Graduate Student Awards
The Department of Sociology at Colorado State University offers multiple awards for graduate student teaching and scholarship. Each year, five awards are offered to graduate students in recognition of outstanding effort and achievements during the academic year. They include:
- Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award – M.A. or Ph.D. student
- Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award – M.A. or Ph.D. student
- Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award – M.A. student
- Graduate Student Research Excellence Award – Ph.D. student
- Graduate Student Social Change Scholarship – M.A. or Ph.D. student
These awards are designed to recognize outstanding graduate students for their important academic and professional contributions to teaching, research, and the study of social change. Award recipients are chosen based on their strong commitment and innovative work in key areas emphasized by the graduate program, the quality and rigor of academic work produced by the student, assessment by peers and colleagues, and the quality of their written application materials.
The Department of Sociology is pleased to honor the significant accomplishments of our graduate students.
Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award
Jamie Willis (co-recipient 2015-16)
Jamie Willis is a Master’s student in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University (CSU). She received her B.S. at Missouri State University with a concentration in Public Sociology. Her research interests include social inequalities and stratification, political sociology, and community studies. Her past research has focused on homeless youth, and service learning within higher education. For her thesis, she is examining the presence of cultural and political polarization within the United States, while making a methodological contribution to the study of polarization. As a teaching assistant at CSU, she has worked with many different faculty to develop and enhance their courses.
Nefratiri Weeks (co-recipient 2015-16)
Nefratiri Weeks is pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology with a concentration in Political Economy and Economic Sociology at Colorado State University (CSU). Her current research focuses on alternative movements that attempt to counter the damages from free market economics and ongoing trade inequalities between nations, especially emphasizing the fair trade and ethical finance/investment movements. She is concerned with issues of economic justice, paradigms of development, and political inequalities between and within nations. As an M.A. student, she served as a teaching assistant for many different courses at CSU, ranging from criminology to social inequality.
Cherilyn Sprague (2014-15)
Cherilyn Sprague is a Master’s Student in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University. She received her B.A. at the University of South Florida in Sociology. Her research interests include environmental justice, natural resource sociology, and alternative food movements. In addition to completing her thesis research on the ways that sustainable agriculture and oil and gas development interact in Northern Colorado, she is also assisting Dr. Malin with research on the quality of life impacts of unconventional oil and gas development. She loves exposing her students to sociological ideas, particularly ideas about environmental justice and how this intersects with their own lives as residents of Northern Colorado.
Amber Kizewski (2013-14)
Amber Kizewski is a Master’s student in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University. She received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Spanish and Sociology. Her research interests include social change, the environment, gender, race, and ethnicity. Her objective as a budding educator is to ensure that every student she comes into contact with inside or outside of the classrooms never thinks or feels that he/she is merely a cog in the machine. Her pedagogical stance has been greatly influenced by her outstanding mentors and throughout the years she has reconstructed what it means to be an “outstanding” teacher. As an educator, she aims to foster intellectual development by creating an atmosphere where students: 1) are encouraged to engage with relevant class material 2) set high academic standards for themselves 3) respect intellectual diversity and 4) experience repeated and recurring opportunities to act, respond, and interact with each other and their teacher.
Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award
Jennifer Tobin-Gurley (2015-16)
Jennifer Tobin-Gurley is the Director of Research and Engagement at the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis and a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University (CSU). As a graduate instructor, Jennifer has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses including Sociology of Disasters: SOC 463 at CSU, Introduction to Women’s Studies: WST 201 at Front Range Community College, and Foundations of Research in Disaster and Emergency Management: HUMS 551 at Royal Roads University. She earned her B.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies from CSU in 2005 and M.A. in Sociology in 2008. Her dissertation research will focus on the educational continuity of two schools following the 2013 floods in northern Colorado.
Aude Chesnais (2014-15)
Aude Chesnais is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department, where she works on issues of post-colonial resilience in two Native American reservations in South Dakota. Prior to coming to CSU, Aude earned a M.A. in Social and Fair Economy at the Universite de Haute Alsace, France and a B.A. in International trade at the Universite of Rennes, France. Her dissertation work focuses on practices of social change and local techniques to cope with colonial trauma and socio-economic hardships in Native American communities. She is specifically exploring how local responses challenge mainstream definitions of resilience. Her areas of strength include Postcolonial and Indigenous studies, Resilience, Participatory Action Research, Public Sociology and Social Economy.
Jackie Gabriel (2013-14)
Jackie Gabriel is a Doctoral Candidate and Graduate Student Sociology Instructor at Colorado State University. She received a B.A. is Sociology from the University of Iowa. She also holds a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is currently conducting research for her doctoral dissertation, which is a case study of a prolonged and on-going lockout, the longest in U.S. history, involving the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 86D and Grain Processing Corporation, Inc. (GPC) in Muscatine, Iowa.
Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award
Lucy Carter (2015-16)
Lucy Carter is a Fulbright Scholar from New Zealand. She received her M.A. from the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University in 2016, andshe completed her B.A. in Sociology at the University of Otago, New Zealand, in 2012. Her winning paper, “An Institutional Analysis of the Formulation of American Indian and Alaska Native Federal Disaster Policy,” offers an exploratory tracing of the most significant institutions, events, legislation, and social issues contributing to contemporary tribal disaster policies. She successfully defended her Master’s thesis under the supervision of Dr. Lori Peek in the spring of 2016. Lucy is also contributing to several projects as a research associate at the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis (CDRA) at CSU.
Graduate Student Research Excellence Award
Corey Wrenn (2015-16)
Corey Wrenn is a Lecturer of Sociology with Monmouth University. She received her Ph.D. from Colorado State University in 2016. She completed her M.S. in Sociology in 2008, and her B.A. in Political Science in 2005, both from Virginia Tech. She was awarded Exemplary Diversity Scholar, 2016 by the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity. She served as council member to the American Sociological Association’s Animals & Society section (2013-2016) and is an advisory board member with the International Network for Social Studies on Vegetarianism and Veganism with the University of Vienna. She contributes to the Human-Animal Studies Images and Cinema blogs for the Animals and Society Institute and has been published in several peer-reviewed academic journals including the Journal of Gender Studies, Disability & Society, the Journal of Agriculture & Environmental Ethics, Food, Culture & Society, and Society & Animals. In July 2013, she founded the Vegan Feminist Network, an academic-activist project engaging intersectional social justice praxis. She is the author of A Rational Approach to Animal Rights: Extensions in Abolitionist Theory (Palgrave Macmillan 2016).
Adam Mayer (2014-15)
Adam Mayer began his PhD in Sociology in 2011 after completing his MA at the University of Cincinnati. His dissertation focusses on policy attitudes towards hydraulic fracturing among Coloradoans. As part of this dissertation he is investigating how perceptions of the significance of different industries (i.e., “community economic identity”), actual proximity to oil and gas activity, and risk and benefit perceptions influence policy attitudes. In addition, this dissertation “borrows” policy valuation techniques from environmental economics which have had very little sociological application. Other research projects include a series of papers investigating the health and environmental consequences of the “Great Recession” using international survey data (with E. Keith Smith), a study of effects of green buildings on occupant well-being (with Drs. Jeni Cross and Tara Shelley), and an investigation of the performance of a mediation technique for non-linear models (with Dr. Mike Lacy and E. Keith Smith). Adam is also a research assistant to Dr. Stephanie Malin on a NIH-funded project investigating the quality of life implications of local oil and gas drilling.
Claudia Rosty (2014-15)
Claudia Rosty is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at Colorado State University and a Visiting Researcher at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). She received her B.A. in Economics and Public Relations from the University of Northern Iowa and M.S. in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University. Claudia is the recipient of the Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Fellowship Program and she is currently conducting her dissertation research titled: Fair Trade Certified Coffee Estates: Can Fair Trade Promote Workers’ Empowerment and Gender Equity in Brazilian and Nicaraguan Coffee Plantations?
Jennifer Tobin-Gurley (2013-14)
Jennifer Tobin-Gurley is a research coordinator at the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis and a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University (CSU). She earned her B.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies from CSU in 2005 and M.A. in Sociology in 2008. Her research received first-place in both the 2011 Hazards and Disasters Student Paper Competition and the 2011 U.S. Gender and Disaster Resilience Alliance Paper Competition. Jennifer is the recipient of the 2014 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship, the 2014 Graduate Student Research Excellence Award from the Department of Sociology, and was chosen by CSU’s School of Global and Environmental Sustainability as a 2014-15 Sustainability Leadership Fellow. Jennifer is currently the research coordinator for Youth Creating Disaster Recovery and Resilience, which focuses on the recovery of youth following disasters across Canada and the U.S. Her dissertation research will expand on this project to include the experiences of youth following the 2013 floods in northern Colorado.
Graduate Student Social Change Scholarship
Stacia S. Ryder (2015-16)
Stacia S. Ryder is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University. She also received her M.A. in Sociology and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from Colorado State University. Currently, Stacia serves as the Assistant Editor for Society and Natural Resources. She is also a research assistant at the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis and the program coordinator for Environmental Justice CSU, a School of Global Environmental Sustainability Global Challenges Research Team. Stacia’s broad research interests include: resource extraction, environmental sociology, sociology of disasters, and the unequal distribution of costs and benefits in the context of these focal areas.
Jackie Gabriel (2013-14)
Jackie Gabriel is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at CSU. Over the past decade, her research has focused on social and economic changes brought on by globalization and industrial restructuring within the U.S. economy. Her earlier research focused on restructuring within the American meatpacking industry and efforts to unionize contemporary meatpacking workers. Her recent work involves industrial restructuring and labor relations within the grain processing industry in America's Heartland. She is currently conducting field research for her doctoral dissertation which is a case study of a prolonged and on-going lockout, the longest in U.S. history, involving the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local (UFCW) 86D and Grain Processing Corporation, Inc. (GPC) in Muscatine, Iowa.
Aude Chesnais (2012-13)
Aude Chesnais comes from France, where she has completed her education in Applied Sociology prior to her PhD at CSU. She works on postcolonial resilience in the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River reservations, South Dakota. Aude's areas of strength include the theoretical and practical implementation of social sustainability and social economy, local empowerment through community-based development, Participatory Action Research and social mapping, the socio-cultural tenets of alternative food-systems and the socio-political stakes of decolonizing methodologies in Native American reservations.
Claudia Magalhaes Rosty (2011-12)
Claudia Magalhaes Rosty received a B.A. in Economics and Public Relations from University of Northern Iowa. She holds a master's degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University. Her research interests include social movements, social justice, gender, development theories and globalization. For her dissertation, she is currently studying the trends in the fair trade movement and the impact on Brazilian coffee small-scale farmers and hired laborers.
Daniel Newell McLane (2010-11)
Daniel Newell McLane received a B.A. in Africana Studies from Binghamton University. He also holds both an M.A. in International Affairs from American University and an M.A. in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from the United Nations' University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica. He has conducted field research in the United States, Southern Africa, and Latin America. His research interests include environmental sociology, sustainable development, and theories of social change. Daniel's dissertation concerns the effects of an ecotourism experience on the participants' conceptions of, and connection to, nature.
Meghan Mordy (2009-10)
Meghan Mordy was with the Peace Corps in El Salvador and completed her Master's in Public Administration studying farmers' cooperatives in Central America. She joined the CSU Sociology Ph.D. program in 2008 to study development, education, and the sociology of childhood. She is currently working on her dissertation, which explores children's educational experiences and pathways in El Salvador.
Erica Schelly (2008-09)
Erica Schelly received a master's degree in Sociology at CSU. Her research interests include fair and alternative trade, development, social movements, and sustainability. Erica was a research assistant with the Center for Fair and Alternative Trade (CFAT) and her thesis research focused on the fair trade flower industry in Latin America.
Michael Long (2007-08)
Michael Long's doctoral dissertation examined the relationship between social movement values and alternative trade. His interests include fair and alternative trade systems, quantitative methodology, statistics, and corporate/government crime.
Jennifer Keahey (2006-07)
Jennifer Keahey received a B.A. in Anthropology and French from the University of Utah and a M.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University. She has worked in Latvia, France, Ghana, and Japan in international education and development. In 2005, she conducted research on organic market development in Latvia under a Fulbright grant. She received a Ph.D. in Sociology at CSU and was a research assistant at the Center for Fair and Alternative Trade Studies (CFATS). Her research interests include development sociology, political economy, gender, and fair trade. She co-authored a chapter with Dr. Laura Raynolds on the topic of fair trade, gender, and the environment in Africa. Her dissertation explores worker empowerment within South African fair trade wine commodity chains.
Sarah Beach (2005-06)
Sarah Beach earned a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from Northern Arizona University in 1998, and in May of 2007, she completed her M.A. degree in Sociology at CSU. Her thesis, which was completed under the supervision of Dr. Peter Leigh Taylor, was entitled "No Free Lunch: Value Conflicts and Community in a Cooperative Social Movement Organization in America." Her research focuses on environmental issues in general and sustainable lifestyle practices and food security more specifically.