Best Practices Research, Student Award

The Best Practices Research, Student Award recognizes a best practices research project conducted by a graduate student.

Background and Purpose

Research projects completed within the last two years that further the evidence base for counseling practice will be considered for this award. Eligible projects may include original research or a synthesis of the research literature supporting a particular practice or approach. 

A total of five Best Practices Research Awards, inclusive of all categories (Counseling Practitioner, Faculty, Student), may be awarded.


Application Deadline

  • January 10, 2020, 11:59 PM EST

Award Notification 

  • Winners chosen and announced the week of February 18, 2020 


  •  ACA Research and Knowledge Committee

Prize: Complimentary ACA Conference & Expo registration (travel and lodging not included). Recognition and presentation of the award at the Conference. Recipients must present their research during a session at the Conference. 

Eligibility, Rules and Criteria

Any ACA member who is a graduate student matriculating in a counseling or counselor education program is eligible for this award. Postdoctoral students are also eligible for the award. 

  • Nominations must come from an ACA member.
  • The awardee must be an ACA member.
  • An individual can only be nominated for one award per year. 

Nomination Guidelines

The total submission package for this award may exceed 16 pages in length. All nomination materials must be combined into one document (all formats accepted), with the nomination letter first.

Nomination letter: In the letter, identify the nominee and the specific award. Explain why you believe the nominee should receive the award by responding to the specific criteria outlined in the nomination guidelines. Keep in mind that the awards reviewers are relying on the information you provide to choose the most deserving recipient for the award. Please address each nomination guideline and make sure your nominee meets the award criteria and requirements. Brevity, clarity and specificity are most important here.

All applications must include:

  • A description of the project using a standard Abstract form: Background, Research Question, Methods, Results and Conclusions. Specific word-count limits differ across awards. Master’s degree candidate project descriptions should be 300 words or less. Doctoral degree candidate project descriptions should be 500 words or less. 
  • A 300-word justification of why this research should be given a Best Practices Research Award.
  • Recommendation letters from individuals with knowledge about the contribution of the research (no more than two pages). Master’s degree students should also submit one letter of recommendation from a faculty member who is familiar with the research and can certify student status. Doctoral degree students should submit two letters of recommendation, one from the program/department chair who can certify student status and one from a faculty member familiar with the research.
  • Recommendation letters should not be written by the nominee or co-authors of an article unless the nomination stems from a dissertation and the co-author is the dissertation chair (please disclose if this is the case).
  • Acknowledgment from the publisher of any work accepted for publication.  

Supporting materials: Include a nominee biography. If there are additional materials (news reports, journal articles, etc.) that you feel help support the nominee’s achievements, please include a copy of them. You may also include a copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae (CV) or resume of no more than four pages, highlighting the nominee’s relevant accomplishments, if available.

Apply for Award


Supported and sponsored by the American Counseling Association Foundation.


K. Michelle Hunnicutt Hollenbaugh (Faculty Award)

Michael K. Schmit (Faculty Award)

Laura Shannonhouse, LPC, NCC (Faculty Award)
Ashley J. Blount, PhD (Faculty Award)
Kristie Opiola (Faculty Award)
Kelly Emelianchik-Key, PhD, LMHC, NCC, ACS (Faculty Award)
Rebekah Byrd, PhD, LPC, NCC, RPT-S (Faculty Award)
Amanda La Guardia (Faculty Award)

Jenifer Balch, PhD (Faculty Award)
Yung-Wei Dennis Lin, PhD (Faculty Award)
Garry S. Del Conte, PsyD, ABPP (Counseling Practitioner Award)
Kara Carnes-Holt (Faculty Award)

Dr. A. Stephen Lenz (Faculty Award)
Dr. Dalena Dillman Taylor (Faculty Award)

Dr. Sue Bratton (Faculty Award)
Laura Choate (Faculty Award)
Dr. Delini Fernando and Casey Barrio Minton (Faculty Award)
Dr. Todd F. Lewis (Faculty Award)
Dr. Jacqueline Swank (Faculty Award)

Dr. Richard S. Balkin (Faculty Award)

Peggy L. Ceballos, PhD (Student Award)
Casey Barrio Minton, PhD (Faculty Award)

Susan C. Whiston (Faculty Award)

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