2021 Application/Nomination
Deadline: October 15, 2020
Award decision: January 11, 2021
Alma H. Young (1947-2004)
UAA Board Chair (1999-2001)
former Dean of the College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs
Professor & Coleman A. Young Chair in Urban Affairs
Wayne State University

The Urban Affairs Association gives an annual award for emerging scholars whose work exemplifies outstanding scholarship in urban affairs. It was renamed in 2004 in honor of Alma H. Young to commemorate her longstanding service to UAA, and her particular commitment to mentoring graduate students and junior faculty.

Award Benefits

The recipient receives a $1,000 honorarium, a plaque, a complimentary registration to the conference, and an invitation to the Annual VIP Dinner Reception. The award winner will be presented with the plaque and honorarium at the annual Awards Luncheon held during the spring conference. Modest lodging support may also be available.


Students pursuing doctoral research related to urban affairs, regardless of academic discipline, are eligible to apply. Applicants must:

  1. have finished their coursework;
  2. be making good progress towards the completion of their dissertation; and
  3. the nominee OR the nominator must hold a UAA membership.


The nominee must submit the Emerging Scholar Nominee Application Form and upload the following documents as PDF files:

  1. Personal Statement: A personal statement by the applicant describing the applicant’s urban interests, engagement, and career plans. The statement should be no more than 1000 words. 
  2. Curriculum Vitae or Resume: The student’s most recent curriculum vitae or resume. 
  3. Draft or Final Dissertation Proposal: A proposal for the dissertation of 1,500-2,000* words that indicates the research questions, argument or hypotheses, literature and data sources, methodology, and nature of expected findings. *Please note: Bibliography references and/or appendices do not count towards the 1,500-2,000 word limit. 
  4. Nomination Letter: The nominator must have a formal professional role that allows them to assess the nominee’s achievements, current academic status and progress. This letter must attest that the student has completed coursework and is making good progress towards the completion of their dissertation. The nomination letter should be on letterhead and signed by the nominator. Once prepared, the letter should be converted to a PDF format. Do NOT submit more than one letter of nomination. Only one letter will be forwarded to the selection committee. 

Important note: Do not submit additional documents. Only the four (4) requested documents will be forwarded to the selection committee.

Submit an Emerging Scholar Award Application

Selection Procedures

The nominations will be reviewed by a committee appointed by the Chairperson of the Governing Board. The winner will be selected based on scholarship and commitment to urban issues. Specifically, candidates for the award are evaluated on the following four criteria:

  1. evidence of good foundation in urban theory; 
  2. evidence of robust and creative methodological approaches;
  3. evidence of a commitment to community engagement and social justice; and
  4. evidence of contribution to urban scholarship and urban affairs.

The awards committee will report its decision to the UAA Executive Director, who will inform all nominees and nominators of the committee’s decision prior to the spring UAA conference.


If you have any questions, contact the UAA Executive Office at awards@uaamail.org or call 414-229-3025.

Previous Winners