Conference Awards

The Southwest Conference on Disability periodically recognizes individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to aspects of disability. Not every award is given each year; the awards are given when warranted.


The Disability Advocacy Award recognizes an individual, business, organization, or government agency that has made a positive and sustained impact on the quality of life of individuals with disabilities through sustained advocacy efforts.

The Outstanding Student with a Disability Award recognizes a New Mexican student with a disability enrolled in high school, college or graduate school who, through his or her efforts in and outside the classroom, exemplifies a commitment to excellence through learning. The awardee will receive a $500 honorarium and a registration scholarship to attend the conference at which the award is given.


The Distinguished Public Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to advancing the cause of disability rights over time through public service, working either in the public sector and/or working with the public sector while serving in another capacity.

The National Distinguished Disability Research Award recognizes outstanding disability-related research conducted in the United States. This research could be basic, social science or translational. The award may be presented to a single individual, or a group of individuals, including teams of faculty and students.

The Cate McClain Mentoring Award recognizes an individual who has successfully mentored younger colleagues in their formative years in the field of disability as advocates and self-advocates, service providers, researchers or policymakers, thus contributing to the next generation of leaders in the field of disability.