Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Graduating seniors recognized as outstanding scholars

Outstanding Senior Scholars Alexandre, Burgin, Cyrus, Garcia, Hearing, McQueeney, Pfingston, Short, Tolbert, Tydir
Not pictured: Diaz, Trigueros

Each year, the FSU Division of Undergraduate Studies Honors Program recognizes graduating seniors who have distinguished themselves as Outstanding Senior Scholars. Of the 37 students so recognized for this academic year (fall 2020 and spring 2021), 12 have at least one major within the college, most of whom completed honors theses in social science disciplines.

To be included in this select group, students must complete three exceptional academic achievements:

  • Maintaining a 3.9 GPA or higher, graduating Summa Cum Laude;
  • Challenging themselves and enriching their education by completing the University Honors Program, in which they completed a minimum of 18 honors points;
  • Earning Honors in their Major by completing an honors thesis.

According to the Honors Program, to achieve any of these distinctions is a noteworthy accomplishment; achieving all three is a rarity. 

The following COSSPP students have been recognized as Outstanding Senior Scholars:


Leeandre Alexandre
Major: International Affairs
Thesis Title: Political and Economic Impact of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on the Mali Conflict
Thesis Director: Dr. Jens Grosser
Plans after graduation: Attending law school

Simone Burgin
Majors: International Relations, French, & Spanish 
Thesis Title: A The Prison, the Prophet, and the People: [In]Justice in Senegal
Thesis Director: Dr. Joseph Hellweg
Plans after graduation: Participating in a service-led gap year

Jacob Cyrus
Majors: International Affairs and Russian
Thesis Title: The Dangers of Putinist Foreign Policy on the US and How to Solve the US’ “Russia Problem”
Thesis Director: Dr. Lisa Ryoko Wakamiya
Plans after graduation: Employed as an Air Force Officer

Wendy Diaz
Majors: Political Science & Psychology 
Thesis Title: Second Generation Terrorism – A Phenomenon
Thesis Director: Dr. Audrey Heffron-Casserleigh
Plans after graduation: Pursuing a Masters of Public Administration in the Askew School

Giovanna Garcia
Majors: International Affairs & Political Science
Thesis Title: Far-Right Fever: Examining the Electoral Rise of Brazil and Hungary’s Populist Radical Right
Thesis Director: Dr. Amanda Driscoll
Plans after graduation: Participating in an English Teaching Abroad program

Nick Hearing
Majors: International Affairs & Economics
Thesis Title: China’s Evolving Non-Intervention Policy and Expanding Role in Conflict Mediation Abroad
Thesis Director: Dr. Amanda Driscoll
Plans after graduation: Pursuing a graduate degree in International Affairs Policy and Analysis

Molly McQueeney
Majors: Economics & Social Work 
Thesis Title: Integration of Refugees into the Labor Market
Thesis Director: Dr. Javier Cano-Urbina
Plans after graduation: Pursuing a graduate degree in Development Economics

Chaston Pfingston
Major: Political Science
Thesis Title: The Backpack and the Ballot: How Collegiate Civics Education Impacts Voter Participation
Thesis Director: Dr. Douglas Ahler
Plans after graduation: Pursuing a graduate degree in Public Policy in the Askew School

Jessica Short
Majors: Psychology & Sociology
Thesis Title: Women’s STEM Success in Biomedical Science Graduate Programs: An Exploratory Study
Thesis Director: Dr. Irene Padavic
Plans after graduation: Pursuing a doctoral degree in Sociology

Pedro Angel Trigueros
Majors: Political Science & International Affairs
Thesis Title: Are Terrorist Organizations and Gangs Similar? A Content Analysis of Why People Join Gangs?
Thesis Director: Dr. Na’ama Nagar
Plans after graduation: Attending law school

Patrick Tydir
Major: Economics
Thesis Title: The Effect of Public Renewable Energy Spending on Economic Growth in the EU
Thesis Director: Dr. Onsurang Norrbin
Plans after graduation: Pursuing a doctoral degree in Economics


Alexandria Tolbert
Major: Political Science
Thesis Title: The Political and Public Health Implications of Prenatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders 
Thesis Director: Dr. William Weissert, Professor of Political Science
Plans after Graduation: Attending medical school