Student Award for Leadership and Service

Winner of the 2018 GADE Leadership and Service Award


"I am Student X" Coalition

USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work 






2018 Honorable Mention: Lisa Juckett, MOT, OTR/L, CHT

The Ohio State School of Social Work






Amanda Aykanian 

Winner of the 2017 GADE Leadership and Service Award

 School of Social Welfare, University at Albany




2017 Honorable Mention: Jelena Todic & Katarzyna Olcon 

Steve Hicks School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin



Natasha Brien

Winner of the 2016 GADE Leadership and Service Award

Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto

Natasha’s life-long passion for social justice and human rights is evident in her roles at University of Toronto, ranging from membership on the Faculty Council and University Tribunal, coordinating Black history month celebrations, to service as a student-parent peer mentor with the Family Care Office. One example of a leadership role Natasha has embraced is supporting a student-led, peer-based group called Extended Conversations (EC). EC allows for honest discussion focusing on equity and diversity. Graduate social work students converge to discuss challenges encountered within academic spaces, such as, increasing inclusivity within the classroom, and considerations of social work practice from the perspective of marginalized identities. The beauty of EC is that focus is not solely placed upon maintaining a brave space where students are able to share challenges, but also, in brainstorming potential solutions to address issues raised. Natasha has been instrumental in bringing these anonymized, critical conversations to wider audiences - faculty members, administration, and colleagues at the 2016 Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) conference. Natasha’s dedication to ensuring priority is placed upon collective learning and inter-institutional knowledge transmission is a wonderful example for other social work students, of how broader change(s) often start from within. 


2019 GADE Student Award for Leadership & Service 

is given to a social work doctoral student or group of students who, through on-going or time-limited actions, activities or project(s), have shown significant leadership in service to their School, University, or professional or academic associations.1  

The winner of the GADE Student Award for Service will be provided a certificate and a $1,500 award at the Doctoral Student Award Breakfast held at the annual CSWE APM Conference in Conference in Denver, CO (October 24-27, 2019). In the case of student groups, the award of $1,500 will be split equally among named students. GADE is unable to pay for CSWE membership fees or conference registration.  

Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE)

The Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE) was established over 25 years ago to provide a forum for sharing ideas and strategies among doctoral programs in social work, and for strengthening efforts at enhancing doctoral education. The membership, comprised of directors of established social work and social welfare doctoral programs located in accredited universities, has established three student awards in hopes of advancing social work scholarship, teaching, and service – three principal areas in which full-time professors are typically engaged as faculty members. This award reflects a commitment to bring visibility to our greatest resource, our students, who provide us with professional purpose and continuously offer us new ways to think and grow.  

Award Criteria

  • Significance of the academic or professional service activity or project for contributing to excellence in doctoral education, higher education, and/or professional social work through local, state, or national professional or academic associations. 
  • Indicators of leadership or initiative in their role.
  • Evidence that the academic or professional service has resulted in observable contributions to excellence at the program, School, University, professional, or academic level. 
  • Extent to which the academic or professional service has produced observable changes at the program, School, University, professional, or academic level.  

Eligibility Criteria

  • A nomination may be submitted by an individual, a collaborative group of students, or a doctoral student organization. Self-nominations are encouraged. 
  • At least one nominee must currently be enrolled in a social work doctoral program that holds an active membership in GADE.
  • The academic or professional service activity must have been initiated while each nominee was enrolled as a doctoral student, and may be ongoing or time-limited. 
  • More than one nomination may be submitted from one doctoral program. 

Nomination Procedures

Nominations Open: March 1, 2019

Deadline for Nomination: June 15, 2019

Nomination to Include: 

  • Name of the Student(s) 
  • Contact information for the student(s) (i.e., phone and e-mail address)
  • University attending

The nomination packet must include: 

(1) A brief description of the academic or professional service project or activity:

  • A description of how the academic or professional service activity contributes to excellence in the program, school, University, professional, or academic organization;
  • A description of the leadership role of the doctoral student(s);
  • A description of how academic or professional service has made an observable contribution to the organization;
  • A description of how academic or professional service has made observable changes to the organization.

(2) A letter of support from the Ph.D. Program Director or the student’s doctoral advisor attesting to the quality and value of the academic or professional service project or activity AND confirming the nominee(s) has met all of the eligibility criteria (A signed pdf document is required).

Files must be submitted electronically via e-mail attachment.  

Submission: Nominations should be submitted to the GADE Award Subcommittee to: 

The email Subject Line should read: 2019 Service Award Nomination from (Your University)

Application Processing: The GADE Award Subcommittee will review all applications. Applicants will be informed of the final decision on or before August 15, 2019.

[1] While GADE highly values volunteer service to the local community, the focus of this award is service to the academic or professional community