Dissertation Awards

These awards supports students who complete dissertations involving basic or applied research in psychology and law.

AP-LS Dissertation Award Committee


December 31, 2024

The American Psychology-Law Society confers Dissertation Awards for scientific research and scholarship that is relevant to the promotion of the interdisciplinary study of psychology and law. Students who complete dissertations involving basic or applied research in psychology and law, including its application to public policy, are encouraged to apply for these awards.

First, second and third-place awards are conferred annually, and winners will be invited to present their research at the AP-LS Annual Conference.

To be eligible for the award, you must be a member of AP-LS and have defended your dissertation during the calendar year of the submission deadline (e.g., if the deadline for submissions is December 31, 2024, then you must have defended your dissertation in 2024).


You do not need to have graduated by December 31 to apply.

  • Originality: A dissertation exhibits original work when it brings innovative and unique perspectives, advancing the breadth of knowledge with novel findings or methodologies that challenge and expand upon existing paradigms.

  • Quality: Exceptional research is characterized by meticulous attention to detail, sophistication, and a rigorous, well-executed qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-method study design.

  • Contribution: The value of a dissertation is measured by its capacity to significantly enhance the field, whether through pioneering ideas or the insightful re-evaluation of established data.

  • Presentation: Clarity and structure in the dissertation are essential, with visual elements like tables and figures enhancing the narrative by being self-explanatory and succinct.

  • Contributions to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI): The dissertation addresses and furthers AP-LS’s commitment to EDI, providing insights that extend to traditionally underrepresented groups. The work may examine specific subgroups and/or propose broader applications that encourage inclusivity and address systemic disparities.

  • Pilot Criterion - Open-Science Practice: The dissertation’s alignment with open-science practices, including transparency, data sharing, and replicability, is explored as a provisional criterion for future consideration.”

Please upload your submission to the AP-LS Dissertation Award Google Form before December 31 annually.

Submissions should include:
  1. Copy of Dissertation Submission: Provide a copy of the dissertation as it was submitted to the student’s university in either Word or PDF format.

  2. De-identified Dissertation Copy: Submit a copy of the dissertation with all author, advisor, and school identifying information removed, formatted in either Word or PDF.

  3. De-identified Letter (2 pages max): Include a de-identified letter, limited to two pages in PDF format, addressing the following:

    1. Rationale for Dissertation Topic Selection: Explain the reasons behind the choice of the dissertation topic, including its significance and relevance to the field of study.

    2. Involvement in the Research Process: Describe your comprehensive involvement in all stages of the research process, encompassing conceptualization, methodology design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

    3. Alignment with Scoring Criteria: Articulate how the dissertation fulfills each of the scoring categories outlined above, demonstrating its originality, quality, contribution to the field, clarity of presentation, and potential contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Additionally, applicants may address the alignment of their research with open-science practices, if applicable.

For more information, please contact the chair of the Dissertation Awards Committee dissertation@ap-ls.org.

Year 1st place 2nd place 3rd place
2024 Jacqueline Katzman Lauren Grove Cassandra Flick
2023 Jesse Grabman Tamara de Beuf Breanne Wylie
2022 Stephanie Cardenas Joseph Avery Amy Dezember
2021 Catherine Shaffer-McCuish Alejandra de la Fuente Adele Quigley-McBride
2020 Christine Shahan Brugh Dylan T. Gatner Alicia Nijdam-Jones
2018 Lucy Guarnera Pia Hollerbach Rachel Greenspan
2017 Nathalie Brackmann Melissa Colloff Lauren Kois
2016 Evan McCuish Caitlin Cavanaugh Kelsey Henderson
2015 Skye Stephens Laura White Alana Krix
2014 Anthony Perillo (tie) Miko Wilford & Misun Yi Jeffrey Kukucka
2013 Taeko Wachi Rebecca Weiss Heather Butler
2012 Kaitlyn McLachlan Ekaterina Pivovarova Jessica Salerno
2011 Annelies Vredeveldt Jay P. Singh Julia Clara Busso Kennard
2010 Samantha Schwartz Caroline Crocker Ashley Christiansen
2009 Tarika Daftary-Kapur Gianni Pirelli Bethany Young
2008 Margaret C. Stevenson Laura G. Kirsch Melanie R. Farkas & Lindsay Malloy
2007 Jeffrey Haun Kathryn Modecki Tracy Fass
2006 Amy Leach Jessica Klaver Jessica Meyer
2005 Tara Mitchell Lisa Chraznowski Lora Levett &
Greg Kramer
2004 Jodi Viljoen Candice Odgers Martin Hildebrand
2003 Virginia Cooper Teri Forrest Mary Ann Campbell & Alexis Kennedy
2002 Jennifer Groscup Tamara Haegerich Gina Vincent &
David DeMatteo
2001 Mark Phillips Christian Meissner Eve Brank
2000 Bradley McAuliff Lyn Castrianno Kimberly Brown
1999 Jennifer Skeem Dan Krauss
1998 Joanna Pozzulo Jennifer Robbennolt Dennis Stolle
1997 David Glass Stephen Anderer Richard Redding
1996 Kimberly Lonsway Charles R. Mullin Phyllis B. Gerstenfeld
1995 Lori Beth Frank Mindy Mechanic Maithilee K. Pathak
1994 Margaret Kovera Karen Leslie Steinberg Nancy Schneider
1993 Ann Tobey Doug Narby
1992 Bette Bottoms
Cathy Carter
1991 Barry Rosenfeld
1990 James Ogloff Regina Schuller Mark Small
1988 Patricia Frazier
1987 Brian Cutler
1986 Roselle Wissler
1985 Nancy Brekke Carol Krafka
1984 Daniel Linz
1983 Sarah Tanford Edie Greene