by Miriam Boeri, JLPSC Coordinator

The Judith Little Problem Solving Competition, an annual student event at the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology (AACS) conferences continues to attract the best and brightest of future applied sociologists. Eight student teams participated in the 2015 meeting in Montgomery, Alabama. The list of schools, students and their dedicated faculty sponsors appears at the end of this report.

The Judith Little Problem Solving Competition (JLPSC) provides students with a meaningful way to exercise their sociological skills. The JLPSC coordinator solicits a problem from a local agency or organization and students teams provide sociological solutions. The local agency this year was the Montgomery Area Council On Aging (MACOA) giving a problem regarding their Meals On Wheels (MOW) program: “How can MACOA recruit and retain MOW volunteers age 50 and younger? The MACOA representative was Pam Goodwin. On behalf of the JLPSC I want to thank Ms. Goodwin for her participation and for her generous time and attention to the students when she arranged for them to visit MACOA.

Teams present their solutions to the AACS audience on the last day of the conference. The audience includes an adjudicating body of judges who are AACS members and the representative of the agency providing the problem. The judges who gave their time and attention to this year’s event included Stephen F. Steele, Steele Associates, LLC; Robert Kettlitz, Hastings College; Melissa S. Fry, Indiana University Southeast; Aukje Lamonica, Southern Connecticut State University, and Marilyn Dyck, The Doorway. This past year the judges were called upon throughout the year to work with me as we developed a rubric and more detailed criteria for judging the student’s solutions, in response to a request from the previous year’s student participation teams. The dedication shown by these judges was beyond the usual call of duty and I thank them for their valuable insight and expertise.


Student participants from Oklahoma State University
presenting their solutions to audience and judges

It is always difficult to identify a “winner” among so many team solutions that each provide suggestions and recommendations that can be used by the agency. This was one of the reasons a detailed rubric was developed, and the judges were able to establish two clear winners who tied on the numerical criteria in the rubric assessment as well as their qualitative assessment of their presentations. The winners for the 2015 JLPSC were the teams from Oklahoma State University and Elizabethtown College. The team that received the “Honorable Mention” chosen by the agency representative was Virginia Wesleyan College. The JLPSC committee on the behalf of the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology congratulates these teams as well as eight teams that participated in this year’s event.

Reiterating the theme selected by the AACS 2015 conference President Anthony (Troy) Adams, we encourage the students to keep working for social justice from the local to the global. You are the future of applied sociology!


Student participants from Virginia Wesleyan College with Sponsors

JLPSC 2015 Student Teams and faculty sponsors (in alphabetical order):
Alabama State University
Sponsor: Herbert (Ike) Burson
Student Participants: QuiAndria Jacquelynne James, Janeilia Hamilton, Laqunda Nystrom, Alexis Shontelle Turner

Alabama State University
Sponsor: Elisha Jasper Dung
Student Participants: Atinuke Lydar Abegunrin, Tiffany Riley, Gabrielle King

Anne Arundel Community College
Sponsor: Gina Finelli
Student Participants: Ashley Gray, Tony Handle, Jason Winters

Elizabethtown College (1st prize)
Sponsor: Michele Lee Kozimor-King
Student Participants: Samantha Poremba, Caitlin Lockard, Philip Ebersole

Huston-Tillotson University
Sponsor: Mike Hirsch
Student Participants: Ja’Quan Johnson, Brittany Chopane, Shaniqua Castille

Oklahoma State University (1st prize)
Sponsor: Dahlia Gonzalez Molloy
Student Participants: Casey Crook, Jawaan Neighbors, Marissa Foore

Radford University
Sponsor: Elizabeth Lyman
Student Participants: Sierra Alexander, Bianca Dickerson, Deryk Jackson, Nijeria Jones

Virginia Wesleyan College (Honorable mention)
Sponsors: Alison Marganski and Kathy Stolley
Student Participants: Haley Stromberg, Sierra Garnett, Hali Goad, Lauren Amos

This team created a website you can view at http://smgarnett.wix.com/montgomery; This team submitted an executive summary