September 2014 Newsletter

In this Issue

Social Science Matters

Don't miss our newly launched "Social Science Matters" section of the website. Faculty doing research in all areas of SBS are featured in video and Q&As about how their research relates to the world at large.

New Journalism Chair Forde Finds Home at UMass

It’s the first day of classes of the fall semester, and Kathy Roberts Forde, new chair of the Journalism Department, is introducing herself to excited students in the department’s new home in the Integrative Learning Center.

The Motherhood Penalty vs. the Fatherhood Bonus

Michelle Budig's research on the parenthood pay gap goes viral.

Green Growth Report for the U.S. Released

Groundbreaking report quantifies the investment and technology deployment needed for the U.S. to avoid the consequences of climate change.

Other Topics of Interest

Heintz Appointed to Andrew Glyn Professorship

James Heintz

James Heintz is appointed to the professorship, funded by an anonymous donor and a matching fund established by the Provost’s Office.

Ash Receives Award for Research and Creative Activity

Michael Ash

At the tenth annual Faculty Convocation in September Michael Ash, chair of the Department of Economics, was among the recipients of the 2014 Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity.

Chilton to Present Talks on Heritage Studies in Madrid & Paris

Elizabeth Chilton

Prof. Elizabeth Chilton (anthropology), founding director of the Center for Heritage & Society (CHS), has been invited to present at international conferences in Madrid and Paris.

Jane Fountain Named Spotlight Scholar

Jane Fountain

Distinguished Professor Jane Fountain (political science and public policy), director of the National Center for Digital Government, has been named a UMass Spotlight Scholar. 

Through Internships, Students Embody CPPA's Mission Globally

Jessica Sarno MPP '15, center, at the Sheva Women and Children's Welfare Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Jessica Sarno MPP '15, center, at the Sheva Women and Children's Welfare Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, China, and Washington, D.C., three students from the Center for Public Policy and Administration worked last summer to make the world a cleaner, safer and fairer place.

Student Planners Begin Revitalization Plan in Athol

Students on walking tour of Athol

A group of graduate students in the Masters of Regional Planning program took a trip to Athol to work on community revitalization plans.

Article by Investigative Journalism Students Featured in Boston Globe

Students walking on UMass Amherst campus

A story by Eric Bosco '15 (journalism) and Kayla Marchetti '14 (communication/journalism), published on the front page of the Sunday Boston Globe on September 28, 2014, revealed circumstances surrounding the death of a UMass student due to an overdose of heroin.

Alumni News | Department and Faculty News
SBS in the News | A Word from SBS

Alumni News

Sixteen communication alumni serve on the department’s alumni advisory board, established in 2013. These highly accomplished individuals have pursued careers in and alongside the Communication field and are helping to shape the future of the department in a number of important ways. Click through to learn more about Sean Corcoran ’99, Laura Dames ’92, Jennifer Davies Gillespie ’77, David Hatch ’88, Henri Hebert ‘94, Coby Kalter ’10, Lisa Letizio ’84, Eran Lobel ’89, Matt Nagler ’99, Elaine E. Nord ’81, Meghan Oreste ’97, Roderick S. Oreste ’98, Sharon Reis ’90, George G. Smith Jr. ’02, Jennifer Springer ’93, and Valerie Traynor ’78 and the work they are doing for the department.

Speaking of communication and alumni, coming up on October 25 is the Communication Alumni Celebration in their brand new home, the Integrative Learning Center. Come celebrate with tours, panel presentations, the Cole Lecture in Contemporary Issues (featuring Prof. Lynn Phillips), and an all-class alumni celebration and dinner. Click through for details and registration information. The day's activities are open to all.

Danny Katz '07 (sociology), a Massachusetts State Trooper, has undergone medical procedures that allowed him to be a bone marrow donor twice. In one case he saved the life of a 13-year-old boy with leukemia. He was featured in on September 22, 2014.

Kevin Koczwara '09 (journalism), a writer, lives in Worcester, MA. An essay he wrote on his first home, "Home’s history revealed with initial find," was selected by and published in the Boston Globe on September 13, 2014.

Dan Peltier '14 (journalism) recently took a position at Skift, a travel news site in New York. He is a reporter and tracks campaign contributions from the travel industry to federal campaigns. You can see some of his work here.

Rosie Walunas '12 (journalism) has self-produced a documentary film, "But it doesn't have me," which will screen this October at the Northampton International Film Festival.

Kevin Riley '05 (journalism) was on campus in September to talk about his career in outdoor journalism. Riley has worked as an associate publisher for Skram Media's Climbing Magazine, Urban Climber Magazine and Mountain Gazette. In 2013, he founded Action in Solitude, a digital media platform that focuses on providing content and programming for those interested in climbing, fitness, yoga and healthy living. He is also a co-founder of First Ascenders, a Colorado-based nonprofit that provides rock-climbing opportunities for urban teens.

When the Big E in West Springfield opened on September 12, Nick O'Malley '11 (journalism/sociology), a producer at, wasted no time in sampling the food, like the Craz-E Burger, the barbecue parfait, and chocolate covered Doritos—and writing about them in a series entitled "I ate the Big E so you don't have to." While his main beat is coordinating and participating in sports coverage, he often writes about food under the headline "I Ate It So You Don't Have To."  His I-ate-it blog can be found here.

Nadia Bercovich '12 (communication) was interviewed on Marketplace as one of three aspiring teachers who spent a month traveling across the country talking to educators, policymakers and entrepreneurs to learn about the different forms a career in education can take.

Irma McClaurin MA '89, PhD '93 (anthropology) is a woman of many talents: activist, anthropologist, administrator, consultant, leader, mentor, professor, and writer. She also is the Culture and Education editor for Insight News for which she recently penned "Justspeak: A Black mother weeps for America—Stop Killing Our Black Sons!" in the wake of the events in Ferguson, MO. For more on McClaurin, visit her website.

Audie Cornish '01 (journalism), host of “All Things Considered” on National Public Radio, was a special guest at the grand opening of the new New England Public Radio facility on Main Street in Springfield on Sept. 7. Cornish was an intern at WFCR as an undergraduate. Read more...

Back to Top

Department and Faculty News

Prof. Jaqueline Urla (anthropology) is the director of the Modern European Studies Program, the aim of which is to promote knowledge of the unique languages, cultures, and histories of contemporary European societies. The first Fall edition of the program's newsletter can be found here.

Congratulations to PhD candidate Ember Kanelee (sociology) for having been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Gary Sailes Graduate Diversity Scholarship Award.

Thanks to alumni contributions and funding from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning has a brand new state of the art computer lab in Hills: 29-inch monitors, AutoCad, Revit, Rhino, Sketchup MatLab, ArcGIS, new printer and great plotter—it's loaded. LARP also hired a part-time Digital Media Instructor, Carolina Aragon, to help advance the digital media curriculum within studios and classes.

"Lost" Causes: Agenda Vetting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security by Charli Carpenter (political science) has  been released by Cornell University Press. It examines why some issues become focal points of transnational activism while others don't.

The Center for Research on Families is giving out a $300 travel award this semester to a student who has written an outstanding paper and plans to present research at a conference before December 31, 2014. Applications are due by October 17, 2014 at 5 pm. Additional application information can be found here.

Charles Schweik (environmental conservation and public policy) took a group of students to the international Maker Faire in New York City. The event, touted as the “greatest show and tell on earth,” showcases diverse do-it-yourself technologies, including three-dimensional design and printing; unmanned robotic vehicles such as an open-source underwater robot; and devices made from do-it-yourself low-cost computing methods. Read more...

Distinguished Professor Jane Fountain (political science and public policy), director of the National Center for Digital Government, gave the keynote address at the opening of Brazil’s first national digital government conference, I Simpósio Internacional em Inovação e Governança Digital, held at the University of Brazil in Brasilia on September 1-2, 2014. Read more...

Lynn Phillips (communication) was promoted to Senior Lecturer, gave a legislative briefing at the Massachusetts State House on campus sexual assault, and was interviewed for a PBS program, "Roadtrip Nation," which travels across the country to interview "inspiring individuals who are galvanizing a movement of social justice through their teaching."

Mari Castañeda (communication) was recently appointed Research Associate for the Radio Preservation Task Force (RPTF), created in summer 2014 by the Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan. MA student Sarah Marmon will work with Castañeda as a Research Assistant for the Eastern Region archive project.

Seth Goldman (communication) published his first book, The Obama Effect: How the 2008 Campaign Changed White Racial Attitudes (2014, Russell Sage Foundation), with co-author Diana Mutz.

The 12th edition of Taking Sides: Mass Media and Society by Jarice Hanson (communication) and all future editions will be translated into Chinese. 

For the second year in a row, BJ Roche (journalism) is serving as a judge for the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize, which is given to "a rising journalist in public radio for a news story or segment of significance or quality."

After winning all necessary approvals, Steve Fox (journalism), a veteran online journalist, has added News Literacy to his suite of courses. Enrollment in Fox’s course this semester is 30, mostly freshmen. In time he hopes to develop it into a General Education class to reach news consumers outside the journalism and communication majors. The development of the course started at a conference at the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook back in 2009. Fox was a guest contributor on the recent #EdShift Chat, "Tools & Platforms for Blended Learning." The chat focused on blended learning in the classroom and discussed tools and platforms for the hybrid teaching model.

Back to Top

SBS in the News

WFCR, 9/29/14. Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, discusses a new report from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center that finds that western Massachusetts saw 8 percent job growth among clean energy workers. Pollin's work is also cited in, 9/19/14, along with being featured in Boston Review, 9/9/14, where he writes about how to build a green economy and responds to other experts in the field who have raised questions about the policy. That same article appeared on Moyers & Company on 9/11/14.

Washington Post, 9/26/14. Recent research by Brian Schaffner and Ray La Raja (political science) finds that political party campaign money tends to elect more moderate candidates than money from individuals.

Rolling Stone, 9/24/14. The work of, a project of the Political Economy Research Institute, is cited in an article about the Koch Brothers' fortune and toxic polluting output.

San Francisco Chronicle, 9/22/14. A recent report co-authored by the Political Economy Research Institute is cited in an editorial that says a 40 percent reduction in carbon pollution from 2005 levels would create a net increase of 2.7 million jobs and a 1.5 percent reduction in unemployment.

Fox News, 9/25/14. Jesse Rhodes (political science) comments in a story about the possibility that Gov. Deval Patrick could be named by President Obama to succeed Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General who has resigned. Rhodes says given Patrick’s commitment to civil rights, he would likely be quite similar to Holder if he had the top law enforcement job in the federal government. 

The Daily Beast, 9/21/14. Shaheen Pasha (journalism) writes a column on the differing views of feminism in the Muslim world. She points out that even some very conservative Muslim women can and do consider themselves feminists but also notes that there is much resistance to the idea among both men and women in the Islamic world. WWLP-TV 22, 9/3/14. Shaheen Pasha (journalism) says the recent executions of two journalists by militant extremists in the Middle East underline the danger reporters face in various parts of the world. She also says it’s difficult to convey the sense of danger to students in the classroom.

Inside Higher Ed, 9/18/14. A list of faculty members who have recently been awarded tenure is released, including faculty from political science, anthropology, economics, sociology, and communication.

Consumerist,, 9/18/14; AFL-CIO NowNational Consumers League, 9/17/14; Science Daily, 9/11/14. New research published by the Labor Center raises questions about the legitimacy of popular corporate ratings systems and industry “best-of” lists. In “The Corporate Rating Sham: The Case of T-Mobile,” Tom Juravich (sociology) evaluated the various awards and recognitions received by the mobile telephone carrier from 2011-13., 9/16/14. Prof. Emeritus Nancy Folbre (economics) co-authors a piece on why home-care workers can’t afford health insurance.

WGGB-TV 40, 9/16/14. In a story about the most recent poverty statistics, Gerald Friedman (economics) says while the poverty rate is down slightly the number of poor people in the U.S. has remained about the same., 9/16/14. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, says the economic benefit of legalizing same-sex marriage in Missouri would be $36.3 million over three years., 9/5/14. Badgett writes about how to keep moving LGBT equality policies moving forward.

The Hill, 9/14/14. PhD candidates Ed Erikson and Matt MacWilliams, with the help of Nicole Berns '14 (all political science) are using Facebook to predict the upcoming Senate elections.

Sentinel & Enterprise, et al [from State House News Service], 9/12/14. Ray La Raja (political science), associate director of UMass Poll, isn't sure that the debate over ballot questions on the November state ballot will be enough to boost voter turnout. He says social issues tend to drive voter turnout and the only ballot question that fits that description is the effort to repeal the state’s new casino law.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 9/12/14. Mari Casteñeda (communication) is a member and co-coordinator of the 14-member steering committee that is planning a new project called “Coming Together: Understanding Racism, Working for Justice, Building Connections,” that is addressing issues of racism in Amherst.

Pacific Standard, 9/11/14. Mark Hamin, director of the Master in Regional Planning program, was interviewed recently for a story about transportation infrastructure with a focus on the growing business Uber. 

Migration Policy Institute, 9/10/14. PhD candidate Rodrigo Dominguez Villegas (sociology), who spent the summer as an intern for the Migration Policy Institute in DC, wrote an important feature article on the dangerous train route Central American immigrants travel through Mexico on their journey to the US.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 9/10/14. Karen List (journalism) wrote about the organizations that have received grants from the Emily List Fund for Performing Arts Therapy, founded in memory of her daughter.

The Hindu, 9/4/14. Deepanakar Basu (economics) is co-author of an opinion piece that argues that India should continue its stand at the World Trade Organization where it demands a permanent solution to food security policies before it signs new trade protocols and at the same time should retain its public distribution system for food.

Washington Post [Monkey Cage blog], 9/3/14. Charli Carpenter (political science) writes about the ongoing debate on the practical and ethical considerations of using autonomous robots capable of killing people. She says the issue can become confusing because it is often infused with references from science fiction, but notes that the concerns are real and people really are scared of killer robots.

Back to Top

A Word from SBS

This e-letter has been created for alumni and friends of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. SBS includes the degree-granting departments and programs of Anthropology, Communication, Economics, Journalism, Labor Studies, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Legal Studies, Political Science, Public Policy and Administration, Resource Economics, Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC), and Sociology. Among our ranks are 38,600 alumni, 3,700 undergraduate majors, and 560 graduate students. In addition to its departments, SBS is home to numerous centers and research institutions. Through the general education courses that SBS offers, the College’s 200 faculty members teach one quarter of the nearly 20,000 undergraduates on campus in any given semester.

Gifts from alumni and friends are vital to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Your investment allows us to create remarkable opportunities for today’s—and tomorrow's—students. If you are already a donor, please accept our sincere thanks. If not, please consider a gift to SBS for your department, financial aid, a purpose that speaks to your personal experiences and priorities, or an unrestricted designation. To make a gift online, click here. Or, send a check to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Draper Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 40 Campus Center Way, Amherst, MA 01003-9244. Questions? Contact James Mallet, 413.577.1700.

We welcome feedback related to this newsletter, the college in general, specific concerns, or topics of interest. Please address all correspondence, including story ideas, to Sabine Cray, director of communications and marketing. If you wish to add your name to the mailing list, or if you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us. If you have had a change of address, email or other personal information, you can update it online. The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences respects your privacy. Your contact information will not be shared with anyone unrelated to the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Back to Top