loading content..
January 26, 2024

Dr. Colleen Berryessa Named Saleem Shah Early Career Award Recipent


Saleem Shah Early Career Award Recipient


Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of AAFP and AP-LS, the Saleem Shah Early Career Award Selection Committee is pleased to announce this year’s recipient of the Saleem Shah Early Career Award: Dr. Colleen Berryessa.

Saleem Shah was one of the godfathers of our field. In 1968, he established law and mental health studies as a formal program priority for the National Institute of Mental Health.  He became the guide and mentor for a new generation of scholars who, through their empirical and theoretical work, transformed the field of law and mental health studies – among them Tom Grisso, John Monahan, Loren Roth, Bruce Sales, Henry Steadman, Linda Teplin, and David Wexler, to name but a few. Given Saleem’s history of support and mentorship for so many in this field, AAFP and the American Psychology-Law Society established this award to focus on one of his major interests – nurturing the careers and talents of young forensic psychologists.This award is given for demonstrating significant early career achievement in forensic psychology or related fields of law.  Its recipients demonstrate a broad range of qualities, including the passionate development of relevant research and its application to public service, practice, mentoring, and their impact on the field.

The selection committee reviewed several very impressive nominations and unanimously agreed that Dr. Berryessa’s ability to combine impactful scholarly research with clear public service implications, teaching and coursework development based on the body of her research, and mentorship of others captured the essence and inspiration of Saleem Shah’s legacy and the very basis of this award.  The committee also noted the importance of her work on underserved and understudied populations.

Dr. Berryessa’s accomplishments are vast, with a summary listed as follows:

  •  She received her Ph.D. in Criminology in 2018 from the University of Pennsylvania with Certificates in Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, College and University Teaching, and Law.
  •  Dr. Berryessa is highly prolific, publishing 60 journal articles (47 as first author), 10 book chapters, one co-edited book, and 13 grants after just over four years post-Ph.D.
  •  Her research has been cited over 900 times with a high impact rating (h-index=18).
  •  Her work on autism and the law has focused on a considerably underserved and understudied population.
  •  She developed and teaches specialized coursework in psychology-law based on her research.
  •  Her strong interdisciplinary focus across multiple levels of analysis is a model of scholarship.
  •  She is highly regarded as a mentor and teacher, consistently taking the time to guide young scholars and undergraduate students.
  •  She strives to engage in scholarship and research that significantly impacts policy and practice.


In sum, Dr. Berryessa embodies the drive and spirit of Saleem Shah.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Colleen Berryessa!  And, by all means, please feel free to reach out to Dr. Berryessa directly at colleen.berryessa@rutgers.edu to offer your congratulations.

Last, I would like to extend special thanks to Dr. Ashley Batastini and Dr. Lauren Kois, both past winners of the Saleem Shah Award, for assisting me on the selection committee.

Jim Mikesell

James W. Mikesell, Ph.D., ABPP

Board Certified in Forensic Psychology

Board Certified in Rehabilitation Psychology

President-Elect, American Academy of Forensic Psychology


American Psychology-Law Society


www.ap-ls.org | (704) 456-7276 | office@ap-ls.org

Copyright © American Psychology-Law Society Division 41 of the American Psychological Association All rights reserved.

upcoming events
Accelerated Master’s Program Info Session
  • Monday, April 8th 2024
  • 11:30 AM
  • ZOOM

    Learn about the BA or BS/MA joint degree, the application process, coursework, grad requirements and scholarships

2024-2025 FAFSA Available Now
  • Friday, March 15th 2024
  • New Priority Date March 15, Rutgers Code 002629

Nominate Someone Today!
  • Friday, March 15th 2024
  • Now accepting nominations for our SCJ Undergraduate Alumni Awards recognizing success in three categories: Early Career Excellence, Outstanding Service, Lifetime Achievement

More Events