Student Awards

Students in front of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

Undergraduate Students of the Month

Congratulations to the talented Sociology undergraduate students who were honored for the monthly student highlights this past year! 

May 2020:     Bahati Adam

April 2020:    Margret Lee

March 2020:  Kiana Ramirez

Feb. 2020:     Uma Khan

Dec. 2019:     Katherine Worden

Nov. 2019:     Avery Sirwatka

Oct. 2019:     Allen Tabor

May 2019:     Joe Buttino

April 2019:    Leah Barney

2020 Undergraduate Student Awards

Dean’s Recognition Award

Each year the Dean’s office awards an "Outstanding Senior" award in each department. The selected student demonstrates academic excellence exemplified by an exceptional grade point average, is elected to honor societies, participates in research, or has other academic achievements departments may wish to consider. This year, the Dean’s Recognition Award was awarded to Marc Duqueney.

Lucia Maria Houpt Award

The Lucia Maria Houpt Awardis given to a graduating senior exhibiting excellence in sociology. Jamie Bakleh is our winner this year.

Nathaniel Cantor Scholarship

The Nathaniel Cantor Scholarship is for sociology students who plan to enter the fields of social work or vocational rehabilitation. The scholarship this year goes to Emily Ng. Emily will be pursuing her MSW at UB.

Best Undergraduate Student Paper Award

Each year we invite majors and minors to submit term papers or sociological research projects written within the current academic year for consideration for the Best Undergraduate Student Paper Award. Papers were judged based on their incorporation of a sociological perspective, originality, clarity of presentation and readability.

Our first-place winner is Harry Grupper for his paper, “Reading Through the Lens of Mertonian Strain Theory: Is it deviant to not conform to traditional femininity?” In his paper, Harry evaluates the use of Robert Merton’s Strain Theory to analyze gender non-conformity in creative nonfiction.

Our second place winner is E. Allen Tabor for his paper, “Recidivism, Risk Factors, and Treatment.” In his paper, Allen examines risk factors for recidivism and outlines proposals to reduce recidivism rates.

2020 Graduate Student Awards

The Department of Sociology gives two competitive awards to graduate students each year. One is for graduate students who have excelled in teaching and the other is for excellence in research and writing. The department is very fortunate that former faculty members remained actively involved in the success of our graduate program and students, providing the resources to provide prizes along with these awards.

The Nathalie Devine Howe Award is endowed by the Honorable Judge Barbara Howe, former associate professor of sociology and associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. The annual award recognizes outstanding research by graduate sociology students. This year, the department had more nominations for the Nathalie Devine Howe Award than ever before, and the submissions were of very high quality. As a result, the award committee decided to select the winner and two honorable mentions for the 2020 award.

This year’s award goes to Yulin Yang, for her manuscript titled “Chronic Pain, Disability, and Friendship among Middle-Aged and Older Adults in the United States.” Yulin offers a sophisticated analysis of Health and Retirement Survey data to analyze how individuals’ experiences of chronic pain shape the friendships of midlife and older adults in the United States. Her findings suggest that the onset of chronic pain actually increases, rather than decreases, the quantity and quality of friendships among aging adults. Committee members remarked that Yulin’s paper was “novel” and “well-written,” and that it “made excellent use of theory” with “important implications for health and policy research.”

The department is also awarding two honorable mentions this year, to Matthew McLeskey and to Shiyue Cui.

Matthew McLeskey’s paper, “Embedded and Embodied: Urban Decline and the Social Costs of Lead Poisoning Exposure,” makes use of rich interview data to explore how the threat of lead exposure creates hardship, risks and uncertainties for low-income tenants in cities facing population loss and disinvestment.

Shiyue Cui’s paper, “Gentrification after Disaster: A Longitudinal Study of Climate Gentrification in Orleans Parish, 2000-2018,” demonstrates a unique combination of methods and data to show how patterns of development and gentrification in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina exacerbated social inequality.

The Adeline Gordon Levine Excellence in Teaching Award was endowed by Adeline Levine, former professor and sociology department chair,  and is awarded to outstanding graduate student instructors. The department’s 2020 graduate student teaching award goes to Zachary Evans, who teaches challenging undergraduate courses in diversity and in law and society. Student nominators said that he is an “amazing instructor” who “makes class engaging and interactive” and “encourages people to embrace new ideas.”

Congratulations to all of our talented award winners!