American Sociological Association

ASA Footnotes

A publication of the American Sociological AssociationASA News & Events
January-March 2019

The ASA Honors Program Is a Valuable Resource for Undergraduate Students

Dennis M. Rome, Honors Program Director

Honors students at the 2017 ASA Annual Meeting

Honors students at the 2017 ASA Annual Meeting

The ASA Honors Program provides undergraduate sociology students a rich introduction to the professional life of the discipline. Exceptional sociology students throughout the country and the world come together for four days and experience all facets of the ASA Annual Meeting. By participating in the Honors Program, students develop long-lasting networks with other interested students. Student participation in the ASA Honors Program is through nomination by a faculty member in their department.

In 1984, the late Carla Howery encouraged me to apply to the ASA Honors Program while I was studying for my master’s degree in sociology at Howard University. At that time, the Honors Program included undergraduate and graduate students (it is now focused solely on talented undergraduates). Its format included student presentations via different research topic panels and various guest presentations by prominent sociologists. The days were long and by the end of the meetings, my classmates and I were exhausted. Nonetheless, this experience, along with the guidance from my sociology mentors encouraged me to pursue sociology as a career. In fact, according to our honor student evaluations over the past several years, many of the participants in the Honors Program go on to work in sociological-related fields. The Honors Program is indeed a great recruiting event for maintaining and increasing student members in our association. 

A typical four-day Honors Program schedule at an Annual Meeting includes sessions or events with the current ASA president, the ASA Executive Director, and a host of other distinguished sociologists. In addition, students participate in sessions about careers in sociology as well as sessions about best practices for applying to graduate programs. Also, students participate in a sociological “fieldwork” activity depending on the annual meeting venue, such as a visit to the United Nations, Alcatraz, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and museums and other historical sites. Honors Program students are required to attend various plenaries and paper sessions, and their schedule includes time where students may choose their own activities. In addition to plenaries and sessions, participants interact with other talented undergraduate sociology students from around the country and the world. 

Below are a few of last year’s participants’ testimonies:

… [this experience afforded me the] opportunity to share knowledge with peers from different universities, sharing different perspectives…

… [I love the] specialized sessions for undergraduates to incorporate into the world of sociology…

…like the roundtables and Eduardo [Bonilla-Silva]. Great ways to get insight to academia and learn about ASA…

…variety of topics and presenters, faculty and students from across the country. Nice hearing different perspectives… 

Visit the ASA Honors Testimonials webpage for more information and to view videos of Honors Program participants at

For more information on the ASA Honors Program, visit There, you will find information on applying as well as featured video biographies of several former Honors Program participants. We encourage students to participate — thank you!