Jessica Acosta ’11 won a national social action award for her efforts reorganizing and leading the Bridge, Colby’s student organization focusing on LGBTQ issues, and for her activism in Maine and New England.

At February’s national meeting of the Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) in San Antonio, Texas, Acosta was one of three undergraduates to receive the organization’s Social Action Award, presented for the application of social theory in a social-activist context. She was recognized at an awards luncheon there Feb. 4 for her work, “Transformation Over Time: Queer Activism on a Small New England Campus.”

“I encouraged her not only because she’s an amazing scholar,” said Assistant Professor of Sociology Victoria Mayer, a member of SWS, “but I saw her using her scholarship as a social activist to create a safe space not only for herself but for other LGBT students on campus” and for LGBT people in society.

Besides taking a central role the Bridge, the senior sociology major from California was involved in Equality Maine, the state’s preeminent lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender political advocacy organization, working on behalf of a referendum supporting marriage rights for gay and lesbian persons. Acosta, who is a Ralph Bunche Scholar at Colby, also took a lead role organizing a New England conference for LGBT and other student leaders from 10 colleges last fall. More than 150 participants attended the Mayflower Hill event and heard keynote speaker Rose Troche, a feminist filmmaker and director and writer for The L Word on HBO.

“LGBTQ activism and advocacy are my central passions and career goals,” Acosta wrote in her submission to the SWS, adding that graduate school in sociology or law school were possible next steps for her.