Dissertation Award

General Information

The Dissertation Award began in 2016 to acknowledge a dissertation that demonstrates research excellence, transcends narrow disciplinary fields, and has impact on and implications for the field of applied linguistics as a whole. Nomination eligibility is for those who have completed dissertations during the two calendar years preceding the award call.

The 2025 award nomination is now open.

Nomination form

The adjudication involves two steps, as outlined below.


Initial submissions require the following materials:

  1. A maximum 3,000-word, double-spaced summary of the dissertation. Word count includes relevant tables, figures, and graphs but excludes references, which can be single-spaced. Please include your name and dissertation title at the top of the first page and number your pages. Any additional pages will be disregarded. Please use standard margins and font sizes.
  2. A copy of your most recent CV.
  3. Department or program contact name, email, and phone number.
  4. A confidential nomination letter from the dissertation supervisor (details follow).
  5. A confidential letter of support from another faculty member.

Nomination and support letters are limited to 1350 words. Nomination letters need to include the following information:


  • What contributions does the dissertation make to the field of applied linguistics?
  • What have the contributions of the nominee been to the field of applied linguistics to date? Describe their future potential and trajectory as applied linguists.
  • Describe the theoretical framing, methodological rigor, and findings of the dissertation and their significance.
  • Comment on the innovation and originality of the dissertation.
  • Is the dissertation written in a clear and accessible manner for the breadth of audiences within the field of applied linguistics and related fields?


  • Describe the nominee’s past accomplishments and contributions to the field of applied linguistics. Please comment on the nominee’s current and (expected) future contributions as well.

Applications are incomplete and ineligible if any of the material listed above is not submitted.

To limit the number of submissions, only one nomination can be submitted per department or program in a single year. Nominations and supporting documents should be submitted using the form below. 


Shortlisted nominees will be contacted in early November and will be asked to submit an electronic copy of the complete dissertation for adjudication.


 March  Call for nominations announced
 June 1  Step 1: submissions deadline
 November 1  Notification of finalists;
 Step 2: submission of finalists’ dissertations
 January 15
 or earlier
 Notification of awardee
 Annual Conference  The Dissertation Award will be presented



  • For questions about the Dissertation Award, email DissertationAward@aaal.org
  • The confidential nomination letter and letter of support should be submitted by your referees using the form below. Advise them of the June 1st deadline and send them the list of information to be included in their letter (as shown above).



Christian Fallas-Escobar | Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica

Dissertation: "Latina/o Bilingual Teacher Candidates’ Negotiation of Raciolinguistic Ideologies"


Peter Torres, Arizona State University
Ryo Maie, University of Tokyo 


David Wei Dai | Monash University, Australia

Dissertation: "Design and validation of an L2-Chinese interactional competence test"


Rachel Snyder Bhansari, Portland State University
Natalie Amgott, Carnegie Mellon University


Zhongfeng Tian | University of Texas at San Antonio

Dissertation: "Translanguaging Design in a Mandarin/English Dual Language Bilingual Education Program: A Researcher-Teacher Collaboration"


Kathy Minhye Kim, Michigan State University
Klara Skogmyr Marian, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland


Brittany Frieson | Assistant Professor of Literacy and Anti-Racist Education, University of North Texas
Dissertation: “'(Re)mixin’ and flowin’: Examining the Literacy Practices of African American Language Speakers in an Elementary Two-Way Immersion Bilingual Program"


Scott Grapin, University of Miami
Shakina Rajendram, OISE, University of Toronto


Ron Darvin | Assistant Professor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Dissertation: "Digital identities, educational inequities: Investigating social class and new literacies of migrant Filipino youth in the knowledge economy"

Senyung Lee, Indiana University
Kathryn Accurso, University of Massachusetts


Emily Suh | Assistant Professor, Texas State University
Dissertation: "Off From Lost": Generation 1 Learners' Transition From Adult ESL to Developmental Education

Bal Krishna Sharma, University of Idaho
Bimali Indrarathne, University of York


Christine Muir | Assistant Professor, University of Nottingham
Dissertation: The dynamics of intense long-term motivation in language learning: Directed motivation currents in theory and practice

Shin, University of Massachusetts
Nicholas Subtirelu, Georgetown University


Shoko Sasayama | Assistant Professor, Globalization Office, Center for International Exchange, University of Tokyo
Dissertation: Validating the assumed relationship between task design, cognitive complexity, and second language task performance.

Dr. Kimberly Buescher, University of Massachusetts – Boston
Dr. Robert Kohls, San Francisco State University


Katherine A. Bernstein | Assistant Professor, Arizona State University
Click here for more information on the 2016 winner.

Ji Min Kahng, Northeastern Illinois University
Sara Kangas, University of Pennsylvania