Today@Sam Article

Professor Named Outstanding Mentor By National Organization

March 26, 2024
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

By Kim Foster

Stuti Kokkalera has been recognized for her work with students by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). The Sam Houston State University (SHSU) College of Criminal Justice assistant professor has received the 2024 ACJS Outstanding Mentor Award.

Dragana Derlic and Stuti Kokkalera at the ACJS meeting in Chicago.

“To receive this recognition was unexpected,” Kokkalera said. “I was really surprised because it’s early in my career. I’m grateful to my colleagues, collaborators and especially students.”

The ACJS Outstanding Mentor Award recognizes educators who have made a significant contribution to the professional development of criminal justice graduate and doctoral students and junior faculty members. To be considered, nomination letters are submitted on behalf of the faculty member. Kokkalera was nominated by Dragana Derlic, program coordinator of criminal justice and criminology at Kentucky Wesleyan College. The two met through a professional mentorship program and have been collaborating on various projects over the past years.

“I wanted to thank Stuti for her unwavering support and mentorship in a way that would celebrate her and her professionalism and dedication,” Derlic said. “Stuti has been a true inspiration to me, her support and exceptional guidance has fueled my desire and courage to make strides in my professional endeavors and I am forever grateful for that. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Stuti’s guidance and support.”

The duo celebrated Kokkalera’s award at this year’s ACJS annual meeting in Chicago.

“I was excited to celebrate this with her,” Kokkalera said. “It’s nice to be in a room full of accomplished scholars. To be recognized, that’s just icing on the cake.”

While Kokkalera is grateful for the award, she looks forward to helping others receive accolades.

“It’s gratifying when you nominate someone and they receive the recognition. I hope to keep doing that for my students and colleagues.”

For more information about the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, visit their website. For more information about Kokkalera, visit her faculty bio page on the SHSU College of Criminal Justice’s website.

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