November 2014 Newsletter

In this Issue

Social Science Matters: Sheila Mammen

Sheila Mammen, professor of resource economics, specializes in the area of family and consumer economics. Her latest research focus has been on rural poverty and rural families’ access to healthcare and health information.   

SBS Alumni Represent Massachusetts

Congratulations to the seven SBS alumni who have won their election campaigns for State Rep in Massachusetts!

Get Involved and Make Connections, Advises Senior

An SBS Internship Award made the experience at FRONTLINE PBS possible for Mitchell Scuzzarella ’15, who has been involved in a wide range of extracurricular activities and participated in multiple internships. He says, "Find something you’re passionate about and dive-in headfirst."

SBS Scholarships Enhanced Opportunities for Learning

Amanda Aziz '15 (political science) has taken advantage of many learning experiences, including an undergraduate research assistantship, thanks in part to a number of scholarships made possible by alumni gifts.

Other Topics of Interest

Fatherhood, Race and Politics

Tatishe Nteta

Assistant Professor Tatishe Nteta (political science), a 2014 Family Research Scholar with the Center for Research on Families, explores if and how major events in the political realm affect racial attitudes, focusing on how culture, political trends, and major life cycle events influence individuals as they mature.

Rising Researcher Award Goes to Allison Masley ’15

Allison Masley ’15

This award, sponsored by the Vice Chancellors for University Relations and Research and Engagement, recognizes exceptional UMass Amherst undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. Allison Masley ’15 (anthropology/political science) is one of five students chosen as a recipient for the fall semester 2014.

Cheryl Garrity '88, Real Life Wonder Woman

Cheryl Garrity

A leader, mentor and feminist, Cheryl Garrity '88 (political science) was recently presented with the Wonder Woman Award by the Massachusetts National Organization for Woman (NOW).

Social Science Matters: Anthony Paik

Anthony Paik

Anthony Paik, associate professor of sociology, focuses on social networks of adolescents and adults and the social demography of sexuality. His other research interests include economic sociology and the study of networks in general. 

New Study Shows Financial Burden of Asthma in Los Angeles

Sylvia Brandt

Asthma caused or worsened by living near major roadways cost Los Angeles County more than $441 million in 2007 alone, according to a new peer-reviewed article by researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Southern California and the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Fountain Receives Vision Award from World Economic Forum

Jane Fountain and other Vision Award Recipients

Fountain, second from right, with other Vision Award recipients, as well as H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of the UAE and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

At the World Economic Forum Summit on the Global Agenda held in Dubai on Nov. 9-11, Distinguished Professor Jane Fountain (political science and public policy) received a Vision Award on behalf of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government.

Anthropologist Eric Johnson Featured on History Channel Series

Eric Johnson

Did giants walk the earth? This age-old question is the basis of the new History Channel series Search for the Lost Giants, which featured Eric Johnson (anthropology) on one of the latest episodes.

Learning Out Loud in the ILC


Active, collaborative learning can be loud, and so most of the classrooms in the new Integrative Learning Center in the heart of campus are equipped with sound-absorbing walls.

Political Scientists Receive Grant From the Russell Sage Foundation

Young and Desmarais

Kevin Young and Bruce Desmarais receive a $77,658 Russell Sage Grant to study Revolving Doors in Financial Regulation


Chancellor Offers Update on Diversity Planning

Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy

Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy this week updated the campus community on strategic planning efforts related to diversity, inclusion and equity and announced several new actions, including the creation of a new assistant provost for diversity, increased scholarships and the formation of a Graduate Student Diversity Task Force.

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

Alumni News

Mary Reines ’14 (journalism) was recently named Arts and More Editor at the Swampscott and Marblehead Reporters. As an undergrad, Reines interned with the Reporter in the summers of 2012 and 2013, reporting on local artists and events. She also served on the staff of the Daily Collegian, UMass’ student newspaper, first as a staff reporter and later as an assistant news editor. Read the full story.

Christian Gabriel ’05 (landscape architecture and regional planning) appeared as a guest speaker for one of the LARP Zube Lectures and is interviewed in the American Society of Landscape Architects. Read the full interview.

Joe Floyd ’83 (journalism), a member of the crew team, organized an alumni crew event for the Head of the Charles Regatta. Read the full story.

Chris Peterson ’09 (legal studies) was recently promoted to Assistant Director of Talent Outreach at MIT. This spring, he will be appointed as a lecturer in the department of comparative media studies/writing. Read the full story.

Nathalie Sczublewski ’14 (journalism) recently wrote an article for titled "Hockey Fights Cancer Hits Home for Gudbranson." Sczublewski is an intern for the Florida Panthers.

Hannah McGoldrick '12, (journalism) associate editor at RunnersWorld, wrote an article titled "What a Real Runner Looks Like?" in response to negative comments to a video of her modeling running gear for the website.

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Department and Faculty News

The deadline for the Public Engagement Project Fellowships, intended to provide faculty members with resources to use their research to create social change, is coming up on December 12, 2014. Amy Schalet (sociology) is the director of the program. Click here for details and application.

Three students in the new “open science/maker” course taught by Assoc. Prof. Charles Schweik (public policy) are using creative methods to provide local towns with aerial images and other data that will inform upcoming public management decisions.

Prof. Madeleine Blais (journalism) held a special screening of "All The President's Men" in memory of Ben Bradlee, past editor of the Washington Post, who brought the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate scandal into people's homes and recently died.

Assistant Prof. Demetria Shabazz (communication) interviewed award-winning prison journalist Wilbert Rideau at Amherst Media.

Associate Prof. Ventura Perez (anthropology) is editor-in-chief of Landscapes of Violence, an interdisciplinary journal devoted to the study of violence, conflict, and trauma. Its goal is to provide a balanced approach to the causes of violence and offer a voice for the human experience behind it. This journal deals with the interrelationships between society and violence seen through the analytical eyes of trans-disciplinary researchers.

Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning is co-sponsoring a conference with the Center for Heritage and Society this spring. "Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values: Embracing Change in the Management of Place," May 13-15, 2015, will bring speakers and participants from around the world to UMass, and will help launch LARP's new Graduate Certificate in Cultural Landscape Management program. Click here for more information and the Call for Papers; click here for more information on the graduate certificate program.

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SBS in the News

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 11/24/14. Robert A. Shanley, 92, of Longmeadow, professor emeritus of political science, has recently passed away.

Middle East Eye, 11/22/14. David M. Mednicoff (public policy), director of Middle Eastern studies, comments in a news story about how migrant workers, nearly half the population of Bahrain, can’t vote in elections there

Voice of America Central Africa Service, 11/19/14. Leonce Ndikumana (economics) and director of the Political Economy Research Institute’s African Policy Program, was interviewed about the economic impact the Ebola outbreak is having on West Africa.

WWLP-TV 22, 11/19/14. Shaheen Pasha (journalism), who was an international reporter, tells her students who want to be overseas journalists to learn their environment and create contacts wherever they go. She also says the U.S. government has to have a better-coordinated policy for dealing with hostage situations. 

North Korea Times, 11/18/14; Sports Illustrated, Time, Gay Star News, 11/17/14. New York Times,, USA Today,, Boston Herald, 11/14/14. Boston Globe, USA Today, 11/11/14; Out magazine, 11/3/14. Derrick Gordon ’15 (sociology), the first Div. 1 player in the country to publicly announce he is gay, is profiled. 

Huffington Post, 11/17/14. The Williams Institute and USAID, partners in the LGBT Global Development Partnership, have released a study showing that if a nation provides more legal rights to the LGBT community, it can result in a higher per capita GDP. One of the study's lead authors, M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), a Williams Distinguished Scholar and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, recently presented the findings of the study during a panel discussion at the University of California Washington Center. 

Sonoma Index-Tribune, 11/14/14. Jeannette Wicks-Lim (Political Economy Research Institute) expresses support for a proposed living wage ordinance in Sonoma County, CA, that would cover in-home supportive service (IHSS) care workers.

Washington Post, 11/16/14. A Monkey Cage blog about a new poll in which Americans estimated the unemployment rate at 32 percent mentions a May 2014 journal article co-authored by Brian Schaffner (political science).

Springfield Republican, 11/13/14. Graduate students from Flavia Montenegro-Menezes’ landscape architecture and regional planning class are conducting a survey that is part of the Amherst Together Initiative.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 11/12/14 (Subscription may be required). PhD candidate Samuel VanSant Stoddard (political science) writes a column about what progressives should be doing and thinking in response to the recent election losses suffered by Democrats in the midterm election.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 11/12/14 (Subscription may be required). Madeleine Blais (journalism) writes a column about her childhood experience being on a local television show called “The Admiral and Swabby” for a Thanksgiving-themed show.

Springfield Republican, 11/10/14. Nathaniel Dunnican ’16 (resource economics), who served in the Air Force, talks about the unique relationships between veterans based on their shared experiences.

WBZ-TV 4, 11/11/14. Political analyst Jon Keller looks at the gender gap in the Nov. 4 state election and says based on exit polling by the WBZ-UMass Amherst Poll, the largest gender gap was with men, not women. Boston Herald, 11/6/14. WFCRWBZ-TV 4, 11/5/14. Brian Schaffner and Ray La Raja (political science), co-directors of the UMass Amherst Poll that conducted exit polling in Massachusetts during the election, discuss their findings about why voters chose as they did, especially in the race for governor. CNN Money, 11/3/14. La Raja says campaign donors on Wall Street are turning away from Democrats in this election cycle because they are viewed as the more regulatory party., 10/30/14. Research conducted by Schaffner and La Raja is cited in a story about how campaign financing affects political polarization. KSPR [from CNNMoney], 11/3/14. Los Angeles Times, 11/2/14. NPR.orgNew Hampshire Public Radio, 10/31/14. WBZ-TV 4, 10/31-14. La Raja, Sheldon Goldman (political science), and Schaffner comment on the gubernatorial elections and the WBZ-Mass Amherst Poll released on Oct. 31 that finds the Massachusetts governor’s race between Republican Baker and Democrat Coakley tied in the final days of the campaign.

The Real News Network, 11/10/14. Gerald A. Epstein (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, discusses how rules developed under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law don’t address some of the key reforms sought by those who want to reign in banks and large financial firms. Marketplace [NPR], 11/3/14. Epstein also comments in a news story about what could be expected from Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Science Daily, 11/8/14. In a report published in the November issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, a team of researchers led by Sylvia Brandt (resource economics/public policy) calculated the total costs that asthma imposes on children and families living within 75 meters of freeways, highways and major arterial roads, including the direct costs of medical care and the problem of having to manage and live with the disease.

Springfield Republican, 11/7/14. WWLP-TV 22, 11/6/14. State and UMass Amherst officials celebrated the $9.9 million renovation of the 64-year-old Paige Laboratory building into modern research and administrative facilities for the Stockbridge School of Agriculture on Nov. 6. Speakers at the ribbon-cutting included state Sen. Stan Rosenberg, Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, Provost Katherine Newman (sociology), Steve Goodwin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, and Wesley Autio, director of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture.

Red Lake Nation News, 11/7/1. Sonya Atalay (anthropology) has received a $206,500 New Directions Fellowship from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to master the endangered Anishinaabemowin language of Native American Ojibwe tribal communities, in order to expand research and understanding of ancient tribal knowledge and practices that are under an increasing threat of becoming lost forever.

Globe and Mail [Canada], City Lab, 11/5/14., The Dish, 11/4/14., 10/30/14. Arindrajit Dube (economics) comments in news stories about why voters approved increases in the minimum wage.

Rianovosti, Rianovosti, Rianovosti, 11/5/14. Tatishe Nteta (political science) and Gerald Friedman (economics) comment in three different articles on various aspects of the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

Washington Post, McClatchy D.C., 11/3/14. Sheldon Goldman (political science) is quoted in two news stories about how a Republican-controlled Senate could halt President Obama’s efforts to diversify the federal judiciary.

The Conversation, 11/3/14. David M. Mednicoff (public policy), director of Middle Eastern Studies, writes a commentary on the history of pan-Arab identity in the Middle East and why it could act as a positive force in a region of the world that has been in turmoil for decades., 11/2/14. Former UMass hockey player Conor Allen ’14 (political science) has been called up to play for the New York Rangers of the NHL.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 10/31/14. Henry Dill ’18 (communication), goaltender for the UMass hockey team, is profiled. Dill has been playing well early in the season. “He makes hard saves look easy,” says coach John Micheletto.

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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 to 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.

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