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Outstanding Research Award
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Outstanding Research Award
NODA: The Association for Orientation, Transition & Retention in Higher Education



To emphasize and celebrate the importance of research in the field of orientation, transition, and retention, NODA has an established research award. Each year, one graduate/doctoral student will be awarded a $1,000 award and one-year membership for NODA. This is awarded in recognition of an outstanding dissertation or master’s thesis related to orientation, transition, and/or retention in higher education.


The Outstanding Research Award is tenable by Master’s or Doctoral students who are either enrolled in a graduate program and are in the process of completing a thesis or dissertation during the 2017-2018 academic year, or have/will finish their degree between December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2018. The scholarly research should highlight topics within the field of orientation, transition, and retention. Applicants do not have to be NODA members.

Award recipients will be invited to present their thesis or dissertation topic at the 2018 NODA Annual Conference. They will be invited to submit the completed study in manuscript format for possible publication, in the Journal of College Orientation and Transition. Award recipients will be given priority consideration for an educational session presentation at the 2018 NODA Annual conference, but publication acceptance are not guaranteed. Applicants are welcome to both present and publish their findings with NODA.

2017 Award Winner



Maximilian Schuster, PhD
Maximilian T. Schuster, PhD serves as a visiting assistant professor of Administrative and Policy Studies within the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. Within this role, he teaches several graduate classes in higher education management and leads the student services internship program. Schuster's research interests include organizational culture, undergraduate student transitions, and undergraduate student leadership. More specifically, Schuster's work explores the ways in which organizational cultures within higher education can be leveraged to create equitable outcomes for college students. 

Read the extended abstract of Schuster's doctoral dissertation, "Compartmentalized cultures, integrated transitions: Exploring first-year student transition through institutional culture at a middle Atlantic university."

NODA declares a policy of equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the provisions of services to the membership and the public. In recognition of the responsibility to this membership, NODA reaffirms its policy of fair and equal treatment in all practices to all persons regardless of race, color, age, marital status, gender, religion, natural origin, ancestry, sexual/affectional orientation, disability or veteran status.
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