Departmental Awards

The Sociology Department gives four awards annually:

John D. Donovan Award

The John D. Donovan Award is given in honor of one of the founders of the undergraduate program in Sociology at Boston College. Professor Emeritus John D. Donovan graduated from Boston College in 1939, earned his PhD from Harvard, and taught at Boston College from 1952 until 2002.

The award recognizes the best paper written in an undergraduate Sociology course within the calendar year. Winners may be from any academic year and any school within the university.

The 2018 award was given to sophomore Sociology major Kiley Grundstrom for her paper “Drowning the Planet in Plastic Pollution.” The paper was written for teaching fellow Jared Fitzgerald’s course, Environmental Sociology.

William A. Gamson Award

The William A. Gamson Award is given in honor of one of the most renowned members of the Sociology faculty at Boston College. Professor Emeritus William A. Gamson is a prominent name in the study of social movements, past president of the American Sociological Association, and a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as winner of the W.E.B. Du Bois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association.

The award recognizes a graduating senior for outstanding academic achievement in Sociology. The 2019 award was given to Cristina Zubizarreta.

Lynda Lytle Holmstrom Award

The Lynda Lytle Holmstrom Award is given in honor of a feminist scholar and longtime Sociology faculty member. Professor Emeritus Lynda Lytle Holmstrom developed courses that remain popular today, including “Legal and Illegal Violence Against Women.” Her wide-ranging research covered issues women faced in families, such as newborn intensive care, dual career couples, and midlife parenting.

The award recognizes the best class paper on the topic of gender with sociological implications submitted to an undergraduate course in the College of Arts and Sciences each calendar year. Winners may be from any class year.

The 2018 award was given to senior Sociology major William Hubschman for his paper “Traditional Masculinity in Sport.” The paper was written for Professor Michael Malec’s course, Sports in American Society.

David A. Karp Honors Thesis Award

The David A. Karp Honors Thesis Award is given in honor of the long-time director of the Sociology Honors Program. Professor Emeritus David A. Karp was professor of Sociology at Boston College from 1971 until 2012, and he inspired generations of students to strive for the insightful sociological listening and beautiful writing that are hallmarks of his work.

The award recognizes the best senior honors thesis written in the Sociology department each academic year. The 2019 award was given to Catherine Stampfli for her thesis “How Self-Directed Learning Relates to Technology Integration and Pedagogical Beliefs in Middle School Classrooms.” Professor Michael Russell from the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College advised the project.


Sociology majors are also competitive for campus-wide awards and fellowships, as well as prestigious external awards such as the Fulbright, Truman, and Udall Scholarships.