William R. Freudenburg Award of Merit Recipient

Every year, the Natural Resources RIG solicits nominations for the William R. Freudenburg Award of Merit, a distinction that recognizes exceptional contributions have demonstrably impacted the sociology of natural resources and the environment. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Kathryn Brasier is the 2020 recipient of the NRRIG William R. Freudenburg Award of Merit.

We received numerous nomination letters that highlighted Dr. Brasier’s truly impressive accomplishments and contributions to our field. Those nominations had a collective focus on Dr. Brasier’s dedication to the growth of not only her research, but also the teams and partnerships she had created along the way. Dr. Brasier is a unifier across disciplines, scales, and career stages. For example, one nominator commended “her ability to bring together biophysical and social scientists, activists, citizens and farmers in ways that build trust and catalyze a vision for positive change that enables action." Dr. Brasier’s aptitude for fostering collaborative environments and nurturing new ideas and experiences across rural environments highlights the long-lasting impact her involvement and knowledge has had on natural resources and their management in Pennsylvania and beyond. These positive qualities are recognized and celebrated far beyond the ivory tower, as another nominator explained: “Dr. Brasier’s dedication and expertise embodies the very essence of the practitioner scholar –both the research base and the countless communities, organizations, agencies, and decision-makers that have been impacted by her work are better for it.”

Dr. Brasier’s nominators and NRRIG leadership also commend her mentorship and advising of future generations of rural sociologists. A letter of support from former students emphasizes this critical contribution: “In addition to her strong mentorship of her own female graduate students, she is sought out and known for her support of early career academics in the field as well as female graduate students from other universities.” Her unwavering support has helped shape future scientists, advocates, and community leaders and ensured the continued growth of new and shared knowledge at the intersection of rural sociology and natural resources. Furthermore, Dr. Brasier mentors, forms partnerships, and conducts research with respect and remarkable attention to detail. Another nominator explains it best: “Like Freudenburg, her commitment to professional organizations and especially ethical considerations of professional life is outstanding."

In addition to the invaluable contributions above, Dr. Brasier has contributed immeasurably to the literature surrounding the sociology of natural resources and the environment; her nominators noted that she had published “more than 30 journal articles, seven book chapters, two books, [and] numerous Extension reports,” supported by an impressive array of grants, including a $5 million USDA-funded Water for Agriculture project.

We would like to thank Dr. Brasier for her contributions to our field, her ability to elevate the voices of the next generation of emerging scholars, and her commitment to our RIG. We are extremely proud that she is a member of our RIG and RSS, and we are delighted to honor her work and dedication with the Freudenburg Award of Merit. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Brasier on her outstanding achievements.