Department Awards for Undergraduate Students
Named for and established by three distinguished political scientists figuring prominently in the Department's history are awards recognizing the exemplary work of Vanderbilt undergraduates.
The Avery Leiserson Award
The Department bestows the Avery Leiserson Award for the best undergraduate paper in political science, which offers a $500 prize, a plaque for the recipient, and a special inscription on the Department's plaque honoring recipients of this award. The award is named for the late Avery Leiserson, Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science Emeritus and a former President of the American Political Science Association. Any faculty member may nominate a student for the recognition. A faculty committee is convened to consider the work of the nominees and makes the award. Recipient list.
2017 Winner: Mary Catherine Cook for her paper, "From Jasmine to Jihad"
The Alexander Heard Award
The Alexander Heard Award is given to the graduating senior with the highest GPA among political science majors. The Department fetes one commencing senior with the Alexander Heard Award. It confers a $500 prize, as well as a commemorative plaque for the recipient. The Department reminds itself of honorees receiving this award, created in honor of political scientist and Vanderbilt University Chancellor Emeritus Alexander Heard, with inscription on its own plaque, proudly displayed in the department office. Recipient list.
The James Lee Ray Award
The James Lee Ray Award is given to a Senior Political Science major who exemplifies outstanding service and leadership within the Political Science department and the University. It confers a $500 prize, as well as a commemorative plaque for the recipient. The award is named in honor of Professor Emeritus James Lee Ray who served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies from 2000 – 2013. Any faculty member may nominate a student for the recognition. A faculty committee is convened to consider the nominations and make the award. Recipient list.