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SBS Newsletter – May 2010

In this issue

Nevin LashZoo Designer Focuses on Making a Difference

Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.
—Simon and Garfunkel
For Nevin Lash ’78 (environmental design), owner with his wife Gail of Ursa International, truer words were never spoken. Based in Atlanta, Lash offers leadership in planning and building tomorrow’s conservation and education facilities in zoos worldwide. “We design educationally-based exhibits, from great apes, bears and big cats to small monkeys, birds and reptiles. We take what we do seriously and know that it makes a difference in the world.” Read more...

Jonathan Johanntoberns-TabbSetting Sights on Career in Public Sector
“My dream is to be an agent of change for my generation,” says Jonathan Johanntoberns-Tabb ’11 (political science/history), who received both an SBS Opportunity Scholarship and an Ansin Study Abroad Fellowship this spring. “Foreign service, intelligence work, or working on public policy in D.C. are my goals for the near term after graduate school for government and international relations.” Read more...

SBS Senior Celebration participantSBS Senior Celebration Honors Hundreds
The mood was festive, the weather near perfect, and spirits high when the first SBS Senior Celebration took place on May 15. Designed to offer special recognition to individual members of the Class of 2010, the program was upbeat, engaging and celebratory. The processional into the football stadium, by department, was set to lively Dixieland Jazz music and the audience got into the spirit immediately, clapping in time and cheering the many graduates and faculty members in attendance. Read more, view pictures, see video.

Richard Wikander and Brodie KramerStudents Receive SBS Scholarships
Congratulations to all of this year's SBS students who earned scholarships for internships, study abroad and meritorious academic achievement. Each of these scholarships is funded through private gifts. If it were not for the generous support of alumni and friends, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences would be unable to acknowledge these remarkable students and contribute to their undergraduate educations. At the Awards Ceremony on May 8 at the Campus Center, several donors were in attendance. Read more...

And other topics of interest...

Roif AwardTenth Annual Roif Award in Film Studies
The Tenth Annual Michael S. Roif Award in Film Studies was presented in May to undergraduate certificate students in the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies. First place went to Mariel Adams ’12 (psychology) who was director, cinematographer and editor of the documentary “Without Regard.” Jeromie Whalen ’10 (history) won second place for the documentary “Purgatory: Historical Analysis of the Belchertown State Schools” (producer/co-director/editor/co-cinematographer). Read more...

Bike Rack in Turners FallsPublic Art on a Roll
Next time you are cycling in Turners Falls, MA—a community, incidentally, that is increasingly becoming well known for its fine bikes routes—don’t hesitate to park your bike on a graceful and whimsical piece of public sculpture. That, in fact, is what it’s there for, and it is what Associate Professor Annaliese Bischoff (landscape architecture and regional planning) designed it to be. Bischoff’s design was chosen in juried competition sponsored by community-based Turners Falls RiverCulture. Inspired, according to RiverCulture’s director Lisa Davol, by the historic bounty of salmon in the Connecticut River and Greek theater masks, the work offers beauty and whimsy while providing a functional place for bikers to park their wheels as they refuel and explore the village's cultural offerings. Read more...

Sara PlourdePitcher Plourde Gets Top Honors, Breaks Records
Softball phenom Sara Plourde '12 (sociology) was named Atlantic 10 pitcher of the year. Ranking among nation's elite in season strikeouts, Plourde broke the UMass single-season record for strikeouts, surpassing Danielle Henderson's 1999 mark of 465. Early in May, in a one-hit 10-K shutout of Temple, Plourde broke the school-record for wins in a season with her 35th, passing Brandice Balschmiter's mark of 34 in 2009. The sophomore also eclipsed the 500-strikeout mark for the season, becoming just the 11th pitcher in NCAA history to do so. She did not allow a single run to conference opponents in 15 innings, while fanning 29.The Minutewomen finished with a 17-0-1 record to claim the Atlantic 10 regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic 10 Championship, hosted by UMass, May 13–15. Read Boston Globe article. Springfield Republican article. Plourde stats. Note: The team won the Atlantic 10 tournament, but was eliminated from the NCAA regional tournament after losing 3-1 to Long Island and 10-4 to Boston University. A hip injury suffered by Plourde hampered her performance.

Jeffrey AxtonStudent Creates Commencement Stole to Honor Veterans and Enlistees
At commencement ceremonies in mid-May, graduating students donned special scarves to signify their service in the U.S. armed forces. And it's about time, noted Jeffrey D. Axton '11 (sociology), a 27-year-old Army sergeant who designed the stole for graduating UMass students who are military veterans or enlisted men and women. "The stole not only represents the service member, but at graduation people will see it— it puts an image in the public's eye," Axton says. "For me, it was one of those things, how come no one else has done this? So I took the initiative." Read more... Listen to an interview...

UMichigan stadiumAlumni Association Travel Packages to UMass vs. Michigan Football Game
Travel packages, game tickets, and pre-game reception tickets are now available for the Minutemen kick-off against the Wolverines at the University of Michigan on September 18. The event promises to rally the largest crowd to ever watch a UMass Amherst sporting event. Get tickets...

Alumni News
In a letter to Senator Bernie Sanders, Kevin Knobloch '78 (journalism), president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, commended the Senator’s leadership on his proposed legislation to ban offshore drilling and stronger fuel economy standards for the automobile industry. Knobloch called the new legislation “an important contribution to the overall debate on comprehensive clean energy and climate change legislation.” He added, “The current disaster in the Gulf of Mexico makes it clear that we must cut our reliance on oil and other dangerous sources of energy by spawning a new, clean energy economy in the United States.” Read more...

In response to the death of Professor Emeritus Larry Pinkham and the establishment of the Lawrence Dana Pinkham Memorial Scholarship, Bernard T. Davidow '78 (journalism) wrote, "Larry Pinkham was my first journalism professor, and he made a lasting impression. I remember his talking about being a cub wire-service reporter, tagging along with former President Harry Truman, holding fast to his jacket so he wouldn't miss a quote. I remember, too, his thoughtful editing of early class assignments. Something must have sunk in, because I've been able to make a living in newspapers for 32 years now.

Timothy Dooling '95 (political science), who graduated from New England School of Law in 2001 and is deputy chief of legal counsel at the Massachusetts Parole Board in Natick, was featured in the Mass Lawyers Weekly (4/19/10) as one of the 20 "Up & Coming" Massachusetts Lawyers. Read more... [pdf]

Ramil Maharramov '06 MPA, a consultant in the management and development Industry, discusses relations between the U.S. and Azerbaijan. Read more in, 5/5/10.

Please send us your news! Also, view upcoming alumni events, sponsored by the Alumni Assocation, on their Events Listing. And 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.

Faculty/Department News
Save the date! Gretchen Morgenson, assistant business and financial editor and a columnist at the New York Times, will be delivering the Economics Department's Gamble Lecture, October 14, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. She has covered the world financial markets for the Times since May 1998 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her "trenchant and incisive" coverage of Wall Street. More recently, she has done some outstanding reporting on the financial crisis, including breaking some of the most important stories about Wall Street malfeasance. Read more about Morgenson.

The 3,000-acre Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA, one of the oldest and most extensively studied forest landscapes in North America, will be the focus of work this summer by the Anthropology Department’s Field School in Archaeology. Field school activities will focus on pre-contact and historic period studies at Harvard University’s Long Term Ecological Research Program at the forest. Read more...

Professor Emeritus Julius Fabos (landscape architecture and regional planning) was named a fellow of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture at its mid-May annual conference in Maastricht, The Netherlands. The honor is considered especially significant in that the council, which traces its beginnings to 1920, is composed of virtually all of the programs of landscape architecture in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Read more...

In 2009 the UN General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/64/236 [pdf], agreeing to hold a UN Conference on Sustainable Development—also referred to as Rio+20 or Rio 20—in Brazil in 2012. In mid-May Peter M. Haas (political science) attended the conference's first planning meeting in New York. The conference will address the green economy, within the context of sustainable development and poverty reduction, and institutional framework for sustainable development.

Karen List, director of the Journalism Program, notes that this spring seven majors taking Newswriting (JOURN300), taught by Daily Hampshire Gazette Editor Larry Parnass, published a series of stories on UMass parties and their impact on the community. "The series was a great idea," List says, "It offers insight into this problem that I haven't seen in local coverage in more than 20 years." Read more...

Journalism Professor Madeleine Blais and Journalism Adjunct John Katzenbach were invited by the State Department to serve as cultural ambassadors to Argentina. Katzenbach writes psychological thrillers that are popular in the U.S., but in Spanish-speaking countries have elevated him to "literary rock star" status. He spoke to an audience of more than a thousand people at the annual book fair, the third largest in the world. (Click here to see Katzenbach being escorted by four Argentine police officers away from a book signing that lasted hours to the venue where he took questions from a journalist, James Lipton-style.) Blais also gave a talk entitled: "Depending on the Kindness of Strangers: Interviewing Tennessee Williams." Both faculty members visited with journalism and English students on a variety of campuses, spoke with Fulbright scholars in Uruguay and met with David Nelson, the U.S. ambassador in Uruguay, and Vilma Martinez, the U.S. Ambassador in Argentina.

Assistant Professor David Mednicoff (public policy), associate director of the Social Thought and Political Economy Program, spoke about his research on the rule of law in Arab societies as part of an inaugural conference, Political Reform in the Arab World: Problems and Prospects, held at Stanford University in May. Read more...

SBS in the News
New York Times, 5/25/10. Two city councilors in New York City plan to introduce living wage legislation governing publicly subsidized development projects. Robert Pollin (economics), codirector of the Political Economy Research Institutie who studies living wage issues, says about 140 municipalities in the U.S. have passed similar legislation.

Associated Press, 5/14/10. In a story discussing why Asian-Americans seldom aspired to become lawyers until recently, Sheldon Goldman (political science) says racial prejudice certainly played a role. However, now it’s the lack of political networking and relative difficulty of mobilizing political interest groups in the Asian community that likely play a larger role.

WFCR, 5/12/10. Ralph W. Whitehead Jr. (journalism) comments on a recent political poll that shows support for Gov. Deval Patrick is increasing at the same time the percentage of voters backing independent candidate Tim Cahill is dropping. Whitehead says this is good news for the governor, and may indicate that attacks on Cahill from the Republican Governor’s Association are working. Republican Charles Baker’s support in the poll remained even with other recent polling.

BusinessWest, 5/10/10. B.J. Roche (journalism) says the ever-changing media market means that many aspiring journalists need to create their own jobs because traditional positions in newsrooms and television studios are disappearing. Students in Roche’s “Entrepreneurial Journalism” course spend a semester trying to build a web-based journalistic enterprise into a business. Alumni Marty Dobrow and Julie Robenhymer also comment on the need for today’s journalists to possess a variety of skills, including audio and video production, photography and using social-media technologies. Boston Globe, 5/2/10. Roche writes a long feature story on entrepreneurship courses at colleges in the region. Such offerings aren't just for business majors anymore, she notes, and says that at UMass Amherst such offerings attract more than 100 students from 30 different majors. UMass Amherst alumnus Derek Lyman, who formed a company while at school in 2005, and Conor White-Sullivan '10 (anthropology), who recently helped create the website Localocracy, are featured., 5/10/10. Economists Gerald Epstein, chair of the department, and Jane D’Arista (Political Economy Research Institute) offer comments on efforts in Congress to bring more regulation and transparency to derivative trading by large banks. They support such moves and say it is a key to meaningful reform of the financial sector.

Huffington Post, 5/5/10. A column promoting breaking up large banks cites research, done by economists Gerald Epstein, James Crotty and PhD candidate Iren Levina at the Political Economy Research Institute, on financial industry concentration. Their research shows that between 1993 and 2009, the top five commercial banks in the U.S. went from having 16.56% of total bank assets to 45.23%. The top five investment banks had 36.43% of overall revenue in 1993 and 65.61% by 2009, they say. [Vancouver, Canada], 5/4/10. Krista Harper (anthropology) is interviewed by a Red Eye Radio journalist about how the ascendance of right-wing political parties in Hungary’s recent elections coincides with an increase in violence against Roma, people also referred to as Gypsies. Says Harper, "Many of you have probably heard me say a lot of what I say in the interview, but the journalist interspersed clips of me and my former student/now colleague David Boromisza Habashi ’08 PhD (communication), who studies the Hungarian far right. It's an artifact of our work together, in a way."

New York Times, 5/3/10. Nancy Folbre (economics) writes about how regulating toxic financial assets is similar to regulating toxic chemicals, noteing that in the case of the latter, current laws aren’t doing a very good job of protecting the public. She cites work done at the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass Amherst that publishes a list of top polluters each year as a way to make the critical information available and understandable. Overall, she concludes that transparency is a good thing, but isn’t always the best way to control toxic substances or assets.

Psychology Today, 5/3/10. A story on lying makes reference to the 1999 study done by Robert Feldman, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, which found the most popular kids in schools were also the best liars.

Keene Sentinel, 4/30/10. Students in Jeffrey Goller’s landscape architecture class have developed plans for beautifying Gilbo Avenue in downtown Keene, N.H., as a class project. The assignment also was meant to provide green space and environmentally friendly drainage of storm water runoff.

Mother Jones, 4/30/10. Jane D’Arista (Political Economy Research Institute) is interviewed about how the so-called Volcker Rule, a proposed ban on proprietary trading by banks, would help reform the financial sector.

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 (LARP), Legal Studies, Political Science, Public Policy and Administration, Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC), and Sociology. Among our ranks are 38,600 alumni, 3,800 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 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. 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, 413.545.3945.

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.


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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