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Current News

Nilanjana Dasgupta (FRS '06-'07 & '12-'13) Interviewed for National Science Foundation's Women's History Month Feature

Nilanjana Dasgupta (FRS '06-'07 & '12-'13) describes her research in the National Science Foundation: One focus of our work has been on psychological and learning environment characteristics that influence young women’s entry into STEM-based academic majors in colleges and universities. We find that changes in the local culture of classrooms and academic departments can make a real difference in the likelihood that a woman will choose STEM. Interventions are most effective when students are at transition points, such as when they move from high school to college, or early in college when they choose an academic major. Read the article here.

Richard Pilsner (FRS '15-'16) Featured in Spring 2018 UMass Magazine

Richard Pilsner, (FRS '15-'16) and Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health & Health Sciences is leading epigenetic studies in how endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment might affect men’s sperm: specifically, how external factors influence the way genes are expressed. Pilsner has found that phthalate levels in expectant fathers have an effect on their reproductive success. Read the article here.

Aline Gubrium (FRS '17-'18) Publishes Findings on Digital Storytelling as an Intervention Method

Aline Gubrium (FRS '17-'18) and Associate Professor of Community Health Education is the lead author of a paper recently published in the journal Critical Public Health. Titled “Digital storytelling as critical narrative intervention with adolescent women of Puerto Rican descent,” the journal article presents findings of a two-year pilot research study focused on addressing sexual and reproductive health inequities faced by adolescent women of Puerto Rican descent living on the mainland United States. 

New Study by Alexandra Jesse (FRS '16-'17) Suggests We Can Recognize Speakers Only from How Faces Move When Talking

Results of a new study by FRS '16-'17 Alexandra Jesse and her linguistics undergraduate student Michael Bartoli should help to settle a long-standing disagreement among cognitive psychologists about the information we use to recognize people speaking to us. Read more here.

Student Spotlight: Mahala Dyer Stewart Seeks to Understand How the Decision to Homeschool is Impacted by Class and Race

Mahala Dyer Stewart, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology was selected as one of only two students awarded a $10,000 CRF Dissertation Fellowship in the spring of 2016. Stewart's dissertation seeks to understand if and how the decision to homeschool is impacted by class and race across communities. She hopes that her research will be useful to educators and policy makers by offering insights into why families feel compelled to remove their children from the public-school system, and which families are able to make that choice.

Shannon Roberts (FRS '18-'19) Received 2018 Armstrong Award to Advance Safety in Self-Driving Vehicles

Shannon Roberts (FRS '18-'19) assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, and Philip Thomas, assistant professor of computer science, received the 2018 The Armstrong Fund for Science Award. The award includes a grant of $36,000 to support a two-year project which addresses the question of when an automated driving system should warn a human driver that it may have to relinquish control of the vehicle in the near future. Read more here

Rodrigo Dominguez Villegas Accepted into Summer Institute in Migration Research Methods at University of California Berkeley

Rodrigo Dominguez Villegas, a Ph.D. student in the sociology department and recipient of the 2016 CRF $10,000 pre-dissertation award, has been accepted into the first Summer Institute in Migration Research Methods, to be held at University of California Berkeley. The purpose of the Summer Institute is to train a new generation of U.S. migration researchers to leverage existing datasets and learn best-practices for rigorous, new data-collection projects, as well as to provide instruction in cutting edge methodologies particularly relevant to the study of mobile populations. Dominguez Villegas was one of a large pool of highly qualified applicants and as a participant in the program, he will be given the opportunity to receive training from the top migration scholars in the US. Read more about the program here.

From Home Visiting to the Classroom and Back

Risk and Resilience in the Lives of First-Time, Young Parents, an innovative, 3 credit course that was developed and taught at the UMass Springfield Center in the fall of 2017, brought together UMass undergraduates with Healthy Families home visitors from across the state to apply a research-based framework to bear on topics critical to working with young parents. Dr. Maureen-Perry Jenkins, Director of CRF and Professor of Psychology, and Gisele Litalien, Associate Director of CRF, collaborated with Meg Manning and Lee MacKinnon, family training specialists at the Children’s Trust, a statewide agency whose goal is to prevent child abuse. 

Miliann Kang (FRS ’09-’10) Reflects on Progress Toward Full Accessibility for People with Disabilities in Korea

Miliann Kang (FRS ’09-’10), Associate Professor of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies recently published an opinion piece in The Korea Tomes, “Paralympic reflections, 1988-2018.” Kang is currently a Fulbright senior scholar at Ewha Womans University researching family issues in South Korea, including families raising children with disabilities. Kang attended the Summer Paralympics in Seoul in 1988 and compares her experience with the Paralympics held in March 2018, “Much has changed in three decades, but much more has yet to change… In addition to greater sensitivity, various policy changes are needed. The South Korean government should change its system of classifying people solely based on a medical examination without considering environmental factors. Disability activists have been protesting this system for years as restrictive and demeaning.” Read the article here.