SBS Newsletter – May 2012
In this issue
Feldman Named Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences
SBS Senior Celebration
SBS Senior Speakers
Selection as Student Commencement Speaker Fulfills Goal
Koppel Addresses UMass Graduates
Bushouse to Lead Project for Five College Public Policy Initiative
Economic "Top Wonk"
Lennox Awarded Honorary Degree by DePauw University
Three SBS Faculty Named Lilly Teaching Fellows
FoodService Director Names Dining Director to "Most Influential' List
Parks Band Building Earns LEED Gold Rating
Audie Cornish '01 (journalism), who has been tapped to co-host NPR's "All Things Considered" through the 2012 elections, and then will return to her position as host of "Weekend Edition Sunday," is in the Journalism Program's most recent Alumni Spotlight. Don't miss this story!
For her 50th reunion in May, world traveler, journalist and economic analyst Rosemary Hussey Werrett ’62 (government) has recounted tales of her astounding travels and career. From hitchhiking across Europe in the 1960s, to meetings with Fidel Castro in the 1970s, and traveling the Sendero Luminoso dominated highlands of Peru in the 1980s, Werrett has left an indisputable mark on the world since graduating from UMass Amherst. Read more...
Dino Privitera ’89 (journalism/history) has been named to Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for 2012. This Thomson Reuters rating service includes no more than 5% of the state’s attorneys in its annual listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 50 practice areas. Privitera concentrates on representing plaintiffs in complex and catastrophic personal injury and products liability matters. His many recognitions include being named a "Lawyer on the Fast Track” by the Legal Intelligencer, a Top 100 Trial Lawyer in Pennsylvania by The National Trial Lawyers, and a “Pennsylvania Rising Star” by Super Lawyers in 2006.
Crystal Davis ’89 (political science) is helping to bring the DEKA Arm to upper limb amputees. "As a research health scientist at the Providence Veterans Administration Medical Center in Rhode Island," she writes, "I am proud to share this link describing the DEKA Arm and what it means to our nation's soldiers."
In Los Angeles Dr. Nancy Sobel ’77 (leisure studies and resources) is a psychologist and avid surfer. After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti she made several trips there to work with trauma survivors. She found a dire lack of services available to adolescents, who were literally lost in the gap between help for small children and organizations for adults. Many of these youth were left to fend for themselves, or expected to care and provide for their younger siblings with no adult support. In response she created the Global Adolescent Project (GAP), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate, encourage, and empower disenfranchised youth globally. Two years later, GAP is assisting more than two dozen youth with tuition, shelter, mental health support, and small business training.
John O'Hara ’74 (political science), a managing director and senior advisor with Rockefeller Financial in New York, is on the board of trustees of the National Humanities Center. Previously, he was a managing director in the investment management division of Goldman Sachs and the Commodities Corporation. He is the recent past chairman of the advisory board of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at UNC (where he received his master's degree), president of the Kenan Flagler Business School Foundation, and a member of the board of governors of The University of North Carolina Press.
Lara Herscovitch ’91 (political science) has released a new CD, “Four Wise Monkeys.” Herscovitch's music addresses facing adversity and undergoing transformation — personal, social, political. Many songs speak to the fact that the U.S. has only 5% of the world’s population, and a staggering 25% of its prisoners. "We have to change this,” says Herscovitch, who divides her time between two parallel careers, one a touring singer-songwriter, the other a juvenile justice policy specialist. Herscovitch, a former Connecticut State Troubadour, has appeared as a guest on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor (American Public Media), is a featured performer at concerts and music festivals, teaches songwriting workshops, and tours from Maine to Miami.
Please send us your news! Also, view upcoming alumni events, sponsored by the Alumni Association, 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.
SBS in the News
Springfield Republican, 5/30/12. A study by the Political Economy Research Institute says proposed defense cuts would cost Massachusetts the equivalent of 8,014 jobs, while an equal reduction in non-defense spending would mean the equivalent loss of more than 9,200 jobs. Assistant Research Professor Heidi Garret-Peltier comments.
Fastcompany.com, 5/29/12. Dean Robert Feldman is quoted in an article examining why people lie on their resumes. PsychCentral [The Emotionally Sensitive Person blog], 5/12. Feldman discusses the reasons people lie, noting that “Lying is not limited to one aspect of our society, one type of person, or one kind of institution…lying permeates the way we get to know one another and the way we form relationships. It is part of how we educate our children and how we elect our leaders. It is essential to our economy, and it is essential to the media.” NPR MarketPlace Life, 5/18/12. In response to Yahoo's now-former CEO Scott Thompson padding his resume by including a degree he never earned, Feldman tells why even the lightest padding of resumes makes you suspect. Learn why you should think twice about saying that you're "proficient" in Spanish, when really, all your Spanish skills can get you is an order of tacos at the stand around the corner.
Los Angeles Times, 5/25/12. Research by Gerald Friedman (economics) is cited in a column on universal healthcare. In his paper he estimates that a national Medicare-for-all program would cost Americans about $570 billion less per year than private plans.
Daily Hampshire Gazette, 5/23/12. In an op-ed, Karen List (journalism), who is director of the Journalism program and teaches media history, law and ethics, offers her thoughts on a recent federal court ruling that using Facebook’s "Like” button is not constitutionally protected speech. Social Media Club, 5/21/12. List is heavily quoted in an article about a legal ruling that using the Facebook “Like” button isn’t protected speech. She disagrees, noting, "Judges today are faced with applying current legal precedents to new mediums, and in part because they don’t understand them, I think they often rule more conservatively than they otherwise might. It will take a long time for the law to catch up – if it ever does.”
Springfield Republican, 5/22/12. Ray La Raja (political science) says Democratic Party efforts to link Republican Sen. Scott Brown and presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney work against each candidate and potentially help President Obama and Brown chief rival Elizabeth Warren. NPR Morning Edition, 5/16/12. La Raja comments about how out-of-state donors are pouring money into congressional races across the country and many of the donors identify themselves as strongly partisan. His recent research shows that the political polarization that began around 2002 in Washington is now growing among voters. A key element may be the increased use of online fundraising that seems to be reinforcing the partisan divide in the voting public.
USA Today, 5/17/12. In a story about Skechers agreeing to pay $40 million to settle charges it misled consumers with claims about their toning sneakers, ad expert Sut Jhally (communication) says the company made claims that were shocking in their specificity and have been shown to be false.
The Real News Network, 5/16/12. Gerald Epstein (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, says the J.P. Morgan debacle shows that systemic risk remains unchanged and that breaking up big banks and reforms to Federal and public banking are urgently required.
Boston Herald, 5/15/12. Professor Emeritus Jerome Mileur (political science) says if Barack Obama wins reelection in the fall, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick might be in line for a federal cabinet appointment. It’s much less likely, Mileur says, that Patrick would be nominated for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
New York Times [Economix blog], 5/8/12. Columnist Bruce Bartlett cites a 2011 study done by the Political Economy Research Institute that shows taxes play almost no role in an individual’s decision to move from state to state, although it does have some bearing on which state they choose.
New York Times [Economix blog], 5/14/12. Nancy Folbre (economics) writes about the ever-shifting definition of what many groups refer to as the “unsustainable welfare state.” New York Times [Economix blog], 5/7/12. Folbre opines about whether huge financial incentives and risk-taking spur creativity and productivity, or if such winner-take-all situations encourage cheating and dishonesty. The Real News Network, 5/3/12. In light of the recent controversy over comments about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s wife, Folbre discusses her research on why society doesn’t value the work of caring for children or elders at the same level as ordinary jobs. Care-giving, she says, should be viewed as work and public policies should be adjusted to account for that.
Boston Herald, WGGB-TV 40, Metro, WWLP-TV 22, State House News Service [subscription required], 5/10/12. An economic study by Michael Ash (economics) and graduate student Shantel Palacio (public policy and administration) finds that investment in public higher education might be the best way to boost the Massachusetts economy. The study, presented to state lawmakers on May 10 at the State House, says boosting state spending on public higher education will produce thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly, and lead to many millions of dollars in new income tax revenue.
CNN Money, 5/10/12. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, says states that have legalized same-sex marriage have seen an increase in economic activity related to weddings. Los Angeles Times, 5/9/12. Badgett says studies show that allowing same-sex marriage results in public health as well as economic benefits. Married couples, for example, are less likely to collect welfare and therefore help save taxpayers money.
Fox News, Boston.com, The Daily Breeze [Calif.], Sify.com [India], [all from AP], 5/3/12. Ventura R. Perez (anthropology) comments about how researchers in Mexico have found ancient traces of blood and fragments of muscle, tendon, skin and hair on 2,000-year-old obsidian stone knives that were used for human sacrifice.
The Real News Network, 5/2/12. Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, discusses the idea of imposing a financial transaction tax on Wall Street. This is similar to a sales tax on the financial sector, he says.
WWLP-TV 22, 5/1/12. The Massachusetts Daily Collegian is doing well financially, even as student-run papers at Connecticut, Illinois and California are facing money problems. Collegian editor-in-chief Alyssa Creamer '13 (journalism/political science) comments.
A Word from SBS
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