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Press Release

ATD Announces Dissertation Award Winner

Published Tue Jul 21 2020


(Alexandria, VA), July 21, 2020—During a virtual awards recognition celebration, the Association for Talent Development (ATD) recognized organizations and individuals for their excellence and contributions across the talent development field.

This year’s winner of the Dissertation Award is Zachary Mercurio.


The ATD Dissertation Award is given to foster and disseminate research in the practice of developing talent in organizations.

Mercurio is an instructor in the Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change program in the Colorado State University School of Education in Fort Collins, Colorado. His dissertation, “The Lived Experience of Meaningful Work in a Stigmatized Occupation: A Descriptive Phenomenological Inquiry,” sought to expand on studies that show positive outcomes related to meaningful work—benefits such as engagement, job satisfaction, performance, and a sense of well-being. Drawing on previous research, he defines stigmatized occupations as “jobs relegated by society as physically, socially, or morally undesirable due to the nature of the work.”

Through his research, Mercurio found that meaningful work comprised a learned, positive approach to work, taking pride in one’s work, receiving outside validation of the self and work, helping others, and developing positive and personal relationships.

A complete list of award winners can be found on ATD’s website.

About ATD


The Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. These professionals help others achieve their full potential by improving their knowledge, skills, and abilities. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports the work of professionals locally across 100 chapters, international strategic partners, and global member networks.

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