Professor Kevin Nadal Wins Richard Tewksbury Award for Advocacy Work

Professor Kevin Nadal Wins Richard Tewksbury Award for Advocacy Work

Professor Kevin Nadal Wins Richard Tewksbury Award for Advocacy Work

Professor of Psychology Kevin Nadal, Ph.D., knows he’s had an impact on the world of psychology—he sees the results manifesting itself in his student’s success—but he was taken by surprise when it was announced that he won the Richard Tewksbury Award from the Western Society of Criminology (WSC). The accolade is awarded to someone who has made significant contributions to the intersection of sexuality, crime and justice. “It’s an award specifically given to someone who starts advocacy work regarding gender and sexuality,” said Nadal. “It was incredibly special for me to win this award, because as a psychologist, I didn’t know that my work could have an impact in criminology.” Emphasizing Nadal’s effect within the field, Executive Director of the WSC, Henry F. (Hank) Fradella, credited Nadal’s work with shining a spotlight on hate crimes targeting the LGBTQ community. “Without Kevin’s work, hate crimes against the LGBTQ community probably would not receive the media attention it does,” said Fradella.

“It was incredibly special for me to win this award, because as a psychologist, I didn’t know that my work could have an impact in criminology.” — Professor Kevin Nadal

The Richard Tewksbury Award win was followed by the announcement from the Robert Wood John Foundation’s New Connections Program, which awarded Nadal the Thought Leader Award for Book Publication. The accolades, said Nadal, are a valuable recognition of his work and most certainly welcome, but his goal is not to win awards but to change lives. “I don’t do the work I do for the awards, but it is always nice and very much appreciated to be recognized, especially when you least expect it,” said Nadal. Instead, his focus is on ensuring his students become aware of their full potential, find empowerment in their voice, and learn that what they say matters. That self-awareness was a gift Nadal himself received from his biggest inspiration, his undergraduate mentor at the University of California—Irvine. “Dr. Jeanett Castellanos taught me that there was a seat for people like me at the table, she helped me to gain confidence and find my voice and she taught me that my voice mattered.” That inspiration is something Nadal wants to give to his own students, who may not always see people who look like them leading a classroom, an organization, or even on their favorite TV show. “I wanted to be an educator, mostly because I had seen how inspirational educators had been in my own life,” said Nadal. “Without the teachers and professors who mentored me, I never would have been able to see my fullest potential, and I would not have accomplished anything that I have.”

“To be a professor at John Jay means being able to change the narrative and introduce new ideas to students, who sometimes do not have the opportunities or encouragement, to see and feel their potential.” — Professor Kevin Nadal

Nadal teaches psychology courses at John Jay College and at the CUNY Graduate Center. “I like teaching psychology courses that are centered on the experiences of historically marginalized groups. Since so much of psychology focuses on dominant groups, such as white, American, cisgender, heterosexual male experiences, it’s important for me to offer different perspectives and have students hear other voices,” said Nadal. “What attracted me to John Jay College, and the CUNY system as a whole, was how the students reminded me of the community I grew up in. I am a child of immigrants who didn’t have access to a lot of things. I didn’t see people who looked like me on TV or read about them in my history books,” said Nadal. “To be a professor at John Jay means being able to change the narrative and introduce new ideas to students who sometimes do not have the opportunities or encouragement many others have, and help them see and feel their potential.”