UCI cognitive scientist Barbara Sarnecka is working to improve low income Spanish-speaking children's chances for academic success
Meet Agustin. He's a pre-school student from Garden Grove who likes to play soccer. His parents, who speak only Spanish, want their son to grow up and go to college, preferably, they say somewhat jokingly, as an Anteater, since Agustin's father has worked on UCI's grounds crew for 14 years. Although Agustin has not yet started kindergarten, he is already learning the number concepts he will need in years to come, says UCI cognitive sciences professor Barbara Sarnecka. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in both the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology and Cognition, she discovered that these number concepts are usually acquired by middle-class children like Agustin at age 2 or 3. Children from low-income households, however, don't acquire these same concepts until 5 or 6, or sometimes later. Missing almost entirely from current research is how and when this happens among children from low-income, bilingual households. With a new $798,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Sarnecka and her cognitive development lab assistants are aiming to fill this research gap.
U.S. death certificates reflect racial stereotypes, study finds
Assumptions about victims of violence and alcoholism influence ethnic classification
When U.S. coroners, medical examiners or funeral directors fill out death certificates, it appears the racial classifications they make are influenced by the decedent's cause of death in ways that reflect long-running stereotypes about violence and alcoholism, according to a new study by sociologists at UC Irvine and the University of Oregon. In a death by homicide, the victim is probably black. With cirrhosis, the decedent is likely Native American. These stereotypes have small but clear effects on the racial classifications used to calculate official vital statistics, said Andrew Noymer, assistant professor of sociology at UCI. He collaborated on the study with Andrew Penner, UCI assistant professor of sociology, and Aliya Saperstein, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. Their findings were published January 26 in PLoS One, an open-access journal of the Public Library of Science.
Extending her REACH
Kimberly Snodgrass, social sciences '09, wins Pepsi Refresh project funding to create college and life skills preparation program for foster children
For social sciences alumnus Kimberly Snodgrass,'09, foster care offered an escape from what seemed an otherwise bleak future. For the first 10 years of her life, she was virtually homeless as her alcoholic, drug-addicted mother shuffled her and her four siblings between motel rooms, shelters and, ultimately, foster care. Now, 13 years later and armed with an undergraduate degree from UCI, a master's from Harvard, and $50,000 in funding from Pepsi, she's returning the favor. Snodgrass's foster-youth college and life skills preparation program, Realizing Every Action Creates Hope (REACH), finished in first place in the Pepsi Refresh Project's October entries and was selected for funding. Its aim: to increase foster children's high school graduation rates by 80% through mentorship activities, life skills workshops, college preparation coaching, and scholarship funding.
Helping in Honduras
Students earn Living Our Values Award for launching UCI Global Brigades
Honduras is experiencing an influx of Anteaters, thanks to UC Irvine's Global Brigades program, and needy communities there are grateful. In the town of Joyas de Carballo, students work with locals to install eco-stoves, latrines, water storage units and concrete floors. The low-cost projects help prevent respiratory diseases and other illnesses spread by poor hygiene, says Nazreena Abulkalam, a student in public health sciences and international studies (since graduated). The stoves replace traditional wood-burning ones that emit harmful smoke particles and soot, reducing indoor air pollution. Concrete floors cut down on dust contamination and the transmission of Chagas disease by dirt-dwelling insects. Latrines allow for sanitary waste disposal, and water storage units provide sources of clean water.
Sociology undergrad David Curry is UROP's researcher of the month
Marine Corps veteran and current UCI Veterans Student Union president offers advice on pursuing undergraduate research at UCI
Being involved in research has given David Curry the opportunity to apply what he learns in his classes to real-world issues. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps with two tours of duty in Iraq behind him, the sociology undergraduate knows what it's like to be recruited to a cause and see it through with pride. His work on reintegrating combat veterans back to civilian life has given him a glimpse of how commitment and effort can make a difference in people's lives. The current president of UCI's Veterans Student Union (VSU), Curry plans to attend graduate school before becoming an author and professor of military sociology. For his exceptional passion and dedication, David was awarded UCI's 2010 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research from the School of Social Sciences and was selected as the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) January Researcher of the Month. Below, Curry discusses his research interests and offers fellow anteaters advice on finding a research passion.
Community engagement earns business economics undergrad front row seats to private concert
Check out Shawn Isaac's winning community service video and his meet and greet with recording artist John Legend
When 20-year-old Shawn Isaac began working for the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP), he never expected the job would lead to winning a "Get Close to John Legend" Wendy's and MySpace Music contest. But that's exactly what happened. Isaac entered the contest after watching recording artist John Legend on a MySpace video advise viewers to submit a two minute video answering the question, "What have you done to make a positive impact on your community?"
Show us what you ZOT! and win an iPad
Social sciences student-produced video contest
Each year, the UCI School of Social Sciences admits roughly 5,300 new freshmen and transfers. For many of these students, UCI isn't their final choice; less than a quarter of this number winds up actually coming here. Yet those who do – along with the thousands of social sciences anteaters before them – quickly fall in love with the campus and social sciences soon after starting courses. For the entering class of 2011, the School of Social Sciences wants to help put UCI #1 on their long list of university choices, and make them proud to be anteaters from the get-go. To do so, we want our students' help!
WANTED: 2011 Undergraduate Social Sciences Commencement Speakers
Applications due by February 16
The School of Social Sciences is currently seeking undergraduate applicants interested in being a keynote speaker at the school's 2011 commencement exercises to be held Sunday, June 12 at the UCI Bren Events Center. Qualified applicants must be graduating seniors during the academic year 2010-11 (fall 2010, winter 2011, spring 2011 or summer 2011) with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 from a School of Social Science major.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT: Undergraduate Student Affairs to host donor registry drive for former peer advisor and alumnus diagnosed with leukemia
Monday, January 31, 2011 on UCI's Ring Road, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
As a UCI economics undergraduate, Sonia Rai had a bubbly personality and a smile that lit up the Social Sciences Undergraduate Student Affairs Office, says Helen Morgan, director of the office where Sonia worked as a peer advisor. In mid-December 2010, Sonia was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. She is currently undergoing intense chemotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and will require a bone marrow transplant in order to survive beyond the next few months, says her brother Sumit. As a south Asian Indian American, finding a transplant match is difficult because race and ethnicity matter - persons needing transplants are more likely to find a bone marrow match with someone from their own race. According to the National Marrow Donor Program registry, Asian Americans make up only seven percent of current registered donors, and south Asian Indians constitute only a fraction of that number. The Social Sciences Undergraduate Student Affairs Office wants to make a difference. Recognizing that roughly half the registered student population at UCI identify as Asian or Pacific Islander, Helen and her crew are partnering with CureSonia and the Be the Match Donor Registry to host a public donor registry drive.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT - Social Sciences Expert Speaker Series: Economics & Public Policy
February 24, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 1517
What role does psychology play on the business cycle? Does California really have a bad business climate? Is there real demand for a California High Speed Rail system? Are airline mergers bad for consumers? Get expert perspective from UCI economists on topics that impact Californians' daily lives at the second of three events in the 2010-11 Social Sciences Expert Speaker Series. Panel participants will include UCI economics professors David Brownstone, Jan Brueckner, Fabio Milani, and David Neumark. RSVPs are requested due to limited space.