Each year, NJPA recognizes the accomplishments of NJPA members, private citizens, and mental health advocates who strengthen and advance the field of psychology and promote mental health awareness. 

This year we celebrated with our award winners through a virtual ceremony at our 2020 Fall Conference.  Watch it here:



Mary Blakeslee, PhD

Susan Esquilin, PhD

Lifetime Achievement Award
Mary Blakeslee, PhD and Susan Esquilin, PhD

The NJPA Lifetime Achievement Award, the Association’s highest honor, recognizes exceptional leadership in the form of enduring and exemplary contributions to NJPA, over a sustained period of time, which collectively, has significantly enhanced the association’s ability to positively impact the lives and careers of its membership, as well as advancing the field of psychology in New Jersey, and beyond. 

Psychologist of the Year Award
Francine Conway, PhD

Each year, NJPA recognizes an NJPA member who has made important contributions to the profession of psychology in New Jersey, made important contributions to the profession through service to NJPA, and is a valuable asset to the association, through his/her character and unique professional abilities.


Aileen Torres, PhD


Rachel Mahoney Rengifo, PhD

Dr. Stanley Moldawsky Mentor Award  

Aileen Torres, PhD and Rachel Mahoney Rengifo, PhD

Dr. Moldawsky was a true champion for the profession of psychology and a sought after mentor for psychologists. This award recognizes an NJPA member who exhibits exceptional leadership, over a sustained period of time, in the form of enduring and exemplary contributions to mentoring new psychologists and/or graduate doctoral level students that, in turn, will significantly enhance the association’s ability to positively impact the lives and careers of its new membership, as well as advancing the field of psychology in New Jersey, and beyond.

Legislator of the Year Award 
Assemblywoman Angelica M. Jimenez

The NJPA Legislator of the Year honors a New Jersey Legislator who has sponsored or championed legislation that directly benefits psychologists and/or consumers of psychological services.  Assemblywoman Jimenez has sponsored or championed legislation that directly benefits psychologists and/or consumers of psychological services. Her legislative efforts over the years have placed her as one of the most respected voices on health care in the state of New Jersey. Assemblywoman Jimenez's leadership in Hudson County, her initiatives to protect and insure the health of NJ children and adults, her recovery from COVID-19 and subsequent initiative to address insurance audits and claims payments for healthcare providers during the pandemic, her own blood donation after her recovery, are just a few examples of why she deserves this recognition.  Article sharing the good news! 


Citizen of the Year Award 
NJPA Foundation Treasurer, Abigail Rosen, CFP

The Citizen of the Year is awarded to a non-psychologist who lives or works in New Jersey and has made significant recent contributions to the ideals of mental health or social welfare in the state of New Jersey. 



Jane Selzer Membership Recognition Award
Briana Cox, PsyD

Ms. Jane Selzer, who retired in 2015, was a long-time employee of NJPA and passionately involved with NJPA membership. To acknowledge her service to NJPA, and in an effort to publicly acknowledge and recognize those members who contribute so much to NJPA in so many diverse ways, the NJPA Membership Committee established this award to recognize members who add value to NJPA every day. 

  2020 NJPA Executive Board Certificate of Appreciation
NJPA Director of Professional Affairs (DPA), Susan McGroarty, PhD, for her work as DPA during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

On Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 5:00 pm, join us for the NJPA Academic & Scientific, NJPAGS, and NJPA Foundation Virtual Awards Ceremony   Please register in advance here! 

After the Sunday Awards Ceremony, Join Us at the NJPAGS/ ECP Social Hour 
Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 6pm
Professional networking with peers and colleagues hosted by NJPAGS and the ECP Committees
Please register in advance here! 

  2020 Distinguished Teacher Award Winner 
Melany Rivera- Maldonado, PhD
The Distinguished Teacher Award is given to a psychologist who has a distinguished record of teaching in any area of psychology and holds a full-time academic or scientific position. Awardee receives a certificate and can select a graduate student to receive a $300 scholarship in the award recipient’s honor. Dr. Rivera-Maldonado has identified student Thalia Sanchez as the award money recipient.

2020 NJPA Dawn Gemeinhardt Student of Excellence Award Winner
Chelsea Torres, MA

This award is to serve as appreciation for the efforts of NJPAGS members who have gone beyond expectations.  It seeks to recognize outstanding student leaders and to encourage them to continue on their leadership path.  Focus areas may include, but are not limited to, creating programs to raise consciousness to issues of diversity, advocating for the needs of graduate students, creating programs to service the needs of graduate students, facilitating communication between NJPA committees and NJPAGS, and recruitment of new members. 

NJPA Foundation Student-Initiated Research Awards 
A fundamental component of the New Jersey Psychological Association Foundation’s mission is to support the training of graduate students. One way to meet this goal is by providing funding for student-initiated research and projects addressing psychological issues that have significant impact on community health.

2020  The John M. Lagos Award for Research Into Causes and/or Treatment of Social Problems Award Winner, Matthew J Dwyer

Evaluation of App-Based Behavioral Activation for Co-Occurring Depression and Drinking to Cope During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2020 Dr. Zellig Bach Award for the Study of the Family Award Winner, Jessica L Bonumwezi

Coming of Age After the Genocide: Mental Health of Rwandan Young Adults.

2020 Research on Diversity Issues Award Winner, Sarah Schaaf

Examining the Impact of Traditional Sexual Scripts on Professional Responses to Female Sexual Assault: An Implicit Approach.