Academic Prizes

AAS Spirit Award

This award is selected by AAS staff and is given to a senior for their positive contributions to the Department. It recognizes students who formally or informally assist the faculty, students, and staff.

Award Winners

  • Khari Franklin'24
  • Kris Grant'24
  • Brooklyn Northcross'24
  • Sara Ryave'24 
  • Faith E. Iloka ‘21
  • Nathan Poland ‘20
  • Cierra Belize Robson ‘19
  • Wilglory Tanjong '18

The Badi Foster Distinguished Senior Prize in African American Studies

This prize was named in honor of Badi G. Foster, an accomplished educator and non-profit director dedicated to promoting educational opportunities and social change. This prize is awarded annually to the senior major who has distinguished themselves academically and beyond the classroom, reflecting a commitment to African American Studies' intellectual, political, and artistic traditions.

Award Winners

  • Khari Franklin'24
  • Storm Stokes'24 
  • Aneci Henry'23
  • Fedjine Mitchelle Victor '22
  • Kiara “KiKi” Gilbert ‘21
  • Nathan Poland ‘20
  • Micah Richard Herskind ‘19
  • Imani Noelle Ford '18
  • Nicky Steidel '18

Outstanding Junior Paper in African American Studies Prize

This prize is awarded to the senior who submitted the most outstanding Junior Paper.

Award Winners

  • Avanequé Pennant'24 
  • Payton Croskey'23
  • Brooke Johnson '22  —  "Encountering Oluwatoyin Salau: Black Women’s Grief as Radical Interruption and Redefinition of Violence" |  Adviser: Professor Imani Perry
  • Lauren Johnson ‘21 — “Tied by Trauma: Navigating a Black Mother and Daughter’s Bond during Enslavement and Reconstruction" Adviser: Kinohi Nishikawa
  • Katherine Marie Powell ‘20“Speaking the Truth of Fiction: Literary Disruptions of the Dominican State Myth, post-1937 Massacre” | Adviser: Reena Goldthree
  • Cierra Belize Robson ‘19
  • Rosed Nicole Serrano '18

Ruth J. Simmons Thesis Prize

This prize is awarded to the African American Studies major whose senior thesis best exhibits excellence in research and writing within the field of African American Studies. Ruth J. Simmons, Prairie View A&M University President, President Emerita of Brown University, and an honorary member of the Department of African American Studies Advisory Council, generously endowed the prize.

Award Winners

  • Collin Riggins'24 
  • Brooklyn Northcross'24
  • Payton Croskey '23
  • Priya Vulchi'22Friendship as Liberatory Practice
  • Arianne Rowe'21 — "The Discourses of Blanqueamiento: A Multilateral Analysis of 19th Century Racial Ideologies in the Making of Modern Argentina" 
  • Nathan J. Poland ’20 — Under The Hood: The Racial Reasoning Undergirding Social Statistics In Criminal Legal Policy, 1995-2013,
  • Micah Richard Herskind ‘19​​​​​ ​— Decoding Decarceration: Race, Risk, and Reform in New Jersey, 1986-2017
  • Imani Noelle Ford '18 — Playing Time/(with) Swinging Doors: A Critique of Hope and Hopelessness in theTradition of Black Male Letters
  • Nicky Steidel '18 — “A Race Outcast from an Outcast Class” : Black Americans and the Experience and Representation of U.S. Communism in the Interwar Period, 1919-1941
  • Destiny Crockett '17 — “Sing the Song of Her Possibilities”: The Redefinition of the Black Girl During the Black Women’s Renaissance of the 1970’s and 1980’s
  • Aaron Robertson '17 — Igiaba Scego’s ‘Beyond Babylon’: A Translation from the Italian
  • Cameron Bell '16 — Georgia on My Mind: My Family and African American Experiences in Southwest Georgia, 1900-1970
  • Audrey Berdahl-Baldwin '16 — Protecting the Lawful, Combatting the Lawless: Racialized Police Violence and the 1967 Newark Uprisin
  • Shawon Jackson '15 — “Tough Love”: How One High-Performing Charter School Implicitly Criminalizes Youth of Color
  • Sarah Yerima '15 — Myopic Justice: A Brief Intellectual History of Colorblind Law, 1880-1896
  • Dixon Li '14 — From Mold to Molt: Aesthetics and the Matter of Race
  • Kellen Heniford '14 — Free Blacks, Freeborn Slaves, and Bondsmen in a Free State: African American Life and Black Political Action During New Jersey’s Emancipatory Period, c. 1820-1845
  • Molly Bagshaw '13 — The Modern Day Lynch Mob: Racism, Juries, and Capital Punishment in the United States
  • Osasumwen Benjamin '13 — Transnational Angst: Black Existentialism in Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Narratives

The Stephanie Gates Prize in African American Studies

This prize is named in honor of Stephanie Gates class of 1975. The prize is awarded annually to the senior major who has distinguished themselves academically with the highest overall GPA.

Award Winners

  • Elise Victoria Hogan'24