June 18, 2024
Legal Studies, Political Science

Elif Savas (Political Science) and RoseAnn Elaine Vik (Microbiology) are this year's graduate student winners of the University's Distinguished Teaching Award.

​Elif Savas was born in Eskisehir, Turkey, and grew up in Istanbul. Her Ph.D. is in political science with a concentration on political theory and comparative politics. She feels honored to receive this year’s Distinguished Teaching Award in recognition of her abilities to create a non-punitive classroom environment and build trust with her students through empathy and curiosity. 

Savas’s aptitude for educating goes beyond the classroom. She presented research from her dissertation, “Gendering the Far Right: A Comparative Perspective of Gendered Autocratization in the 21st Century,” to the American Political Science Association and Latin American Studies Association and also spoke at the Countering Backlash International Conference.

Before starting her doctoral program, Savas earned a Master of Philosophy degree from UMass Amherst. Her thesis, “Proper Subjects of Gendered Necropolitics: A Case of Constructed Virginities in Turkey,” was published as a book chapter in “Turkey’s Necropolitical Laboratory: Democracy, Violence, and Resistance” (2019).

Prior to moving to Massachusetts full time, Savas was awarded multiple grants and fellowships to conduct research in the United States. Among these are the graduate school’s Summer Research Grant (given in partnership with the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences) and the Fulbright Master’s Program Award.

Following graduation, Savas plans to work actively as a researcher, educator, and political activist on the defense of reproductive rights for sexual and gender minorities. (UMass News, 5/9/24)