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UCI Social Sciences E-News

Welcome to the August issue of the Social Sciences E-News

Upcoming Events

UCI Staff Picnic: Go Green UCI! Reuse, Recycle, Renew.

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Social Sciences
in the Media

The El Paso miracle

Neumark on minimum wage with KTLA's Jason Lewis

Minimum-wage folly

Riots in China are bloodier than Watts unrest, expert says

In search for intelligence, a silicon brain twitches

Mandating unemployment

Study: Fewer immigrants coming to county

Minimum wage shrinks pay

Is China’s one-child policy heading for a revision?

Is the U.S. better at treating prostate cancer?

‘Nice’ wasn’t part of the deal

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A sneak peak

UCI sociologists present exciting new research and assume new leadership roles with American Sociological Association at annual meeting in San Francisco

Compromise, while considered a key ingredient for a healthy long-lasting relationship, doesn’t always amount to an equitable 50/50 split. Such is the case, finds sociology assistant professor Joy Pixley, when it comes to career prioritization decisions for dual-earning couples. Based on an analysis of 73 career decisions made by 37 couples, she found that decisions to place a priority on the career of the husband more negatively impacted the wife’s career advancement opportunities and potential wage earnings than when the situation was reversed.

Her findings will be one of many topics of discussion at this year’s American Sociological Association annual meeting which will be held August 8-11 in San Francisco. The event, which draws more than 6,000 participants, will have excellent representation from U.S. News and World Report’s 27th best ranked sociology department as 75 UCI sociology faculty and graduate students have plans to attend. This year, Chancellor’s Professor David Snow will take the reigns as the association’s new vice-president elect while several additional sociology faculty will chair key committees. Here, we offer an update on UCI leadership in ASA and a sneak peak at some of the research findings to be presented by UCI sociologists.

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Finding focus

Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP) helps Gates Millennium Scholar Suleika Zepeda and others find academic focus  
School hasn’t always been easy for Suleika Zepeda. Her family moved to the U.S. from Mexico when she was in fifth grade, but her English skills at the time were at a kindergarten level. “It was frustrating to go from being a great student in Mexico to being one of the lowest in my U.S. classroom, just because I couldn’t understand the language,” she says. With help from her teachers and mentors, she persevered and earned a full ride Gates Millennium Scholarship allowing her to come to UCI. Now a junior, she, like many university students, has been grappling with what to do after she finishes college. Hoping to find some direction, she enrolled in the School of Social Sciences’ rigorous Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP).  
Led by Caesar Sereseres, social sciences undergraduate associate dean, and a crew of 10 UCI faculty, graduate students and staff, the five-week research intensive program is designed to help students develop advanced research, analytic, communication and quantitative skills. The program is delivered in a seminar-based, collaborative learning style format in order to give students a glimpse of what they can expect to encounter in graduate school - a route more than two-thirds of the past 320 SAEP grads have taken.

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A call to action

Students in School of Social Sciences’ Community Service and Leadership Program bring smiles, hope to Orange County community members

This summer, President Obama kicked off United We Serve, a national initiative to promote service and involvement in local communities throughout the country. For undergraduates in the School of Social Sciences’ Community Service and Leadership Program (CSLP), the initiative is a welcomed plug for the very type of activities they’ve been actively carrying out for the past three years. Co-directed by Jeanett Castellanos and Andrew Gonzales, the academic and service-based certificate program teaches students the value of serving their communities by arming them with effective communication and leadership skills in the classroom, and sends them out into the OC community to put their skills to work in different service projects.

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The sky's the limit

High-jump champ and sociology undergrad Lauren Collins ends a record-setting season on track for the Olympics

Like many young girls, Lauren Collins wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. With her parents’ full support, she dedicated herself to this goal, training hard with the best coaches five days a week. Then, in high school, everything changed. She grew in height - 6 inches her freshman year - ultimately reaching 6 feet. Far too tall for gymnastics, Collins didn't outgrow her Olympic dreams; she simply exchanged her leotards for track spikes. Today, says coach Vince O’Boyle, she has become UC Irvine’s best-ever women’s track & field athlete, with a reasonable chance to make the 2012 U.S. Olympic team as a high jumper.

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Leaving the anthill

Political science alumnus and Chancellor’s Club scholar Valerie Dao, ‘08, receives Fulbright scholarship to study educational reform in Vietnam

“You have your luggage packed up. It’s sitting and waiting. Now get in the car and go!” Valerie Dao, ‘08 alumnus, remembers the words of encouragement from political science associate professor Mark Petracca as the tipping point in her educational career.

As an undergrad, Dao was a familiar face on campus due to her active involvement in a number of academic and extracurricular activities. When she was a sophomore, she was one of only a handful of students to be selected as a Chancellor’s Club scholar, an honor which covered her tuition for each of the three years she received the award. She was an active participant in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program where, for two years in a row, she presented her research on civic education in California at the program’s annual symposium. She was also one of the key student leaders in the School of Social Sciences’ Global Connect program where she helped teach local Orange County high school students about international issues. Last year, as an alumnus, she served as the program’s interim director.  
Still, when it came time to leave UCI, “I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do.”

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Found in translation

UCI anthropologist travels to Indonesia to launch translation of book on gay identity in country home to world’s largest Muslim population

When Tom Boellstorff, anthropology professor, published his first book, The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and Nation in Indonesia, nearly four years ago, he did so knowing that many of the gay, lesbian and transgendered Indonesians who served as the subjects of his study wouldn’t get to read his findings. “Most anthropological books written in English aren’t ever translated into the language of the country they are written about if that language isn’t English,” he says. At the end of July, however, he traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, to help promote the Indonesian translation of his book, a process two years in the making. The launch was part of the country’s eighth Q! Film Festival, a series which showcases queer, gender, sexuality, fashion, human rights and HIV/AIDS related media from around the globe.

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Inequality and education

UCI study to focus on relationship between education and career success for low income minorities trying to break free from poverty cycle  
For sociology and Chicano/Latino studies associate professor Cynthia Feliciano, studying the relationship of inequality and education is personal.  
“As an undergrad at Boston, I remember looking around and thinking why aren’t there more people like me here?” she says. The native New Yorker says the pool of her minority student colleagues grew even smaller in graduate school when she travelled across the country to attend graduate school at UCLA. “It’s not a West or East coast problem - it’s a national issue. Access to educational opportunities intersects directly with race and ethnicity,” she says. “Youth of color are often from low income households, a challenge that hinders their opportunity to pursue higher education and break free from the poverty cycle.”  
With a newly awarded $468,000 grant, she intends to do something about it. Working with Leticia Oseguera, education assistant professor, she will study key factors that have helped some poverty stricken youth obtain full time successful salaried careers while others, faced with the same possible outcomes, have not.

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School of Social Sciences
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-5100