UMass Amherst Junior Sarah Coomey Awarded Beinecke Scholarship

Sarah Coomey
UMass Amherst junior Sarah Coomey

AMHERST, Mass. – Sarah Coomey, a junior political science and French major and a member of Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been awarded a Beinecke Scholarship.

The Paxton, Mass., resident is the second UMass Amherst student to receive the nationally competitive award open to students of selective colleges and universities. Each Beinecke scholar receives $34,000 to support graduate study in the arts, humanities and social sciences. One of 20 scholarship recipients nationally, Coomey plans to apply to graduate programs in political theory.

“My current research interests fall under the categories of contemporary social thought and critical theory,” says Coomey. “I am particularly intrigued by questions surrounding the nature of personhood, aesthetics and the political theory of home.”

The UMass Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA) supported Coomey’s application. Professor Susan K. Whitbourne, director of ONSA, says, “Sarah possesses a unique ability to dig into the writings of the great thinkers in political theory and philosophy – an ability recognized by her highly enthusiastic mentors who have worked closely with her over the past several years. The process she engages in when she embarks on critical reading of texts is a highly sophisticated and well-honed set of intellectual skills. She is able to penetrate through the words to the underlying messages and meanings, which inevitably reveal intriguing contradictions.”

UMass Amherst political science professors Nicholas Xenos and Rebecca Hamlin, as well as Amherst College professor Adam Sitze, supported the application with recommendations. 

Established 35 years ago, the Beinecke scholarship program has selected more than 610 college juniors from 110 undergraduate institutions for support during graduate study at accredited universities.

There are no geographic restrictions on the use of the scholarship, and recipients can supplement the award with other scholarships, assistantships and research grants. Scholars are encouraged to begin graduate study as soon as possible following graduation from college, and must use all of the funding within five years of completion of undergraduate studies.

“I’m deeply honored to receive the Beinecke,” says Coomey, “and I would like to thank my professors for their unwavering encouragement and guidance. This scholarship will provide significant support while I further explore political theory in graduate school. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”