Announcing the 2020 Outstanding Thesis, Portfolio, and Practicum Prize Winnters

International Affairs is delighted and proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 capstone prizes. Congratulations to all!


Outstanding Portfolios Prize: Shay Bialik
and Katherine Harris

Shay Bialik‘s two papers on gender issues, one on women in the kibbutz system in Israel and one on gender in Cuba.  These are two of the most significant socialist experiments of the twentieth century. Bialik presents very rich research papers, demonstrating deep research, very thoughtful conclusions, and excellent use of first-hand and bibliographical resources. 


Katherine Harris‘s papers on fracking and its consequences are based on extensive research, along with her lived experience in Oklahoma with the energy sector. She marshals a lot of technical data about the energy sector and explains the positive revenue impacts of fracking as well as the longer-term negative environmental and health impacts.


Outstanding Thesis Prize: Lucia Muñoz Sueiro,
with Honorable Mention to Frankie Mercedes

Lucia Muñoz Sueiro‘s thesis is a very thoughtful examination of the degrowth movement, reflecting extensive comparative research of degrowth and other critical theories of development. It is well-written and moves from an analytic voice to a normative/political voice in her recommendations on how an effort to raise the profile of degrowth should be conducted.


Frankie Mercedes‘s thesis is a study that combines her lived experience in Washington Heights and the Dominican Republic to illustrate the impact of neoliberal policies affecting housing and employment in New York City. It is a rich narrative, bringing together analytic work on gentrification by David Harvey and Neil Smith with a powerful personal story. 


Outstanding Practicum Prize

This year’s Outstanding Practicum has been awarded to three students working on two different projects.

Stephen Saich and Tamara Velasquez Leiferman  developed new Monitoring and Evaluation tools for client World Connect, a nonprofit that identifies and funds grassroots projects in under-resourced areas of the world.

The students’ main deliverable is an online form to be filled out by local partners remotely that will produce a logical framework and then a data collection worksheet. The “fillable logframe” is currently being piloted, and when implemented will greatly advance data analysis and results reporting. The team also produced an organizational Theory of Change, and gave a webinar presentation on monitoring and evaluation to a new grantee cohort in Nigeria.


Tsuyoshi Yoneda prepared a policy brief for Slum Dwellers International – Kenya to guarantee funding for Mukuru Special Planning Area from donors and policy makers. He also updated the statistics in and polished the final report of the Educational Sector for Nairobi City Council.