Student Paper Award

Submit Nomination

The process of selection for the best student paper award takes place after the annual meeting. Thus the 2022 award will be given to a paper accepted for presentation at the 2021 Annual Meeting.

Purpose: To recognize the best paper scheduled for presentation by a student at the annual meeting. SSSR wishes to encourage scholarly work and participation by students in SSSR meetings.

Qualifications: Authors of papers nominated and submitted for this competition must be graduate or undergraduate students at institutions of higher learning anywhere in the world, but papers must be submitted in English. Any co–authors must also be students; faculty and post–doctoral co–authors are not permitted. Those who recently received the Ph.D. degree may apply if the paper was written while still a graduate student. Each author may submit only one paper to this competition.

To be eligible, at least one author for the paper must have been accepted for presentation at the SSSR virtual or in-person conference in 2021.

Criteria: Student papers will be judged by the awards committee on criteria normally used in evaluating scholarly and scientific papers for publication – namely, an appropriate theoretical framework and a competent use of research methods and data as necessary, with a persuasive argument to a logical conclusion. Papers may build upon any theoretical or research tradition. It will be up to the author(s) to demonstrate the cogency and usefulness of the theories and methods used in the paper.

Procedures: Any current member of SSSR may nominate worthy student papers to the Student Paper Award Committee, and the committee chair will notify the student presenter of their nomination. Students may also self–nominate.

Format: Although the version of the paper prepared for oral presentation is usually limited to what can be communicated in 15 minutes, the written version submitted after nomination for the award should be of normal length for published articles: approximately 35 pages, double–spaced, including notes and references. 

Deadline: The deadline to submit a nomination is June 1, 2022, and the completed paper must be received by the committee no later than June 15, 2022.

Award: The award will be presented at the annual meeting. It includes a plaque and $1000.


Christine Sheikh (Chair) Email

Ani Sarkissian

Jack Delehanty

Jeffrey Guhin


2021 Claire Gilliland (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill), “Getting Permission to Break The Rules: Clergy Respond to LGBTQ Exclusion in the United Methodist Church”

2020 Michael Rotolo (University of Notre Dame), “Moral Religiosities: How Morality Structures Religious Understandings During the Transition to Adulthood.”

2019 Laila H. Noureldin (University of Chicago), “American v Muslim? Religiosity as a Marker of Fragmented Identification among American Muslims.”

2018 Di Di (Rice University), “Navigating Gender Norms: Gender Agency in Buddhist Temples in Mainland China and the US.”

2017 Not awarded due to a transition in the timing for the award.

2016 Dane R. Mataic (Pennsylvania State University), “Spatial Diffusion of Governmental Restrictions on Religion”

2015 Grahm Hill (University of California, Berkeley), “Reclaiming the Secular: A Charismatic Christian Brotherhood’s Interventions on Secularism in Mexico City.”

2014 Landon Schnabel (Indiana University), “The Gender Pray Gap.”

2013 Grad Fulton (Duke University), “Network Ties and Organizational Action: Explaining Variation in Social Service Provision among Congregations.”

2012 Rachel Ellis (University of Pennsylvania), “Marketing to Whom? Desired Members and Jewish Denominational Niches, 1913–1920.”

2011 Katie E. Corcoran, David Pettinicchio, and Blaine Robbins (University of Washington), “Religion and the Acceptability of White-Collar Crime: A Cross-National Analysis.”