We are proud to celebrate Assistant Professor Thomas, whose dissertation was recently recognized by two esteemed social psychology organizations. She received the Social Issues Dissertation Award by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) and also emerged as the Dissertation Award Runner-up by the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP).

Dr. Thomas’s dissertation, “Can Psychologically and Culturally Wise Narratives of Aid Better Interrupt Cycles of Poverty and Prejudice? Evidence from Kenya, Niger, and the U.S.,” examines the psychology of poverty and inequality, as well as their remedies. Thomas integrates social psychology, cultural psychology, and behavioral science to test culturally attuned, or “culturally wise,” psychological interventions for reducing poverty. 

The Social Issues Dissertation Award by SPSSI aims to celebrate “excellence in socially relevant research.” This recognition of Dr. Thomas is indicative of her valuable contribution to the field thus far, as well as continued dedication and skill in leveraging psychological principles to explore solutions for social issues.

Her achievement as the Dissertation Award Runner-up by the SESP further demonstrates Thomas’s substantial engagement with the field of experimental social psychology. The SESP Dissertation Award recognizes Thomas’s outstanding dissertation research, which often consists of interdisciplinary lab and field experiments in both the United States and low and middle-income countries. 

Congratulations to Professor Catherine Thomas on her well-deserved recognition from SPSSI and SESP! We look forward to her future contributions to the social psychology field and the U-M academic community.