Lamanna Award 2016
Irwin's commitment spans teaching, research, and community service.
Dr. Irwin is an Associate Professor of Sociology with a joint appointment in Women’s and Gender Studies. He is also the Associate Director of the Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative. Dr. Irwin joined the WGS program soon after arriving at UNO, and has been an active presence ever since. Dr. Irwin has been at the forefront of positive progress for LGBTQ communities within and outside of UNO through his research, teaching, and service activities.
Dr. Irwin’s expertise in LGBTQ health stems largely from his impressive research record, with over 13 articles, book reviews or encyclopedia entries published since he joined UNO in 2009. The populations he studies are understudied and often miscounted (or not counted at all by the government). Moreover, his research addresses the toll to mental and physical health that occurs as a result of marginalized status within our society. He is deeply commitment to improving the lives of these communities.
Dr. Irwin is also an active mentor to students. Under his direction, students have competed for grants, co-authored publications, and presented at local and national conferences. Through this mentorship, his students see first-hand how the principles and goals of the WGS program are set in motion.
As one of his letters of recommendation from a colleague noted, “Jay exemplifies the complicated praxis of being a feminist and queer educator. Jay has a solid ability to emphasize, connect, educate, and activate which has served him well. In my own direct experiences, Jay has provided education to me in a myriad of ways. More specifically, I appreciate that he challenges me in ways that are kind and constructive.”
In addition to his work in the classroom, and as a scholar, Jay has made timely improvements to the curriculum. He led the creation of the LGBTQ and Sexuality Studies minor at UNO; UNO and the WGS program are stronger for having this minor available to our students.
Perhaps most notably though, Dr. Irwin is dedicated to the community. He is an active and public presence that champions women and gender studies topics, particularly those that pertain to the transgender population in Nebraska and beyond. His work as an educator spans from UNO students, to the lay public, and influential decision makers within the state.
The above are excerpts from the presentation of the award, delivered by Dr. Sam Ammons and co-authored by Dr. Sofia Jawed-Wessel.