Undergraduate Awards

Leo Meltzer Award

This award was established many years ago to celebrate the contributions of Professor Leo Meltzer to this Department, which he served from 1963 until 1990. Professor Meltzer was a distinguished scholar, an internationally recognized social psychologist, a wonderful colleague, and a dedicated teacher at Cornell. In light of Dr. Meltzer’s devotion to undergraduate education, his colleagues and family established an award to honor the best undergraduate thesis in the field of social psychology, broadly defined.

Year Name Paper title
2023 Isabella Ghafour "The Visible and Invisible Elements of Religious Identity: A Qualitative Study on Cornell University's Religious Communities"


Catherine Zhang

"The Social Construction of Career Aspirations Among Cornell Undergraduates"

2021 Jasmine Scott “Crit Walking Through the World Language Classroom”
2020 Sydni Green "Navigating Between Boundaries: The Experience of Biracial Individuals in Finding Identity"
2019 Julia Pagán Andréu "Intersectional Beauty: How Beauty Influencers Create their Identities Online"
2019 Karen Loya "Latinx in Higher Education: How Universities Influence Identity"


David Brotz

"Body Alteration and Class: A Study of Inequality in Look."


Yooha Park

“Examining the Contribution of Different Social Relationships to Immigrant Health Inequalities in the United States”


Emma Korolik

“ When Diverse College Classes Fall Shor of Social Class Diversity: Examining the Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Students’ Choice of Undergraduate Major”


Jennifer Chun

“Under the Knife: The Social Pressures and Influences of Plastic Surgery on Second-Generation Korean American Women”


Daniel Rubin

“From the Court to Culture: Supreme Court Decisions on Gay Rights Issues and Changes in Public Attitudes toward Homosexual Relationships, 1973-2014”


Dominique Corley

“Sounding Guilty: African American English and Racial Inequality in the Courtroom”


Fiona McCabe

“Persisting Educational Inequality in a College For All Era: Aspirational Fulfillment of Community College Students”


Zoe Wong

“Making a Difference vs. Making Money: Social Value Orientation as a Predictor of College Students’ Career Motivations”


Bethany Nichols

“The Black-White Gap in Educational Confidence and Spending Preferences”


Dayna Zolle

“Gender and Judicial Decision Making: An Examination of Supreme Court Opinion in Sex Discrimination Cases (1961-2005)”


Meaghan McMahon

“An Institutional Analysis of the Green House Project and its Transformation of Long-Term Care for the Elders”


Shanel Fields

“The Self-Segregation of African American Students on the Cornell Campus”


Christy Kidner

“ ‘Looks’ Like She Means Business: Appearance Norm Conformity and Women’s Occupational Aspirations”


Christopher Frank

“Hegemonic Masculinity and Same-sex Friendships”


Shana Platz

“Hearing the Voices of Abused and Neglected Children: An Examination of Representation for Children in Protection Proceedings and the Implications for Child Welfare”


Kaprisha Cressel

“Alternative Career Choices For Nevada Women: Exotic Dancers in Las Vegas”


Heather Ferguson

“What Messages Do Your Children’s Books Hold: Predominant Themes In Award Winning And Best Selling Children’s Picture Books From Twentieth Century America”


Lauren Polakoff

“Gender Roles and Gender’s Role: Gender in Advertising”


Megan Kamil

“The Relationship Between Trust and Reputation “

Robert Wertheimer Award

Robert Wertheimer is a former sociology major who graduated with honors in sociology. He remains devoted to both the field of sociology, to the Cornell Sociology department, and to the University. As a tribute to his contributions, the department recently established a prize for the best paper or thesis outside the field of social psychology (and hence not eligible for the Meltzer award).




Paper title
2023 Danika Cho "Accessing Abortion in Post-Roe America: Censorship, Surveillance, and Network Collapse in States that Have Banned Abortion" 
2022 Alexandra Gibbons "Place, Race, and Punishment: A Spatial Analysis of Incarceration in New York State"
2021 Ruizhe Huang

“Weaving the Fabric of Entrepreneurship: A Two-Mode Network Model of Startups’ Survival”

2020 Beth Gentsch "Why CrossFit? A Study on Female Strength, Fitness, and Empowerment"
2019 Katherine Lynch "The Optional Buy Out and the Imperative Buy In: A Comparison of 'Teachers' Perceptions of Parent Involvement in Socioeconomically Advantaged Versus Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Schools


  Ming Zhe Choong

"The Impacts of College Textbooks Costs on Cornell Undergraduates"


  Beatriz Barros

“Mind the Gap: A Study of Inequality in Public Transportation Access in Baltimore City, Maryland”


  Christie Abel

“Renegotiating Privacy, Audience and Self-Presentation A Sociological Study of Snapchat Users”


Alyssa Webb

“At the Forefront of Integration: A Descriptive Analysis of Mixed Income Neighborhoods in the City of Chicago”


Kyle Chang

“Framing Society: A Study of Spy Films From 1963–2013”


Visha Meyer

“Neighborhood Disorder and Fear in a College Town: A Study of the Role of Shared Organizational Affiliation”


Harrison Warren

“A Puzzling Silence: Understanding Honor and Omeritá in Sicily”


Theodore Leenman

“Class Congruence: Regularity and Control in the Home and Classroom”


Kimberly Leung

Awarded for having the highest GPA.


Jeffrey Javed

“Legal-Institutionalism, Political Opportunities, and Environmental Contention in Post-Mao China”


Marielle Macher

“Immigrant Farmworker Social Integration in Rural New York”


Anny Fenton

“The Motivations Behind the Rise in Nationalist Party Support in London Over the Past Decade”


Elisabeth Becker

“Kosovar Political Migrants and Narration of the Nation: Homeland Cosmopolitans and Ethnic Chauvinists Abroad”


Sarah Lee

“Same Only Story in the “New” South Africa: Post-apartheid Racial and Gender Inequality”


Asa Wilks

“The Spatial Concentration of Affluence in Urban America, 1990-2000”


Freya Estreller

“I was a Door-to-Door Salesman: An Ethnographic Examination of the Organizational Structure and Culture of a Direct Sales and Marketing Firm”