SEPA Graduate Student Research Award Guidelines

This award is NOT the same as the CEPO Student Research Awards. *

Cash Awards for Outstanding Research SEPA is again pleased to offer recognition and cash awards to graduate students for outstanding research. The awards can be for research in any area of psychology. The awards committee will nominate a selection of the submissions for presentation in a special paper/poster session at the SEPA Meeting. The selection of winner(s) will be made based on the presentations in that session. First place winner receives a $200 award. Additional award(s) may be made at the judges’ discretion.

ELIGIBILITY: The sole or first author, as described in the APA Publication Manual, must be a graduate student in a regionally accredited psychology program. The submission must be sponsored by a current SEPA Member, unless the submitting graduate student is a post-masters student and SEPA Member. The paper cannot be simultaneously submitted to other SEPA competitions or programs. However, legitimate submissions that are not nominated for consideration will automatically be reviewed for the SEPA program. Participants are limited to a maximum of TWO submissions as sole or first author. The deadline for competition submission is October 9th, at 6:00 PM Eastern Time.

HOW TO SUBMIT: Persons who are presently Members or Student Affiliate Members of SEPA can submit through the Electronic Submission System (ESS) on the SEPA website at – you must have a valid e-mail address on file with the SEPA office, and your dues must be current before you can use the ESS. Prepare the submission as for any other paper submission. As you begin the submission process, choose “SEPA Graduate Student Research Award” to indicate that your paper should be judged for the SEPA Graduate Student Research Award. Please do not submit research proposals. The study must have been completed. Do not submit manuscripts.

JUDGING and PRESENTATION: Three to four judges will evaluate each abstract. Entries will first be reviewed for acceptability in the Meeting program. Acceptable papers will then be judged in the competition in terms of overall quality, potential importance, and innovation. Authors of all papers deemed to be of special merit will be invited to present their work in a special session. Awards will be announced, and cash awards will be presented at the Meeting. Submission implies agreement to present at the SEPA meeting (as is the case with any other accepted submission). Authors of submissions that are not accepted for the special session but that are accepted for the program will be notified in the usual manner, and their names will be listed in the printed program. All winners (and co-authors if they attend the Meeting) must register for the Meeting in the same manner as any other participant. Authors who are selected to present their work in the Graduate Student Research Award paper session will be expected to be present for the awards ceremony. For additional information contact Audrey Parrish,

Outstanding Professional Paper Award Guidelines

The SEPA Executive Committee, with funding under a grant from the American Psychological Association (APA) Science Directorate, seeks to encourage the oral presentation and eventual publication of high-quality scientific research by professional members at the annual meetings. Since 2000, the APA has provided funding for awards to be given for outstanding scientific papers presented at the annual SEPA meetings. The Outstanding Professional Paper Award (OPPA) comes with a prize of $500.00. Although a single award usually is made, the OPPA Committee has the option of naming co-winners or first-, second-, and third-place winners should the committee judge multiple papers meritorious. (If more than one winner is selected, the $500.00 will be divided between or among them.) ELIGIBILITY

  • The sole or first (senior) author, as described in the APA Publication Manual, needs to be a professional member of SEPA in good standing at the time of the meeting.
  • The paper may report empirical research, or it may be theoretical so long as clear empirical foundations exist.
  • The paper must be presented orally by the senior author.
  • Entry for the Outstanding Professional Paper Award is by nomination only. Eligible authors whose abstracts are judged by the Program Committee to be of particularly high quality will be invited to submit their papers for the award. Those authors who agree to and who do submit their papers one month prior to the meeting will be eligible to be considered for the award. SUBMISSION and JUDGING
  • Submit your abstract via the Electronic Submission System (ESS) by the submission deadline of October 9th, at 6:00 PM Eastern Time.
  • Submit only completed research (not in-progress or proposed research).
  • Your abstract will be reviewed in the usual manner by the Program Committee.
  • Authors of abstracts that meet the eligibility requirements and receive the highest ratings (see above paragraph) will be asked whether they wish to have their papers considered for the Outstanding Professional Paper Award.
  • Those authors who wish to have their submissions considered for the award must submit a complete copy of the paper, which will form the basis of their presentation to the chair of the OPPA committee, at least one month prior to the meeting. The text of the paper should be no longer than 12 manuscript pages; additional pages may be used for references, tables, and figures. The entire manuscript should conform to the rules of APA manuscript style.
  • Members of the OPPA Committee will attend the author’s presentation, and the committee will consider the quality of both the previously submitted paper and the presentation equally in determining the winner(s).

For additional information contact: Brooke Bennett-Day, Wesleyan College,

Mentor Award Guidelines

Mentor: An experienced and trusted counselor (Oxford English Dictionary)

Mentoring is a structured and trusting relationship that brings younger professionals or students into contact with experienced faculty members or other professional psychologists who offer guidance, support, and encouragement aimed at developing the knowledge, professional skills, competencies, and character of the younger person. SEPA recognizes the importance of mentoring relationships as vital to the development of psychology graduates and students at all levels. In 2004, SEPA established a Mentor Award with the support of the Education Directorate of the American Psychological Association (APA) and presented the cash award for the first time. The Mentor Award Committee is comprised of the President and President-Elect of the SEPA and the previous recipient.  This award will be presented at the Award Reception during the Annual Meeting, and the award recipient is invited to attend the following year’s meeting to give an invited address.

SEPA is seeking nominations for the 2022 Mentor Award.  Please nominate a SEPA member who has demonstrated exceptional mentoring through some or all of the following activities:

  1. Mentoring and teaching undergraduate and graduate students and early career faculty members and professional members
  2. Involving students in the annual SEPA meeting
  3. Shepherding the careers of students, and especially student members of the SEPA
  4. Contributing to the professional development of other mentees

To nominate a SEPA member for this award, write a nomination letter (typically, one to two pages in length, but that is at your discretion) summarizing the person’s mentoring activities by addressing any or all of the criteria above.  Student, colleague, and self-nominations are welcomed, as are multiple letters supporting a single nominee.

Please email your nomination letter to Dr. Rihana Mason, Georgia State University. (


Past Awardees:

  • 2004 – Mike Rulon of Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Georgia
  • 2005 – Wallace Kennedy of Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
  • 2006 – Christopher Leone of University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida
  • 2007 – Stephen Nowicki of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2008 – Charles Brewer of Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina
  • 2009 – Sandra Willis of Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama
  • 2010 – Susan Walch of University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida
  • 2011 – Merry Sleigh – Ritzer of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, South Carolina
  • 2012 – Tammy Lowery Zacchilli of Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, Florida
  • 2013 – Christian End of Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 2014 – Jennifer Hughes of Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia
  • 2015 – Larry Bates of University of North Alabama, Florence, Alabama
  • 2016 – Mary Utley of Drury University, Springfield, Missouri
  • 2017 – James L. Pate, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2018 – Al Finch, The Citadel, Charleston, SC
  • 2019 – Randy Engle, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
  • 2020 –John Neil Bohannon III, Butler University
  • 2021 –Tsu-Ming Chiang, Georgia College and State University

Early Career Research Award Guidelines

The ECRA is available to professional members of SEPA who are within 7 years of receiving their doctoral degree. To qualify for this award, the applicant must submit an empirical paper three weeks prior to the annual meeting. He or she must be the first author and must be the presenter of this oral paper at the annual meeting. Qualified applicants should indicate on their abstract submission form their eligibility by checking the appropriate box. All eligible applications are sent by the program committee to the Chair of the ECRA committee. Early Career is defined as having received doctoral degree no more than 7 years prior to the time of the annual meeting.

  • Empirical paper – Must be an empirical paper.
  • First author – To be considered for the award, you must be the first author.
  • Presentation – To be considered for the award, you must be the presenter.
  • Criteria for Manuscript to be submitted prior to the meeting – Maximum of 17 pages of text (not including – title page, abstract, references, tables, figures).

This paper is due by email submission to the award committee chair three weeks before the meeting.

For additional information contact, Kelly Cate, University of North Georgia,

CEPO Student Research Awards

“Student Awards for Research on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI)” Sponsored by the Committee on Equality of Professional Opportunity **** This award is NOT the same as the SEPA Graduate Student Research Award **** This award program is NOT the same as the CEPO/Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Program CEPO is the Committee on Equality of Professional Opportunity. CEPO was developed as a SEPA committee to highlight research on women and other underrepresented groups. This award offers cash awards to both graduate AND undergraduate students for outstanding research. The awards for research MUST be related to the areas of social justice, diversity (persons, abilities, or perspectives), equity or inclusion. Examples of research topics include but are not limited to:

  • Gender or underrepresented group bias in research
  • Legal/economic topics
  • Social and political issues
  • Cross-cultural research perspectives
  • Social activism
  • Physical and mental health issues
  • Race/ethnicity differences
  • Bias in assessment/therapy
  • Educational equity/ access
  • Employment access/equity
  • Violence or harassment

AWARDS: The following cash awards will be presented at the SEPA annual meetng: First Place- $250 / Second Place – $100

ELIGIBILITY: Graduate or undergraduate students in psychology or related disciplines are eligible. A student who is not a member of SEPA may submit an application for membership or be sponsored by a SEPA member. If the paper is co- authored by a faculty member, the student must be the first author as described by the APA Publication Manual and be able to present the paper if it is accepted for the award.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Papers will be selected by a four-person review committee using the following criteria: Excellence in research design, relevance, importance, style, and innovation. Your abstract will be reviewed, followed by an invitation for a paper.

SUBMISSION: If you are interested in having your abstract considered for an award, please submit your abstract (through the Electronic Submission System (ESS). This system is accessible through the SEPA Web site at for dues-paid members. Be sure to select “CEPO Student Research Awards” TO INDICATE YOUR ABSTRACT SHOULD BE JUDGED FOR THE CEPO STUDENT RESEARCH AWARD (Choose “FOR STUDENTS ONLY” option in the ESS).

If your abstract is scored favorably then you will be required to submit a full paper at a later deadline.

ONLY PAPERS MEETING THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS WILL BE REVIEWED: The study must have been completed. You must submit a completed manuscript (8-10 page (8-10 pages) in APA format. Please do not submit a full-length thesis. Show the title of the paper on the full-length copy but show no name or institutional affiliation. Make sure not to mention name or institutional affiliation in the text of the manuscript. Papers will be given blind review by the judges, and author information will be available only to the award program chair. Your advisor will be asked to verify that the work is primarily your work. Papers not selected for awards, but deemed appropriate for SEPA presentation, will automatically be considered for the SEPA program. Further program information can be obtained from the Program Chair listed below.

CALL FOR JUDGES: Please consider volunteering to serve as a judge for the Student Research Awards or nominate a colleague who might be interested in serving as a judge. Judges from underrepresented groups are especially needed.

Please contact Dr. Mason if you wish to volunteer. Linda Jones, Belmont University,