Alma H. Young Emerging Scholar Award

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Dr. Alma H. Young

The Urban Affairs Association (UAA) gives an annual award to a promising Ph.D. candidate or early career researcher whose work demonstrates a commitment to rigorous and impactful research and service.

This award was renamed in 2004 in honor of Dr. Alma H. Young to commemorate her longstanding service to the Urban Affairs Association and her particular commitment to mentoring graduate students and junior faculty.

DEADLINE: September 18, 2023 (11:59pm CST) – Last day to submit an application

Step 1: Review Eligibility Guidelines
Step 2: Submit Your Application
Award Benefits
Selection Process
Past Recipients
Step 1: Review the Eligibility Guidelines

The applicant must be either a current doctoral student or a recent doctoral graduate who received their degree within the past four years.

Current Doctoral Graduate Students. Student 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 applicant OR their nominator must hold a UAA membership.


Post-Doctoral Graduates. Recent doctoral graduates who received their degree within the past four years and completed research related to urban affairs, in any disciplinary field, are eligible to apply. Applicants must:

  1. Provide official documentation of a degree earned in 2020, 2021, 2022 or 2023 (e.g. picture of degree diploma; letter from university); and
  2. The applicant OR their nominator must hold a UAA membership.

See the Submit Your Application tab for information about Prior Nominees. 

Application Instructions

The applicant must submit the Emerging Scholar 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. Dissertation Proposal or Abstract of Dissertation (1500-2000 word limit*): A proposal for the dissertation that indicates the research questions, argument or hypotheses, literature and data sources, methodology, and nature of expected findings. Alternatively, if you have graduated and completed your dissertation, you can submit an abstract describing your research questions, methodology, and 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.
  5. Documentation of degree earned in 2020, 2021, 2022 or 2023 (post-doctoral applicants only) Examples of documentation: picture of degree diploma, letter from university, etc.

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

Submit Your Application


Prior Nominees

All nominations made within the past three (3) years, will be given full review and consideration. For this year’s selection process, previous nominations will be considered for submissions made in:  2021, 2022, and 2023.

If a nomination was made prior to the three years noted above, a new nomination must be submitted to receive consideration by the committee. Each new nomination will remain in the nominee pool for three years (including the year of nomination).

To verify the year of any nomination, contact the UAA Executive Office at

Award Benefits

The recipient receives:

  • A special award plaque
  • An honorarium of $1,000 USD
  • A complimentary conference registration waiver (including meal + reception tickets) for the conference at which the award is received (valued at $500+ USD)
  • Up to four (4) nights of complimentary lodging at the conference hotel for the year in which the recipient receives the award.
    • If the recipient is not able to attend the UAA Conference in the year of the award, the lodging benefit may be deferred up to one year.

The plaque will be presented at the Awards & Recognition Program held during the annual UAA Conference. Following the conference, a press release will be prepared announcing the recipient.

Selection Process

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.

Past Recipients