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School of Social Sciences’ class of 2009
As graduation day for the UCI class of 2009 quickly approaches, nearly 2800 social sciences undergraduate and graduate students will receive their hard-earned diplomas and join the school’s alumni ranks. Following in the footsteps of the many leaders before them, plans for those in this year’s class include careers in government service, teaching and as business professionals while others will be attending graduate school and professional programs for further training as future professors, doctors, lawyers and CEOs.
Speaking at this year’s undergraduate ceremonies are three such future leaders whose experiences and accomplishments at UCI earned them the honor of addressing their fellow classmates on the special day:
Political Science Undergraduate
Social Sciences Commencement Speaker, 5 p.m. Ceremony
Read more about Ben’s UCI experience, accomplishments and future plans
Social Sciences Commencement Speaker, 1 p.m. Ceremony
Read more about Carla’s UCI experience, accomplishments and future plans
Social Sciences Commencement Speaker, 1 p.m. Ceremony
Read more about Christina’s UCI experience, accomplishments and future plans
Three separate ceremonies will be held this year in order to accommodate the large number of social sciences graduates, beginning with a June 6 ceremony for all UCI graduate students (M.A. and Ph.D.) and two June 12 ceremonies for social sciences undergraduates. Click here for further information. Check back following commencement ceremonies for pictures and a full list of honors and award winners.
Congratulations class of 2009!
Eighth annual Dean’s Day Barbeque
A carnival in the plaza
Social sciences students, faculty and staff packed the plaza on May 20 for the eighth annual Dean’s Day Barbeque, hosted by the Social Sciences Dean’s Ambassadors Council.
Social sciences dean elected to Vision Sciences Society Board of Directors
Non-profit organization brings together interdisciplinary scientists to promote a further understanding of vision and its relation to cognition, action and the brain
Barbara Dosher, School of Social Sciences dean and cognitive sciences professor, has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Vision Sciences Society. Her four-year term will begin in June. Dosher is known widely for her research on attention, perceptual learning, and memory. Her current work, funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Eye Institute, focuses on attention and visual processes and how training may improve performance.
Do the math
Awards and accolades continue adding up for Don Saari, UCI economics and mathematics distinguished professor and Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences director
For more than 40 years, Don Saari has been using math as a tool for solving real world problems like how voting systems may not always result in the top candidate being selected. While the concept has yet to revolutionize the way democracies vote, it is being put to use by sports writers to more accurately rank college football teams. His knowledge of numbers is also being put to use in trying to solve a seemingly impossible problem with universal implications - how much dark matter may actually exist in space. It is fitting, then, that when the Society for Industrial Applied Mathematics - an organization whose goal is to promote the use of applied mathematics in solving real world issues - created its fellows program this year, Saari was among the inaugural class of 188 professionals selected. Established to honor those who have made “outstanding contributions to the fields of applied mathematics and computational science,” the first group will be formally recognized at the society’s general meeting in Denver this month.
UCI prof collaborates with international scholars to impact U.S-China relations
Findings detailed in new book, Power and Restraint: A Shared Vision for the U.S.-China Relationship
The emergence of the Soviet Union as a rising superpower led to strong competition with the U.S. and a Cold War marked by dangerously tense episodes at its brink, including the Cuban Missile Crisis. Whereas some regard the rise of China as leading to a similar pattern, the outcome is far from inevitable, says Etel Solingen, UCI political science professor. For the past 2 years, she has collaborated with scholars from the Harvard Kennedy School and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to find ways to avoid confrontation by promoting a mutual understanding of the common goals and challenges the U.S. and China face. Their findings are detailed in Power and Restraint: A Shared Vision for the U.S.-China Relationship, a new book which was recently presented to the Washington, D.C. scholarly, policy and media community at a special event sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Anthropology in Second Life
Anthropologist Tom Boellstorff gathers information in the virtual world about its appeal to growing numbers of participants
Tom Boellstorff says his anthropological investigation was a hit in the virtual world. “Once people knew I was interested in their Second Life experiences without needing to know about their physical lives, it was almost like I had people lining up.” Between interviews with National Public Radio and a Dutch documentary film crew, Tom Boellstorff, UC Irvine anthropology professor, discussed his book, Coming of Age in Second Life, in which he explores how virtual worlds can change ideas about identity and society.
Cognitive scientists receive grant to study how we learn language
Three-year study from National Science Foundation began in March
Loop, swoop and pull. Eight times eight fell on the floor, came back up and it was 64.
As children, we have to be taught how to do most things, like how to tie our shoes or solve a math problem, oftentimes using rhymes and tricks in order to remember the process or answer. The ability to understand language - the very words and the way they’re put together to form these helpful hints - is a different story. “Language is this incredibly complex process that just happens. Unlike math where we have to think first in order to solve a problem, with language, we’re able to understand it as quickly as it’s spoken,” says Jon Sprouse, cognitive sciences assistant professor. He and fellow assistant professor Lisa Pearl have received a $176,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how this happens.
UCI Immigration Center earns university designation of organized research unit
New status denotes UC system-wide recognition for research topic complementary to goals of university, says Office of Research
How immigrants join and become part of the societies to which they migrate is one of the most critical issues facing the post industrial world, says Frank D. Bean, director of UCI’s Center for Research on Immigration, Population and Public Policy. The sociology chancellor’s professor is an expert on the topic and in 2001, he helped found the Center for Research on Immigration, Population and Public Policy to foster further multidisciplinary research on immigrant incorporation. In May, UCI’s Office of Research officially designated the center a campus-wide organized research unit (ORU). The status, explains the Office of Research, gives the center UC system-wide recognition for a research topic which complements the goals of the university. It brings the total ORU count on campus to 20 and marks the third to come out of the School of Social Sciences. The center is the second UC system-wide ORU established to study the impact of immigration on societies, joining UCSD’s Center for Comparative Immigration Studies.
Ahead of his class
For quantitative economics undergrad Brandon Gross, being the youngest student at UCI is no big deal
In a disheveled dorm room at UC Irvine, Brandon Gross - a freckle-faced college kid in flip-flops and Anteaters ball cap - loads up his backpack and heads out the door to his math class in differential equations. Nothing unusual here, except Brandon is a kid. A junior who transferred to UCI in January, Brandon is just 14 - six years younger than most of his classmates. He’s constantly moving between parallel worlds of responsible adulthood and playful adolescence.
The comeback kid
Before leading UCI’s rally for the men’s volleyball title, social sciences undergrad Ryan Ammerman had his own rebound
Ryan Ammerman knows what it’s like to make a big comeback, both on the volleyball court and off. After a frustrating junior year marked by inconsistent play, the 6-foot-9-inch setter seriously considered leaving school and joining a professional team in Europe. Fortunately for him and his team, he returned to UC Irvine for his senior season, in which he emerged as arguably the nation’s best men’s collegiate volleyball player and led the Anteaters to their second NCAA championship in three years.
Opening doors to learning
Robert Espero, class of ’92, helps students with disabilities succeed in the classroom
Robert Espero, UCI political science alumnus and technology coordinator of Disability Services Center, spends most of his time working on technology and the rest training students. Once an Anteater volleyball player, Robert Espero now bounces among computers at UC Irvine’s Disability Services Center on a large, inflated exercise ball he uses as a chair.
Playing many parts
Jumpstart outreach program volunteer uses acting to engage students in reading, receives national award for Spirit of Service
In June, UCI undergraduate Emilio Rodriguez will get into character as high school student Emilio Rodriguez seeking advice on dealing with his sister’s drug addiction in the School of the Arts’ performance of “Dear Gabby.” Off-stage, the real life Rodriguez, an out-going comparative literature and drama major, puts his energy and creative spirit into helping lead the School of Social Sciences’ chapter of Jumpstart. He is one of the outreach program’s 95 UCI students who work one-on-one with pre-school students in the local community. Through weekly study and educationally-themed play sessions, they seek to improve language, literacy and social skills for pre-school students in low-income communities. This year, the national Jumpstart organization has selected Emilio as one of five volunteers from its 4,000 member corps for the Spirit of Service award. The honor, co-sponsored by the American Eagle Foundation, recognizes those who have “gone above and beyond the Jumpstart mission and truly made a lasting and profound impact in their community,” a difference Emilio has been involved in making since starting with Jumpstart two years ago.
A lesson in humanity
UCI’s Baghdad School Project sends classroom supplies to Iraqi children
Graduation will be bittersweet for Danielle Al-Chalati, founding member of UC Irvine’s Baghdad School Project. Leaving the project behind in June will be difficult because “it’ll be hard to take a step back. But I have a lot of confidence in the students leading the effort next year,” the international studies and political science senior says. The student-run group raises money to buy classroom supplies for Iraqi schoolchildren. In three years, it has shipped 7,500 packets of notebooks, pencils, erasers and rulers to the war-torn country.
Focus on human rights in order to change course of Iran, says Pahlavi
Son of the former Shah of Iran discusses U.S. Iran relations in public talk at UCI
“A university where one can study in peace and freedom may seem common place, but it is not so for many thousands of students in my homeland,” said Reza Pahlavi, son of the former Shah of Iran at Wednesday’s public UCI lecture. Invited on behalf of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Department of Political Science and Middle East Studies Student Initiative (MESSI), the lecture was Pahlavi’s second time speaking at UCI.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT - Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 6:00 p.m.
UCI University Club Library
Upheaval and change are the current buzz words when it comes to passenger transportation. Consumers find themselves asking: Will my budget be able to support the fluctuating cost of airline travel? With rising gas prices, can I continue my long commute to work and is taking the train a practical solution? The School of Social Sciences invites you to attend its spring Dinner Club lecture with Jan Brueckner, UCI urban economist, who will address these and other timely transportation topics.