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CRF Looks Back at this Year’s Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series

In its thirteenth year, The Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series has continued to bring esteemed guest lecturers to present their research related to families. CRF had its busiest semester yet with four lectures given by professors from across the country.

This spring’s speakers included Emily Ho of Oregon State University, Christine A. Bachrach from the University of Maryland, Judith Crowell from Stony Brook University, and Paul Apostolidis of Whitman College. These experts were invited as part of CRF’s Family Research Scholars program to consult with the scholars on their own research as well as give an informational talk for faculty, students, and members of the community.

The topics of this semester’s lectures spanned from nutrition to immigration and this has helped support the multidisciplinary approach that UMass takes to family research.

 Dr. Emily Ho of Oregon State University kicked off the series with the first lecture in January. She is the Endowed Director of the Moore  Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health Associate Professor and Principal Investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute and gave a presentation on Dietary Histone DeacetylaseInhibitors for Cancer Prevention” in which she discussed how cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli can prevent cancer. 




  Dr. Christine A. Bachrachis a Research Professor at the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland and gave a presentation entitled, “Can Meanings be Modeled? Exploring a Neural Networks Model of Culture.” During her lecture, she described a new model that can more effectively explain cultural changes over time to provide a clearer picture of how schemas have evolved over time.




 Dr. Judith Crowell, Professor and Director of Training/ Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Stony Brook University, presented the first findings of a longitudinal study entitled,"Influences of Childhood Adversity on Health in Midlife.” She shared her insights into understanding of how childhood and adult relationships and adversities as well as demographic characteristics contribute to early midlife adult physical health outcomes.




To conclude this semester’s lectures, Dr. Paul Apostolidis presented his research on the employment struggles of migrant workers in a presentation entitled, “Migrant Day Laborers, Neoliberalism, and the Struggle for Time.” Apostolidis is a Professor and the T. Paul Chair of Political Science at Whitman College in Washington and has been conducting field work in Seattle and Portland to gain insight into the lives of migrant laborers.




The Center for Research on Families is thankful to all of the incredible speakers that came to Amherst this spring, is already looking forward to next year’s lectures. Two speakers have already been confirmed; Dr. Paromita Sanyal of Cornell University will present on the social impacts of microcredit programs in developing countries and Dr. Jaqueline Eccles from the University of Michigan will give a talk on the role of parents in supporting their children’s achievements.

The mission of the Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series is to bring nationally recognized speakers with expertise in family research to campus each year. The speakers provide public lectures, highlighting the importance of research on the family and its implications for public policy, and provide research consultation to CRF Family Research Scholars. The lecture series began in 1999 through an endowment established in memory of Tay Gavin Erickson.

For more information on upcoming and past lectures, please visit:


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