Outstanding Student Award

Outstanding Student Award

Each year the sociology department faculty chooses a graduating senior sociology major to receive the American Sociological Association’s Departmental Prize for Outstanding Student.  The recipient of this award is recognized for their outstanding academic achievement at the campus-wide May awards ceremony that takes place during Commencement weekend.  The student’s name is placed on the department plaque which is displayed prominently in the Sociology Department.

The following are some of the factors the department considers in selecting the awardee:

  • overall and sociology GPA
  • participation in the Honors Program
  • involvement in class
  • research fellowships or awards
  • reading or publishing papers at conferences
  • graduate/professional school plans


brigaglianoClass of 2013 Winner:  John Brigagliano

The winner of the 2013 Outstanding Student Award is John Brigagliano, a Sociology major and History minor.  John arrived at Wake Forest with a longstanding interest in the social sciences and in environmental science.  In Dr. Simon’s introductory class, he realized that Sociology applied the holistic logic he had been introduced to in environmental science to the social sciences.  While at Wake, John enjoyed diverse course offerings the department has to offer, including courses with theoretical and empirical bents.   After graduation John will be teaching high school science in Delaware with Teach for America.  He plans to earn additional degrees in Education, Law, or Sociology.  Congratulations, John!


Class of 2013 Honorable Mentions: Christina Bonner, Lacey McKinney, and Molly Mitzner

This year the sociology department recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of three students and whose stellar sociological work earned them honorable mentions for the Outstanding Student Award.


Christina Bonner, a sociology major with minors in psychology and entrepreneurship first became interested in sociology after taking Dr. Wahl’s Social Problems class.  The broad based analysis of current day macro-level social issues sparked her interest in taking more sociology classes and subsequently, declaring the major.  The seminar style classes and accessibility of the professors has allowed her to tailor the curriculum to my interests: business and law.  After graduation she plans to work for a few years before pursuing an MBA or similar degree.



Sociology major Lacey McKinney became interested in sociology, particularly criminology, after taking Dr. Bechtel’s Deviant Behavior class as a freshman.  During her senior year she completed an honors thesis, under the supervision of Dr. Gunkel, entitled, “Reexamining the Southern Subculture of Violence: The Relationships between Gun Ownership and Attitudes, Racial Intolerance, Religious Fundamentalism and Social Interaction.” After graduation she plans to attend Appalachian State University to complete a Master of Science program  in Criminal Justice and Criminology.



Molly Mitzner is a double major in Sociology and French Studies, with a Mathematics minor.  She first discovered Sociology in Dr. Wahl’s Social Problems course.  At Wake she has been very involved in Campus Kitchen, and she plays the flute in two small ensembles on campus.  She studied abroad in Dijon, France and has also interned at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and World Relief, an international development nonprofit.  After graduation she will spend a year working as a City Year volunteer in Washington, DC.


 Previous Winners


Shannon Ciprut (2014)
Erin Hellman (2014)
Danielle Ambrogio (2014, honorable mention)
Chloe Potash (2014, honorable mention)
Gurdeep Singh (2014, honorable mention)
John Brigagliano (2013)
Christina Bonner (2013, honorable mention)
Lacey McKinney (2013, honorable mention)
Molly Mitzner (2013, honorable mention)
Michael Robinson (2012)
Adrienne Alexander Coronado (2011)
Ava Petrash (2011)
Hannah E. Rothman (2010)
Leek A. Deng (2010)


Jameal Addison (2009)
Jordan Matevich (2009)
Marianne Wilson (2008)
Benny Levi Cooper (2008)
Benjamin T. Sinclair (2007)
Adam D. Abelkop (2007)
Shaughnessy O’Brien (2006)
Anjali Garg (2005)
Larisa Inga Freeburg (2004)
Meredith Anne Carroll (2003)
Tim Kennery (2002)
Jackie Shock (2001)
Carol Cooley (2001)
Amanda Pruitt (2000)


Andrea Morrison (1999)
Staci Schwartz (1998)