Freemasonry: fact vs. fiction
UCI’s Lilith Mahmud discusses the society’s portrayal in a hit novel and reveals its ‘best-kept secret’
Dan Brown’s latest best-seller, The Lost Symbol, has stirred public interest in the Freemasons, a society for upper-class men that began during the Enlightenment. In the book, fictional Harvard University professor Robert Langdon must decipher Masonic symbols and codes to find a missing Freemason. UC Irvine’s Lilith Mahmud studies "secret" groups like the Freemasons. Her research has taken her to Italy, where she lived among Freemasons for 18 months. Here, the assistant professor of women’s studies, anthropology, and culture & theory discusses the appeal of secret societies and the accuracy of Brown’s depiction of the Freemasons.
A veteran’s message
David Curry, sociology and economics undergrad and vice president of UCI’s Veterans Student Union
David Curry, a U.S. Marine with two tours of duty in Iraq behind him, knows what it’s like to be recruited to a cause and see it through with pride. Now the 28-year-old UC Irvine sociology/economics major has turned recruiter – not for the military but for veterans’ education. With impetus from the Post-9/11 GI Bill that took effect in August and outreach efforts by UCI’s Veterans Student Union, Curry expects the campus’s student-veteran population to mushroom to 400 from the current 60 by fall 2014. Already, UCI is beating projections with a 33 percent increase in student veterans this fall over 2008.
Leading by example
Sarah Bana, economics undergrad and this year’s executive vice president of Associated Students of UCI, serves her campus and community with a singular purpose: making the world a better place
Sarah Bana always knew what she wanted to be when she grew up: an FBI agent. "I’d read a lot of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, and I wanted to save the world," she says. She still does, although she’s going about it in a different way. A fourth-year quantitative economics major at UC Irvine, Bana hopes to become an economist — "maybe even chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Reserve," she says. And the case she hopes to take on: improving people’s lives by influencing financial policy.
From the field to cyberspace
UCI professors bring the traditional study of anthropology into the 21st century with research on new media, technology and ‘cloud computing’
If “bones and stones” is the catchphrase that comes to mind when thinking about anthropology, it’s time to get with the times, says Bill Maurer, UCI anthropology professor and department chair. He and fellow UCI anthropologists are traveling to Philadelphia this month for the American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting where they will present new research on the changing role of anthropology in today’s technology driven society.
Anthropologist Leo Chavez receives dual honors from field’s top association
2009 Book Prize and Prize for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America recognize more than 25 years of immigration research contributions
Leo Chavez, anthropology professor, has been named the 2009 recipient of two awards from the American Anthropological Association (AAA). The Prize for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America, awarded by AAA’s Society for the Anthropology of North America, recognizes his career-long research contributions to the study of immigration and Latin American health issues. The former served as the topic of his most recent book, The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens and the Nation, in which he details the ways immigrants are represented in U.S. media and general public discussion. The book earned him AAA’s Association for Latina and Latino Anthropologists’ 2009 Book Prize. Chavez will be recognized with both awards at AAA’s annual meeting in Philadelphia December 2-6.
Iverson receives Society for Mathematical Psychology Best Paper Award
Honor recognizes work in theoretical psychophysics
Geoffrey Iverson, cognitive sciences professor, is the recipient of the Society for Mathematical Psychology’s (SMP) 2009 Best Paper Award for work published between 2005 and 2008. The honor recognizes his research in theoretical psychophysics, the study of how sensory stimuli - such as sound and sight - are described in physical terms. The SMP award specifically highlights an article he wrote in 2006 on how loudness is perceived. It appeared in the June issue of the Journal of Mathematical Psychology and was written as a birthday tribute to his former graduate advisor, Jean-Claude Falmagne, a UCI cognitive sciences professor widely known for his research in psychophysical theory. Iverson received the award at SMP’s annual meeting in Amsterdam in August.
Michael Moore ignores capitalism’s blessings
An op-ed by Gregory Ferenstein, political science graduate student and CSD Peltason Fellow, is featured in the Christian Science Monitor
"Capitalism: A Love Story" seems more like a documentary of capitalism’s authoritarian losers, rather than its democratic winners, writes political science graduate student Gregory Ferenstein in a recently featured Christian Science Monitor op-ed. "Though Michael Moore seems to have missed it, in the past 10 years corporations have made enormous strides in promoting workplace democracy, patent-free innovation, and the financial independence of women in developing nations."
Kathy Rim is named 2009-10 Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellow
Award recognizes academic excellence and carries $20,100 prize
Kathy Rim, political science graduate student and 2009 recipient of the Lauds & Laurels Outstanding Graduate Student Award, has been selected as the 2009-10 UCI Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellow. The honor recognizes Rim for her “past accomplishments, enthusiasm for excellence, vitality, ingenuity, and leadership potential consistent with that exhibited in life by Fletcher Jones.” The accompanying $20,100 prize will support her research on the political behavior and participation of Asian Americans, a topic she has been studying since her days as an undergraduate at UCI. Rim is the fifth UCI graduate student to receive the annual fellowship since it’s founding in 2005.
Ana Pesic receives 2009 Sheen T. Kassouf Fellowship
$10,000 award named in honor of pioneering economics professor and academician
For UCI economics graduate student Ana Pesic, growing up in Serbia during the 90s - a time of considerable political, social and economic change in the country’s history - played a major role in her decision to study economics.
“I was really frustrated with how inefficiently the economy was functioning,” she says, explaining that hyperinflation and constant power outages made life in the struggling region difficult.
Dalai Lama scholarship goes to business econ student promoting kindness at UCI
Recipient inspired by previous winner’s Peace Flag Project
Jasmine Fang, a senior business economics major, has been awarded the 2009-10 XIV Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship, established in 2004 to recognize UC Irvine students with a record of honesty, integrity, fairness and service to others. Fang will receive a $7,500 scholarship plus $2,500 to support Kindness Month at UCI, which she has proposed for May. Involving dozens of student and community groups, it will feature activities demonstrating kindness, including American Sign Language classes, designing cards for incarcerated mothers, and instruction in making pressed-flower bookmarks.
Q&A with Sarah Barber, ’09 recipient of the Bailey Undergraduate Award for Excellence
$1,000 scholarship recognizes the sociology undergraduate for academic excellence
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Future aspirations: business or graduate school
Why did you decide to major in sociology?
My answer honestly comes down to this: I love people! I find interactions between individuals and groups so intriguing, and though I love learning about all the different social hypotheses that have been proposed, I enjoy how people still surprise you. I love that it’s not a stagnant subject – it’s always engaging and always applicable!
Q&A with Elizabeth McDowell, recipient of the ’09 Zarif and Paniego Undergraduate Award for Excellence
$1,000 scholarship recognizes the anthropology and international studies undergraduate for academic excellence
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Future aspirations: teaching English abroad and graduate school
With interests in international studies and anthropology, have you had the opportunity to get out, travel and explore?
This year, I’ll be studying for a semester in Australia where I’ll be able to focus primarily on anthropology and archaeology; in fact most of my classes will be centered on the archaeology of the Pacific Rim. My previous travels in the U.S. and Europe really gave me a thirst for new places as well as their history. As a UCI student, there are countless opportunities for growth both on and off campus. Studying abroad in Australia is something that I would have never dreamed of doing had I not investigated all that UCI has to offer.