Simeon Newman & Jessica Wiederspan were selected by their peers to receive the 2015 Oustanding Graduate Student Mentor Award.

Here are some of the accolades both received from their peers.

His nominators had this to say about Simeon:

"Not only has he committed a great deal of energy to enriching our experience as doctoral students, we believe that he has acted generously in ways that benefit the wider sociology graduate student community. As a recruiter, Simeon was tenacious, honest, and exceedingly helpful. Once we arrived at Michigan, he introduced us to the workings of the department and to possibilities within the Ann Arbor creative community. At every step along the way, Simeon has shown both a wisdom and a kindness, and an honest pursuit of the most analytically sound methods of conceiving of conflict and cooperation within society.  As a student leader of the Comparative-Historical Reading Group, Simeon has invested his time in smoothing the functioning of the group administratively, personally inviting students and faculty to ensure its perpetuation, leading discussion twice, and thoughtfully commenting on the ideas of others. This reading group has been one of our most insight-generating activities since coming to Michigan, and we have formed productive friendships within our subfield.

At various levels of community, Simeon has been an excellent peer mentor in addition to an admirable young scholar.

Her nominators said this about Jessica:

"Jess is widely recognized as a friendly leader to younger graduate students learning to navigate the Department of Sociology and academic life here at Michigan. However, we want to focus on her contributions to teaching.  One of Jess’s most visible contributions in teaching to our entire community is the organization, design, and launch of a new teaching repository online. This site makes an effort to house the institutional memory that can get lost with graduate student turnover – lists of past syllabi, GSIs for particular courses, GSIs who have taught with particular faculty, ideas for assignments and grading rubrics, links to the latest research on pedagogy, and how to access support and resources beyond our department and university. Jess has designed this site to be able to be run seamlessly by other GSMs after she graduates and leaves our department. This contribution will make a difference for years to come, and sets future cohorts up for success. To support her efforts to formalize community around teaching, Jess also organized two inter-departmental invited talks on teaching-focused careers and dealing with difficult classroom conversations with Jay Howard earlier this year.  Truly, we cannot think of a student who more fully embodies the ideals of commitment, collaboration, professionalism, and collegiality than Jess Wiederspan.”

Thanks are due to the Sociology Graduate Student Organization (SGS) and the SGS Chairs, and to all students who submitted a nomination. The field this year was very strong and demonstrates the depth of talent and community-mindedness in our department. 

Simeon and Jess will receive a cash prize and their names will be inscribed on a plaque in the hall on the third floor of LSA. Please join me in congratulating them both on this important recognition.