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And the Winner is…

Hello. I hope everyone is well. We have just launched the 2017-18 academic year, and it promises to be exciting. We are living in interesting times and need cogent and insightful analysis of politics more than we have ever needed it. There are lots of exciting things going on in the department. I hope you enjoy reading the news updates in our annual newsletter.

Are you a little curious about what follows the three dots in the title? Should I stretch out the anticipation and the mystery or should I cut to the chase? Let me do both. The general answer is … Someone from the Department of Political Science!

Let me start at the top. You know how after the Academy Awards or the Tony’s or the Nobel Peace Prize (okay so maybe not that one), the people that were nominated, but did not hear their names called invariably say that just being nominated was such a great thrill? They do not need to win. Yeah, I do not believe them either.

Professor Nate Kelly was nominated for the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. It was truly a great honor. Only one faculty member could be nominated from the entire University of Tennessee, and Kelly was officially designated at the university nominee. All kidding aside, this is great honor in and of itself. No one from UT had ever won the award. The next time that someone from UT wins the award, it will probably be noted that in 2017, Nathan Kelly was the first UT professor to receive this honor. That’s not all. Kelly also was awarded a Russell Sage Foundation Fellowship for the year. If we want to stretch our Academy Award analogy a little, he would join luminaries like Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen, Kathryn Bigelow, and the Coen Brothers as people who won multiple (Academy) awards in one year.

Professor Jana Morgan also received a major award: a Russell Sage Foundation Fellowship. I can hear the announcer now – “This is Professor Morgan’s second Russell Sage Award…” (putting her into the company of Kathryn Hepburn, Denzel Washington, Cate Blanchett, and Daniel Day-Lewis, among others). Morgan will be spending the year in New York at Russell Sage.

Professor Anthony Nownes received the College of Arts and Science’s Senior Research Award. This is just another in a long line of awards for Nownes, who has previously won a number of university teaching awards making him a combination of Quentin Tarantino and Jack Lemmon for his wide range of talents and Academy Awards in more than one field.

Last, but certainly not least is Professor Krista Wiegand. She received a Fulbright Fellowship in the Philippines. Wiegand was the winner of numerous teaching and research awards at Georgia Southern (so that would be like she won a bunch of Tony Awards before coming to Tennessee to win her first Oscar, to continue to wound the analogy a little further).


This represents over 20 percent of the faculty in the department winning a major competitive award during the past academic year. Other faculty members in the department also distinguished themselves this year through their accomplishments. Read more about these and other accomplishments in Faculty News and Updates.

Not all the award winners, however, came from the faculty ranks. A number of our graduate and undergraduate students were also honored for their excellence and achievements, including Chrissy Freeland and Andrew Cox, who received Baker-MPPA at the MPPA Hooding and Awards Ceremony, May 12, 2017, in the Toyota Auditorium of the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy.

Baker-MPPA Scholarships are given to students based on academic merit, professional and scholarly promise, and commitment to the public service. These awards are highly competitive. They cover the full cost of graduate tuition and fees for up to two semesters. These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the Baker Center for Public Policy and the many donations by our alumni and supporters to the MPPA Enrichment Fund.

Chrissy FreelandChrissy Freeland was accepted into the BA/MPPA Accelerated program in the spring of 2016. During that semester, she served as a legislative intern for the Tennessee General Assembly. She entered the MPPA program full-time in spring 2017 and interned with the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) in Nashville during the summer of 2017. Chrissy plans to pursue a career in the public service. 

Andrew CoxAndrew Cox earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics and Music from Union University. His twin passions are law and economics. He is pursuing both interests as a JD-MPPA dual degree student. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in monetary and fiscal policy while also addressing issues related to campaign finance reform. 

On a final note, the department itself moved up over 30 spots in the annual US News & World Report rankings. We are excited to kick off this new academic year with so many achievements already in our pockets.

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