The University of Wisconsin-Superior has named Allison Willingham, assistant professor of criminal justice, the recipient of the Dr. P.B. Poorman Award.
“As a criminologist, I see that the LGBTQ+ community continues to be a marginalized group that does not have their voices and stories heard on many issues in our justice system,” said Willingham. “As a qualitative researcher, I have tried for nearly a decade to share their experiences within the criminal justice system to a broader audience. I hope the work I do inside the classroom educates our future law enforcement officers, victims’ advocates, lawyers, judges, and correctional officers so that they, too, may work to reduce the biases against LGBTQ+ folks. My long-term goal is to pass the platform I have been given to speak at conferences, in classrooms, and in academic research to LGBTQ+ individuals themselves. I want to inspire and encourage LGBTQ+ youths to become leaders, scholars, and teachers themselves. As a cis straight white woman, I am just an ally and my work should never be seen as anyone’s final destination in their journey to better understand this community. The best possible result of my work would be that the next generation is led by empowered queer folk who aren’t afraid of the social or legal repercussions of being out and proud fighters for social justice.”
The UW System and the LGBTQ+ Inclusivity Initiative established the annual Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People in 2008, honoring the memory of Dr. Poorman and recognizing UW System faculty, staff, and students for excellence in their advocacy, research, and/or service efforts on behalf of LGBTQ+ communities.
“Dr. Poorman established a remarkable legacy through her work with the UW System Inclusivity Initiative for LGBTQ+ People, so I feel very humbled to be recognized for my own work as a young advocate and scholar at UW-Superior,” said Willingham. “As a criminologist, I do qualitative research regarding the victimization of LGBTQ+ individuals to inform victim service providers and emergency responders. When I first began this work in 2010 as a graduate student working within trans participants, it wasn’t valued by the larger scholarship community. I am very humbled and grateful to see the UW system recognizing and embracing research and pedagogy that is inclusive to all.”
Regents, chancellors, provosts, and UW System Leaders will recognize Willingham at a ceremony November 7 in Madison.
“I am so grateful to every LGBTQ+ person who has ever shared their story with me, whether for research purposes or for the creation of class lectures or community presentations,” said Willingham. “I will never stop working to honor them.”