AACS Awards

The Awards Committee of the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology (AACS) administers the awards of the association and recommends recipients of awards for approval by the Board. The Immediate Past President chairs the awards committee, consulting with the AACS executive committee and the local arrangements committee. The “Call for Nominations for AACS Awards” was distributed multiple times via email to the AACS listserv. It was also posted on the AACS website for access by members and the general public, and circulated through the professional networks of AACS Board members.

2023 Recipients

AACS Presidential Award  – Ethan Levine,  Ph.D.

Paul Wellstone Community Service Award: (selected by Local Arrangements Committee) Katie Schubert, Ph.D.

  • The Local Arrangements Committee recommended Dr. Katie Schubert to receive the Paul Wellstone Community Service Award.  Dr. Schubert earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Florida in 2014.  Dr. Schubert is a Certified Sex Therapist and Educator and a nationally certified counselor.  She has an MA from Adams State University and was a triple major in Anthropology, Criminology, and Psychology and Social Behavior at the undergraduate level at the University of California, Irvine.
    • Dr. Schubert has taught part-time in the Applied Sociology program at the University of Tampa.  Her course in Clinical and Counseling Sociology has been particularly well received.  In 2019 she started up Cypress Wellness Center in St. Petersburg, Fl which has since empowered hundreds of clients that have received therapeutic services from the Center.  I asked Katie to describe the practice in her own words:”I started Cypress Wellness Center in 2019. I started by hiring two therapists. They both got full pretty quickly and I hired more… and more. Today, we have 23 therapists plus support staff. I’ve also created a teaching institution within Cypress for mental health students in their graduate program. We offer them clients and a community of therapists they consult with on a weekly basis. We believe in providing therapy to everyone who needs it. For this reason, we partnered with a local non-profit (Project No Labels) so we can offer free services to people who inquire about therapy but can’t afford it. Further, we have multiple specialties at Cypress, so we can help most clients who seek treatment. 

William J. Wilson Award.  Presented to an individual or group whose work has been demonstrably effective in breaking the cycle of poverty.

  • This year’s Awardee is Joyce Hamilton, Ph.D., M.S.W. on behalf of the ACLU of Florida.
  • Dr. Joyce Hamilton is the Senior Strategy and Special Projectors Advisor and Interim Political Director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida.
  • Dr. Hamilton has held leadership positions in the nonprofit sector and in academe. She is an activist for racial and social justice, works tirelessly to amplify the voices of underrepresented and marginalized groups, and encourages involvement in the civic and political process.
  • She joined the ACLU of Florida in 2008 and has worked in the areas of policy, advocacy, and development. She has worked at the local, state, and national levels on a range of civil liberties and civil rights issues including felon enfranchisement, voting rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, juvenile justice, criminal justice, racial justice, and police practices.
  • She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Relations from the University of Connecticut, a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, and a doctorate degree in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
  • Earlier in her career, Dr. Hamilton was a psychiatric social worker at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Connecticut. She was the Director of the Office of Multicultural Programs at the University of Hartford. In that capacity, she managed, developed, and implemented programs to assist with the recruitment and retention of students of color and to addressed broader issues of diversity and inclusion on the college campus.  She was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Hartford for 20 years where she taught in African American Studies and in the Departments of Sociology and Psychology. Her areas of expertise include race and ethnic relations, Caribbean immigrants, the Caribbean Diaspora, voting rights, civic and political engagement.
  • She has conducted research on the Caribbean Diaspora and is a staunch advocate for immigrants. She is published in the field of social work and has presented regionally, nationally, and internationally on a range of topics.  She is the author of No One Asked Us: The Under-representation of African Americans and Latinos on Local Boards and Commissions and has co-authored several papers on West Indian immigrants.

The Robert Ezra Park Award for Sociological Practice.  This year’s awardee is Dr. Adeela Rehman for her unique impact on Pakistani society.

Presented to an outstanding sociologist who has made a special contribution demonstrating how sociological practice (applied or clinical) can advance and improve society.

  • Position/Organization: Assistant Professor/Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi Pakistan
  • Dr.  Adeela Rehma completed her Ph.D. in Sociology and anthropology from the International Islamic University, Malaysia, and did her Master in Gender Studies from Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi. She is currently serving as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Pakistan. Her areas of expertise are; medical/health sociology, public health, social entrepreneurship, culture, and gender issues on which she has presented at a number of national and international conferences and seminars as a presenter and a guest speaker in the USA, Malaysia, China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Turkey. In recognition of her teaching excellence in research in the fields of gender, health, social innovation, and sociology, she has been awarded numerous national and international awards one of them is: “Rosina C. Chia Teaching of Excellence Award 2015” presented by Global Partners in Education USA on the 12th Day of May 2015. She worked at The University of Texas, Austin USA as visiting faculty in 2013 for one semester.  Being a Gender Expert and a Medical Sociologist, she is interested in studying women’s health issues and problems with reference to the healthcare system of Pakistan.  She also received a number of awards for her professional activities and always volunteers herself for various academic and non-academic activities. She is also a member of various social and research-oriented national and international associations. 

The Alex Boros Award for Contributions to the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociologypresented to an AACS member who has served AACS with distinction.  

Jan Marie Fritz, Ph.D., C.C.S

  • Position/Organization  Professor, University of Cincinnati; Distinguished Visiting Professor, University Of Johannesburg and Adjunct Professor, Taylor’s University (Malaysia)
    • A major recent accomplishment was “…adoption by the Cincinnati, Ohio City Council of a resolution and then two ordinances to become a city for CEDAW (this effort to get the city to do a gender analysis and then make changes began with a project in my [the nominator’s] class – social justice and the city.  (to do this, Jan organized and led a community organization.)
    • Jan studied mandatory retirement of older adults in Iceland.  This is a hidden issue of social justice.  Jan sent the research to each member of the Icelandic parliament and, at the invitation of a parliament member, met with several members to discuss the issue.  Jan also was invited to discuss this on the most important national news show (public broadcasting) in Iceland. This research paper was given the outstanding scholarship award in 2023 by the international sociological association’s clinical sociology division.
    • Jan has just finished doing a comparative analysis of the situation of older adults in Iceland (mandatory retirement) and South Korea (involuntary retirement).  As soon as this is published, it will be sent to each member of parliament in Iceland and South Korea. 
    • Jan has for many years analyzed national action plans based on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 Women and Peace and Security.  Because of this work,  have been able to meet with many who are developing or revising their plans.  Jan also is now part of the effort (through the universities network for the protection of children in armed conflict), to urge countries to include specifics about the protection of children in those national action plans.
    • Jan is a Fulbright Specialist (consultant).  Jan has been working with them by helping increase the internationalization of the department of social sciences and helped make a plan for implementing he university’s new gender policy.”
    • This is in addition to Jan’s tireless work over the past 40+ years to document the history of clinical sociology and advance sociological practice at the US national and international levels. She has been instrumental in the growth of clinical and applied sociology in South Africa and across the world, including bringing many of our officers and members into the fold, has been behind the new Clinical Sociology journal, and continues to advocate for sociological practice through the International Sociological Society and elsewhere.

Stanley Capela, Ph.D.

  • Stan retired this year from Heartshare.
  • “I think Stan deserves credit for his years of service to AACS. He is one of the founding members of AACS. Without Stan there probably would not be an AACS. He has been active on the AACS’s board. For example, he was active in the membership committee and contributed to the survey of past and present members. Also, he has been actively contributing to the conference committee. Furthermore, he has helped to promote applied sociology and AACS. Also, he has been active in other organizations related to applied and clinical sociology. For example, he is active in ASA,  AEA, and the Commission on Accreditation.

The Lester F. Ward Distinguished Contributions to Applied and Clinical Sociology Award, presented to a person who has made a significant contribution to applied and clinical sociology over a period of ten or more years. This year’s winner is Deborah Phelps, Ph.D., C.C.S., M.P.E.

  • Professor of Sociology and Former Department Chair, Department of Behavioral Sciences; Fontbonne University, St. Louis, MO
  • “It is my honor to nominate Dr. Deborah Phelps for the 2023 AACS Lester F. Ward Award. Dr. Phelps gracefully lives up to the standard of the Association’s most prestigious award as “a person who has made a significant contribution to applied and clinical sociology over a period of ten or more years” – more accurately “over a lifetime”. I have known and worked with Dr. Phelps, professionally, for over two decades while she served as Chair of the AACS Certification Committee and in my capacity as Chair of the Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology (CAPACS). Dr. Phelps – Debbie – and I presented joint accreditation and certification sessions at AACS and regional sociological association annual meetings. In CAPACS, Debbie and I served together on accreditation review committee and site visit teams. Dr.
  • Phelps’ numerous professional association memberships, service, awards, and publications speak volumes about her and are too numerous to cite – with one exception: most proudly, Dr. Phelps is the author of Franks Arms: Stories and Lessons from a Care Giver and Patient Advocate. In 2014, Debbie asked me to review her manuscript and provide a quote for the cover. Frank’s Arms was published in paperback by Graphic Connections Group in 2015, and digitally by Mira Digital Publishing in 2016. In 2018, I submitted a book review published in AACS’s Journal of Applied Social Science (18 March 2018, 1:59-61). Debbie holds two Masters and a PhD in Medical Sociology/Social Psychiatry and Social Psychology from Yale University with a National Institutes of Health (NIH) pre- doctoral fellowship. In her post-graduate work, she earned a master’s degree in psychiatric epidemiology and biostatistics from Washington University in St. Louis as a postdoctoral fellow with the NIH. Dr. Phelps is an accomplished sociologist in academe, having earned her titles as a Professor of Sociology and the Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Fontbonne University in St. Louis MO. Her specializations include race relations, alcohol studies, illness prevention, complementary medicine/alternative healing, and mental health services. Dr. Phelps is also a consummate sociological practitioner, earning her certification as a clinical sociologist in AACS in 1995, and continuing her clinical work as an associate with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.
  • In 2019, Dr. Phelps received AACS’s Alex Boros Award for her distinctive service to the Association.”

2021 Recipients

Alex Boros Award for Contributions to the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology

About the award

Presented to an AACS member who has served AACS with distinction

2021 recipient

Steve Steele, PhD is the Past President (twice!) of the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology, an organization for which he has worked tirelessly and enthusiastically for many years. He has also held a variety of other positions over the course of his career. Between 2001 – 2010 he taught college courses in sociology at the Patuxent Institute, a maximum security prison in Maryland. In June 2013 he retired after more than four decades as a Professor of Sociology and Futures Studies at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland. He was a Visiting Professor of Sociology and Economics at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the public honors college for Maryland from spring 2013-2015. He also had a key role in the creation of the Center for the Study of Local Issues (CSLI), an innovative program now in its third decade that supports applied research in the local community. Throughout his career Dr. Steele has crafted courses in applied sociology at the sophomore through graduate levels. He continues to lead others in creating vehicles for local research and development of community futures. He has been active and visible in applied sociology for over 40 years. Awards from Johns Hopkins University, the American Sociological Association, the Society for Applied Sociology, and the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology reflect his prowess in teaching and practice. His writing includes Solution-Centered Sociology: Addressing Problems through Applied Sociology with Annie Scarisbrick-Hauser and Bill Hauser (Sage Publications, 1999) and Applied Sociology: Topics, Terms, Tools and Tasks with Jammie Price (Wadsworth 2003, Cengage, second edition 2008).

Lester F. Ward Distinguished Contribution to Applied and Clinical Sociology Award

About the award

Presented to a person who has made a significant contribution to applied and clinical sociology over a period of ten or more years.

2021 Recipient

Jack Whalen, PhD has exercised the application of sociology across a variety of positions for the past 40 years. His expertise lies in integrating sociological insights into projects that focus on sustainability, marine conservation, user/customer experience, design methodology, and information architecture. Following the receipt of his PhD in Sociology from the University of California-Santa Barbara in the early 1980s, he served as faculty in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oregon for more than ten years, including as Department Head. He then transitioned to several positions outside academia, including as Principal Scientist at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center. Dr. Whalen currently holds dual positions: (1) As Professor Emeritus of Design and Ethnographic Research at Aalto University in Helsinki, he is the Principal Investigator for an Academy of Finland-funded project, ‘Getting Collaborative Design done: An Enquiry into Mundane and Strategic Organising of Co-Design in 21st Century’. In his faculty position he is also responsible for teaching ethnography and user-centered design methods to graduate students in industrial design, supervision and tutorials for MA and PhD candidates, and workshops on field research for design projects. (2) As Programme Director of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, an international NGO that provides strategic and technical guidance to seafood suppliers and producers, he coordinates projects on small-scale/artisanal fisheries. This work includes analysis the socioeconomic impact of fishery regulations on Indonesian blue swimming crab fishers and the design of measures to mitigate that impact, along with developing a methodology for assessing the socioeconomic performance of fisheries.

The Robert Ezra Park Award for Sociological Practice

About the award

The Park award is presented to an outstanding sociologist who has made a special contribution demonstrating how sociological practice (applied or clinical) can advance and improve society.

2021 Recipient

Jennifer Esala, PhD has been a Research Associate with the Center for Victims of Torture, an international NGO (https://www.cvt.org), since 2013. In this role she conducts research and program evaluation for the Center’s direct service programs in the United States. She also supports advocacy evaluation and capacity building initiatives with its New Tactics program. Her work addresses a range of topics, including identifying effective approaches to integrated care for refugees and asylum seekers; assessing the effectiveness of mental health interventions in diverse populations and across cultures; measuring the influence of race and ethnicity in mental health access and subsequent outcomes; developing usable evaluation resources for human right activists in the Global South; assessing treatment outcomes (and mediating factors) in the Center’s domestic programs; and measuring development for refugees and asylum seeker populations and for mental health organizations (stand-alone and integrated). Dr. Esala received her Ph.D. in medical sociology from the University of New Hampshire and previously held research positions at the Carsey School of Public Policy, the OMNI Institute, and The University of Colorado’s Clinical Translational Science Institute.

The President’s Award

About the award

The Presidents Award is presented to an individual for outstanding work in applied and/or clinical sociology. The president, in consultation with the awards committee, shall recommend the recipient of the President’s Award.

2021 Recipient​

Joshua Tepfer, JD, is Lead Counsel with The Exoneration Project and the keynote speaker at the 2021 AACS Conference. He has dedicated his career to addressing systemic racism and paving the way for transformative social change. A partner at Loevy & Loevy, he has represented the criminally accused since 2004, first as an attorney with the Chicago Office of the State Appellate Defender (2004-2008) and then as an Assistant Clinical Professor with Northwestern University School of Law, where he served as the Project Director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (2008-2015). Mr. Tepfer graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004 and with a B.A. in Sociology from Grinnell in 1997. He dedicates most of his time to representing the wrongfully convicted pro bono with the Exoneration Project. Mr. Tepfer has been involved in the exoneration of roughly 65 men and women, and he litigates wrongful conviction cases all over the country. He has published and presented frequently on issues related to wrongful convictions, false confessions, police misconduct, and juvenile justice. He has appeared on many national and local news outlets discussing issues related to criminal justice. He is also a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, where he teaches a clinical course.

The Paul Wellstone Community Service Award

About the Award

This award is presented to a person or organization in the community where the annual meeting is held. The recipient of this award will have made significant and noteworthy applied sociological contributions in the community they serve.

2021 Recipient

The YMCA of Greater Louisville, the organization serving as the client in the Client Problem Solving Competition at the 2021 AACS Conference, has demonstrated tireless efforts in working with local communities to foster youth programs, child welfare, education, community health, employment, and quality of life. Their Development & Mission Advancement Director, Dennis Enix, recognizes the breadth of social issues and the need to address social problems in the local community. Mr. Enix and the YMCA uses sociologically informed research to better implement their services to improve their agency’s goals, and is an excellent example of applied sociology in action. 

AACS 2021 Annual Conference Student Awards

Client Problem-Solving Competition

Congratulations to the University of Tampa team for winning the 2021 Client Problem Solving Competition and thank you to the YMCA of Greater Louisville for the opportunity to engage students of sociology with a challenging social problem. For more information about the Client Problem Solving Competition or to register a team for the next competition at the 2022 AACS Conference in Louisville, please visit https://www.aacsnet.net/client-problem-solving-competition/

Undergraduate Paper Competition

Another Hidden Privilege for the White and the Rich: The Effect of Cultural Capital on Educational Outcomes
Hong (Ariel) Chan

Graduate Paper Competition

Chance for Reversal – How Opioid Use Predicts Narcan and 911 Good Samaritan Law Knowledge
Laura Lightfoot

3 Minute Thesis Competition

The impact of sociocultural determinants on maternal health by
Saliha Bibi Fatima