UCL Institute of the Americas


Winners of 2022 UCL Americas Master's dissertation prizes announced

17 January 2023

UCL Americas Masters dissertation prize winners: from left to right, clockwise: Thomas Robinson, Gretchen Cloutier, Andrej Sevo, Amelia Hart

Every year, UCL Institute of the Americas awards departmental prizes to the best Master's dissertations. It's never an easy decision, as competition is tough, but we would like to announce and congratulate the winners of the 2021-2022 competition:


The Allende Dissertation Prize

Latin American programmes

Thomas Robinson

UCL Americas Masters Dissertation Prize 2022 winner Thomas Robinson

The Graham Woodgate Dissertation Prize

Latin American Environmental Issues 

Gretchen Cloutier

UCL Americas Masters Dissertation Prize 2022 winner Gretchen Cloutier

The International Relations Dissertation Prize

International Relations

Andrej Ševo

UCL Americas Masters Dissertation Prize 2022 winner Andrej Ševo

The Roosevelt Dissertation Prize

US themes

Amelia Hart

UCL Americas Masters Dissertation Prize 2022 winner Amelia Hart

This is what the winners say about their prize, their time at UCL Institute of the Americas and their plans:

Thomas Robinson

Dissertation title: '"Santa Mãe Palmeira” - Religious Transition, Social Activism, and Maranhão’s Babassu Breaker Women'

Supervisor: Dr Malu Gatto

'I am delighted and honoured to have been awarded the Allende Prize for the best dissertation on the Latin American programmes. I would like to thank all of those who participated in my research in Imperatriz, especially the women from MIQCB and in particular dona Eunice, who opened many doors for me and showed me at close hand the hard work the movement does to support sustainable rural communities in northern Brazil. I am also hugely grateful to my supervisor Dr Malu Gatto, whose advice was always constructive and astute. I feel very lucky to have studied at the Institute, whose wide range of teaching modules prepared me brilliantly for the interdisciplinary nature of my research (touching on religion, gender, social movements, politics, and environmentalism). I hope to be able to pursue my research interests further as part of a Ph.D. program either in the UK or USA.'

Gretchen Cloutier

Dissertation title: Weaving Sustainable Development: Economic, Social, and Environmental Contributions and Challenges of Guatemalan Textile Cooperatives

Supervisor: Professor Maxine Molyneux

'I'm thrilled to have been awarded the Graham Woodgate Prize for my dissertation exploring how Guatemalan textile cooperatives contribute to sustainable development. Studying at UCL's Institute of the Americas was a wonderful postgraduate experience, and the dissertation process was a true highlight. I'm grateful to the Institute for providing partial funding for my fieldwork in Guatemala, my supervisor Dr. Maxine Molyneux for her guidance and support, and the women weavers of Guatemala for their time, insights, and inspiration. I'm continuing to pursue my passion for international development, working with an NGO that supports women's economic empowerment around the world. '

Andrej Ševo

Dissertation title: Global Influence of Contemporary American Far Right: A Case Study of Serbia

Supervisor: Dr Nadia Hilliard

'Winning this year's International Relations prize represents an immeasurable honor for me. To have my commitment and passion recognized is a source of great joy and pride but it also holds me accountable for maintaining the same level of professional and moral conduct in my future work and life. I am thankful to my supervisor Dr Nadia Hilliard for her support and genuine enthusiasm about my dissertation which were encouraging and meaningful.'

Amelia Hart

Dissertation title: 'They measure their safety in chains and corpses’: Black Power’s critique of the origins of mass incarceration

Supervisor: Dr Nick Witham

'I am thrilled and very proud to have been awarded the Roosevelt Prize for my dissertation on Black Power responses to the trial of Angela Davis and the birth of mass incarceration in the early 1970s. Having the enthusiasm, support and guidance of my supervisor Nick Witham on this project, and getting the opportunity to carry out archival research in Harlem and at Harvard, was the highlight of a fantastic year at the Institute of the Americas. I am very grateful to all of the academics whose knowledge and passion I have benefitted from.'

The Chair of the Postgraduate Board of Examiners at the Institute of the Americas, Dr Par Engstrom, added: 'It is with great pleasure that we announce these awards every year. In addition to the honour of the award, each winner will receive a prize of £100.

If you are interested in pursuing a Master's degree at UCL Institute of the Americas, please have a look at our current portfolio of MA and MSc programmes, covering nearly every region of the American continent and delivered with an interdisciplinary approach. You can also read here what some of our students have said about their studies at UCL Institute of the Americas.

Also, please be advised of the upcoming round of virtual open days for PGT degrees will be announced shortly. We will update this information in the News page and also via our social media channels: Twitter, Facebook/Meta and Instagram. Watch these spaces!


MA and MSc programmes offered by UCL Institute of the Americas

Dr Malu Gatto | academic profile

Dr Nadia Hilliard | academic profile

Professor Maxine Molyneux | academic profile

Dr Nick Witham | academic profile

Dr Par Engstrom | academic profile

Twitter | departmental social media channel

Facebook/Meta | departmental social media channel

Instagram | departmental social media channel

Student testimonials


Photographs of this year's winners