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 2015 Co-Winners:  Dianne Uwayo and Leigh Winters

UwayoDianne Uwayo is a Sociology major with minors in African Studies and Health and Human Services. Her interest in Sociology was sparked while reading Annette Lareau’s Unequal Childhoods in Dr. Brown’s introductory course. She has since immensely enjoyed her time in the Sociology department. At Wake Forest, Dianne is a Resident Advisor and the African and Caribbean Student Alliance Vice President. She also served as the inaugural Rwanda Service Trip leader and ‘Head Pumpkin’ for Project Pumpkin. Dianne participated in the Sociology Honors program, writing her thesis on Intimate Partner Violence research she completed while studying abroad in Kenya. She presented her findings at the Southern Sociological Society Conference in New Orleans, LA, and her honors thesis won the 2015 Elizabeth Phillips Award for Best Essay in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies by an Undergrad Student. Upon graduation she will be pursuing her passion of public health through a Columbia University program and serving as an AmeriCorps member in Philadelphia, PA.


Winters Leigh Winters is a Sociology major, concentrating in Business and Society, with a Health Policy and Administration minor. Leigh first became interested in pursuing sociology after  taking a class with Dr. Ian Taplin, who has since become a respected research mentor. At Wake Forest University, she served as a member and leader of the co-ed service fraternity,  Alpha Phi Omega, was a student manager of the Wake Forest Demon Deacon Football team, and was an active member of Omicron Delta Kappa. Leigh participated in the sociology  honors program, completing her thesis, “Fashioning a Gendered, Trendy Identity: The Casualization of Fashion and Growth of Athleisure in the United States,” which investigated  the growing casualization of American fashion by economically analyzing the female “athleisure” activewear trend. An avid researcher who loves presenting, Leigh has traveled to  Atlanta, Georgia to present findings of a paper that focused on the implementation of integrative health care practices in the U.S. health care system. She has also presented a case-  study on conflict avoidance, compromise, and accommodation at a state conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. After graduation, Leigh will pursue dual Master’s Degrees in  Sociology and Education and Clinical and Applied Psychology at Columbia University in New York City.


Previous Winners


Dianne Uwayo (2015)
Leigh Winters (2015)
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)