Molly Malsam Excellence in Writing Award

The Government and International Affairs Department is pleased to offer annual monetary awards for the best political science papers. Intended to encourage quality writing projects, the award is made possible through the generous donation of alumna Molly Malsam '94. She credits a departmental research paper submitted as part of her graduate school application for greatly assisting her admission into the prestigious Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Pennsylvania.

Past recipients of the Government Department Excellence in Writing Award include:


  • Michael Letkewicz ’16, “Is the Islamic State Islamic? ISIS and Religious Culpability.”
  • Kofi Gunu ‘17, “Revisionist China and the Challenge to the Law of the Seas.”
  • Jesse Nelson ‘16, “Reviving Civic Republicanism: Why Modern Liberal Democracy Fails and What to Do About It.”


  • Elise Sperling ‘15, "Changing the Odds: The Role of Venture Philanthropy in 21st Century American Education Reform.”
  • Eric Herst ’15, "Liberté, Égalité, Norge: Tracing the Philosophical Foundations of Norwegian Social Democracy.”

2012 - 2013

  • Molly Kokesh '13, "Exploring 'Waste Reduction' Techniques in Sustainable Development Policy:  A Case Study in Sioux Falls, SD"
  • Evan Livermore '13, "Speech, Inc.?  An Examination of Citizens United v. FEC"

2011 - 2012

  • Marin Phelps '12, "Mediated Progress:  The Evolution of Racism in Cuba from Cane to Castro"
  • Peter Kline '14, "Aristotle and Toleration"

2010 - 2011

  • Ryan Schuetz '12, "Rwanda and Venezuela: Conceptualization of Two 21st Century Authoritarian Regimes"

2009 - 2010

  • Andrea Krogstad '10, "Turkey Without the Stuffing: A Compromise Option for Turkish Membership to the European Union"

2008 - 2009

  • Dani Doran '11, "Foundations of Justice:  Human or God?"
  • David McCoy '08, "Ukraine Do It!  Identity and Crisis in Ukraine"


  • Laura Hibma '08, "Leftward Bound: The Life of Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution."
  • Andrew Kightlinger '08, "How I Learned to Really Love the Bomb: Films Understanding Suicide Terrorism."


  • Jen Buyske '07, "Guilty until Proven Innocent: DNA Technology Reveals the Systematic Flaws in the Criminal Justice System."


  • Theodore Bolstad '06, "Dancing with the Dragon: A U.S. Policy Proposal Towards Taiwan."
  • Ryann Miller '07, "The Perfect Enemy: Katrina Sheds Light on Poverty in America."


  • A.J. Franken '06, "(Mis)Shaping Africa: The United States and the Berlin Conference of 1884."
  • Blake Rife '06, "A Look at Griswold v. Connecticut and America."


  • Jennifer Knutson '04, "Answering the Silent Screams: The Abuse of Liberty in an Unaccountable Society."
  • Justin Ask '04, "The Faith of the Left: The Clinton Model of Religious Rhetoric for Democratic Candidates."