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Sociology students receive awards for academic and leadership excellence

Pictured left to right: Assistant Professor Makeela Wells, Hannah Evans, Katherine Hardin and Undergraduate Program Director Natalia Ruiz-Junco

Each year, the sociology program recognizes outstanding students at their annual awards ceremony. Although the formal ceremony was canceled this past spring due to the pandemic, faculty members in the department presented sociology seniors Hannah Evans and Katherine Hardin with awards recognizing their academic and leadership achievements.

Evans, a Mobile native, received the Social Justice Award, which recognizes a sociology student who has demonstrated leadership abilities and a commitment to the ideals of social justice through their activities.

“Hannah is one of the most impressive students I have encountered. She understands social inequities and their impact within the criminal justice system. Most notably, Hannah understands the complexities of diverse environments and how such complexities impact society as a whole,” said Assistant Professor Makeela Wells.

Wells said Evans’ ability to work with a variety of people, including fellow students and those she encountered during her community and volunteer service, is extraordinary. Evans, who started out with a minor in sociology, said she changed to a major because of the material covered in her courses, specifically her crime and deviance classes.

Evans, who graduated in May, is pursuing a master’s in criminology and criminal justice at the University of Alabama this fall. Her research focuses on juvenile delinquency.

Auburn native Katherine Hardin received the Excellence in Sociology Award for her academic success, professional achievement, and professional values and ethics. Hardin declared her sociology major with a concentration in crime and deviance during her sophomore year after taking an Introduction to Sociology course. She particularly enjoyed the subject matter and learning about the ways people interact with each other.

“Katherine is a brilliant student. Her contributions to my classes were thoughtful, insightful, and enriched the learning of our online community immensely. She was always ready to engage with complex theoretical arguments and brought up exciting and stimulating questions in class discussions,” said Natalia Ruiz-Junco, the sociology undergraduate program director.

During her time at Auburn, Hardin was a Camp War Eagle counselor and an ambassador for Auburn University Housing. Through these experiences, she helped promote professional values and ethics on the Auburn campus and with incoming students.

Hardin plans to pursue a career in higher education and obtain her master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology.

Tags: Students Sociology Anthropology and Social Work Sociology

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