UCI Alumni Association announces 2010 Lauds & Laurels award winners
Five social sciences affiliates receive honors
The School of Social Sciences is pleased to have among its faculty, staff, students, alumni and community friends, five of this year’s 18 UCI Alumni Association Lauds & Laurels award winners. Established in 1971, the awards recognize, honor, and celebrate the accomplishments of those dedicated to the University of California, Irvine.
Social sciences recipients include:
Lauren Collins, Outstanding Student-Athlete
As a young girl, 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. 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. Learn more about Collins’ accomplishments.
Chris Stout, Outstanding Graduate Student
A recent Rasmussen poll shows likely California gubernatorial candidates Jerry Brown (D) and Meg Whitman (R) in a dead heat for the state’s top job if pitted against one another come November. Yet according to research from UCI political science graduate student Chris Stout, the news may be giving Whitman more cause for celebration. Based on a comparative analysis of polling data and subsequent election results for major state and national elections from 1982–2006 involving women and minority candidates, Stout found that women candidates often fare better in election outcomes than polls predict. His findings were the topic of a research paper, co–authored with fellow graduate student Reuben Kline, that was selected as Best Graduate Student Paper in 2009 by the American Political Science Association’s Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior section. Learn more about Stout’s research findings and accomplishments.
Cindy Sasso, Staff Achievement
If her Hawaiian pictures and soft streaming island tunes don’t put those who sit in her office at ease, her laid–back attitude will certainly do the trick. As director of the School of Social Sciences’ personnel office for the past 13 years, Cindy Sasso’s good natured personality and positive outlook have been paramount to her success in what can sometimes be a difficult role. Learn more about Sasso’s role in social sciences at UCI.
Larry and Dulcie Kugelman, Outstanding Community Members
Larry and Dulcie Kugelman, founding board members of the School of Social Sciences’ Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, have a long standing history of developing and promoting international peace building efforts. From the local Orange County community to conflicted regions in the Middle East, their efforts and programs are helping people with opposing perspectives and viewpoints learn more effective communication strategies in hopes of finding common ground and ultimately, peace. Learn more about the Kugelmans’ passion for peace.
Jenny Doh, Social Sciences Distinguished Alumna
Jenny Doh, political science class of ‘91, may have spent her early years in Seoul, Korea, but she was born at UC Irvine. “I see the university as something I cannot and will not ever abandon,” said Doh. “It is my family, it is where I was really born.” She came to campus in 1986 as a new freshman straight from Bakersfield, Calif. where her family had settled after immigrating some 10 years earlier. By her own account, she simply fell in love with the campus. “I loved everything about it, even the design. It’s a circle, you can never get lost.” From those first few days on campus, Doh managed to never lose her way and, in many respects, has come full circle. Learn more about Doh’s work with the UCI Alumni Association.
Join the School of Social Sciences and UC Irvine in celebrating this year’s award winners at the 2010 UCI Alumni Association Lauds and Laurels Banquet Thursday, May 13 at the Fairmont Newport Beach.
Risks outweigh rewards of uranium enrichment innovation, study says
Findings published in March issue of Nature
Growing concerns about climate change have increased international and commercial interests in expanding nuclear energy, a carbon dioxide-free source of electricity. Advances in new laser-based technology are promising to make uranium enrichment – a key component in the production of the fuel that powers nuclear power plants – cheaper and the plants that produce it, smaller. While smaller and cheaper may normally be considered innovative pluses, UCI economist Linda Cohen and Georgetown physicist Francis Slakey argue that with nuclear energy, risks far outweigh potential rewards earned through innovation. They make their case in the March 4 issue of the journal Nature, and it’s gotten the attention of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko.
You’ve got voicemail...and money?
Anthropology professor and IMTFI director Bill Maurer receives grant to study emerging mobile money industry
Cell phones have come a long way from their beginnings as luxury items that allowed users to communicate more freely beyond the confines of land lines. As of early February, Apple’s popular iPhone boasted 152,200 active applications available for download that let users do everything from remotely setting their home DVR to finding the perfect pitch on a musical instrument.
For more than six million people in Kenya and many others around the developing world, cell phones are being utilized for yet another new purpose – virtual wallets and piggy banks. The process, says Bill Maurer, UCI anthropologist and director of UCI’s Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion, has those in the banking and mobile industries squirming. He has received a $218,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to explore emerging mobile banking regulatory challenges. His findings will be used in the development of future policies and laws created to help govern the largely unregulated industry.
UCI professor cautions against erasing Haiti’s history, culture
Editorial appears in Social Science Research Council blog
In a recent editorial blog posted online with the Social Science Research Council, political scientist Cecelia Lynch cautions groups involved with Haiti’s reconstruction efforts against implementing programs which attempt to completely alter the country’s historical, religious and cultural landscape. Her advice stems from research on faith–based humanitarian and development organizations in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S. through which she found that donor–driven pressure to show quick results from external aid often result in problematic programs that fail to take into account local histories and practices.
Research in action
Economist David Neumark testifies before California State Senate on effectiveness of Enterprise Zone Program
On March 10, UCI economist David Neumark testified at a California State Senate informational hearing on the effectiveness of the state’s Enterprise Zone (EZ) Program. Created in 1984 with the goal of “stimulating business investment in depressed areas of the State and creating job opportunities,” the EZ Program is one of many to come under recent scrutiny due to the state’s budget crisis. According to research conducted by Neumark and Jed Kolko of the Public Policy Institute of California, the program has no measurable effect on new job creation for businesses located within zone boundaries. Findings are based on comparisons of businesses inside enterprise zones to comparable businesses located either just outside designated enterprise zones, or within areas that subsequently were incorporated into the zones. Results are published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Urban Economics and the winter 2010 issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
Treas to co-lead national forum on aging, immigration
American Society on Aging’s National Forum on Immigration in an Aging Society set for March 18 in Chicago
UC Irvine sociology professor Judith Treas will co-moderate the American Society on Aging’s National Forum on Immigration in an Aging Society, set for March 18 in Chicago. The daylong forum, part of the annual Aging in America conference, will bring together academics and other experts to discuss the demographics, controversies and complexities of immigration and aging; the nexus of aging and the U.S.’s immigrant population; the unique needs of elders in Asian immigrant communities; the critical role immigrant workers play in healthcare; and immigration reform.
UCI Olive Tree Initiative branches throughout UC system, OC community
Student–led peace initiative inspires new undergraduate certificate program, community–based knowledge trip, and spin–offs on multiple UC campuses
When sixteen UCI students representing Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druze and non–religious perspectives embarked on a knowledge finding trip to Israel and Palestine, they sparked a movement that has since branched throughout the Orange County community and UC system. Officially called the Olive Tree Initiative, the student–led group promotes constructive dialogue among groups with conflicting views on the Israel–Palestine issue. For the past two years, the group has successfully raised more than $140,000 to fund visits to the region where they meet with academics, politicians, religious authorities and community leaders to learn their perspectives on the conflict. Upon their return to campus, they participate in open community forums to share their findings.
The program now has active branches operating on UC campuses in Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. It is also the foundation of the new UCI undergraduate certificate program in conflict analysis and resolution, and the inspiration behind a community trip to Israel and Palestine – currently in progress – that includes Center for Citizen Peacebuilding board members and local Orange County community members.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT – Social Scientists Explore New Findings in Immigration & Population Research
Thursday, March 18, 2010 @ 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 1517
How large is the current undocumented population living in the U.S.? What role does media play in shaping public opinion and policy surrounding immigration reform? Are there common factors which prevent some low–income students from making a successful transition to higher education while others, faced with the same obstacles and opportunities, flourish? The second lecture in the three–part Social Sciences Expert Speaker Series offers the UCI and local community an opportunity to dialogue with UCI immigration and population experts Frank D. Bean, sociology; Leo Chavez, anthropology; and Cynthia Feliciano, Chicano/Latino studies and sociology, to learn how UCI social sciences research is making a difference.