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UCI Social Sciences E-News

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

Upcoming Events

Pathways and Obstacles to High Quality Family Relationships

9th Annual Dean’s Day Barbecue

Olive Tree Initiative Fundraiser at Gina's Pizza

Global Connect Yearend Symposium: "20/20 - A Global Vision"

UCI Graduate Commencement Ceremony

Social Sciences Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies

See more events

Social Sciences
in the Media

Driving shifts into reverse

Long-hated one-child rule may be eased in China

Using playtime to make your baby bilingual

Fewer people dying in traffic accidents

Afro-Cuban drummer Francisco Aguabella dies at 84

Recession caused VMT to drop but back on the rise

Foes: Costa Mesa ’Rule of Law’ lacks teeth

Net-worth obsession

Sanchez co-sponsors immigrant-education bill

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Commencement 2010

Ceremony details, speaker spotlights and live event streaming

Commencement day is quickly approaching for the UCI class of 2010. In three separate ceremonies, roughly 2,700 social sciences undergraduate and graduate students will receive their hard-earned diplomas, bringing the school’s rapidly growing anteater alumni count to more than 33,000. Below, check out ceremony details and spotlights on the 2010 undergraduate social sciences commencement speakers. Tickets are not required for the graduate commencement ceremony. Seats for the undergraduate ceremonies are limited to ticketed guests only, but for those still interested in being a part of the pomp and circumstance, the ceremonies will be streamed live online. Don’t miss out on your chance to see the newest leaders of tomorrow!

UCI Graduate Commencement Ceremony

Saturday, June 5, 2010
3:30 p.m.
UCI Bren Events Center
Ph.D., Ed.D, and M.F.A. only; does not include DASA graduates
Featured Speaker: Douglas C. Wallace, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, UCI School of Medicine; Professor of Biological Sciences, School of Biological Sciences; and Director, Center for Molecular & Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics, Biological Chemistry

School of Social Sciences Ceremony I

Saturday, June 12, 2010
1:00 p.m.
UCI Bren Events Center
Undergraduates from social sciences and DASA graduates
Student speaker: Nicholas Plassaras, political science and international studies

School of Social Sciences Undergraduate Ceremony II

Saturday, June 12, 2010
5:00 p.m.
UCI Bren Events Center
Undergraduates from social sciences
Student speaker: Kristal Hyun Lee, sociology

Read on for further commencement ceremony information, and be sure to check back to the School of Social Sciences website following commencement for a complete graduation wrap up featuring pictures and a full list of honors and award winners.

Attitude is everything

UCI economist Fabio Milani finds quantitative evidence that overly optimistic and/or pessimistic projections play greater role inducing U.S. economic volatility than do shifts caused by fluctuations in traditional market forces

When it comes to the economy, attitude may not be everything, but, according to a new study by a UCI economist, it sure is important. Fabio Milani, UCI economics assistant professor, has developed a new economic model that is the first to quantify the effects psychological factors play on the U.S. business cycle. Results indicate irrational optimism and pessimism, rather than traditional market force changes, are linked to a majority of booms and busts that have occurred since the early 1970s, when forecaster data began being tracked.

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An unexpected pattern

Sociologist and Calit2 affiliate Carter Butts finds routine patterns in blog networking interactions; findings published in Journal of Social Structure

The exponential growth in social networking has given researchers an interesting new context for studying human interaction and behavior. This plethora of Internet-based social media requires a robust network, something Calit2 affiliate and sociology associate professor Carter Butts wants to better understand. He and a student researcher studied how behaviors cause fluctuations in blog networks. The team used the 2004 Presidential election period to analyze blog-to-blog citation networks in more than 1,800 English-language blogs. The somewhat surprising results showed that blog networks were impacted not only by specific events in the election cycle, but by natural rhythms as well. Researchers discovered a routine fluctuation from day to night, and a weekly cycle, during which more network changes occurred on certain days of the week, regardless of whether specific events had occurred in that timeframe.

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Harvest of loneliness

Documentary by UCI Chicano/Latino studies professor Gilbert Gonzalez explores history of the Bracero Program

Arizona’s controversial new immigration law has reignited heated debates on how best to address the country’s growing number of undocumented immigrants. In looking to future policies and programs, says Gilbert Gonzalez, Chicano/Latino studies professor, it’s important to reexamine the past. In a new documentary, “The Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program,” Gonzalez and Vivian Price, an alumna of UCI's political science doctoral program, explore the historical accounts of migrant Mexican farm workers brought into the U.S. from 1942-1964 under the temporary contract worker program known as the Bracero Program. Prior to the film's premiere at the UCI Film and Video Center’s “Cosecha Latina” series, the co-directors offered insight on its creation and lessons it can teach us about potential new immigration reform.

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Monroe receives Ithiel de Sola Pool Award from American Political Science Association

Prize is awarded once every three years and includes presentation of a general lecture at APSA’s 2010 annual meeting

Kristen Renwick Monroe, political science and philosophy professor and founder and director of UCI’s Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality, has been selected to receive the American Political Science Association’s 2010 Ithiel de Sola Pool Award. Established in 1995 to honor noted MIT political scientist Ithiel de Sola Pool, the prize is awarded every three years to a scholar whose work explores issues of political theory, behavior, communication, science and technology, policy, and international affairs. As the 2010 award winner, Monroe will deliver a general lecture at APSA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. September 2-5.

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Congresswoman Sanchez talks politics with UCI undergrads

California’s 47th district representative discussed recent education funding cuts, immigration policy, and national healthcare as a guest lecturer in undergrad political science class

Undergrads in political science professor Mathew Beckmann’s Introduction to Politics class got an insider’s perspective on California politics when Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D) addressed the class May 10. Elected to office in 1996, Sanchez holds seats on both the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees and represents the state’s 47th district. Invited on behalf of the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) in the School of Social Sciences, Sanchez’s visit to campus also included a morning discussion with UCI faculty, graduate students and members of the community.

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Olive Tree Initiative receives inaugural UC Office of the President leadership award

Honor recognizes group’s efforts to promote peaceful, open dialogue on Israel-Palestine conflict

UCI’s Olive Tree Initiative has been named one of two inaugural recipients of the University of California Office of the President Awards for Outstanding Leadership. Designed to honor initiatives that “enhance collaboration between campuses, address issues through system-wide efforts, and further the University’s mission of teaching, research and public service,” the award recognizes the group for its student-led efforts to promote peaceful, open dialogue on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Student representatives from the group were presented with the award at the May UC Regents meeting in San Francisco. UCLA’s Improving Dreams, Equality, Access, and Success program also received recognition.

Fundraising efforts are currently underway for the third student trip to Israel and Palestine since the initiative was founded. On June 3, Gina’s Pizza and Pastaria, located at 4533 Campus Drive in Irvine, will be donating a percentage of their receipts to OTI on all sales taking place from 5:00-10:30 p.m. When placing your order, please let Gina’s know you are supporting OTI.

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A winning verdict

UCI’s Mock Trial program wraps up another successful season with a 5th place finish at nationals

It was a classic case of “who done it?”: A movie executive for a multimillion-dollar studio is found dead, his two remaining business partners charged with his murder. The gun is missing and evidence points to both business partners. The verdict hinges on the lawyers’ expertise as they make their cases through testimony of key witnesses, the likes of which include an old-time gambling buddy, a wayward astronomer, and a used car salesman. So began the fictitious murder case that served as the focus of this year’s national Mock Trial competitions. Over the course of 11 tournaments in four states, UCI’s four teams argued the case’s details in 176 trials, and ended their season with 20 team trophies – including one for their fifth place finish at the National Championship tournament – 40 individual trophies, and an overall award for team spirit and civility.

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International studies major wins State Department scholarship to study Punjabi in India

One of 575 undergraduate and graduate students selected nationwide to receive award

Natalie Goudarzian, a fourth-year UCI student majoring in both literary journalism and international studies, has received a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship to study Punjabi in India over the summer. About 575 undergraduate and graduate students nationwide have been selected by the federal agency to study Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Persian, Russian, Indic and Turkic languages. They will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive courses this summer in 15 countries where these languages are spoken. The scholarship program got nearly 5,300 applications; participants were selected based on merit. Launched in 2006 to increase opportunities for American students to study critical-need languages overseas, the program is part of a wider effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans mastering such languages.

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"Good Evening UCI": online, offbeat

Undergrads Logan Frick, political science, and Steve Scifo, international studies, spin out laughs with new student-focused UCI news show

Like all good entrepreneurs, UC Irvine undergrads Logan Frick and Steve Scifo know an opportunity when they see it. Noting the lack of any online video media covering the campus for students, they acted to fill the void. With a few friends, a $150 Flip camcorder and a MacBook computer, they created “Good Evening UCI,” an energetic version of a news-variety show.

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Game boy

Can’t stop playing ’Rock Band’ or ’Guitar Hero II’? Blame your addiction on sociology alumnus Chris Canfield who helped create them

UC Irvine alumnus Chris Canfield designs computer games like "Guitar Hero II" and "Rock Band" for millions of players who want to unleash their inner rock star. To those who once acted out their rock ’n’ roll fantasies by shredding on a tennis racket or singing into a showerhead, the games are the greatest invention since the air guitar. They allow players who’ve never taken a single music lesson to flail on Stratocaster controllers by following the notes that scroll up on a screen. If their fingers are nimble enough, they can play anything from Aerosmith to X before screaming cybergroupies and a wall of virtual pyrotechnics. “Making music is a really compelling, fun experience. But it can take years and years of practice to get really good,” Canfield says. “These games evoke the same feeling. You can get the rush without putting in the time.” He designed the best-selling “Guitar Hero II” for Harmonix Music Systems in Cambridge, Mass., and he helped design “Rock Band,” another critical and commercial success, as well as “Lego Rock Band,” “Karaoke Revolution Party” and other popular titles.

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Anthropology alumna receives Fulbright to study Hong Kong film industry

Research will shed light on the role film and media play in shaping regional status

Sylvia J. Martin, a 2009 alumna of UCI's anthropology doctoral program and current visiting assistant professor at Babson College, has received a 2010-11 Fulbright Scholarship to conduct postdoctoral research on the Hong Kong film industry. The scholarship is one of only two such awards given for social science postdoctoral research in the region. Beginning in the fall, she will be living in Hong Kong where she will spend 10 months studying risk factors - such as shifting political conditions and regional competition, decreasing levels of financial investment, and increasing occurrences of piracy - which have contributed to a decline in Hong Kong’s film industry. Through research, she aims to learn why, despite the risks, film personnel continue to engage in filming and production, a phenomenon she believes to be linked to the ‘soft power’ or transnational prominence and promotion that a film industry can create.

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Will a UCI alumna be ‘The Next Food Network Star’?

Doreen Fang, political science ‘94, one of 12 competing for her own Food Network show

UCI alumna Doreen Fang is one of 12 finalists competing for her own Food Network show on season 6 of “The Next Food Network Star,” premiering June 6. Fang graduated from UCI in 1994 with a degree in political science and competed on the UCI billiard team. She co-owns a catering company, teaches cooking classes for adults and children, and blogs on Dining with Doreen. Fang specializes in California cuisine, but is heavily influenced by Chinese and Japanese cooking. With her sister, Fang runs the Bonnie A.C. Lee Fang Foundation, which provides nursing scholarships to undergraduate and graduate nursing students.

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Political science alumnus is appointed Economic Development Director

Joel Ayala, ’89 political science alumnus, has been appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as director of the new Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The office was created April 8 as a one-stop shop to help businesses acquire the direction, information and resources they need to invest, succeed and expand in California. Ayala is the former president and chief executive officer of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. He earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and social ecology from UCI.

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SPOTLIGHT EVENT - 9th Annual Dean’s Day Barbecue: “Get Ready World, Here Come the Anteaters!”

Thursday, June 3 @ 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Social Sciences Plaza

Social sciences students, faculty, staff, alumni and community friends: Come join us for the 9th Annual Social Sciences Dean’s Day Barbecue: “Get Ready World, Here Come the Anteaters!” Sponsored by the Dean’s Ambassadors Council, this year’s fun filled day of food, music and activities will represent various regions of the world. The stakes will be high and the competition fierce in the departmental cooking contest as social sciences faculty and staff vie for disciplinary honors for dishing out this year’s most delicious regionally inspired side. Contest judging begins at 12:15 p.m. - don’t miss it!

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SPOTLIGHT EVENT - Global Connect Yearend Symposium: “20/20 - A Global Vision”

Friday, June 4 @ 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
UCI Student Center

The School of Social Sciences’ Global Connect program will close out its ninth successful year on June 4 with its annual high school symposium, “20/20: A Global Vision.” More than 350 middle and high school students will be coming to campus for the daylong event that will feature public addresses from UCI’s Olive Tree Initiative students and Robert Garfias, UCI anthropologist and internationally recognized ethnomusicologist. Student-designed projects, essays and posters featuring creative solutions to international issues such as global warming, dealing with effects of globalization on different nations, and foreign policy recommendations for President Obama will all be on display. Also among the day’s activities will be award presentations for the best student essay and best display board, and overall program awards for global citizenship. UCI faculty, students, staff, alumni and community friends are invited to attend all sessions to learn more about Global Connect’s local and global impact.

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