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


Class of 2014 Co-Winners:  Erin Hellman and Shannon Ciprut

Erin Hellmann is a Sociology major with minors in Women and Gender Studies and Political Science. She became interested in sociology after taking a course for divisional credit and was encouraged to pursue more classes by her professor.  She has found the faculty very supportive and has enjoyed taking classes that encompass a variety of subjects, many of which compliment her passion for service. Erin participated in the sociology honors program, writing her thesis based on the research that she did in South Korea in the summer of 2013 with funding from a Richter Scholarship. She volunteers with Campus Kitchen, Saturday Academy, and The Children’s Home.  Upon graduation, Erin will be teaching in Phoenix, AZ as a Teach For America Corps Member. 



A double major in Sociology and Spanish, Shannon Ciprut first became interested in sociology after taking Dr. Harnois’ “Social Problems” course.  At Wake Forest she has served as a Student Adviser for incoming students.  She is a member of Kappa Beta Gamma sorority, serves on the steering committee for DESK, and studied abroad in  Madrid.   She presented findings from my honor’s thesis “Parenthood and Health: How do parents differ from non-parents in terms of physical health and well-being?” at the Southern Sociological Society Conference in Charlotte, NC.  After graduation she will pursue a Master’s Degree in Health Science at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.



Class of 2014 Honorable Mentions:  Danielle Ambrogio, Chloe Potash, and Gurdeep Singh

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.


DanielleAmbrogio is a Sociology and Psychology major who realized her love for sociology while taking Social Problems her freshman year with Dr. Wahl who encouraged her to explore more classes in the department. She quickly declared her major after meeting more of the highly supportive and approachable professors. She loves the style of every sociology class that promotes open discussion. Some of the highlights of her time at Wake Forest include volunteering with Campus Kitchen and studying abroad in Venice, Italy.  After graduation, Danielle will pursue a Master’s degree in Social-Organizational Psychology at Teachers College of Columbia University.   



 A double major in Sociology and Communications, Chloe Potash first became interested in sociology after taking Principles of Sociology freshman year, and was drawn to the idea of learning about how societies and people interact. She plans on attending law school after college and eventually hopes to work in child and family law. Last May she spent two weeks volunteering and  living in an orphanage in Moscow, Russia as part of a Volunteer Service Corps trip with other  students from Wake Forest University.  After graduation she is working with the Match charter school in Boston while applying to law school.



Gurdeep Singh is a double major in Sociology and Classics. His interest in sociology was first sparked when he took Sociology of Families with Professor Harnois, and he instantly fell in love with the major. Gurdeep appreciates that sociology courses at Wake Forest facilitate student-professor interactions on account of the small class sizes. After graduation he plans to join the military and ultimately to work in the government. Gurdeep is involved in the Wake Forest Public Policy Fellowship which provides students a great outlet to both work with local policy-based groups and discuss these issues with each other from a broad perspective.




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)