Graduate Student Achievements

We are proud of our hard-working graduate students! The Department makes two annual awards to recognize our students' excellence in teaching and research. 

Adeline Gordon Levine Excellence in Teaching Award

The Adeline Gordon Levine Excellence in Teaching Award is a competitive award given to an outstanding graduate instructor of at least two undergraduate sociology courses. 

To be eligible, a graduate student must be enrolled full-time (or its equivalent) in the program, have taught at least two North Campus classroom-based sociology courses (one of which must be a semester-long course, and at least one of which must have been taught since in the past two years), receive a nomination from an undergraduate student, and submit supporting materials. 

Nomination Procedure
Eligible graduate students must be nominated by an undergraduate students. Undergraduate students should submit their nomination and a brief rationale for consideration to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. No self-nominations are accepted.

Members of the Undergraduate and Graduate Studies Committees will evaluate the nominees based on evidence of excellence in teaching activities. The recipient will receive a student membership to ASA; a membership to the ASA Teaching & Learning Section; a subscription to Teaching Sociology, and a cash award bestowed by Adeline Gordon Levine. Please note: The awardee is expected to attend the department’s graduation ceremony in May to receive the award.

Previous Winners

  • 2020: Zachary Evans
  • 2019: Yaqi Sam Yuan
  • 2018: Vinay Kumar
  • 2017: Matthew McLeskey
  • 2016: Jared Strohl
  • 2015: Kiera Duckworth
  • 2014: Daniel Nickolai
  • 2013: Jessica MacNamara

Nathalie Devine Howe Award for Outstanding Scholarship

The Nathalie Devine Howe Award is given annually to recognize outstanding work by master's- or doctoral-level sociology graduate students. Judge Barbara Howe, PhD, adjunct associate professor, and former associate professor in the UB Department of Sociology, established this award in 2009 in honor of her mother. 


  • Submissions must have a title and abstract, follow ASA style, be double-spaced in 12 point font, and not exceed 35 pages (including tables, appendices, and references).
  • Manuscripts must have been written while the author was a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at UB. Collaborative papers are eligible so long as all authors are current Sociology graduate students at UB.
  • Manuscripts may have been submitted for publication, published during the current academic year, accepted for publication, or not submitted for publication. Manuscripts published before the current academic year are not eligible.

Submission Procedure
Submissions must be emailed as a Word or PDF file to the Director of Graduate Studies by 5 pm on the second Monday in April

All submissions will be evaluated by the Graduate Studies committee. The winner(s) is required to receive the award in person at the department’s graduation ceremony in May. The award includes a monetary grant toward travel expenses to attend a professional meeting.

Previous Winners

  • 2020: Yulin Yang, “Chronic Pain, Disability, and Friendship among Middle-Aged and Older Adults in the United States”
  • 2019: Vinay Kumar, “When Heritage Meets Creativity: A Tale of Two Urban Development Strategies in Kampong Glam, Singapore”
  • 2018: Paul Durlak, “Constructing Fairness and the Meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act”
  • 2017: Jessica Hoffman, “‘Everybody Feels the Need to Offer You Advice When You’re Pregnant’: Evaluating the Character and Extent of Trust in Pregnancy Advice Among First-Time Moms”
  • 2016: Aysegul Balta Ozgen, “Organizational Mediation of Immigrant Integration: Transnational Entrepreneurship and Integration with Difference”
  • 2015: Ashley Kranjac, “The Moderating Effect of Self-Efficacy on Normal-Weight, Overweight, and Obese Children’s Math Achievement: A Longitudinal Analysis”
  • 2014: Sibo Zhao, “Mental Health after Childbirth: Growth Trajectories in Depressive Symptoms over Time”
  • 2013: Kiera Duckworth, “Moving Beyond the Racial Binary: Exploring the Racial Repesentations of Women in Sports Illustrated
  • 2012: Sarah H. Smith, “Scripting Sexual Desire: Cultural Scenarios of Teen Girls’ Sexual Desire in Popular Films, 2000-2009”
  • 2011: Cassi Meyerhoffer, “‘I Would Be Like a Grain of Salt in a Pepper Shaker’: Exploring Neighborhood Preferences Among White, Blacks, and Hispanics”
  • 2010: Jordan Willis, “Social Inequality and Attitudes Toward Euthanasia”
  • 2009: Elizabeth Roby, “Marginalized Patients in Emergency Medical Service: Provider Perspectives”

This is a sampling of some of our students’ many other achievements.

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  • Vinay Kumar published an article in City & Community titled "When Heritage Meets Creativity: A Tale of Two Urban Development Strategies in Kampong Glam, Singapore."
  • Matthew McLeskey was awarded the Advanced PhD Fellowship from the Humanities Institute.
  • Vinay Kumar was awarded the 2018-19 Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Award by UB’s Graduate College.
  • Miranda Workman was elected to a 3-year Council position for the Animals & Society section of the American Sociological Association.
  • Miranda Workman, Matthew McLeskey, and Vinay Kumar were each awarded Mark Diamond Research Fund Dissertation Research Grants.


  • Greg Hall published an article in The Sociological Quarterly with recent PhD graduate Rob Kappel titled “Gender, Alcohol, and The Media: The Portrayal of Ideal Men and Women in Alcohol Commercials.”
  • Matthew McLeskey published a book review in Teaching Sociology of Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas by Chris Benner and Manuel Pastor. He also published an essay, “If Adjuncting, Be Strategic,” in the summer 2018 newsletter of ASA’s Teaching & Learning section.
  • Aysegul Balta Ozgen was awarded a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant for $11,995 for her research titled “Impact of Immigration Policies on Syrian Refugees’ Integration in Canada, Germany, Turkey, and the U.S.”
  • Erica Boyce won a 2-year pre-doctoral fellowship with Harvard Univeristy's Center for Education and Policy Research Strategic Data Project.
  • Jared Strohl was awarded the 2017-18 Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Award by UB’s Graduate College in April.
  • Aysegul Balta Ozgen and Sam Yuan were each awarded Dissertation Fellowships from the UB College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Vinay Kumar was awarded a grant from Asian Studies’ Nila T. Gnamm Junior Faculty Research Fund.
  • Matthew McLeskey was awarded a 2018 SAGE Teaching Innovations & Professional Development Award to attend the ASA Teaching & Learning section’s pre-conference workshop. He was also awarded a Mark Diamond Research Fund grant.
  • Jessica Coley was elected as the President of UB’s Graduate Student Association for the 2018-19 academic year.



  • Joanne Tompkins’ chapter coauthored with Debra Street, “Is 70 the New 60? Extending American Women’s and Men’s Working Lives,” is forthcoming in the book, Gender, Ageing, and Extended Working Life: Cross National Perspectives.
  • Miranda Workman’s chapter, “Perceptions of Personality: How What We See Influences Our Perceptions About and Behavior Toward Companion Animals,” is forthcoming in Companion Animals in Everyday Life: Situating Human-Animal Engagement within Cultures (2016).
  • Rob Kappel published an article, “One Person’s Party is Another’s Trash: The Creation of Urban Public Space Through To-Go Cup Laws,” in the School of Management Review.
  • Melis Kural published an article, “Lost (and Gained) in Transition: The Contradictions of
    Gentrification in Alacati, Turkey,” in the School of Management Review.
  • Jared Strohl published an article, “Neoliberalism, Work, and the Growth of Individualism,” in the School of Management Review.
  • Patrick McDonald was awarded a $43,000 grant from Say Yes to Education for a 10-year longitudinal study to better understand factors affecting college success. He was previously awarded grants of $40,000 and $52,000 for this research.