The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series

Through the Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series, CRF brings nationally-recognized speakers with expertise in family research to campus each year. This lecture series is integrated into CRF's major research initiative, the Family Research Scholars program, in several ways. First, the annual FRS cohort is deeply involved in identifying and selecting the national speakers who will visit campus to provide public lectures that highlight the importance of research on family and its implications for public policy. Second, when the speakers come to UMass Amherst, they provide research consultation to their respective Family Research Scholar along with members of their research team.

The lecture series began in 1999 through an endowment established in memory of Tay Gavin Erickson. To date, this series has brought more than 75 speakers to UMass Amherst, making it one of the University's most successful and well-regarded public outreach programs.

Information about upcoming and past Tay Gavin Erickson Lectures can be found below.



Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series Events

Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series - Spring 2022

Persistence and Change in Criminal Records, Voting, and Disenfranchisement 


A half‐dozen defendants sat in the courtroom, all described as “model probationers” living and working in Minneapolis. But they were facing a new felony and the atmosphere was tense. Their crime? Illegal voting.

They did not sell their votes or stuff the ballot box, they simply arrived at their polling place and cast ballots like so many of us did. Their new felony charges arose because in many US states it is still illegal to vote while serving a probation sentence in the community. This talk will connect crime and punishment with American democracy.

Our focus is the question of voting restrictions for people with criminal records – an area of dramatic legal and policy change in recent years. After addressing the origins, scope, political impact, and public opinion on the practice, it considers the evolving meaning of these legal restrictions in the United States and other nations. 

May 4, 2022 -
4:00pm to 6:00pm
South College, Room E241 - UMass Amherst, Zoom livefeed available upon registration

Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series - Spring 2022

Aging, Lysosomes, and Neurodegenerative Disease

Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are incurable and debilitating conditions that result in progressive degeneration and / or death of nerve cells. Dr. Kao's work suggests that not only are lysosomes key players in neurodegenerative disease pathogenesis, but that they can be targeted for therapeutic intervention. She will discuss the different ways that protein degradation via the autophagy lysosome pathway can be disturbed in neurodegenerative disease. She will cover recent insights into tauopathy development associated with TSC1 mutations, how lysosomal pH regulat can be the target of therapeutics, as well as the interface between lysosomal proteases and client substrates such as alpha-synuclein, TDP-43 and tau.

April 26, 2022 -
4:00pm to 6:00pm
LSL S330, livestream available

Identity-Based Motivation: Using Identity to do More and Better

What factors might cause people to experience gaps between their aspirations and their actual outcomes for their health, wealth, and education goals? 


Dr. Daphne Oyserman will discuss identity-based motivation theory, a social psychological theory of motivation that provides a useful predictive framework to understand what factors might matter in people’s perception of outcomes. People interpret their experiences of ease and difficulty based in part on which identities are on their minds and what these identities seem to imply at the moment. Evidence suggests that identities are not fixed but dynamically constructed in context. Oyserman will present theory and experimental evidence from school-based intervention research. Undergraduates, community members, counselors, and teachers can support student change in each of these elements of identity-based motivation with resultant changes in end of year school grades and risk of course failure.

Register here


February 25, 2021 - 1:00pm
Virtual via Zoom

When Disaster Strikes: Response, Research, and Recovery

How can we best understand and respond to environmental emergency-related contamination events such as hurricanes in Texas and North Carolina, large-scale chemical fires and flooding?

The complexities of hazardous chemical exposures, potential adverse health impacts, and the need to rapidly and comprehensively evaluate complex mixtures call for novel approaches. This presentation will describe the efforts of the Superfund Research Center at Texas A&M University that is developing exposure and hazard assessment tools that can be used by the first responders, impacted communities, and government agencies. Register Here.

December 7, 2020 -
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Virtual via Zoom

When I’m 64: Age Similarities and Differences in the Ways Emotional Events are Remembered

Life is filled with highs and lows, and the way we retain these events in our memories can have important implications for our mental health and overall well-being. How might the experience of emotion affect the likelihood that we remember an event and the types of details we remember about the event?

How might the effects differ with age? What are some of the important differences in the ways that older vs. younger adults remember emotional life events?
Dr. Kensinger will address these questions and describe how an expanded model of emotional memory that she and her colleague Jaclyn Ford have developed—a model that emphasizes the role of the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex in adjusting the narrative framing and affective tone of a memory—may elucidate.


November 6, 2020 -
12:30pm to 2:00pm
Virtual via Zoom

What Can Implementation Science Do for You? Moving Health Care Innovations to the Real World

It can take 17 years to turn 14 percent of research innovations to the benefit of patient care, potentially wasting millions of dollars of scientific investments into effective interventions that could ultimately benefit patients. Implementation science is the study of strategies that support health care providers and organizations in improving uptake of effective interventions into routine care settings.

This talk will cover recent advances in implementation science, notably pragmatic study designs for comparing different implementation strategies that empower frontline providers to adopt and adapt effective interventions, with a focus on reducing health disparities and improving outcomes for vulnerable populations including those with mental disorders in community-based practices. 

October 16, 2020 -
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Virtual via Zoom

TAY GAVIN ERICKSON LECTURE SERIES - BEYOND OPIOIDS: Adolescents' Misuse of Four Prescription Drug Classes

Dr. Carol Boyd will discuss the health implications of stimulants, sedatives and tranquilizer misuse among adolescents in context to current drug use trends.


Deborah J Oakley Professor Emerita Director of the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health in
the School of Nursing Research Professor Emerita in the Addiction Center University of Michigan


Registration is encouraged but not required. Click here to sign up.



February 20, 2020 -
4:00pm to 5:30pm
Life Sciences Laboratory (LSL) Room S330

TAY GAVIN ERICKSON LECTURE SERIES - The Impact of Language Brokering on Mexican American Adolescent Immigrants and their Families

The Impact of Language Brokering on Mexican American Adolescent Immigrants and their Families


Dr. Su Yeong Kim will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of language brokering as it relates to parent-child relationships and outcomes on children’s adjustment in terms of stress, academic success, and health


Registration is encouraged but not required. Click here to sign up.

Video of Lecture available here.

February 18, 2020 -
4:00pm to 5:30pm
Life Sciences Laboratory (LSL) Room S330

TAY GAVIN ERICKSON LECTURE SERIES - Understanding and Addressing Racial Disparities in Pain and Pain Treatment

Understanding and Addressing Racial Disparities in Pain and Pain Treatment


Dr. Burgess will discuss racial disparities in pain and pain treatment, in the context of the opioid epidemic.


Registration is encouraged but not required. Click here to sign up.

January 30, 2020 -
4:00pm to 5:30pm
Life Sciences Laboratory (LSL) Room S330













MATERNAL MORTALITY: How big a problem is it?


In the past several years a great deal of media attention has been paid to the rising rate of maternal mortality in the U.S. As one of the authors of the research paper that helped launch the national debate over maternal mortality, Dr. Declercq will discuss how it came to be seen as a problem, why it’s both a bigger and smaller challenge than the public and policymakers understand, and why current efforts to address it may not succeed.

Registration is encouraged but not required. Click here to sign up.

December 5, 2019 -
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Life Sciences Laboratory (LSL) Room S330