Political Science

601 Pray-Harrold 

Ypsilanti, MI 48197


[email protected]


The department offers several scholarships annually. Scholarship amounts vary depending on the investment earnings for the money donated to scholarship funds.

We are now accepting applications for 2021-22 undergraduate scholarships. The application form, which includes instructions and more information, is here: Scholarship application.

Undergraduate Scholarships

Undergraduate scholarships in recent years have been in the range of $600 to $1,000, though some are larger.

  • James H. Brickley Scholarship

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    • Demonstrated  potential for academic excellence
    • Preference to students who are majoring in, or have taken classes in, Public and Nonprofit Administration.

    2020-21 recipient: Erin McCargar

    Learn more about James H. Brickley

    This scholarship commemorates James H. Brickley's dedication to public service. Brickley (1928–2001) received his bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Detroit and then a Master of Law degree from New York University.

    His career included work as an FBI special agent, a prosecutor in Wayne County, and as United States attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Brickley was also lieutenant governor of Michigan from 1971 to 1975 and again from 1979 to 1983. He was appointed in December, 1982 to the Michigan Supreme Court, where he served until 1999. He served as Chief Justice during 1995–1996.

    Brickley remained committed to higher education throughout his lifetime. He was an adjunct professor at several universities, and from 1974 until 1978 served as the 16th president of Eastern Michigan University.

  • David Hortin Scholarship in Public Law

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    • Undergraduate student with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and interest in public law or mock trial.
    • Applicants are asked to submit an essay of no more than two typed pages describing how this scholarship will help further their public law interests and public law co-curricular activities. 

    2020-21 recipient: Marisa Salice

    Learn more about David Hortin

    During his career, David Hortin worked tirelessly to educate and challenge young minds inside and outside of the classroom through his role as a professor and advisor to the PreLaw Society. Hortin's service includes several highlights:

    • Nearly 40 years on the faculty of EMU
    • Senior Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award
    • Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award (two-time winner)
    • Posthumous distinction as emeritus professor, on the unanimous recommendation of the Department of Political Science

    To honor David's achievements and allow him to continue to positively affect students even after his death, we have established the David Hortin Public law Student Fund at EMU. This endowment will provide scholarships for students of public law and also will benefit public law-related activities such as the Mock Trial Program.

  • Richard Fierens Memorial Scholarship in Public Law

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    • Junior pre-law student involved in mock trial or political science major.
    • Applicants must demonstrate dedication to leadership and service to fellow students. 

    2020–21 recipient: Elizabeth Eaton

    Learn more about Richard Fierens

    Sgt. Richard Fierens passed away on July 6, 2007, at the age of 25 as the result of a traffic accident. Richard was a young man who was as principled and smart as he was driven. He was a leader who adopted the role of soldier, scholar and servant.

    Success would have had a hard time avoiding his grasp. The day Richard died, he lost his dream of becoming an attorney; we at Eastern lost a close friend and Mock Trial competitor; the legal system lost someone who would have become one of its greatest attorneys; and thousands of future defendants lost a great advocate and their best shot at a fair trial.

    We gained a living memory of why it is important to put principles and people ahead of personal gain. This scholarship is in his honor.

  • Dr. James Donald Johnson Scholarship

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    • Undergraduate student in any major in the Department of Political Science.
    • Overall GPA of at least 2.5.
    • Preference given to student with financial need as determined by the EMU Office of Financial Aid.

    2020–21 recipient: Farah Jama

    Learn more about Dr. James Donald Johnson

    “Jim” Johnson was born in North Dakota, where he earned his BA at Jamestown College following service in the U.S. Navy. Johnson earned his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan and taught at the University of Oklahoma before coming to EMU, where he remained for almost 30 years.

    Johnson specialized in Canadian and European politics. He served seven years as department head and won several teaching awards. Johnson’s family established the scholarship in his name following his death in 2011.

  • Robert O. McWilliams Memorial Scholarship

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    •  Undergraduate students in any major in the Department of Political Science.
    • Overall GPA of at least 3.5.
    • Preference given to student with financial need as determined by the EMU Office of Financial Aid. 

    2020–21 recipient: Avery Wright

    Learn more about Robert O. McWilliams

    Robert O. McWilliams was a faculty member in the Political Science Department from 1956 until his retirement in 1986. Professor McWilliams died in 2011, after which his wife, Kathryn Yount McWilliams, established the McWilliams Scholarship in his honor.

    Professor McWilliams was born and raised in Mt. Clemens, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan (BA, 1945; Ph.D., 1952) and Wayne State University (MPA, 1947). In addition to basic American Government classes, he regularly taught courses in Municipal Administration and Public Opinion.

    We gained a living memory of why it is important to put principles and people ahead of personal gain. This scholarship is in his honor. Professor McWilliams valued the opportunity to challenge and stimulate students through his love of learning and his knowledge of politics. This scholarship reflects his enthusiasm for teaching and his concern for students by providing support to worthy EMU students.

Support for Internships and Study Abroad

Competitive awards are available from the Joe Ohren Student Internship Fund and Political Science Study Abroad Fund.

  • Joe Ohren Student Internship Fund

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    • Students completing an unpaid internship for academic credit in either the MPA program or one of the undergraduate majors in the department. Award may be used in summer, fall or winter semesters.
    • Junior or senior status for undergraduates; at least 24 credits earned for MPA students.
    • GPA of at least 3.5 or, for undergraduates, 3.5 in the last 30 credit hours.
    • Applicants must have a letter of recommendation from a faculty member familiar with their work. They also must submit a personal statement of no more than two double-spaced pages outlining how the internship is integrated into their post-graduation career plans.

    Learn more about Dr. Joseph Ohren

    Dr. Joseph Ohren joined Eastern Michigan University’s Political Science Department in 1985. Joe taught and mentored countless students during his time at EMU and played a leadership role in the Master of Public Administration program through all of these years. MPA and undergraduate students benefited from his connections to government and nonprofit organizations, not only through internships and full-time positions, but also through his applied research activities. Throughout his career, Joe dedicated himself to the education of future public servants and helped more than 60 local communities with goal setting, team building, strategic management and performance management.

    His professionalism, kindness and supportive manner made him an ideal role model for students and for future public servants, and made him a beloved member of the faculty. Although retired from teaching as of 2016, Joe intends to continue his community work through leadership workshops.

  • Political Science Study Abroad Scholarship

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    • Undergraduates in any major in the Department of Political Science. Funds may be used for any program-related expenses.
    • At least 30 credit hours at EMU with an overall GPA of at least 3.0.
    • Evidence of acceptance in a study abroad program. 

Graduate Scholarship

The John Barson Fellowship is awarded to one MPA student (approximate value is $15,000).

We are now accepting applications for the 2021-22 graduate scholarship. The application form, which includes instructions and more information, is here: Scholarship application.

  • John Barson Fellowship in Public Administration

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    • Graduate students studying in the area of public administration in the Department of Political Science.
    • The student must be admitted to the Master of Public Administration program within the Department of Political Science. The recipient must have demonstrated high scholarship and leadership skills. Recipient must demonstrate a commitment to the field of public administration through undergraduate study, volunteer work or life experience. Scholarship applicants specializing in management of public healthcare services shall be given special consideration. However, all graduate students are eligible for consideration.
    • Applicants are asked to submit a short letter of interest and to include a letter of recommendation from an EMU faculty member who is knowledgeable about their work or efforts. 

    2020–21 recipient: Jake Young

    Learn more about John Barson

    Dr. John Barson devoted his professional life to health care and the field of public management. Internationally known and respected as an educational consultant in medicine, Dr. Barson earned a BA from Eastern Michigan University and an MA and Ed.D. from Wayne State University. In the 1960s, as a professor of medical education at Michigan State University, Dr. Barson revised the basic science and clinical teaching methods for the College of Human Medicine. He was also a founding faculty member, and later associate dean, for the College of Osteopathic Medicine at MSU.

    Known for his expertise in developing curricula and residency programs, Dr. Barson was appointed by the State Regents and legislature of Oklahoma in the 1970s to establish a new medical college emphasizing primary care in Tulsa. His tenure and service as founding president of the Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery was unmatched. Before he stepped down as president in 1984, the State Regents designated the John Barson Administration Building at the medical campus of Oklahoma State University as a center for professional studies and biomedical research. Until 1994, Dr. Barson continued to consult for medical schools in areas such as residency training, faculty development and organization. Throughout his career, Dr. Barson remained committed to effective administration, efficiency and the application of public administration skills to health care and higher education. He is fondly remembered by family and friends who hope his memory lives on in the lives of those who will be changed forever by this fellowship in his name. The fellowship is funded from an endowment created by a generous gift from William and Delores Brehm.

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