SBS Newsletter – July/August, 2009
In this issue
Dean Feldman's Book Gets National Attention
Lights, Camera, Action: Top Cinematographer Offers Snapshot of the Scene
SBS Opens New Undergraduate Advising Center
Young Entrepreneur Connects Leaders with Constituents
New Communication Chair Studies Expressive Culture
Lawyer Personifies Excellence
Alum Leads Diversity Planning Effort
Dining Services Receives Awards
Amherst Named Top College Town—Again
Become a Facebook Fan of UMass Amherst
Pulitzer Prize winner Madeline Blais (journalism) led the memoir writing seminar at "Kitchen Sink: A Women's Writers' Workshop" at Bay Path College in Longmeadow. The three-day event featured nationally prominent women writers in fiction, humor, memoir, screenwriting and children's literature to work with writers and aspiring writers and offer advice.
Neil Silberman (anthropology), coordinator of projects and policy Initiatives for the SBS Center for Heritage and Society, has been invited to give the keynote presentation at the international workshop: "Advancing Sustainable Tourism at Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites" at the Mogao Caves World Heritage site, Dunhuang, China, September 26–29, 2009. This workshop is sponsored by the Australian Government, the Getty Conservation Institute, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Tourism Working Group, and the Dunhuang Academy. It is the culmination of recent international initiatives relating to sustainable tourism and aims to achieve formal recognition of the opportunities and challenges presented by tourism by utilizing the mechanisms in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.
Jan Servaes (communication) will be keynote speaker at three international conferences this fall: September 21–24, at the International Congress of Communication for Peace, Universidad Santo Tomas, Bogata, Colombia, addressing “Communication as a Dynamic of Social Transformation"; October 17–21, at the World Congress of Signis, sponsored by the Catholic World Association for Communication in Chiang Mai, Thailand, addressing “Media for a Culture Of Peace: Children’s Rights, Tomorrow’s Promise”; and Oct 23–25, 2009, at the International Public Relations and Advertising Forum, in Macao, addressing “Public Relations, Media, and Social Responsibility.”
Gary LeBeau '69 (political science [government]), who is a Democratic state senator representing Connecticut's 3rd District since 1996, has announced his plans to run for governor of that state. LeBeau, a native of Easthampton, MA, lives in East Hartford, CT. Read more...
Maggie Whitten '08 (anthropology) wrote to announce that her final research paper from the Department of Anthropology's European Field Studies program has been published by E-Cadernos (Journal of the Center for Social Studies/Centro de Estudos Sociais) in a special issue on "Representation and Abortion Policies." Her article, "Feminism by Other Means: Reframing the Abortion Debate in Portugal," is based on research she conducted as an undergrad participant in the European Field Studies program in Spring 2007. Click here to read the article [pdf]. Maggie is starting graduate school at CUNY Grad Center this fall.
A USA Today story on the popularity of the Teach for America program that places young teachers in struggling schools focuses in part on the experience of Chris Turk '07 (political science/journalism) in a school in Baltimore. Supporters of the program say it brings fresh new teachers into the profession, but some critics say the new, untried teachers are forcing older, experienced people out of the field. Read the article.
Essex County correctional officer Daniel Katz, who received a certificate in Criminal Justice in 2007 (sociology), is donating some of his bone marrow to a teenager suffering from leukemia. Katz joined the bone marrow match registry while he was a student. Read article in the Boston Herald. Read article in The Salem News.
Over a decade ago, Senator Edward M. Kennedy introduced a bill expanding the definition of hate crimes to include those perpetrated on the basis of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability. In July, that bill (S. 909) finally passed, thanks to the work of, among others, Sara Kingsley '09 (STPEC) at Senator Kennedy’s office. Named for Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming college student who was murdered in 1998, the Shepard Act also provides federal grants to support the prosecution of hate crimes at the state and local level when lack of funds prohibits such action, and supports programs to prevent hate crimes by juveniles. The FBI receives reports of nearly 8,000 hate crimes each year; 15% are related to sexual orientation, ranking third as a category after race and religion. Kingsley ’s work is mentioned in the Congressional Record (July 24, 2009).
Lori Gordon '00 MPA has published the book Degrees of Freedom (Cantarabooks). Set amid the streets of Seville, Spain, this literary fiction touches on themes of art history, food, and geography as it chronicles one man’s search to mend the unraveling seams of his life using art as his therapy. As he immerses himself in the vibrancy of the Sevillan streets, the people, and most compellingly, the portraiture housed in the maze of tiny galleries at the city’s Museo de Bellas Artes, he is shaken into a surreal sense of consciousness by the profound impact that art, space, and history can stamp – sometimes favorably, and sometimes mercilessly — on life. Writes Gordon, "Thanks for checking out Degrees of Freedom, and I'd welcome your comments on my bookpage. Please forward this announcement to your friends or family who may be interested! I would be so thrilled to have your support."
Julie Pokela '77 (communication), founder of Market Street Research in Northampton, MA,, has been named a trustee of Holyoke Community College.
Former UMass Amherst quarterback Liam Coen '09 (communication), who is the school’s all-time passing leader, has signed with the Manchester (N.H.) Wolves of the Arena Football league, joining former UMass kicker Chris Koepplin '09 (HFA, history). Read more...
Former UMass Amherst football player Brandon London '07 (sociology) is hoping he can make a big impression on the Miami Dolphins club this year and is eagerly awaiting the beginning of training camp. London, a wide receiver, is in his third year in the NFL. Read more...
Cory Quirk '09 (psychology) has signed with the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League. Read more...
Nick Druar '09 (psychology) of Franklin, MA, is a Push America volunteer in the Carbondale, Ill., region. The group is mentoring campers and helping fix up a local camp. Read more...
On July 14 Melissa Lee, the moderator of CNBC's "Fast Money" show, invited Danielle Hughes '91 (political science), CEO of Divine Capital Markets and a member of the SBS Dean's Advisory Board, to give an overview of the earnings season. Hughes said she is looking at companies where industrial capital expenditure is happening, and companies are investing in machinery that will take them to the next level. Hughes liked productivity names and companies benefiting from policy mandates like Diodes (DIOD), Itron (ITRI) and Fuel-Tech (FTEK). Watch the video.
Benjamin Happ '98 (psychology) has been named head of Capital Services Asia Pacific, Credit Suisse, in Hong Kong. He previously worked with Abax Global Capital as head of business development, also in Hong Kong. Happ serves as a member of the SBS Dean's Advisory Board.
All American basketball player Tony Gaffney '09 (sociology), Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, didn't make the NBA draft in June, but this summer he played for the LA Lakers Summer League. He is still confident that the NBA lies in his future, stating, "I think (defense) is what sets me apart. I don't know that many guys in this year's draft class that work as hard as I do defensively. And I think that's what's going to put me in the NBA. I'm 6-8, 6-9, seven-two-and-a-half wing span, 39-inch vert (vertical leap), and one of the fastest guys up and down the floor. I'm willing to guard anywhere from a 2 to a 5, and do it comfortably. I would say that's going to be my door into the NBA." Read article in the Boston Herald. In July Gaffney's NBA dreams took another step forward when the Los Angeles Lakers invited the former forward to their October training camp. Read more...
Please send us your news! Also, view upcoming alumni events, sponsored by the Alumni Assocation, on their Events Listing. Also, check out MaroonCentral, the Alumni Association's online community. This is a FREE social networking service that encourages communication and professional networking among alumni and students through class notes, profiles, a searchable directory, and more.
SBS in the News
Asia Times, 8/27/09. A column by Max Fraad Wolff (economics), a doctoral student, looks at how some wealthy Americans are recovering from the economic downturn much more quickly than people lower in the income range.
365gay.com, 8/24/09. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, comments in a story about why gay marriage opponents aren’t willing to make predictions about the social impact of same-sex marriage now that a half dozen states have legalized it. Badgett is the author of the new book When Gay People Get Married; What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage. She says her research done in European countries that allow same-sex marriage shows no evidence that it has had an effect on marriage, divorce or non-marital births. Chicago Tribune, 8/20/09. Badgett comments in a story about whether the legalization of gay marriage in some states will lead to negative social consequences or the weakening of the institution of marriage. Badgett says there is no evidence of negative impacts on marriage in general in those societies. Examiner.com, 7/12/09; SBCbaptistpress.org, 7/10/09. Badgett testified before a congressional subcommittee in favor of a bill that would grant benefits to same-sex partners of gay federal employees. Badgett told the subcommittee the change in the law would cost about $60 million in the first year or about .41% in spending for health care. The proposal has drawn criticism from groups including the Southern Baptist Convention and other evangelical Christian organizations.
Boston Globe, 8/20/09. John F. Ahern (landscape architecture and regional planning) says although it was very rainy at the beginning of the summer, the recent heat and dry weather may soon begin turning lawns brown. The story looks at how landscapers have suffered this year because of the weather.
New York Times, 8/14/09. Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), says so-called green jobs will help boost the national economy. But he also warns that so many jobs have been lost, new hiring for environmentally friendly jobs won’t be able to make up the difference in the short term. New York Times, 7/19/09. Pollin comments in a New York Times review of the book, The High Cost of Discount Culture. Pollin tells the author that raising the wages of a Mexican worker by 30% would add just 1.2% to the cost of a shirt, or about 24 cents for a $20 shirt. The book says, however, that most companies won’t even consider raising wages for low-paid workers. Alternet.com, 7/4/09. Pollin comments in a story about the minimum income a family needs to afford some economic security. HealthNewsDigest.com, 7/4/09. Pollin discusses how the U.S. can switch to a clean energy economy and maintain jobs while at the same time reducing dependence on fossil fuels and cutting pollution.
WBEZ [Chicago NPR], 8/13/09. Andrew Papachristos (sociology) is interviewed about his recent research on gang murders in Chicago. He says gang murders are the product of tensions between gangs and not usually caused by disputes over drugs or money.
The Economist, 8/13/09. Brian Schaffner (political science) comments in a story about how an increasing number of people are disconnecting their land-line telephones and relying on cell phones. He says studies show that people who only use cell phones are harder to reach for political pollsters and other businesses and aren’t well understood as a demographic group.
Inside Higher Ed, 8/13/09. Donald Tomaskovic-Devey (sociology) says he was hoping when President Barack Obama was elected there would be more roles for sociologists in the new administration. So far, however, economists seem to be the dominant force in the White House.
International Debt Observer, 8/11/09. Gerald Friedman (economics) says Ben Bernanke, current chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, learned how to handle the recent economic meltdown from two bad teachers, Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz. Friedman says Friedman and Schwartz promoted the view that bad monetary policy, not a flaw in the market system, caused the Great Depression,.
In These Times. 8/09. Eve Weinbaum (labor studies) and Dan Clawson (sociology) comment in a story about the national labor movement and why in the current economy there have been a few instances of activism but little union militancy overall.
Washington Post, 8/4/09. Steve Fox (journalism) writes a blog entry about how he reacted when his 9-year-old daughter asked him embarrassing questions about sex and body piercings. He explains that his daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome, which makes the situation more complicated.
The Real News Network, 7/23/09. Richard Wolff (economics) says during the last 30 years the tax on the richest people in the U.S. has fallen from about 65 percent to 35 percent for the top brackets. He says this decrease is much more than what the middle-class and the poor have experienced, whose taxes have actually increased.
The Blog of Legal Times, 7/22/09. Sheldon Goldman (political science) says his analysis of the demographics of federal judicial appointments by the Bush administration shows a “high professional, qualified diverse judiciary,” but it was achieved by a politicized and confrontational selection process.
WFCR, 7/21/09. Ethan Katsh (legal studies) comments in a story about how the use of electronic medical records is likely to change things for patients and doctors. The changeover is underway in Massachusetts and is a key element of proposed national health care reform.
Boston Herald, 7/18/09. Professor Emeritus Jerome Mileur (political science) says Mass. Lt. Gov. Tim Murray has not made a major impression as a member of Deval Patrick’s administration and isn’t well known to the public. There is speculation that Murray is looking to run for higher office in the future.
Springfield Republican, 7/15/09. Enoch E. Page (anthropology) comments in a story about the debate over new legislation that would add “gender identity or expression” to the state’s anti-discrimination laws. If approved, the bill would extend protections to transgendered people such as Page.
Gantdaily.com, 7/6/09. A column about the recent U.S. House approval of a green energy bill and what impact it is likely to have on the 5th Congressional District in Pennsylvania mentions a report done by the National Resources Defense Council and the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass Amherst that says the bill will create 3,118 new jobs for residents.
U.S. News & World Report, 6/30/09. Sanjiv Gupta (sociology) is featured in a story about why it makes sense for women to outsource some domestic chores and housework in order to become more productive. Gupta has conducted studies that show women with higher incomes spend less time on housework than those who earn less. They might be hiring domestic help because they “place a higher value on their time,” he says.
A Word from SBS
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*Please note: as of July 1, 2009 the Department of Psychology, including Neuroscience and Behavior, moved to the College of Natural Sciences. However, we will continue to send the newsletter to alumni affiliated with these programs during this transition.