Dr. Devon T. Wade Mentorship, Service, and Advocacy Award

In recognition of exceptional commitment to scholarship, mentorship, service, and advocacy

The Dr. Devon T. Wade Mentorship, Service, and Advocacy Award is to be presented annually, in spring, during the GSAS Alumni Awards Ceremony to a master’s or doctoral student in any Arts and Sciences department who most exemplifies a commitment to community-building and mentoring as demonstrated by the late Dr. Devon T. Wade. Recipients will receive a $1,500 prize in recognition of their achievements.

About Dr. Wade

The award was established in 2018 in honor of the life and work of Dr. Devon T. Wade. Wade enrolled in the PhD program in sociology at Columbia University in 2011 and came to be recognized as being among the University’s most gifted doctoral students. Wade’s dissertation research focused on stigma, trauma, and discipline in the school setting. He received multiple awards for his promising scholarship, including the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. 

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts of Sciences awarded the doctoral degree to Devon Wade posthumously, in recognition of his scholarly achievements and of the impact he made on others through his research, mentorship, service, and advocacy. Dr. Wade was passionate about teaching and creating inclusive learning environments, and advocating for those who experience marginalization in society. In his work he was particularly focused on the collateral consequences of incarceration on individuals and communities.  Dr. Wade was also deeply devoted to building networks of support and mentorship for students from groups that historically have been underrepresented in the academy. He was a founding member of the Columbia University Graduate Students of Color Alliance (SoCA). 

Nomination instructions, eligibility, and award criteria

The purpose of the Dr. Devon T. Wade Mentorship and Service Award is to recognize Columbia University graduate students in Arts and Sciences departments whose work reflects Dr. Wade’s exceptional commitment to scholarship, mentorship, service, and advocacy. To be considered for this award, students must be nominated by a current Columbia University affiliate (self-nominations are accepted), and the nomination must be supported by at least one letter endorsing the nomination. Nomination and endorsement letters must address the evaluation criteria delineated below, and may address any of the priority criteria as they apply. 

Nominees will be evaluated according to the following criteria: 

  • Be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program in any field within Columbia's Arts and Sciences departments. Students at any stage may be nominated, although preference is given to those completing a degree (including the en-route MA or MPhil) in the current term. 
  • Have demonstrated excellence in scholarship, mentorship, service, and advocacy.
  • Have overcome personal and systemically-based adversity in pursuit of academic excellence and/or demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing equity in social and educational outcomes. Examples of such adversity might include experiences related to race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, incarceration, socioeconomic background, first-generation status, and disability. Examples of a commitment to advancing equity might include a particular research focus, a history of service, community engagement, and/or mentoring activities intended to explicitly address historical and persisting social inequities. 

Priority will be given to nominations meeting these additional criteria, wherein the nominee: 

  • Strives to create an inclusive and equitable learning environment through teaching practice and pedagogy, and/or has shown commitment to mentoring students from underrepresented groups. 
  • Engages in community-building and/or community service work that is transformative and fosters positive change. 
  • Engages in advocacy for marginalized communities, especially advocacy work done within the broader community, outside of the academy. 
  • Creatively bridges academic research and involvement in community service and advocacy, for example by engaging members of highly-vulnerable communities as partners in the creation of knowledge, ensuring its relevance for them.

To nominate a student for this award, please complete this online form and upload the required supporting documents with your submission. Please direct any questions about the award to [email protected].

Deadline: 11:59pm Sunday, March 31, 2024