University of Massachusetts Amherst

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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SBS Newsletter – January 2008

In this issue

Janet Rifkin

SBS Dean Leads With Passion and Verve
Could it have been fate in 1974 that connected UMass Amherst and Janet Rifkin, then public defender in the NYC criminal courts and now dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences? Back then, undergraduate legal education essentially didn’t exist, with the exception perhaps of a few business law classes at some institutions. But at UMass Amherst a new concept, making the study of law part of a liberal arts education, was taking shape. In fact, the Legal Studies Department was the first of its kind in the nation. Read more...

Lew Hoff

Entrepreneur Recalls Development of Business
“Being successful involves working hard and luck,” says Lew Hoff ’62 (economics), president of Bartizan Connects, designer and producer of groundbreaking data collection devices for the credit card and exhibition industries, and executive chairman of Addressograph Bartizan, the world’s leading manufacturer of credit card imprinters. “Everyday you meet smart people who haven’t achieved success. But it’s rare to meet a success who hasn’t worked hard and been lucky.” Read more...

David M. McCarthy

Making It on Wall Street
With working class parents and no business connections, David M. McCarthy ’86 (political science) serendipitously fell upon a summer clerkship as an undergraduate with a very small New York Stock Exchange floor broker, trading derivatives and other exotic financial instruments. “I was a disaster as a floor clerk, and almost was fired,” McCarthy recalls. “But I was determined to survive the summer, so each day I arrived earlier and earlier to clean up my prior day’s mistakes."

Karl Salomon

Ghana Experience Impacts Student’s Life
When Karl Salomon ’08 (economics and legal studies) was nine years old, he and two brothers left Haiti to join their immigrant parents (and a sister and brother who left the previous year) in Boston. At the airport they were greeted with this advice: “To succeed in this country you will have to work extremely hard.” Read more...

And other topics of interest...

Members of the Policy Debate TeamPolicy Debate Team Makes Big Forensics Impact
Today, among the college crowd, the word “forensics” typically evokes visions of crime scene investigations. But in earlier times forensics was well known as the art of argumentation and formal debate. While there is evidence of formal debating going on at Mass Aggie as early as 1892, the Forensics Society officially began on campus in 1909 and later was renamed the Debate Union. The group was hugely popular and highly successful as it argued its way to national recognition, often being ranked in the top ten in the 1970s and 1980s. Read more...

Apollo DiamondsFabulous Diamonds...from the Boston Suburbs
Man-made diamonds have been around since the 1950s, but not until lately have jewelry-quality cultured diamonds come onto the market. Only Apollo Diamond in the Boston suburbs is making an array of gems, from icy white to sable, as flawless as nature's own. Boston Magazine's January 2008 issue features these lab-grown sparklers, developed by Bryant Linares '84 (economics), Apollo's president and CEO, and his father Robert. Read the article... Take me to the Apollo website...

Christine RoachAlumna Nominated to MA Superior Court
Christine Roach '76
(legal studies), a Boston attorney who helped found one of the city's first all-women law practices, has been nominated by Gov. Deval Patrick to a vacancy on the Massachusetts Superior Court in December. The nomination was confirmed on January 16. Read more about the nomination. Read a recent profile...

Christina FongResearch Scientist Studies Economic Enigma
Christina Fong '98 MA, '00 PhD (economics) grew up near Purdue University, where she met many poor Indiana residents who believed strongly in the free enterprise system, even if it wasn't benefiting them very much. Then, every other summer, she would spend six weeks in her mother's native Sweden, meeting wealthy Swedes who happily supported the heavy taxes on the rich that financed that nation's expansive social welfare system. It gave the Carnegie Mellon University researcher a lifelong question to pursue: Why do people support economic systems that seem to be against their self-interest? Read more...

Carol HeimThe Public Engagement Project
A collaboration between the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA), the Center for Research on Families (CRF), the Peace and Violence Concentration in Psychology, and the Department of Sociology has led to the new Public Engagement Project (PEP). It will support faculty members who want to take their research outside of the academy through engagement with the media, community groups, policymakers, and others. Read more...

Carol HeimEconomics Expert Advises Arizonans on Municipal Finance
Twice each year about 150 Arizona citizens come together for three days to address a topic of major concern to the state’s future. Most recently, the 91st Arizona Town Hall focused on Land Use: Challenges and Choices for the 21st Century and included in the background report a chapter by Professor Carol Heim (economics) on “Taxes, Incentives, and Fiscal Policy Choices.” Read more...

Faculty Notes
President Bush named Jeffrey L. Sedgwick (political science) acting assistant attorney general on January 3. In his new post, Sedgwick oversees the Office of Justice Programs and activities related to major initiatives, including Project Safe Neighborhoods, the President’s DNA Initiative, the Prisoner Reentry Initiative, and Helping America’s Youth. The assistant attorney general also serves as the national Amber Alert coordinator, a role that encourages and facilitates the creation and strengthening of regional, state and local plans to aid in recovering abducted children. The Office of Justice Programs includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, where Sedgwick has served as director since 2006.

Peter Haas (political science) has a busy spring lined up. Besides teaching international environmental politics, he is presenting at the February International Peace Academy's Opening Symposium on Task Forces for Strengthening UN Capacity. Later in February he is participating in the IHDP (International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change) consultative workshop on Knowledge and Learning for Societal Change and Sustainability, to be held at the Social Science Research Center in Berlin, Germany. Then, in April, he has been invited to talk at the University of Toronto on "Constructing International Environmental Governance."

Steve Fox (journalism) has been selected by the Poynter Institute, along with a select group of journalists from around the world, as a participant in their Poynter Multimedia Journalism for College Educators in February, 2008.

Controlling Public Education: Localism versus Equity by Katie McDermott (education and public policy) was recently published in China. In the book, McDermott addresses the tension between equal opportunity for all students and local control of public education, which often seems impossible to resolve. She argues that existing local institutions are no longer sufficient for achieving either equity or democratic governance. Using the results of field research in Connecticut, McDermott offers a solution to making the education system more democratic and equitable.

Alumni News
Stephen Werner '06 (psychology) is now playing for the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. Read article about his first game with the team.

Jonathan Wilson '77 (anthropology), seven-time Atlantic Coast Conference volleyball champion while head coach at Duke, has been named Columbia University’s head coach of volleyball. Wilson, who won more than 300 games at Duke, has also coached in the Ivy League as an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania, and was head coach of women’s volleyball at Rice. Read more...

Chris Capraro '08, former member of the UMass Amherst hockey team, now plays with the Charlotte Checkers. Read profile on

Barbara Bartlett-Weiss '07 (journalism) is the interim science writer for UMass Press. Barbara first earned a B.S. in geology, then returned to UMass Amherst for the journalism degree.

Brendan Hall '07 (journalism) is a reporter at the Sentinel and Enterprise in Fitchburg, MA.

Kelly McGuire '07 (journalism) is an account manager at The Breton Group, an advertising/marketing agency in Valhalla, New York.

Irma Bushati-Bala ’99 MPA is a senior analyst for the Foreign Credential Recognition Program, part of Human Resources and Social Development in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

Carrie Puglisi ’04 MPPA is working as the residential project manager for la Casa de Don Pedro, a community-based development corporation in New Jersey.

Carlo Ruiz-Giraldo ’04 MPPA is an advisor to the National Constituent Assembly in Ecuador. In this role, Carlo will be working on a new constitution for the country.

Do you have news you'd like to share? Send it to the SBS Newsletter today.

SBS in the News
Asia Times, 1/25/08. An article entitled "Meltdown Debunks Delinkers" by Max Fraad Wolff, a graduate student in economics and and managing director of GlobalMacroScope, looks at the global market responses to the slowing U.S. economy., 1/13/08. Research by Lisa Scott (psychology) finds that infants refine and narrow their visual and auditory skills in the first year of life.

Ralph Whitehead Jr. (journalism) has been prolific in the Boston Globe this month. 1/7/08: Whitehead discusses ways Harvard University could use its enormous endowment to fund research into how to educate the least privileged students and give them a quality college education despite the hurdles they face. 1/14/08: On the eve of the Michigan primary and the Nevada caucus, Whitehead discusses the political and economic impact of unions in those states. He argues that unions boost the pay rates of members in both manufacturing and service sector jobs. 1/21/08: Whitehead talks about the shrinking relationship between the news media and advertisers. 1/28/08: Column discusses how legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi wasn’t only a disciplinarian, but also a teacher who greatly improved professional football.

USA Today, 1/7/08 (AP); [New Hampshire], 12/30/07. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, predicts that a new same-sex civil union law in New Hampshire will have a significant impact on the state’s economy. Badgett was the lead author of the census snapshot of same-sex couples in New Hampshire, published by the Williams Institute.

Boston Globe, 1/6/08. Associate Professor Linda Tropp (psychology) was referenced in an article about new ways of thinking about social relationships, e.g. turning prejudices into positive forces. The idea, according to Harvard researcher Todd Pittinsky, is to teach people to like each other more instead of merely training them to hate each other less. Tropp has found that a single friendship can have a ripple effect on attitudes. In the laboratory, she paired up people of different races to engage in friendship-building activities, such as sharing embarrassing moments and cooperating on Jenga, a game involving building blocks. Afterward, participants reported initiating more interracial contact."When you forge close relationships across group boundaries," Tropp says, "you become invested in the friend and their group."

WBZ Radio, 1/3/08. Tom Juravich (labor studies) discusses his book, The Future of Work in Massachusetts, recently published by the University of Massachusetts Press. (On the landing page, scroll down to the heading: "UMass/Amherst book forecasts the future of work in this state.") To read more about the book, click here.

Springfield Republican, 12/30/07. Ray La Raja (political science) says presidential candidates are unlikely to spend much time campaigning in Massachusetts prior to the Feb. 5 primary since other larger states, such as New York, Illinois and New Jersey, are holding their primaries on the same date.

BusinessWest Online, 12/24/07. In the article "Experts Say the Nation Will Likely Skirt a Recession, but All Bets Are Off" by George O'Brien, Robert Nakosteen (economics) says,“Things are definitely going to feel sluggish by next spring.” He also used "stagnant" and "soft" as he discussed the national economy and what might happen with it in the months ahead.

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 departments and programs of Anthropology, Communication, Economics, Journalism, Labor Studies, Legal Studies, Neuroscience and Behavior, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy and Administration, Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC), and Sociology. With 38,000 alumni, 5,000 current undergraduate majors, and 500 graduate students, SBS is the largest of UMass Amherst’s colleges. In addition to its departments, it is home to numerous programs and research institutions. Through the general education courses that SBS offers, the College’s 150 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 donation to SBS for your department, student financial aid, or a purpose that speaks to your personal experiences and priorities. To make a gift online, click here. Questions? Contact:
Saige Reisler, Senior Associate Director of Development
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
235 Draper Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
40 Campus Center Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9244

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, marketing and communication specialist. 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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Draper Hall • University of Massachusetts Amherst • 40 Campus Center Way • Amherst, MA 01003-9244 • Tel: 413.545.4173 • Fax: 413.577.0905
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Draper Hall University of Massachusetts 40 Campus Center Way Amherst, MA 01003-9244 (413) 545-4173 FAX: (413) 577-0905