Charmaz Paper Award

Kathy Charmaz Undergraduate Research Paper Award

(formerly the C. Wright Mills Award for Sociological Imagination)

Professor Charmaz began her career in the department of Sociology at SSU in 1974, and became Professor Emerita upon her retirement in 2018.  She was internationally known for her contributions to the sociological method of grounded theory and received numerous awards from professional associations for her research on chronic illness.  Professor Charmaz’s influence included extensive service to the discipline of Sociology and substantial contribution to the SSU Faculty Writing Program.  After her passing in July 2020, the Sociology Department faculty voted unanimously to honor her memory by naming the department award for the best undergraduate research paper the Kathy Charmaz Undergraduate Research Paper Award.

Any research paper written by a sociology major or minor for an upper-division SSU Sociology course during a given academic year is eligible for that year’s Charmaz Paper Award. Successful papers are typically substantially revised prior to submission for award consideration.

Submissions will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Creativity and imagination in the conduct of sociological inquiry
  • Significance of argument and the clarity with which it is stated
  • Logical precision, methodological rigor, theoretical frame
  • Sampling adequacy, proper measurement, and effective data analysis, as applicable 

2021 Charmaz Award Recipient

The Sociology Department is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2021 Charmaz Paper Award is Alexis Walker for her paper “’The Educational Space as a Site of Trauma’: Understanding the Role of the Educational Institution on the Black Experience.”

Past Mills Award Recipients


Alondra Bravo Marroquín
"The Systemic Abuse of the U.S. Deportation System: Effects of Immigration Detention and Deportation on Latinx Immigrants and Mixed-Status Families." 

Josh Hanna (Honorable Mention)
"How Tournament Bass Fishermen Manage their Identities and Emotions?"