The Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship

History and Overview

The Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to an advanced sociology Ph.D. student who began their study in a community college or technical school. A student advanced to candidacy (ABD status) in an accredited Ph.D. program in sociology in the U.S. is eligible to apply if they studied at a U.S. two-year college either part-time or full-time for the equivalent of at least one full academic year that was not part of a high-school dual-enrollment or enrichment program. Students who attended the international equivalent of a U.S. two-year college are also welcome to apply.

The Scholarship carries a stipend of $18,000 from Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) with travel assistance ($300) from the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) to be used to support academic meeting travel., as well as one-year memberships in SWS (including a subscription to Gender & Society) and SSSP. The first award payment of $9,000 will be given at the SWS Summer Awards Banquet, with the second $9,000 payment to come at the SWS Winter Meeting.  SWS and SSSP each will also waive meeting registration and will provide complementary awards reception tickets for the awardee.Recognizing Beth Hess’s significant contributions to the American Sociological Association (ASA), ASA joins SWS and SSSP in supporting and celebrating the awardee at their Annual Meeting. ASA provides an annual membership, complimentary meeting registration to the awardee as well as a $500 travel grant to off-set the cost of Summer Meeting attendance. When there is more than one exceptionally strong candidate, an Honorable Mention Awardee is also selected.

Deadline April 1, 2022 at 11:59 pm ET

What We’ll Be Looking For

To honor Beth Hess’s career, the committee will be looking for: 

  • Commitment to teaching, especially at a community college or other institution serving less-privileged students.
  • Research and/or activism in social inequality, social justice, or social problems, with a focus on gender and/or gerontology being especially positive
  • Service to the academic and/or local community, including mentoring
  • High quality research and writing in the proposal and letter of application.

All else equal, candidates who are already in the writing stage and apparently close to completion will be preferred. While repeat applications are not prohibited, the odds of success are improved by waiting to apply until the applicant is obviously no more than 12 months from defending the dissertation, making the award available to the recipient in the last full year of the PhD program.

The Application

Applications for the award should be submitted via the SWS MemberClicks system at in one file.

Any questions should be directed to Sarah Bruch, Beth Hess Award Subcommittee Chair at: (

Applications must contain the following items in the following order:
  1. A cover sheet with:
    • Name and full contact information, including phone and email
    • Current academic affiliation, with years attended and expected degree date
    • Community college or technical school attended, with years and number of credits completed
    • Name and contact information for graduate faculty reference
    • If included, name of honored faculty member
  2. A letter of application (no more than 2 pages) describing:
    • The student’s decision to study sociology
    • Commitment to teaching
    • Career goals
    • Research agenda
    • Service and activism
    • Dissertation project, including clear indicators of progress to date and future timeline (this summary statement should be approximately 1 page)
    • A description of challenges overcome by the candidate, how these experiences have shaped their service, teaching, and research related to social justice, inequality, or social problems, and their continuing commitment to helping others to overcome challenges specific to them. In recent years these challenges have included family drug use, social class, immigration status, racial minoritization, nonconforming sexuality, etc.
    • Financial need and an overview of how the stipend funds would be used (a budget is not required)
  3. Full curriculum vitae, including all schools, degrees awarded, dates/years of study, and full or part-time status in each.
  4. (Optional) A one-page letter describing a community/technical college faculty member who contributed in a significant way to the decision to study sociology or pursue higher education.

Applicants should also arrange for the following to be submitted via the MemberClicks system. The items below must clearly specify the applicant’s name.

  1. A letter confirming advancement to candidacy (ABD status) in a sociology Ph.D. program and aid award, if any. ABD status is required.
  2. A letter of recommendation from a sociologist.
  3. Transcript (official or unofficial) from the community or technical college attended.

To be considered, all application materials must be RECEIVED by April 1, 2022 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.


For further information contact Subcommittee Chair, Sarah Bruch:

2021 Selection Subcommittee Members: Myra Marx Ferree, Nancy Naples, Toni Calasanti, Elizabeth Seton Mignacca, and Gul Marshall 

2021 Awardees

2021 Jesse Kolber, University of California, Davis

Honorable Mention: Jessica Yorks, University of Connecticut

Past Recipients

2020 Brandi Perri, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Honorable Mention: Sandra Portocarrero, Columbia University 

2019 Laura Jean Kerr,  Mississippi State University
Honorable Mention: Rashon Lane, University of California, San Francisco

2018 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Winner
2018 Melissa Osborne, The University of Chicago
Honorable Mention: Katherine McCabe, University of Illinois at Chicago
2017 Suzan Walters, SUNY-Stony Brook.
Honorable Mention: Daniela Pila, SUNY-Albany
2016 Anastacia Schulhoff, University of Missouri-Columbia
Honorable Mention: Ashleigh McKinzie, University of Georgia
2015 Gina Marie Longo, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Honorable Mention: Yader R. Lanuza, University of California, Irvine
2014 Jennifer Tobin-Gurley, Colorado State University
Honorable Mention: Heather D. Evans, University of Washington
Honorable Mention: Nicholas A. Jordan, The Ohio State University
2013 Anna Sorensen, University of California, Santa Barbara
Honorable Mention: Jessica Dunning-Lozano, University of Texas, Austin
2012 Autumn R. Green, Boston College
Honorable Mention: Laura Logan, Kansas State University
2011 Elizabeth Seton Mignacca, Syracuse University
Honorable Mention: Rose Buckelew, Duke University
2010 Sarah Bruch, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Honorable Mention: Emir Estrada-Loy, University of Southern California
Honorable Mention: Miho Iwata, University of Connecticut
2009 Georgiann Davis, University of Illinois at Chicago
Honorable Mention: April Cubbage-Vega, University of California, Riverside
2008 Crystal Jackson, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Honorable Mention: Christine Schneider, Case Western Reserve University
Honorable Mention: James McKeever, University of Southern California
2007 Mairead Eastin Moloney, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Sternke, Purdue University
2006 Mary Jean Cravens, College of DuPage
2005 Sabrina Alimahomed, University of California-Riverside