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April 29, 2005

Statement of the American Sociological Association on

Sociologist Dalton Clark Conley’s Receipt of the
National Science Board’s Alan T. Waterman Award

The Council of the American Sociological Association (ASA) extends its congratulations to Dalton Clark Conley, Professor of Sociology at New York University and Director of its Center for Social Science Research, upon being awarded one of the nation’s highest scientific honors, the Alan T. Waterman Award. The ASA Council is the governing body of the national scientific society for sociologists, representing 14,000 members in the United States and internationally. The National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent federal agency, administers the Waterman Award, which is bestowed by the agency’s governing National Science Board (NSB). NSF is the country’s primary source of support for basic research across all fields of science. The NSF describes the annual Alan T. Waterman Award as recognizing an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by NSF. In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of $500,000 over a three-year period for scientific research or advanced study in the mathematical, physical, medical, biological, engineering, social, or other sciences at the institution of the recipient's choice.

That Conley is the first sociologist to receive this honor is testament to the increased recognition of sociology within the scientific community. A vital segment of the discipline is engaged in the scientific study of human social organization and social behavior. This in turn, is of central importance to the development of basic knowledge to inform decision-makers, policymakers, legislators, and the public about how our social institutions affect national well-being. Conley’s empirical research demonstrates how certain social and economic conditions (i.e., levels of family wealth) are the basis of persistent racial differences in key areas of life—from educational success to the likelihood of relying on welfare—and are essential to understanding how race persists in determining wealth. Conley’s works clearly and creatively explain how income, gender, health, and birth order result in inequalities that create “pecking orders” even within families.

On behalf of its members and the discipline of sociology, the ASA Council wishes to take this opportunity to officially acknowledge Conley’s outstanding professional achievements as reflected by his receipt of the 30th annual Waterman Award. It is especially noteworthy that this national scientific honor, established to commemorate NSF’s 75th anniversary, is bestowed on a sociologist for the first time in the year that the ASA celebrates its 100th anniversary as the nation’s professional association for the discipline of sociology. ASA recognized Conley’s early talent by awarding him the Association’s Outstanding Dissertation Award in 1997, and applauds the NSB’s assessment of Conley as “one of the nation’s top young sociologists.”

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About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.