Saturday, June 9, 2012, 3:30 p.m. @ UCI Bren Events Center
Friday, June 15, 2012, 1:00 and 4:30 p.m. @ UCI Bren Events Center
James Owen Weatherall, logic & philosophy of science doctoral candidate, will be the featured student speaker at the UCI Graduate Hooding Ceremony for Ph.D., Ed.D, and M.F.A. students Saturday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m. in the UCI Bren Events Center. Weatherall is the 2012 Lauds & Laurels Outstanding Graduate Student. Commencement ceremonies for social sciences undergrads and master's students will take place Friday, June 15 at 1:00 and 4:30 p.m. in the UCI Bren Events Center. Brenda Ayon Verduzco, political science and sociology major, will be the featured speaker at 1:00 p.m. and Alina Sookasian, political science major, will speak at the 4:30 p.m. ceremony.
Read on to learn more about their and other outstanding students' accomplishments below. Commencement ceremonies will be streamed live at http://www.commencement.uci.edu/webstream.php.
James Weatherall, logic & philosophy of science, is the 2012 Lauds & Laurels Outstanding Graduate Student and featured speaker at the UCI Graduate Hooding Ceremony
James (Jim) Weatherall's research on Newtonian theories may take a higher level of learning to understand, but that's okay - he's in great company. The logic & philosophy of
science graduate student will finish his Ph.D. this year at UCI in one of the nation's top-ranked philosophy of physics graduate programs and continue on with the department as
an assistant professor in the fall. "We are very fortunate to have Jim at UC Irvine," says Jeff Barrett, logic & philosophy of science professor and Chancellor's Fellow. "I
believe that there has never been a more promising young researcher in the philosophy of physics anywhere." Jim came to UCI in 2007 with an undergraduate degree in physics and
philosophy and master's degree in physics from Harvard. Since then, he has also completed a master's in fine arts in creative writing from Fairleigh Dickinson, and a doctorate
in mathematics and physics from the Stevens Institute of Technology.
Brenda Ayon Verduzco, social sciences commencement speaker, found motivation to succeed among the farm fields of the Coachella Valley
Brenda Ayon Verduzco grew up in the Coachella Valley, the daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers. The sixth of seven children, she remembers having to find innovative ways
to help her low-income family make ends meet. "My brothers and sisters and I would often help our mother sell baked goods around the neighborhood or at church services," she
says. "I grew up learning how to be resourceful, and more importantly learning to share all that was given to me." The experience motivated the out-going Verduzco to push
herself through school where she worked hard to set a positive example for a large immigrant community of first-generation students. She graduated valedictorian of her high
school class and delivered the commencement address, an honor she'll be repeating this year as one of two social sciences speakers at the 2012 commencement ceremonies.
Finding her voice
Alina Sookasian, social sciences commencement speaker, got over her fear of public speaking through UCI Law Forum
Alina Sookasian has - correction, HAD - a fear of public speaking. As a junior, the political science major who aspires to be a lawyer applied to be part of the UCI Law Forum.
The undergraduate certificate program helps prepare students for potential legal careers through focused coursework, hands-on legal research and writing experience, and
interaction with practicing attorneys and judges...and a public debate class. "In order to get your certificate, you have to take Advocacy, which is basically debate. I was
terrified," she says. "But, I love challenging myself and wasn't going to let such an amazing opportunity to get real-world experience pass me by." So she and her team studied
hard, conducting all the necessary legal research legwork so that when it came time for their first debate, Sookasian, who had been picked along with another classmate to
deliver the team's opening statement, ditched her backup note cards and delivered her remarks clearly and flawlessly. From then on, Sookasian jokes that she's been hard to keep
Pursuing her passion
Kristal Lee, sociology '10, earns Fulbright fellowship to study and teach in South Korea
The maze of medical terms and policy provisions that comprise the U.S. healthcare system can make its navigation somewhat tricky. Add a language or cultural barrier to the mix,
and the route becomes even murkier. This is where Kristal Lee, sociology '10, found herself five years ago when her grandparents and great uncle, Korean American immigrants with
limited English-language skills and little in the way of formal education, were diagnosed with cancer. An out-going, straight A student fluent in English, Lee, who has a working
knowledge of the Korean language, stepped into the role of chief translator and advocate for her elder family members. The experience impacted her greatly and set her on a course that will
land her in South Korea this fall as part of the U.S. Fulbright Scholars Program.
On the move
Elizabeth Sowers, recipient of the 2012 Dean's Endowed Fellowship, developed an early love for logistics
Elizabeth Sowers spent just about every weekend as a young girl hanging out at her dad's office while he caught up on paperwork. A trucking company executive for more than 40
years, the elder Sowers was adamant that his children steer clear of the transportation industry and attend college rather than follow in his tracks. His daughter listened and
went on to college where she developed an interest in globalization. But all of those years spent wandering around the loading dock and watching trucks roll by had already made
an impression. By the time she got to graduate school at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, Elizabeth found her passion in studying the link between
globalization and the emerging logistics industry that moves goods all over the world, throughout the production process, and into consumers' hands for consumption.
Political science majors Kositsawat and Khan receive prestigious campus awards
Pichaya (Peach) Kositsawat, political science and comparative literature major, and Sanaa Khan, political science major, have been named recipients of two of UCI's top
undergraduate scholarships. Kositsawat, a junior going into her senior year at UCI, is the 2012 Dan and Jean Aldrich award winner. The award is named in honor of UCI's founding
chancellor and recognizes the outstanding junior on campus on the basis of merit, academic excellence, leadership, contribution to the campus and community service. The honor
carries a $2,500 prize. Kositsawat is also the recipient of a 2012 Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship. The honor annually recognizes young leaders in California working to pursue lives and work of public service and social change. Award winners receive $10,000 to complete a high-impact public service project. Kositsawat is one of only 14 students in California to receive the Strauss Scholarship this year and she is the only recipient from UCI. She is also the sole recipient of the 2012 Elena B. and William R. Schonfeld Scholarship, awarded by the School of Social Sciences.
Khan, a freshman going into her sophomore year, is the recipient of the 2012 Nicholas Aeberhard Memorial Award, an honor which recognizes the top
freshman at UCI on the basis of personal integrity, student leadership, academics and involvement in campus and civic activities and carries a $5,000 prize.
SAEP alum receives Rosten award for education and service
Myles Brady, business economics and anthropology undergrad, credits the summer program with much of his UCI success
For Myles Brady, the Social Sciences Summer Academic Enrichment Program played a critical role in his university success. The first in his family to attend a four-year
institution, the honors undergrad says one of his biggest challenges was learning how to navigate the college environment and utilize resources with no direct family member
experience from which to draw. When he enrolled in SAEP in 2011, he found the support he'd been looking for. The five-week intensive residential program provides first
generation university students an opportunity to pursue advanced research and develop critical communication skills necessary for graduate education. It also provides
participants a unique opportunity to bond with other motivated students and develop close ties with renowned faculty experts in the social sciences.
Finding excellence close to home
Cognitive sciences undergrad Annie Stanfield Ditta on what made UCI her top university choice
Annie Stanfield Ditta is a Southern California native. When it came time to choose a college, she says she lucked out when she learned UCI had a highly ranked cognitive
psychology program less than a hundred miles from home. Since arriving on campus, Ditta's been able to work alongside nationally acclaimed cognitive scientists who study topics
she's passionate about - number concept development in children, group memory in adults, sentence perception in adults through EEG technology, and recovery from spinal cord
injury through medical and behavior therapies. She presented a poster about her research at the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) symposium, an experience she
found extremely rewarding and one which, with hopes of someday becoming a professor, provided a glimpse into a future she's very excited about. Ditta is a past recipient of the
Alice B. Macy Outstanding Undergraduate Paper Award and this year, she's been awarded the Social Sciences Alumni Academic Excellence Scholarship, Social Sciences Order of Merit,
and Chancellor's Award of Distinction.
Naviaux honored for excellence in economics
Economics and earth and environmental sciences undergrad receives the 2012 Hill award
John Naviaux wants to make energy more sustainable and more affordable. A double major in economics and earth and environmental sciences, he has been pursuing research on
microbial fuel cells and ways to optimize the various electrical properties of microbes in biofilms as a potential energy source. "Our energy needs are only going to continue to
grow," he says. "This work is fascinating to me because it provides a novel approach to meeting this demand in the future." As a senior at UCI, he was one of only a handful of
non-physics majors to be invited to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to study particle physics in Geneva, Switzerland.
Xiao earns sociology's Carole Creek Bailey award
Honor recognizes undergrad for excellence in sociology
Sociology undergrad Sheila Xiao was a little apprehensive about leaving her Northern California family and friends for the sunny southern coast, but becoming an anteater turned
out to be one of her best moves, she says. "Being in such a new environment, I allowed myself to step out of my comfort zone and really get involved with the campus," she says.
The winner of the 2012 Carole Creek Bailey School of Social Sciences Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Sociology, Xiao, a junior, has been heavily involved in research while
at UCI. She's currently examining life expectancy rates across different countries with Andrew Noymer, sociology assistant professor. She's also working with Ann Hironaka,
sociology associate professor, and Erin Evans, sociology graduate student, on a study about cross national environmental protests and social movements.
Nguyen receives Zarif award for excellence in anthropology
Honor carries $1,000 prize
Adrienne Nguyen came to campus in 2009 with plans to pursue a degree in history, but it was during completion of a general education requirement that she discovered her love for
anthropology. "I remember sitting in Anthropology 2A and learning about different cultures and how they cannot be compared to one another; all are different, all have their
internal systems of understanding, and that ultimately makes our world a better place," says Nguyen. "I had always thought about and been interested in thinking about culture
like this, but I'd never been able to articulate it in such a way." Through research, the third-year honors student has found a way to combine her interests; her senior thesis
focuses on how the Vietnam War impacted production of history and memory of second generation Vietnamese-Americans.
Nosrat receives Macy Prize for outstanding research
Honor includes a $300 cash prize
Nicole Nosrat, social sciences honors student, is the recipient of the 2012 Alice B. Macy Outstanding Undergraduate Paper Award. Awarded by the School of Social Sciences, the
honor recognizes Nosrat for her research on the influence of domestic violence on biological, psychological, and social aspects of a child's well-being. The award carries a $300
prize. Nosrat is a senior at UCI and an Orange County native. Her thesis examines the immigration and acculturation process of older Baha'i Iranian women living in America. She
is also working on a research project with Karen Wu, psychology and social behavior graduate student, to better understand the role of culture and the self in young adult
Lee is the 2012 social sciences outstanding transfer student
Honor carries a $300 prize
When Eileen Lee transferred to UCI from Fullerton College, she wasted no time in getting involved in campus life. The sociology and psychology and social behavior double major
quickly became a university studies discussion leader, project director for Main Street UCI, and a participant in the Social Sciences Academic Resource Center Community Service
and Leadership and Speak Out programs. She completed the Summer Academic Enrichment Program where she discovered her interest in academic research. She's since received two grants from
the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and one from the Summer Undergraduate Research Program which helped fund her honors thesis on the role of caffeine as a
potential gateway drug, adolescents' perception of risks involved in drug use, and adolescents' lifestyles and how they impact their perception of the risk involved in drug use.
When she adds in time she spent taking five courses a quarter and her four hour roundtrip daily commute to campus, she estimates she got about four hours of sleep a night while
an undergrad at UCI.
Chowdhury receives prestigious United Nations internship
Opportunity will allow the econ graduate student to study in New York
Payel Chowdhury, economics graduate student and Associated Graduate Students president, has recently been selected for a summer internship with the United Nations (UN) in New
York City. The full-time internship begins June 25 and runs through September 21 in New York City. Approximately 3,000 graduate and post-graduate students compete for the
roughly 300 coveted positions. Chowdhury will be working in the Division of Public Administration and Development Management in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs
where she will be able to apply her knowledge in economics to a wide range of UN projects.
Student-produced videos tackle global issues
Projects part of Global Connect yearend symposium
The School of Social Sciences' Global Connect program will closed out its tenth successful year on June 1 with its annual high school symposium, "The Global Mosaic." Student-
designed videos and essays featuring creative solutions to international problems were on display as more than 250 students from Costa Mesa, Estancia, El Toro, Laguna Hills,
Mission Viejo and Newport Harbor high schools converged on campus for the daylong event. Featured speakers included Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post editor, foreign
correspondent and author and Mark Petracca, UCI political science associate professor and social sciences associate dean. The day's agenda also included a performance by the UCI
Jodaiko Drummers and an awards ceremony for outstanding global educators and top global projects.
Check out video online at ...
Anteaters sweep Trojans to take the NCAA title for third time in six years
Top-seeded UC Irvine earned its third national men's volleyball title in six years with a 3-0 sweep over No. 2 seed USC in the NCAA Championship match May 5 at the
Galen Center. The Anteaters cut down the net and collected pieces of the floor as souvenirs after sociology major Dan McDonnell's second ace ended the match (25-22, 34-32, 26-
24) before a packed Galen Center.
UCI Mock Trial takes second in the nation
UC Irvine's Mock Trial team placed second in the nation at the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) National Championship Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. The weekend tournament marked the team's most successful finish in its seven year history. Going into the 2012-13 season, the Anteater team will be ranked number one in the country by AMTA. Senior physics major Ryan Cardenas won his second All-American Witness Award and senior political science major Neil Thakore took home his seventh attorney award.
UCI is top U.S. university under 50 in Times Higher Education rankings
Ranking puts campus fourth among young institutions worldwide
UC Irvine ranks first in the U.S. and fourth in the world among the 100 best universities less than 50 years old, according to an analysis by Times Higher Education. Founded in
1965, UCI also is the youngest university to gain membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities. UCI and UC Santa Cruz - coming in seventh globally - are
the only American universities to make the top 10. South Korea's Pohang University of Science & Technology leads the list; there are six East Asian institutions in the top 20.
The United Kingdom has more universities on the roster than any other nation, with 20.
An optimistic outlook
New UCI study examines links between optimism and political participation of black women in the U.S.
Black women in America have good reason to be pessimistic; their rate of unemployment is nearly twice that of white women. A single black woman in the U.S. is significantly less
likely than her other racial-ethnic peers to marry, and she faces a poverty rate - 35.4 percent - higher than that of Latina, white, and Asian women. Despite these grim
statistics, UCI professors Belinda Robnett, sociology, and Katherine Tate, political science, say that black women in the U.S. are surprisingly optimistic about their future and
the future of their children, and politics seem to play a big role. With $260,000 in funding from the National Sciences Foundation, the researchers want to gain better insight
to the beliefs, goals, expectations, and political activities of population subgroups - particularly black women - in the U.S.
Undocumented Latino youth turn to activism to combat obstacles
Study co-authored by UCI anthropologist details experiences of young immigrants
Undocumented Latino youth in the U.S. face futures clouded by fewer rights than their documented peers and the constant fear of deportation. Such status constraints usually
aren't fully understood until young adulthood, said UC Irvine anthropologist Leo Chavez, and the awareness often serves as a catalyst for political and civic
involvement. "Rites of passage common to American youth - getting a driver's license, traveling, working and applying to college - are either denied, unattainable or dangerous
to pursue for undocumented immigrants," he said. "It's at this point that many realize society sees them as disposable, as easily cast away. Yet rather than merely give up, they
become involved in campaigns to change the law." In a study that appears in the June issue of Current Anthropology, Chavez and co-author Roberto Gonzales, an assistant professor
at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and UCI sociology alum, use interviews and survey data to shed light on the experiences of undocumented Latinos in Orange County
who came to the U.S. as children.
Maurer on mobile money with Calit2's Anna Lynn Spitzer
While interactive technologies impact us all, perhaps nowhere has technology's reach been more life-changing than in underdeveloped nations. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example,
villagers are using mobile phones for personal banking. New services are being added to older technologies like text messaging with dramatic results. Now, instead of relying on
bundles of currency, villagers trade their cash with a local money service provider, who loads monetary value into their cell phone accounts, allowing them to text payments to
others as remittance or in exchange for goods and services. Bill Maurer, a UCI cultural anthropologist, directs the university's Institute for Money, Technology and Financial
Inclusion. Maurer says that in Kenya, where a mobile money service named M-PESA was launched in 2008, nearly half the population
now sends money by mobile phone.
Learning gets smart
Cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito believes the power of digital technology transcends the classroom and can be a stepping stone to future career success
Today's children and teens, who have been described as Generation I or "digital natives," were born after the Internet had become a staple in our lives. They grew up with
Google, Facebook, email and texting, not to mention digital cameras, online gaming and instant connectivity, and they can't comprehend of a world without computers. As they
scroll through Facebook, watch YouTube videos or play "Words with Friends," they're probably not thinking about what they're learning. But for UCI cultural anthropologist Mizuko
(Mimi) Ito, these forms of new media, and the ways in which young people utilize them, provide a blueprint for designing new learning environments. Ito believes new media and
technology activities for children and teenagers ultimately can lead to improved academic and career prospects.
Dual honors for UCI's Duncan Luce
American Philosophical Society and Council of University of California Emeriti Associations recognize Luce for research excellence
R. Duncan Luce, UCI cognitive sciences and economics Distinguished Research Professor and member of the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences, received two prestigious
honors in April. The Patrick Suppes Prize, awarded by the American Philosophical Society, was presented to the prolific scientist at the society's annual spring meeting for
research and publications in decision-making and utility theory that have continued unabated from the 1950s to the present. The prize was established in 2005 in honor of the 20+
year society member for whom the award is named. Luce was also named as one of two 2012 recipients of the Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award. Presented by the
Council of University of California Emeriti Associations, the honor recognizes one to two outstanding faculty each year in the humanities and/or social sciences for research and
scholarly activities since retirement, and carries a $5,000 prize.
Op-ed: Was the U.S. naive about the Chen Guangcheng deal?
An op-ed by Yang Su, sociology associate professor, as featured by CNN May 4, 2012:
The Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng's daring and extraordinary escape to the U.S. embassy in Beijing has captivated the world. At first, it appeared that U.S. diplomats and
the Chinese government brokered a deal that satisfied Chen and everyone involved. But now Chen says he wants to leave China, and that he feels unsafe. Has the Obama
administration bungled his case? Did President Barack Obama use people who were capable of correctly interpreting the signals in China? Or was there a gap in translation?
Op-ed: Building bridges between Jews and Latinos on campus
An op-ed by Courtney Kravitz, political science undergrad, as featured in the Jewish Journal May 30, 2012:
The growth of the Latino population in the United States is not news. Studies have long shown that those whose background lies in one of the many countries south of the Texas
border are becoming a larger and therefore more influential share of the American population. According to the 2010 census, they now constitute 16 percent of the total
population, accounting for half of America's population growth in the previous decade.
Op-ed: Small kitchen college: How to photograph food without a fancy camera
An op-ed by Brynn Cahalan, business economics undergrad, as featured in the Huffington Post and Slashfood May 23, 2012:
How do I love food blogging? Let me count the ways. You have the pleasure of experimenting with new recipes, writing about your adventures in the kitchen and, of course, eating
the masterpieces you have created. But what about photographing the food? You can literally end up writing a book about the food, but it's the pictures that are truly worth a
thousand words. To me, it's the best way to capture the experience of making and enjoying the final product.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT: Learning by Doing at the Farm
June 7 @ 5:00 p.m., UCI Contemporary Arts Center Outreach Gallery, Room 3100A
Beginning in 1968, UCI was host to an experiment in intercultural exchange and artistic and social scientific learning through practice. It brought indigenous people from Guatemala, Mexico, and Samoa to an undeveloped plot on campus known as the Social Sciences Farm, a space for these visitors to demonstrate their crafts, as well as a laboratory for new methods in education and research. As faculty and students developed new theories for understanding human difference, the Farm also served as a gathering site for members of the sixties countercultural movement. Learning by Doing at the Farm, an exhibit of photographs and documents from UCI Special Collections, demonstrates the intimate proximity of "traditional" craft and countercultural communalism to the construction of the institutional structures of the new California university. The exhibit illuminates a forgotten history of UCI and Orange County: one of utopian experimentation, of ethnic and racial diversity, and of experimental scientific and artistic practice.