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Blake Antonides, PKP Graduate Fellowship, 2009-2010
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Antonides Receives Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship

June 24, 2009

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MACOMB, IL - - Blake Antonides, a Spring 2009 summa cum laude graduate of Western Illinois University, was awarded a Phi Kappa Phi (PKP) Graduate Fellowship for the 2009-2010 academic year. The fellowship will assist with his studies in the Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago. The one-year Master of Arts degree program, officially an Artium Magister degree, focuses on international political economy, development, human rights, environment and international law.

Antonides, who graduated with a double major in political science and economics as well as a minor in philosophy, said he is looking forward to learning more about - - and eventually working - - in international political economy.

"My thesis (at the University of Chicago) will focus on the nature of international economic cooperation and whether or not it can be strengthened," Antonides said. "This ties in to the broader philosophical debate in international relations, which concerns the absence of a coherent, unified and widely accepted scientific paradigm that governs our fundamental assumptions about the way the international system operates."

Antonides is among 60 students nationwide to receive the Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship, which includes a $5,000 award. The selection process is based on academic performance; leadership and service on campus and in the community; evidence of graduate potential; a personal statement of educational perspective, purpose and objectives; and the recommendation from three individuals who know the student's performance, citizenship and character. He is the 19th WIU student to receive the PKP Fellowship since the University's chapter was chartered in 1972, and the eighth student fellowship winner since 2000.

He served two one-year terms as Western Illinois' Broad of Trustees Student Representative, being elected by the student body and appointed in July 2006 and again in July 2008. During Fall 2007, Antonides completed a semester study abroad program at the University of Oxford, where he complemented his studies as the lead rower on the rowing team. He was the director of governmental relations for the Student Government Association for two years; he served one year as director of public relations for the Legal Association of Western (LAW), an organization for students interested in law school; he participated in the Economics Students Association and Student Philosophical Association; he was awarded the 2008 College of Business and Technology's (CBT) Marvin Butler Scholarship in Economics; and he is a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Antonides also interned with then-U.S. senator Barack Obama (Summer 2007), and the Will County (Joliet, IL) Public Defender's Office (Summer 2008).

"Such highly visible positions introduced me to the skills needed to continue a lifelong career in public service," Antonides said. "My internship with Sen. Obama was at the height of his presidential campaign, and it seemed as if the entire nation turned to his office for support. I patiently worked with a range of constituents, giving me invaluable insight into political realities.

"My future plans include earning a doctorate in international political economy, which I could use to help strengthen international economic relations through the World Trade Organization, located in Geneva, Switzerland," he added. "My research plans will complement my experience in public service, which will ultimately put me a position to help foster much needed international cooperation."

Blake, a 2004 graduate of Plainfield Central High School, where he served as senior class secretary, is the son of Alan and Beverly Antonides of Plainfield.

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