Educator Honored for Inspiring Students

Coral Gables (January 18, 2012) — A University of Miami professor is one of 15 scholars from around the nation to receive a prestigious Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Trust Award for their efforts in inspiring students to help solve pressing social problems that plague communities.

Etiony Aldarondo, associate dean for research and associate professor of educational and psychological studies at UM’s School of Education, received a $25,000 cash award at the Beckman Trust Award Ceremony on January 7 at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, becoming the youngest professor ever to receive the honor. He is 49.

The 14 other award recipients hailed from institutions such as Columbia, Harvard, Boston College, and the University of California-Riverside.

The award honors current and former academic faculty members who have motivated students to create an organization that aids a community. Aldarondo’s work focuses on the positive development of ethnic minority and immigrant youth, domestic violence, and social justice-oriented clinical practices. He directs the School of Education’s Dunspaugh-Dalton Community and Educational Well-Being Research Center, training students and others in research methods and intervention strategies aimed at preventing a multitude of social problems.

“Over the years I have come to see that students are the best hope we have for moving the needle in the right direction, to build the kind of communities that honor autonomy, connectedness, fairness, and justice, and thus to help others construct lives worth living,” Aldarondo said. “That is why I do a lot of what I do as a professor. I want them to know that they each have the individual talents and access to resources that can be used to make a significant difference in the world.”

Edward J. Ameen, a UM doctoral student in counseling psychology who nominated Aldarondo for the award, credits the professor for providing him with the framework to successfully incorporate life-skills training, mentoring, and other improvements into the homeless youth intervention program he directs.

“I nominated Dr. Aldarondo because he gave me wings to delve into a community project outside of my commitments to his research team and my doctoral responsibilities,” said Ameen, executive director of the Miami branch of StandUp for Kids, a national nonprofit aimed at ending homelessness among children. “He provided me a vantage point from which to understand the problem and potential solutions to youth homelessness.”

Aldarondo is a recipient of the American Psychological Association’s 2011 Social Justice Award. He is editor of Advancing Social Justice through Clinical Practice and Programs for Men who Batter: Intervention and Prevention Strategies in a Diverse Society.

He has worked extensively with grassroots organizations and federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institute of Justice. He currently serves on the advisory committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Preventing Partner Violence in Immigrant Communities: Strengthening What Works program and on the boards of directors for the National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence, the Council on Contemporary Families, the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment, Project Hope, and Profunda. Aldarondo has held appointments at Boston College, Harvard Medical School’s Cambridge Hospital, and the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center.

The Beckman Award Trust, which is administered by Wells Fargo’s Philanthropic Services group, was founded in 2008 under the will of Gail McKnight Beckman in honor of her mother, Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman, an educator, author, and pioneer in the field of psychology who was one of the first female psychology professors at Columbia University.

“These outstanding faculty members have inspired their former students to change the world. The trust recognizes the benefits of what an extraordinary professor can produce,” said Carol Goodheart, Beckman Trust committee member and past-president of the American Psychological Association. “We learn how remarkably professors have motivated their students, and see how students have created real-world success because of this inspiration.”


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The School of Education's Etiony Aldarondo, who became the youngest professor ever to receive the Beckman Award, speaks at the award ceremony on January 7.

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