Catherine Acuff, PhD was a psychologist in independent practice, a faculty member of the University of Hartford, a long-time member of CPA, a leader within CPA- which included a term as president of the Association, a policy analyst, a candidate for president of the American Psychological Association, and so much more. She died at the young age of 51 years and is remembered by her CPA colleagues as a bright, passionate woman and a devoted advocate- “as strong an advocate as we’ve ever had”- for the profession of psychology, both here in Connecticut as well as on a national level.

In honor of her fierce spirit and advocacy for the profession, the Connecticut Psychological Foundation, supported by the generous donations of CPA member Debora Kustron, Psy.D., established two annual $500 awards in her name. The Catherine Acuff Awards are given to a psychologist and/or graduate student of psychology who demonstrates commitment, as did Catherine Acuff, to the application of psychological knowledge and expertise to the solution of larger societal problems. A second award is available for student research.

Examples of the type of effort recognized by The Catherine Acuff Advocacy Award would be work with governmental or grassroots committees and preparation of legislative briefs on issues related to mental health. The award may also fund attendance at conferences and mentoring to promote greater awareness and skill in the advocacy process. The Catherine Acuff Student Research Award supports doctoral level scholarship on the psychological issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons.

The Connecticut Psychological Foundation is actively seeking nominations for the Catherine Acuff Awards; self-nominations are welcome. The Catherine Acuff Awards are given to a psychologist and/or graduate student of psychology who demonstrates commitment, as did Catherine Acuff, to the application of psychological knowledge and expertise to the solution of larger societal problems. A second award is available for student research. See links above for more information. Donate to the Foundation here.

Eligibility

The Catherine Acuff Advocacy Award:  Current membership in the Connecticut Psychological Association in any of the following membership categories: Fellow, Full, Associate, Unlicensed, Senior, or Student. Conference and mentoring awards are limited to students and early career professionals (individuals within 7 years of the receipt of the doctoral degree).

The Catherine Acuff Student Research Award:  Students must be members of CPA and engaged in original research and/or scholarship as a requirement for completion of a doctorate in psychology. This award is not available to support previously completed work.

Application

To nominate an individual or to apply for one of the awards, please email a brief note of intent to Robert Horwitz, PhD, Connecticut Psychological Foundation President, who will then solicit further information from candidates.

Donate

Individuals wishing to make a tax-deductible donation to the Catherine Acuff Fund can do so by donating to the Connecticut Psychological Foundation here, with a notation that you intend your funds to support the Acuff Fund.

Inspired by Dr. Acuff 

Mentoring: Why Me, Why Not Me?  by Debora A. Kustron, Psy.D.

How often do we hear or utter these words each day?  At times, they seem to be said about the most inconsequential things.  At other times, they are paired with some of the most traumatic events that may have befallen us or others.

For me, it was my second year of graduate school.  I was the last student in my class scheduled to take the oral comprehensive exam.  It was Friday, March 13th at 3 p.m., the day before spring break.  Our comps committee consisted of the department chair and two faculty from the clinical and/or psychology programs.  It wasn’t surprising that my committee would be one faculty member shy.  After faculty debate, an exception was granted for my committee.  They would ask a seasoned adjunct with expertise in my topic area.  The name they left in my student mailbox was Catherine Acuff, Ph.D.  “Why me” I uttered.

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