My name is Thomas S. Benson and I am a Princeton Dissertation Scholar and a Dissertation Fellow (ABD Ph.D Candidate) in the department of Political Science & International Relations at the University of Delaware. I am currently in my fifth year, and intend to defend my dissertation in Spring 2023.

Academic Research: I study comparative politics and international relations. Within comparative politics, my substantive research interests lie at the intersections of environmental politics and policy, urban governance, and public policy. Within international relations, my research focuses on climate security, urbanism, sustainability, and global environmental governance. Methodologically, I conduct qualitative research using content analysis, discourse analysis, case studies, and interviews.

Academic and Community Service: I am actively involved in academic services at the University of Delaware. I authored the Environmental Sustainability Report (2021). As Chairs of the Graduate Student Government Sustainability Committee (2020-2022) and Bikeshare Program Committee (2021-2023), and Sustainability Coordinator and Graduate Fellow of the Sustainability Council (2021-2023), I am passionate about safeguarding the natural environment and collaborating with a variety of stakeholders to enact promising, sustainable change for all.

Finally, I have contributed to the University of Delaware's Executive Sustainability Plan (2022) and I am currently playing a key role in the formation of the University's Climate Action Plan and Transportation Master Plan (forthcoming 2022/23), and I am the author of the forthcoming Bikeshare Report (2022). This Bikeshare Report reflects my passion for community engagement as I have worked closely with local planners, city officials, a MPO, non-profits, students, residents, and local businesses in creating this report.

Overall: conducted 75 research interviews; created 2 datasets; 7 peer-reviewed publications (4 more papers under review); 9 white papers and policy reports (6 forthcoming 2022/23); 10 thinktank blogposts; 13 national and international conference presentations; received 25 awards, grants, scholarships, fellowships since 2020.

This website contains additional information about my research and teaching.




  1. (Declined) Gerard J. Mangone Climate Change Science & Policy Hub: Graduate Policy Intern (2022)

  2. University of Delaware Summer Doctoral Fellowship: Summer Research Funding (2022)

  3. UNH Carbon Footprinting Certificate and Scholarship (2022)

  4. Community Engagement Initiative: Graduate Summer Scholars Program (2022)

  5. Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Summer Fellowship: American Security Project (2022)

  6. Carl H. Pforzheimer Fellow, National Civic League: National Civic League Grant for Dissertation Fieldwork (2022)

  7. AASHE Sustainability Change Leadership Development Program: Six-month Development Program with Full Scholarship (2022)

  8. Mentor Collective (MC): Mentorship Ambassador: University of Delaware MC Mentorship Ambassador (2022)

  9. University of Delaware Sustainability Council Fellowship: Awardee of the Fellowship (2022-2023)

  10. Princeton Dissertation Scholars Program: Mentorship and Fieldwork Research Grant (2022-2023)

  11. Future Climate Leaders Award: The Aspen Institute (2022)

  12. Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education Scholarship: Conference Registration and Presentation Scholarship (2021)

  13. American Political Science Association (APSA) Grant: Annual Meeting Accessibility Grant (2021)

  14. University of Delaware College of Arts and Sciences Research Grant for Dissertation Fieldwork (2021)

  15. Green Hen Award: Student Award of Excellence: Recognition of Commitment to Campus Sustainability (2021)

  16. Outstanding Senator Award: Graduate Student Government Recognition of Diligence (2022 and 2021)

  17. International Society of Political Psychology Fellow (Grant): 8-10 July 2021, fee waiver from the University of Delaware (2021)

  18. Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (IQMR) Award: 14-25 June, Qualitative Methodology Workshops (2021)

  19. Political Science Graduate Research Award: Annual Award for an Exceptional Professional Paper (2021)

  20. University of Delaware Conference Travel Grant: Conference Participation Fees (WPSA, MPSA) (2021)

  21. University of Delaware Dissertation Fellowship: Awardee of the Fellowship (June 2021 – May 2022)

  22. American Political Science Association (APSA) Grant: First Generation Scholars in the Profession Annual Meeting Accessibility Grant (2020)

  23. Political Science Graduate Research Award: Annual Award for an Exceptional Professional Paper (2020)

  24. University of Delaware: Tuition Waiver 2017-2022