“Top Owls” Social Justice Awardees Announced for January

“Top Owls” Social Justice Awardees Announced for January

The Top Owl Social Justice Award is given to recognize contributions toward helping the university achieve its mission of creating and sustaining an inclusive community that appreciates, celebrates, and advances student and campus diversity.

This award, selected by the President’s Commission on Social Justice, is being awarded this academic year during the months of November, December, January, February, and March to recognize the contributions, leadership, and service of a worthy faculty, staff, part-time student, and full-time student.

For the month of January 2020, the Top Owl Award winners are student Sara Buscetto and Kevin Colwell, professor of psychology.

Sara Buscetto has been a four-year member of the SCSU softball team. She is a two-year captain and will graduate in the spring. Her nominator praised her for working to bring social justice values to the softball program.

Buscetto’s nominator wrote that she “has made strides to leave the softball program better than she found it. She has taken the lead by starting tough conversations, and is working closely with our department as well as the student affairs team to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for our current students, and future Owls.”

Her nominator continued, “Though her goals will not be met during her time as an Owl, she has her eyes on helping the future generations that will call Southern home.”

Kevin Colwell serves as the director of the Office of Psychological Assessment (OPA), where he supervises student trainees in doing assessments that will allow university students to understand their own functioning and access resources such as the Disability Resource Center and accommodations with GRE, Praxis, LSAT, etc. The role of the OPA is to facilitate inclusion.

As a researcher, Colwell is creating an instrument to corroborate claims of adult ADHD, so that those with no previous history of diagnosis will be believed and can receive treatment.

As a practitioner, Colwell is currently working on criminal forensic cases where inappropriate and manipulative behavior occurred during police interrogations. For example, one case currently involves a 17-year-old who was interrogated in a deceptive/manipulative manner for five hours without access to parents or attorney. Another case involves a five-hour interrogation of an illegal immigrant, who was again deceived/manipulated to obtain a confession.

Thus, as Colwell’s nominator writes, he is “teaching assessment to help professionals understand how to help their clients access the resources provided by the American’s With Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, and Section 504 of the Rehab Act. As a member of the SCSU community, he has created and directs the Office of Psychological Assessment to facilitate inclusion and access to the above by our students. As a researcher, he creates techniques to protect people from abuses of power and that helps people who need treatment receive it. As a practitioner of forensic clinical psychology, he works to protect those who are subjected to potentially manipulative and deceptive interrogation techniques. These activities all embody a commitment to social justice.”

Congratulations to January’s Top Owl Award winners!

To nominate someone for a Top Owl Award, visit the university’s Social Justice website.