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.

2023 Application/Nomination
October 1, 2022
Committee decision shared privately with awardee: January 17, 2023
Public announcement: 2023 UAA Conference
Alma Young, The Namesake Of The Uaa Emerging Scholar Award
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

Eligibility Guidelines

The applicant must be either a pre-doctoral graduate student or a recent doctoral graduate who has attained their degree within the past two years.

Pre-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 nominee OR the nominator must hold a UAA membership.


Post-Doctoral Graduates. Recent doctoral graduates who have attained their degree within the past two years (i.e., earned degree in 2020, 2021, or 2022). 

Award Benefits

The recipient receives: 

  • a plaque
  • an honorarium of $1,000
  • a complimentary registration to the conference (valued at $400+)
  • Modest lodging support may also be available. 

The plaque and honorarium will be presented at the annual awards reception held during the spring UAA conference. Following the conference, a press release will be prepared announcing the winner.

Nomination Instructions

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

Repeat Nominations Welcome

Individuals who have been previously nominated, but not selected for the award, may be re-nominated at any time if they continue to meet the eligibility criteria outlined above.  There are no limits on the number of times a person is nominated. To re-nominate an individual, simply follow the nomination instructions above.

Award 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.


Please contact the UAA Executive Office at

Previous Winners