2024 Recipients of the SGS Community Engagement Award

Congratulations to Allegra Pocinki and Sean Stratton!
  • April 4, 2024

With the support of the Collaborative Center for Community Engagement, the School of Graduate Studies is pleased to announce the two recipients of SGS’s inaugural Community Engagement Award: Allegra Pocinki (Sociology) and Sean Stratton (Public Health).

Among a competitive and impressive nomination pool, Allegra and Sean stood out for how thoroughly they each have woven ethical community engagement into their methodologies, research communication, and advocacy. The School of Graduate Studies looks forward to following how these two stellar scholars continue to advance equity, belonging, and social change through their collaborative efforts. 

Allegra Pocinki is a 6th year student in the Sociology Ph.D. program. Allegra’s community-engaged research focuses on support groups for people with a loved one in jail or prison. Allegra approaches the research process in a participatory, relationship-based way, working closely with both those who participate in support groups and local and national organizations to guide the direction of her research. To promote broader public impact, Allegra has developed educational materials (like a guide to support families in advocating for criminal justice reform) and reports for advocacy organizations. Allegra’s work contributes to public policy change and a stronger system of social support for families impacted by incarceration.

Sean Stratton is a 4th year student in the Public Health Ph.D. program. Sean’s research focuses on reducing lead exposure in Trenton, New Jersey. Sean helped to build community capacity for lead exposure prevention, securing pilot funding to train community partners on how to collect environmental samples. He has made his work accessible to a public audience, publishing opinion pieces, developing training modules for community partners, and appearing on television, radio, and as an expert witness in support of lead exposure reduction. In collaboration with community partners and advocacy organizations across the state, Sean’s work leverages public education, prevention, and intervention strategies to advance environmental justice.


Both students will be recognized at the Collaborative Center for Community Engagement’s annual ceremony on April 11 from 4:30 – 7:00pm at the Rutgers Club. To attend, please register at https://rutgers.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4NFtVIOqjFfqUzI.



Mark and Briana


Mark Gregory Robson

Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Distinguished Professor 

Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education 

Rutgers School of Graduate Studies

25 Bishop Place

New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1178 USA

P: 848-932-7034 - F: 732-932-7407 - C: 609-752-4009



For appointments contact Theresa Manzo tmanzo@grad.rutgers.edu P: 848-932-7275


Briana M. Bivens

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Rutgers School of Graduate Studies

25 Bishop Place

New Brunswick, NJ 08901


My pronouns: she/her/hers​ (what’s this?)