The Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship

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 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 to support the pursuit of a Ph.D., a certificate from SWS, a $500 travel grant to attend SWS’s 2024 Winter Meeting, a $500 travel grant to attend the SWS 2024 Summer Meeting and a one-year complimentary SWS membership (including a subscription to Gender & Society). The Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) honors the awardee with a one-year complimentary membership and waived meeting registration for their 2024 Annual Meeting where the awardee will be honored with a plaque at the Awards Ceremony. SSSP also provides a $300 stipend to be used toward travel to the 2024 SSSP Annual Meeting.

Recognizing Beth B. Hess’s significant contribution to the American Sociological Association (ASA), ASA joins SWS and SSSP in honoring the awardee. ASA provides one year of membership, a $500 travel award, and waived registration for the 2024 ASA Annual Meeting.

The Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award Subcommittee often grants one honorable mention award. There is a $3,500 scholarship attached to this honorable mention award.

What We’ll Be Looking For

To honor Beth Hess’s career, the subcommittee 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.

The award is intended to provide support to a student in the last year of their program. Applicants should have completed data collection and be at the writing stage of the dissertation project. Candidates who are already in the writing stage and apparently close to completion will be preferred, and 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.

Those who are recognized with an honorable mention during any previous year are not eligible to re-apply for the award. Reapplication from previous applicants who have not been recognized with honorable mention are accepted.

The Application

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

Any questions should be directed to Mairead Moloney, 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/indication of a successful defense of the dissertation proposal) in a sociology Ph.D. program and aid award, if any. ABD status is required.
  2. A letter of recommendation from a sociologist who is familiar with the stage of dissertation completion and is knowledgeable about how the applicant fits the award criteria.
  3. Transcript (official or unofficial) from the community or technical college attended.

To be considered, all application materials must be RECEIVED by April 1, 2024, at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.

For further information contact Barret Katuna, SWS Executive Officer ( or Mairead Moloney, Chair of the Beth Hess Award Subcommittee (


For further information contact Mairead Moloney, Beth Hess Award Subcommittee Chair at: (

2023 Selection Subcommittee Members: Myra Marx Ferree, Nancy Naples, Gul Aldikacti Marshall, and Sarah Bruch

2023 Awardees

Torisha Khonach is the 2023 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award Recipient.
ia M. Dickerson is the 2023 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Honorable Mention Awardee.

Past Recipients