Association for Community Organization & Social Administration

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Outstanding Student Award

The Outstanding Student Award recognizes the contribution of a BSW or MSW student who has been involved in a community or organizational practice currently or in the past.


2018: Danny Vang, BSW student, San Francisco State University

Nominator: Jocelyn Clare Hermoso (San Francisco State University), and Rita Takahashi (San Francisco State University)


2017: Two Awardees

Emma Martinez, University of Portland

Nominator:  Alice Gates, University of Portland

Nomination Comments:

Emma’s commitment to community change is evident in her strong record of service and engagement with community organizations and campus groups. Emma is currently completing her senior year practicum with Portland Jobs with Justice where she serves as the liaison to the newly formed Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition (PIRC). Emma has thrown her whole self into this experience and demonstrated her deep commitment to community process and grassroots organizing. Emma currently serves as a member of CAUSA Oregon’s Leadership Team and had previously worked as a volunteer intern as part of their New American Voters Project, where she assisted newly naturalized citizens to register to vote and learn to engage in the political process. Emma’s interest in racial justice/equity was also expressed through her participation in a community-based research and advocacy project which involved interviewing low-income immigrant women and women of color about their experiences of needing paid time off to care for themselves or a family member. Emma assisted in conducting interviews, accompanying me to present to community organizations, and analyzing data—which we translated into legislative testimony in support of a bill introducing Paid Family/Medical Leave in a State House Committee. On campus, Emma helped found a campus chapter of #blacklivesmatter and served in an official capacity on our University’s Presidential Advisory Committee on Inclusion, where she made an important intervention by asking that more student voices be represented on the committee.

Wayne State University School of Social Work Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW)

Nominators: Takisha LaShore, Tamarie Willis, Wayne State University

Nomination Comments:

The ABSW is an official student organization at Wayne State University, grounded in the formal SSW macro practice curriculum (Innovation in Community, Policy, and Leadership). The group is student led, with a focus on community outreach and social activism.  As a response to the problems with water service in Detroit, the group accepted the responsibility to create social and political change in the city of Detroit. They created an event called Elevate Their Voices: Social Justice and Community Activism from a Detroit Perspective. The goal for the forum was to create an intentional space in which the academic community engages in meaningful dialog with leaders who have committed themselves to advocating for social justice, social action, and social change. The event was as success and well attended by school administers, students, and community member. ABSW also collaborated with the WSUSSW Social Justice Committee to host a “Food, Fun, & Film” event that allowed participants to view, critically analyze, and discuss a documentary on the global, national, and local water crisis. This event allowed for over 75 students and 10 community partners, faculty, and staff participants to engage in an event to raise awareness of social issues facing the global and local community as it relates to water access.

2016: Coalition of Community Social Workers, Wayne State University

Nominator: Judith Wineman, Wayne State University

Comment from nomination letter:

The Wayne State University School of Social Work Coalition of Community Social Workers (CCSW), a group of BSW or MSW students, focuses on local social justice efforts. The CCSW emphasizes the importance of collaborating with local human service agencies to advocate for change in our communities and its members are passionate about advocating for social justice, especially because of the urban mission at the school. The Coalition sponsored three key events in 2015-16, including a presentation of “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs" video and panel discussion.


2015: Jason Ostrander, MSW

2013: Macro Social Work Student Network

2008: Patricia Oh, Maria Glisson, LaTonya Washington

2004: Sarabeth Kossove

2002: Eileen Newman