explore, and collaborate on four pressing bilateral and global topics. They will present their joint solutions to a panel of experts and the general public at the conclusion of the conference.

The Conference will be held in the United States and South Korea from July 20 – August 10, 2018.

Students from all fields of study are encouraged to apply. No Korean language or Asian Studies background is required. They are seeking a diverse delegation that shares a strong passion in furthering US-Korea relations and creating international friendships.

Applications to join the 11th KASC will open on October 11, 2017. Applications are considered on a rolling basis.

More information at http://iscdc.org/kasc/2018/.

Please direct any questions to kasc@iscdc.org.


Professor Rosalyn Cooperman receives the first John M. Kramer Faculty Award


At the 2017 annual Spring Awards ceremony, Professor Rosalyn Cooperman received the first John M. Kramer Faculty Award. This award is an acknowledgement of Professor Cooperman’s dedication to students, service to the University, and contributions to academia.

Established in 2016, the John M. Kramer Faculty Award is named for Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Affairs John Kramer. In celebration of Professor Kramer’s distinguished career, his wife, Mary Louise, and 169 other prominent alumni of the department and the European Capitals program joined forces to establish this endowment. The donors hope that, through this endowment, promising faculty will continue to maximize students’ potential through teaching, mentoring, and the pursuit of scholarly excellence. As stated in the Award’s terms of agreement, “The recipient shall be an outstanding faculty member in the Department of Political Science and International Affairs who has demonstrated dedication and excellence in teaching, scholarly endeavor, and student mentoring.

Professor Cooperman has taught and encouraged hundreds of students since she joined the Faculty at Mary Washington in 2003. Professionally focused on elections and women in politics, Professor Cooperman contributed to the development of Women and Gender Studies at Mary Washington. Professor Cooperman’s contributions to academia are numerous, and she currently has half a dozen works in progress or currently under review.  Her recent work focused on the role of women in campaign fundraising. In addition, Professor Cooperman has collaborated on research with students and faculty members from other departments at Mary Washington. In the past, she served as the principal investigator for five important surveys and studies of political convention delegates. Professor Cooperman has also served as a manuscript reviewer for seven peer review academic journals, a difficult and vital service to academia. For the past eight years Professor Cooperman has served as the faculty advisor to the Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society and served on multiple committees for the University.


Careers and Graduate School Panel Discussion

Featuring the experience and advice of alumni

Sarah Alvarez (’12),

Senior Program Associate, The Aspen Institute

Neil Burke (’13)

Development Specialist for Corporate and Foundation Grants, Catholic Charities USA / Candidate in Master’s Program in Public Administration, Virginia

Sacha Brenac (’15)

Junior Analyst, Cydecor Inc.

Laila McQuade (’14)

Executive Assistant and Staffer for the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, RavenTek

Stephen Pierce (’09)

Attorney, Surovell, Isaacs, Petersen & Levy

Wednesday, April 12th at 4 PM

In Monroe,  116

Contact Prof. Emile Lester for details: elester@umw.edu or ext. 1146

Dr. Farnsworth Receives Outstanding Faculty Award!

Check out the story here!

 Executive Finance Internship for Senator Bryce Reeves!

At the Office of Virginia State Senator Bryce Reeves.

Flexible Schedule. Non-paid.
College credit based on school standards.

Finance Director, Tyler Adams
(804) 402-0085



Announcing the third lecture on Globalization, Development and (In)Equality

Dr. Shruti Majumdar

Sociologist, Social Observatory, World Bank DECRG Poverty and Inequality unit


Dr. Majumdar’s primary responsibility is to lead a team of researchers that is assessing the impact of World Bank assisted livelihoods projects in India. Dr. Majumdar is currently developing an overall assessment of the impact of Jeevika (a livelihoods project in rural Bihar) on women’s empowerment. She specializes in ethnographic methods, community-driven development and the politics of service provision. Her research focuses on how the urban poor in India make claims on the local state when it comes to water and land. Dr. Majumdar holds a B.A. in Sociology from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Brown University.

Check out our Fall 2016 Election Schedule!


Monday, October 10, 2016

Public Debate: Media Bias – Threat to American Democracy?

Professor Stephen Farnsworth, UMW Center for Leadership & Media Studies

Professor Craig Smith, Professor Emeritus of Communication, CSU-Long Beach, presidential speechwriter for President Gerald Ford

This event is part of the UMW Podius Debate Series and is sponsored by the Rupe Foundation.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Faculty Brown Bag Conversation: 2016 Elections and Foreign Policy

Join UMW Political Science Professors Jason Davidson, Surupa Gupta, and Ranjit Singh as they discuss the 2016 Presidential election and its implications for US foreign policy.

Noon : MONROE 210

Monday, October 24, 2016

Public Debate: Candidates for U.S. Representatives, VA-1

Congressman Rob Wittman, (R) VA-1

Matt Rowe, (D), Bowling Green Town Council

This event is sponsored by UMW Student Government Association Legislative Action Council, UMW Young Democrats, UMW College Republicans, the Free-Lance Star, and the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Film Screening: GerryRigged – Why Your Vote Might Not Matter

This documentary examines the effects of gerrymandering in legislative districts. This event is sponsored by OneVirginia 2021 and the UMW Center for Leadership & Media Studies.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Faculty Brown Bag Conversation: 2016 Elections Analysis

Join UMW Political Science Professors Rosalyn Cooperman and Stephen Farnsworth as they analyze the outcome of the 2016 presidential and congressional elections.

Noon : MONROE 210

Dr. Farnsworth received the Pi Sigma Alpha  Award!


Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the UMW Center for Leadership and Media Studies, was recognized for his dedication and service to Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, at the American Political Science Association Conference earlier this month. For more, click here.

UMW professor named 2015 Asia Studies Fellow

Surupa Gupta, associate professor of political science and international affairs at the University of Mary Washington, has been selected as a 2015 Asia Studies Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, D.C. For more, click here.