Graduate School Application Fund

For our Urban Studies and Environmental Studies majors who are applying to graduate programs, we have a small fund to help defray the expense of application fees and test preparation classes (e.g. GRE, LSAT). Please contact the Department Chair, Professor Melissa Checker, at for details on qualifications and how to apply.

Hagedorn Award for First Generation College Students

Urban, Labor and Environmental Studies Majors who are among the first generation in their family to attend a four-year college in the United States are eligible for this award. Students wishing to apply for this award must fill out an application that includes two essays demonstrating students’ commitments to, and experiences with, the field of Urban Studies.

2021 Awardees:

  • Henderson Bruney
  • David Gonzalez
  • Itzel Martinez

2021 Finalists:

  • Lisbeth Bustos
  • Michelle Montoya

Matthew Edel Award for Academic Excellence

This award is for graduating majors who demonstrate overall excellence in their urban studies coursework.

Matthew Edel established the Department of Urban Studies at QC in 1971.  Dr. Edel was an internationally respected Marxist economist who brought a well thought out theoretical perspective toward the problems that plague cities.  One didn’t have to agree with him to admire his attempt to give coherence to the myriad facts and theories that surrounded discussions of urban life in the 20th Century.   Dr. Edel a sophisticated vision based on a firm understanding of life as real people lived it, combined with knowledge gleaned from many of the other social sciences.  His life and career were tragically cut off far too early.

2021 Awardee: Sean Lomba

Paul Davidoff Award for Community Service

This award is for graduating majors who are actively engaged in community services and/or planning initiatives on campus or in Queens neighborhoods.

 Paul Davidoff was an urban planner and a member of our faculty from 1982 until his death in 1984. Davidoff founded the practice of advocacy planning which promotes equity by engaging those typically marginalized or excluded from official planning processes and decision-making. In addition to his contributions to urban studies and planning theory, Davidoff’s planning practice challenged discriminatory zoning and land use policies and regulations.

2021 Awardee: Jake Nill

Herbert Bienstock Award for Outstanding Research

This award is for graduating students in the Urban Studies BA or Urban Affairs MA program for an excellent research project or paper.

Herbert Bienstock joined our faculty in 1979 after serving for 35 years in the Regional Office of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He made statistics come alive in press conferences that made him a New York celebrity. At Queens College he displayed a deep sense of mission to teach and to help young people to think critically and to care about the future of their world.

2021 Awardee: Sonia Ali

2021 Honorable Mentions:

  • William Bao
  • Jermaine Tyndall
  • Tasmain Warren

Martin Eisenberg Award

This award is for graduating majors who demonstrate leadership and activism in urban or labor issues.

Martin was a community organizer and a fierce advocate for racial and economic justice. Before he became a sociologist, he worked for decades at the United Community Center in Brooklyn, which provided programs and services for residents in Brownsville and East New York. After earning his PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center, he taught in the Urban Studies Department and was revered as an energetic and devoted teacher.

2021 Awardee: Jimmy Peralta

Marcia Bayne Smith Award

Professor Bayne-Smith’s family and friends established this award to recognize an MA in Urban Affairs for their commitment to African American or Afro-Caribbean women and their communities through excellence in a related research project or coursework.

Professor Marcia Bayne-Smith had many professional roles: social worker and administrator, researcher and author, international consultant, teacher and mentor. She did all of this with boundless energy, passion and compassion. Her scholarship explored the intersections of class, race, gender, immigrant status and access to health care as they affected health outcomes. She taught about these issues in her classes and consulted on them for government and foundations in the US and internationally. As a community health activist, Professor Bayne-Smith worked tirelessly on behalf of immigrants and especially, immigrant women of color. She was a founding member and the first Chair of the Caribbean Women’s Health Association.

2021 Awardee: Aimee Lay

Rodney B. Benson Award

Rodney Benson taught a number of undergraduate and graduate courses in the Urban Studies Department until he retired in 2019. Students benefited tremendously from Professor Benson’s many years of experience working as a former Director of Human Resources for the NYC Department of Corrections. Professor Benson’s steadfast work and advocacy on behalf of his students carries on through the Rodney Benson Award, which he generously established to recognize excellent scholarship in Urban Studies.

2021 Awardee: Aziza Sumler