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College of Health Clinical Director Receives National Award for Capstone Paper

Mar 1, 2022

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray, OTD, has received the first annual Rosalind Franklin Society and Mary Ann Liebert Inc. Award in Science. Gray is the clinical director and assistant clinical professor for the Life Skills Clinic, and the award recognizes her capstone paper for the completion of her doctorate degree at the University. 

Autism in Adulthood published the paper, “Autistic Narratives of Sensory Features, Sexuality, and Relationships,” in 2021. The new annual award recognizes the best paper written by a woman or underrepresented minority in each of the publisher Mary Ann Liebert Inc.’s 100+ journals. 

“This award means a great deal to me,” Gray said. “It is an honor to be recognized for my work and is humbling to be among such esteemed colleagues. I am thankful for the mentorship that I received from my co-authors, Anne Kirby and Laura Holmes, who also deserve to be recognized for their contribution. I am passionate about this paper as there is very little in the literature about the impact of sensory features on the experiences of sexuality and dating.”

Gray’s paper won the award based on its novelty and importance to the field. She will receive a $1,000 prize and be featured in a published anthology with the abstracts of all the winners across their journals. 

The study featured in the paper explores how autistic sensory features influence autistic people’s experiences of sexuality and relationships. It determined that sensory features influenced autistic people's sexual and relationship experiences in both positive and negative ways, and that this should be considered in clinical practice and educational programming.