Said Recognized with Jackson Lethbridge Tolerance Award

Iman Said, a doctoral student in criminology in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State, is the recipient of the University's 2021 Jackson Lethbridge Tolerance Award.
Published: Apr 26, 2021

The award recognizes a junior, senior or graduate student for outstanding efforts to enhance the understanding of diverse cultures and create a community where all individuals are accepted and valued equally. The award is named for its benefactor, a Penn State alumnus.

Nominators said Said is an exceptional leader and advocate who goes above and beyond to increase diversity awareness to the benefit of those around her. She’s a first-generation Egyptian American who is active in the Muslim community, so she’s familiar with the challenges facing religious, ethnic and racial minority groups in the United States.

“Said embodies the ideals of tolerance, diversity, and leadership at the core of this award,” a nominator said. “At every turn, she has sought or created opportunities to positively impact her peers, Penn State and her community. Indeed, she strives to take her passion for social change into a career helping others through policy research and legal advocacy.”

Said’s research looks at religious conversion and community re-integration among previously incarcerated Black men. Through interviews with former prisoners, religious leaders and prison administrators, Said researches the impact religious programming can have on rehabilitating former prisoners. Her research will offer a more scientifically based view of prison religious programs and a holistic understanding of how religious conversion affects prisoners once they are released.

Said holds many leadership positions in advocacy and student-led organizations.

For the past three years, she’s chaired the Department of Sociology and Criminology’s Diversity Promotion Committee. Among her duties there, she developed newsletters to highlight marginalized groups, created a strategic plan for highlighting minority faculty members, and recruiting minority graduate students.

She’s also a counselor for Centre Safe, formerly the Centre County Women’s Resource Center, which helps survivors of sexual or domestic violence. She’s a crisis hotline responder and is certified in trauma informed services and responding to a crisis.

She’s active in a number of graduate student leadership organizations including the Black Graduate Student Association, where she previously chaired its political action committee. She’s a former appointed senator for the Graduate & Professional Student Association and is currently certified with Safer People Safer Places. Additionally, she is on the Graduate Alumni Association Advisory Board and on the Office of Graduate Education & Equity Program Advisory Board.

 

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