Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award

The Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award honors remarkable investigators at Grand Valley State University who began their independent scholarship within the past six years. These scholars demonstrate mastery in their field and show significant potential for continued success. The award recipients have made major contributions to theory, research and creative practice, and they have earned national recognition for their outstanding achievements. In addition to the honor of being designated a CSCE Distinguished Early Career Scholar, recipients of the Award are given an award of $500.  Nominations for the Award are solicited from deans, department chairs, and faculty colleagues.

2021 Recipients


Abdullah F. Alrebh, Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award

Jaclyn Cwick, Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award

Byron DeVries, Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award

Leanne Kang, Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award

Abdullah F. Alrebh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor 
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dr. Abdullah Alrebh’s research explores the sociology of religion, authority in Muslim societies, and the socio-political impact of education in Middle Eastern countries. His work is intentionally interdisciplinary, with recent publications including co-authors in education, psychology, and anthropology. In education, he considered the impact of education in developing consciousness of democracy in the post-Arab Spring era, and issues of access for Syrian refugees. In addition to numerous articles and chapters published since his arrival at Grand Valley, many in top-tier journals, Alrebh’s expertise has attracted the attention of think tanks in the United States and the Middle East, for which he has published policy articles.

Jaclyn Cwick, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor, School of Criminal Justice
College of Community & Public Service

Dr. Cwick has quickly established a reputation as an expert in the field of collateral community consequences of mass incarceration including social disorganization, life course criminology, neighborhoods and crime, race, inequality and crime, and prisoner reentry.  Since receiving her doctorate in 2016, she has written three peer reviewed journal articles, four book chapters, a technical manuscript, and five national conference presentations. Because of this recognition, Jaclyn is frequently called upon to review scholarly papers, provide professional trainings, assist community partners, and provide media commentary on issues on the impact of mass incarceration on communities.

Byron DeVries, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, School of Computing and Information Systems
Padnos College of Engineering and Computing

Dr. DeVries' research centers on software and engineering problems related to high-assurance systems, i.e., those that monitor, control, or protect safety in critical infrastructure. In just three years, he has a launched a diverse, prolific, and highly-cited research program at Grand Valley, with active participation and dissemination by his undergraduate and graduate student mentees (he was given the Faculty Mentor Award by the Graduate Student Association in 2018). With a broad focus on AI-generated software systems, DeVries’ work promises to impact safety in cutting-edge cyber-physical systems, such as self-driving cars.

Leanne Kang, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations
College of Education

Having previously taught in inner-city New Jersey, Leanne Kang’s scholarship and teaching focus on racial justice in public education.  Her book, Dismantled: The Breakup of an Urban School System (Columbia University’s Teachers College Press, 2020), details the recent dissolution of Detroit Public Schools, while elucidating connections between history and contemporary policy. Kang credits her instruction of teachers and administrators at Grand Valley’s Detroit Center with allowing her to test theories and ideas with people experiencing the upheaval first hand. Her book and ongoing scholarship on urban education have garnered attention from scholars, activists, and educational reformers nationwide.

Application Materials

Data to be included with the nominations:

  • Completed Declaration Page
  • A statement from the nominee, one or two pages in length, of that person's professional accomplishments deemed most significant
  • Two letters of support from faculty colleagues who have knowledge of the nominee’s ability as a scholar and who are not committee members. The letters should address the criteria for the award.
  • Curriculum Vitae

** Please note: ONLY the above stated documents, combined into a single PDF, will be accepted as a completed nomination packet. No additional documents will be accepted. Please submit electronically to: csce@gvsu.edu 

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria are used in nominations and evaluations of nominees:

  • Potential to develop a national reputation  
  • Major contributions to theory, research, and/or creative practice
  • Highest standards of professionalism 


Process and Timeline


Nominators: Each college sets its own internal deadline for the initial review. The CSCE is not involved in this part of the process. Contact your dean’s office to inquire about internal deadlines for nominations and materials to be submitted to the college dean’s office for review.

Dean’s Office: The applicant’s dean’s office must submit the electronic copy (pdf) of this form (Declaration Page) and all supporting materials, as a single PDF, to the CSCE office by November 1. Submit electronically to: csce@gvsu.edu 



Procedures for Administering the CSCE Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award

Each college may nominate a faculty member for one of the four University wide awards. Recipients will be recognized as distinguished scholars. The award selection procedure is as follows:

The Faculty Award Committee for each college will select one faculty member (except CLAS, which selects up to seven, and Seidman College of Business, which selects up to two) to be considered for the award. Committee members will be selected by the dean. Committee membership will be a minimum of three faculty:

Nominations for the award may come from college dean, department chair, and faculty colleagues. Self-nominations are not accepted.

All full-time faculty members who have been employed at GVSU a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 6 years are eligible.

Up to four awards will be made each year. Each recipient will receive $500. 

An individual faculty member may not receive the award more than once.

Recipients are selected by the Research and Development Committee. 

The CSCE will forward the names of recipients to the provost and relevant dean by December 15. The dean will inform the recipient of his or her selection. The CSCE will inform nominees who are not selected.

Declaration Page

Download a Declaration Page


All tenured and tenure-track faculty members who began their independent scholarship within the past six years.