2016-2017 ISSR Scholars Named

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The Institute for Social Science Research is pleased to announce the selection of our 2016-2017 Scholars, who represent six departments across four Colleges at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst: the College of Education, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

ISSR’s mission is to promote excellence in social science research. One of our most important goals, served by the Scholars Program, is to strengthen existing social science infrastructure on campus in order to stimulate high-quality scholarship and interdisciplinary collaboration. ISSR Scholars participate in a year-long seminar that helps each of them develop a strong research grant proposal. In addition to attending in-depth sessions on grant writing and receiving valuable peer feedback on their proposals, ISSR Scholars are given unique opportunities to consult with nationally recognized experts about their proposals. Two outstanding Mentors, Naomi Gerstel, PhD (Sociology) and Mary Fechner, PhD (Office of Resource Development) support the Scholars in developing their proposals. 

This year's ISSR Scholars will develop innovative new research that has the potential to shape social theory and policy. Please take a moment to meet our 2016-2017 Scholars, and to congratulate and wish them well.

Meet Our 2016-17 Scholars

Elena Carbone, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Nutrition (School of Public Health and Health Sciences)
“Multi-Center Study Exploring Women’s Perceptions of Health Literacy Needs and Support during Prenatal, Intrapartum, and Postnatal Periods”

Dr. Carbone’s work integrates theory-informed, behavioral interventions into community-based settings to promote health and prevent disease among low-income multiethnic groups with low literacy skills.  Dr.  Carbone will use her residency in the ISSR Scholars Program to support writing a grant application to the National Institutes of Health to examine how mothers’ and their health care workers’ health literacy levels are related to use of and perceptions about support needed during the prenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal periods.

Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (College of Natural Sciences)
“Learning in Borderline Personality Disorder and Its Treatment”

Dr. Dixon-Gordon’s work focuses on the cognitive and affective processes underlying psychopathology, particularly borderline personality disorder, and its treatment. Dr. Dixon-Gordon plans to use her residency in the ISSR Scholars Program to extend her research to identifying cognitive-affective processes as predictors of treatment response in dialectical behavior therapy.

Sanjiv Gupta, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences)
“Prisoners, Soldiers and the Coercive Welfare System of the U.S.”

Dr. Gupta's research to date has focused on disparities in time spent doing housework. He will use the ISSR residency to further a new line of research into the hidden, coercive “welfare” regime in the U.S. constituted by its military and penal system. The proposed study will analyze the relationship between the provision of health and child services to the general population and their provision to nearly 30 million soldiers and prisoners. It will also evaluate the broader societal significance of this relationship to the well-being of the general, non-institutionalized population. 

Janice M. Irvine, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Sociology (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences)
“Nuts, Sluts, and Perverts: Sociology’s Rocky Romance with Deviance”

This project is a genealogy of the sociology of deviance, situated in its Cold War historical moment (1945-1979). Together, academic research, social movement mobilization, and popular culture have brought new cultural visibility to particular deviant types. This, in turn, contributed to their normalization, and a resultant chagrin about, or repudiation of, earlier deviance literature. The field itself became stigmatized. Dr. Irvine will be using this ISSR Scholar year to pursue funding for this book project from the National Science Foundation.

Anita Milman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation (College of Natural Sciences)
“Analyzing the Emergence of Environmental Governance: Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in California”

Dr. Milman’s research investigates the multi-level governance of water resources in order to understand human responses to hydro-climatic change and other causes of environmental degradation. As an ISSR Scholar, Dr. Milman plans to develop a proposal to study the emergence of new institutions for environmental governance by examining the formation of groundwater sustainability agencies in California. Through this research she aims to develop insights on processes of self-organization and how those processes influence the choice of institutional design.

Elizabeth Ann Sharrow, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Departments of Political Science and History (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences)
“From Athletes to Citizens: Title IX’s Unanticipated Consequences”

Dr. Sharrow’s research explores the politics of sex and gender in the United States, with a particular focus on the politics of public policy in contemporary U.S. history.  She will use her residency in the ISSR Scholars Program to develop a grant application to fund research on the long-term effects of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 on political mobilization, participation, and opinion.  This work will expand on her first book manuscript on the policy history of Title IX and the political construction of sex and gender.

Ryan Wells, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Policy, Research & Administration (College of Education)
“A Spatial Analysis of Opportunity and Inequality in Sub-baccalaureate Education”

Dr. Wells' research focuses on college access and success for underrepresented students. As an ISSR Scholar, Dr. Wells will develop a proposal for funding that examines how space and geography influence individuals' opportunities, choices, and decisions to access and complete sub-baccalaureate education at community colleges.