SBS Newsletter – September 2012
In this issue
Ndikumana to Serve on UN Committee for Development Policy
Bodybuilding: High Schoolers Reconstruct Human Skeleton in UMass Anthro Summer Workshop
Pollin Explores Full Employment in New Book and News Series
SBS Wing Thing Welcomes SBS Majors, Raffles iPad
Epstein Receives Recognition for Accomplishments
SBS Welcomes New Faculty
Amherst Teaching Czar Rhonda Cohen '91 Seeks Big Changes
Alum Directs Music Video to Promote Women in Science
Attorney DiMare Wins Elizabeth Berg Streeter Award
Student Wins Furcolo Award
TV Spot Celebrates UMass' Excellence
New Academic Building Update
UMass Students Nosh on 6,700-pound Seafood Stew
At Home at the Top
UMass Amherst as a Wiki
Don't miss this profile of Audie Cornish '01 (journalism), co-host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” for the duration of the Obama campaign.
Congratulations to Kemi Fuentes-George PhD '11 (political science). His dissertation, "Transnational Networks and the Promotion of Conservationist Norms in Developing Countries," has won the 2012 Virginia M. Walsh Dissertation Award in science, technology and environmental politicsfor dissertations finished in the last two years from the American Political Science Association! Fuentes-George is an assistant professor at Middlebury College, with specific interests in biodiversity conservation, politics of natural resource management, and environmental rights. Read his blog.
In a tribute to Boston Globe sports reporter and columnist Bob Ryan, who recently retired from his regular beat covering professional and college sports in Boston, Globe sports writer Peter Abraham ’86 (journalism) fondly recounts first meeting him at a campus basketball game, thanks to the intervention of former sports information director Howie Davis. Read the entire tribute.
In an Atlanta Constitution article, Rita Kirshstein PhD '76 (sociology), director of the Delta Cost Project, a Washington-based group that studies higher education spending and affordability, criticizes Emory University for its recent admission that it misrepresented information used for college rankings for more than 10 years. Kirshstein, who earned her undergraduate degree at Emory, said she may now withhold donations to the Atlanta school in favor of UMass.
Jonathan Perry ’87 (journalism) writes, "My wife Roxanne, whom I met in 1988 while we both were newspaper reporters in Western Mass., and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in rare, memorable fashion: by welcoming our adorable, precocious, and unsettlingly adventurous daughter Asha into our lives. I've taken a hiatus from my day (make that night-owl) job covering and writing about music for The Boston Globe, among other publications, while Roxanne, a professor at Wellesley College, is on sabbatical to better help me chase after our fast-moving, havoc-wreaking little girl. At the moment, I'm grateful for my constitution (forged at UMass) for abnormally late nights, young people making lots of noise, and unintended spills (of the liquid, as well as physical, variety). I always knew my college education would come in handy. The best part? Asha loves music, and my record collection almost as much as I do."
Rachel Teyssier '89 (journalism) and her business partner Stacy Struminger have launched RAINRAPS, a stylish alternative to waterproof outerwear. Since launching their business this past February, RAINRAPS has received tremendous press and accolades. "O" Magazine, Good Housekeeping and the Chicago Tribune (just to name a few) have all discovered the RAINRAP. The RAINRAP has been named the new must-have fashion accessory.
Martin Comack MS '99 (labor studies) has published Wild Socialism: Workers Councils in Revolutionary Berlin, 1918-21 (University Press of America, 2012). Prof. Tom Juravich (labor studies) describes the book as "Scrupulously researched with prose as clear as a bell.... A must-read for not only historians of the period, but for those interested in the working class and labor activism." Comack has been a soldier, merchant seaman, civil servant, and university lecturer. He received a doctorate in political science from Northeastern University, holds graduate degrees from Harvard and UMass Amherst, and attended the Academy of Labor and Social Relations (Moscow) as well as the Fundacion para la Educacion de Trabajadores (Mexico). He lives in Somerville, MA.
June Greig '77 (journalism) wrote A Dog to Remember (Evergreen Bay Publishing), a book of verse and illustrations. It reflects on life with a dog and how memories of good times together will last forever. The book was nominated by the Dog Writers' Association of America for the Maxwell medallion for excellence in the Human/Animal Bond category.
Marie Phillips '78 (sociology), MPP '91 released Dadcat University: The Story of the Feral Cats at UMass Amherst (Author House). The book recalls how Phillips, a former UMass employee, and her friends became caretakers of dozens of campus cats over a period of 16 years.
Lisa Capone-Condon '80 (journalism) wrote Inland—The True Story of a North Atlantic Humpback Whale (North Country Press), a children's book about a whale who spent time close to shore in Salem, MA, and the people who came to know her. Visit the book's Facebook page.
Sarah McLean '87 (journalism) published Soul-Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation (Hay House). Drawn from the world's spiritual traditions and grounded in science and research, each lesson in the 8-week program contains a key for navigating the journey of self-awareness. Each week's meditation practice builds on those of the previous weeks, making the process accessible and enjoyable for novices and experts alike.
Caitlin (Coughlan) Kenney '12 (journalism) has received the Department of the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service for her volunteer work with the Fort Sill Cannoneer newspaper in Oklahoma. She was cited for "outstanding performance while serving as a photojournalist for the newspaper from March 2012 to September 2012." Kenney volunteered about 500 hours in six months.
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.
Faculty and Department News
The Journalism Program had a tea party with two Bournemouth University (UK) faculty members, including Shelley Thompson '00 (journalism), former investigative reporter at the Lawrence Eagle Tribune. Thompson and Prof. Darren Lilleker visited to explore possibilities for collaborative teaching/research and faculty/student exchanges.
The Faculty Senate has formally approved the Journalism Program's Sports Journalism Concentration.
"Relational Inequality: Gender Earnings Inequality in U.S. and Japanese Manufacturing Plants in the Early 1980s" by Dustin Avent-Holt PhD '12 and Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, was published in Social Forces. Also, Documenting Desegregation: Racial and Gender Segregation in Private-Sector Employment Since the Civil Rights Act, by Tomaskovic-Devey and Kevin Stainback, was published in September.
Amy Schalet (sociology), author of Not Under My Roof, received the Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexuality Education.
International Migration Review published "Spurred to Action or Retreat? The Effects of Reception Contexts on Naturalization Decisions in Los Angeles" by David Cort (sociology).
PhD candidate Eve Ng (communication) has received a competitive project grant of $1,000 from the Organization for Research on Women and Communication, publisher of Women's Studies in Communication. Ng, the 2012-13 Research Associate at the Five College Women's Studies Research Center, will use the funds for her project on global LGBT media, linking media representation, sexual citizenship, and the sociocultural and geographical specificities of new media technologies.
PhD candidate Alper Yagci (political science) has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to explore the Regulation of Genetically Modified Seeds in Developing Countries. Read more...
SBS in the News
TMCnet.com, Sys-con.com, Bioportfolio.com, 9/17/12. Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, comments about the concept behind the Robin Hood Tax Bill, legislation introduced in Congress to establish a tax on Wall Street speculative trading. The proposed .5% tax targets high-risk, high-speed trading similar to what was in place between 1914 and 1966. The Real News Network, 9/12/12. Pollin thinks the Obama administration doesn’t have a sound policy for creating jobs, but relative to the economic plans put forth by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney the Democrats and Obama look good. NPR Marketplace, 8/23/12. Pollin discusses whether a proposed raise in the federal minimum wage over the next two years would be good or bad news for the working poor. He says we can’t rely on the market alone to enable everyone to lead a minimally decent life, and academic research is split on whether raising the minimum wage raises unemployment.
Huffington Post, 9/13/12. David Mednicoff (public policy), director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program, writes about the outburst of anger and anti-Americanism in the Middle East that spawned attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Huffington Post, 9/11/12. Mednicoff writes about the top 11 lessons that can be drawn on the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. Huffington Post, 9/11/12. Mednicoff writes about President Obama's DNC speech and its professorial undertones, even though Obama's actual experience as an academic is not something that he mentions much publicly.
Boston Herald, 9/3/12. Eve Weinbaum (labor studies), director of the Labor Relations and Research Center, says the Republican agenda is about eliminating unions and reducing employees’ say about work conditions, mandatory overtime and the shipping of jobs overseas, but attacks on unions have not been limited to Republicans or just at the federal level.
Daily Hampshire Gazette, 8/30/12. John Stifler (economics) reviews the book At the Edge of Camelot: Debating Economics in Turbulent Times, by Prof. Donald W. Katzner (economics). It describes the changes and upheaval that took place in the UMass Amherst economics department in the 1960s and 1970s.
WBEZ radio [Chicago], 8/29/12. C.N. Le (sociology) discusses why Asian men are much less likely to date interracially than men from other racial groups and cultures. He says traditionally, people believe the motivation for women getting married is to become more economically successful, and by that measure Asian men should be very attractive. But other cultural stereotypes push back against that and he has found what he calls a “cultural penalty” for Asian men in the dating world.
Daily Hampshire Gazette, 8/29/12. Ralph Whitehead (journalism) comments on the three-way Democratic primary race in the newly configured Massachusetts 1st Congressional District. The New Republic, 8/2/12. Whitehead opines about why Democratic senatorial hopeful Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has so far failed to make much headway against incumbent Sen. Scott Brown. Whitehead says Warren’s early TV ads that referred to her creation of an agency to “protect consumers” made the Democrat “sound like she was someone who rated kitchen utensils.”
BRW.com [Australia], 8/27/12. Dean Robert Feldman says small lies that workers tell can eventually add up to an environment of deception in the workplace that can lead to more, larger lies. Forbes, 8/27/12. A column about instances when you shouldn’t communicate by e-mail cites a UMass Amherst study (by Feldman, though it doesn't mention him by name) that found people are more likely to lie with e-mail, even more likely to lie when texting, and much less likely to stretch the truth in face-to-face conversations. Centre Daily Times [Pa.], 8/22/12; Foreign Policy, September/October, 2012. A columnist writing about why people generally view politicians as liars cites Feldman's research that finds people are more likely to lie to someone they have just met for the first time. Florida Today, Livingston Daily [Michigan] [neither link remains available], International Science Times, USA Today, Tulsa World, 8/6/12. Commenting on a recent study that suggests overall health improves when people tell fewer lies, Feldman says telling fewer lies probably makes people more psychologically healthy, but he’s not sure it also leads to better physical health. Feldman has examined lying and everyday deception for many years. For details, including his recent book The Liar in Your Life, visit his website.
Orgtheory.net, 8/23/12. The article, “Gender, work time and care responsibilities among faculty,” by sociologist Joya Misra, Jennifer Lundquist, and graduate student Abby Templar is discussed in this national blog.
Indian County Today Media Network, 8/21/12. An article highlights PhD candidate Dwanna "Dee" Robertson (sociology), who presented a paper at the American Sociological Association meetings in Denver.
The Examiner [Tasmania], 8/17/12. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics) director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, writes a letter-to-the-editor about the financial gains that would come to Tasmania if the government there legalized same-sex marriage.
New York Daily News, 8/16/12. Asked about a plan to give some low-wage workers in New York City paid sick days, Arindrajit Dube (economics) and several other economists say that such benefits are good for business.
Foreign Affairs, 8/16/12. Peter M. Haas (political science) says the June Rio+20 Conference about global efforts to fight poverty and develop and accelerate sustainable technology will require concrete actions to deal with these issues if it is to be considered a success. Action is needed not only by the UN and related organizations, but also by the business and corporate communities.
Providence Business News, 8/28/12. The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) has removed Textron, Inc. from its Toxic 100 Air Polluter’s list because the ranking was based on old, inaccurate information. Michael Ash, a PERI researcher and economics professor, says the change should be viewed as a success because they were able to alert the company to a reporting error. Providence Business News, Hartford Business, 8/15/12. PERI has released its fourth annual Toxic 100 Air Polluters index , which includes Textron Inc., based in Providence, R.I., at number two and Fairfield, Conn.-based GE at number three. The Guardian, 8/2/12. The Political Economy Research Institute has found that if corporations and banks invested the multi-trillion dollars in cash that they currently have sitting idle, they would boost economic activity and lower the unemployment rate to 5% by the end of 2014.
The Real News Network, 8/6/12. Gerald Friedman (economics) discusses how to pay for a single payer health insurance system proposed for the state of Maryland. Friedman argues that such a system would eventually save money and lower the cost of medical care for residents of Maryland. This is segment three of a 3-part series on the subject.
Boston Globe, 8/5/12 [sorry, article is no longer available to nonsubscribers]. Nicholas McBride and Karen List (journalism) comment about how the Springfield Republican newspaper is in a difficult position regarding the siting of a casino in that city, because one prominent city developer has suggested purchasing the newspaper’s property for the gambling venue. The newspaper, by becoming an economic player in the casino issue, is losing its role as a credible critic in the siting and public policy debate. Newspaper officials say they are trying to keep the news operation sealed off from the business side of the paper to help provide the balance needed to cover the issue.
Berkshire Eagle, 8/4/12. In a story about the heritage and archaeology summer field school at the W.E.B. Du Bois homestead in Great Barrington (which is owned by UMass), anthropologists Robert Paynter and Whitney Battle-Baptiste, who run the program, discuss the program's goals.
Nature, 8/1/12. In an article about cliodynamics—using mathematic techniques to track human history through demographic cycles, outbreaks of violence, historical records and economic activity—Prof. Emeritus Herb Gintis (economics) says the method may show patterns and casual connections that aren’t obvious.
A Word from SBS
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