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GSAPP Student Support and Awards

The Virginia Bennett Award

This award (given in honor and memory of Virginia Bennett, who chaired the School Psychology program) is presented annually to a student who evidences dedication to the use of psychological skills and knowledge to alleviate the problems of minority group children in coping with the educational process. Each awardee receives a framed certificate and a cash award.


List of Virginia Bennett Award winners:

2016 - Arielle Verdesco

2015 - Joshua Korth

The 2015 award goes to Joshua Korth. Josh has shown dedication to working with minority students in educational settings since his first year at GSAPP, in association with Anne Gregory. His dissertation is focused on restorative practices with minority students in school settings, which tries to close the racial discipline gap.

2013 - Alyssa Augustyniak

This award goes to Alyssa Augustyniak (School 3rd year) for her role as president of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Student Chapter at GSAPP. She worked with diverse groups and helped them problem-solve. She also helped low SES students and families affected by Storm Sandy and promoted autism research and services for students on the Autism spectrum.

2012 - Jennifer Jones

This year’s award goes to Jennifer Jones for her commitment and enthusiasm working with at risk youth in Newark, Somerset and Trenton, and her work with the Rutgers Somerset Project under the direction of Dr. Nancy Boyd -Franklin. Given in honor and memory of Virginia Bennett, who chaired the school Psychology program for many years, the award is presented annually to a student who evidences dedication to the use of psychological skills and knowledge to alleviate the problems of minority group children in coping with the educational process.

2011 - Rachel Merson

The Virginia Bennett Award was awarded to Rachel Merson, a 4th year clinical psychology student, and is given annually in honor and memory of Virginia Bennett, who chaired the School Psychology program, and was a national leader in the field. It is presented to a student who evidences dedication to the use of psychological skills and knowledge to alleviate the problems of minority group children in coping with the educational process.

2010 - Vanessa Ramirez

This year's winner was recognized for her numerous achievements. The annual award memorializes Virginia Bennett, past chair of the School Psychology program. Vanessa(5th yr, Clinical) earned this honor through her academic and applied passion for alleviating the problems of ethnic minority children.

2009 -Jennifer Foster and Carolin Heindel

Jennifer Foster’s work in the Perth Amboy schools is helping to restructure and develop comprehensive mental health services for students.

Carolin Heindel has worked with children in foster care for the past 2 years. During this past year, she ran a group for adolescent girls who have been sexually molested, and experienced multiple traumas and multiple placements.


2008 -Matthew Strobel

Matt worked with the Eagleton Institute, bringing a civics engagement curriculum to New Brunswick and Perth Amboy High Schools. He also worked at Highland Park Community Teen Center with underachieving male youth and a career development program for high school students.