Barbara A. Kirk Award For Outstanding Graduate Student Research

The Barbara A. Kirk Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Research is given for outstanding graduate student research in counseling psychology. The Award and its associated monetary prize were initiated and funded by Dr. John Black, CEO, of Consulting Psychologists Press; it is now funded by the Society/Division 17. Announcement of the Award winner is made at the annual APA convention. The procedures to be followed in the nomination of candidates, selection of an Award winner, and presentation of the Award are detailed below.

Award Amount: $1,000

Congratulations to the 2023 Award Recipient: Rachel L. Dyer, M.S.


  1. The Barbara A. Kirk Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Research is given for outstanding graduate student research in counseling psychology. The piece of research submitted must be in an area that falls under the purview of counseling psychology. It must have been conducted while the student was enrolled in a graduate program. The student must be the principal author of the research. Both qualitative and quantitative research projects are eligible for this award.
  2. Nominees must be either: a) students currently enrolled in a counseling psychology program, or b) new professionals (no more than one year post-degree) submitting research that was conducted while they were counseling psychology graduate students. Nominees must be members of SAS (new professionals should have been members of SAS at the time the research was conducted).
  3. No voting members of the Executive Board of the Society/Division 17 shall be eligible to be nominated for the Barbara A. Kirk Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Research during the time they serve on the Board.
  4. In the case of a tie two awards may be given, splitting the monetary award.
  5. Though the Award ordinarily will be voted annually, the Executive Board may elect not to make an Award in any given year.


  1. A call for nominations for the Barbara A. Kirk Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Research will appear in the fall issue of the Society/Division 17 Newsletter or the currently used publication medium, and the SAS Newsletter. Nomination packets are to be uploaded in one pdf file to [email protected] no later than February 15. Use the nominee’s last name and award in the file name.
  2. Students will submit a full length APA-style article (as one would submit for publication) or an 1800 word summary (identical to APA convention proposals) for consideration. An accompanying letter of nomination (self or other) should discuss how the submitted piece of research meets the criteria for the award and should include the name, address, program and institutional affiliation, and SAS membership status of the nominee. 
  3. Representatives of the Student Affiliates of Seventeen will serve as ex-officio members of the Society/Division 17 Awards and Recognition Committee for purposes of ranking the Award nominees. Such representatives will have one vote collectively.
  4. The Chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee (or the Chair’s designee) will be responsible for collecting nominations and for obtaining evaluations of the nominations from the Committee. All reviewers will be given a rating form on which they are to rate the research (using a five point scale) on: (a) appropriateness of focus for counseling psychology, (b) methodology, (c) originality, (d) contribution to the literature, and (e) overall evaluation. Each reviewer will rate and then rank the nominee and send both ratings and rankings to the Chair (or the Chair’s designee) who will then compute mean ratings. Based on these mean ratings the Chair will submit a rank ordered list of nominees to the Society/Division 17 Executive Board for a vote.
  5. Election of the Award winner will be decided by written or verbal ballot by majority vote of the voting members of the Executive Board of Society/Division 17. The Award winner will be notified by the President following this vote, but no later than June 1, but no public announcement of the winner will be made until the Society/Division’s business meeting at the APA Convention.
  6. The Chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee will provide the winner’s name and contact information, social security number, and the name of the award won to the Society/Division 17 treasurer by June 1st. The treasurer will prepare the check and give it to the Society/Division 17 President for presentation at the Annual Business Meeting in August.
  7. After the APA Convention, an announcement of the winner will be published in the fall issue of the Society/Division 17 Newsletter or currently used publication medium, the SAS Newsletter, and The Counseling Psychologist. An abstract of the research will be published in the SAS Newsletter. 

Note: SCP’s most recent strategic plan (2019-2024) includes goals such as elevating impact of counseling psychology and supporting counseling psychologists’ advocacy to promote client and community wellbeing, equity, and justice. Our current President Reynolds stated, “Every day we strive to build a more inclusive, just, and equitable profession and ensure that our work is centered in liberation and healing to dismantle oppression in all its forms, uplift all communities who are marginalized, erased, and harmed, and transform our policies, structures, and practices so that we may all one day be free.” This work is particularly important now given multiple pandemics experienced in recent years and our continued fight to support marginalized communities.
Therefore, we invite all nominations to address the ways your nominees strived to make this change. The submission materials should address how the nominee aligns with and/or applies counseling psychology values, particularly as it relates to counseling psychology’s focus on Liberation Anti-Black Racism, Advocacy and Engagement.