Psychology’s Courtney Ahrens was named as the recipient of the 2006 Early Career Award for Scholarship and Service from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). This award was created to recognize one scholar each year who combines excellence in scholarship and service.
Established in 2005, the award is named in honor of Michelle Alexander, “a talented scholar and dedicated teacher who brought exceptional insight, passion and commitment to social issues research,” according to SPSSI officials. She also gave generously to students, colleagues and communities through her service.
“It feels fantastic to have won this award,” said Ahrens, who joined the university in 2002. ”When you do a lot of service, you don’t always feel rewarded. I don’t do this for the recognition. I do it because it is part of my value system. But it is definitely nice to be recognized.”
Ahrens feels one reason for her recognition is the way her research combines scholarship and service.
“I was trained as a community psychologist. One of the things I was trained to do was action research where you use the results of your research to create social change in your community,” she said.
For Ahrens, this social change involves community education. With assistance from both the Psychology Department and the College of Liberal Arts, she created a booklet titled Speak Out: Recovering from Rape, a summary from the Women Speaking Out About Violence Project.
“It contains basic information that is geared toward the community,” she said. “More than 400 copies have been distributed to churches and social service agencies all through Long Beach. Along with the brochures went an offer to make public presentations and since last spring, we’ve been doing that. We’ve gotten a great response.”