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UCI Social Sciences 


Welcome to the June 2013 issue of the Social Sciences eNews!

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Robust Inference with Dyadic Data: With Applications to Country-pair International Trade
June 3, 2013

Context-Dependent Ambiguity
June 3, 2013

Typhoons and Excess Fertility in a Disaster-Prone Country"
June 4, 2013

Evolving Perceptual Categories
June 7, 2013

Graduate Hooding Ceremony
June 8, 2013

Social Sciences Commencement Ceremony I
June 15, 2013

Social Sciences Commencement Ceremony II
June 15, 2013

Event Calendar

Social Sciences
in the Media

If your flight is canceled, who pays?
Brueckner, Detroit Free Press

"Lean in" is the phrase of the moment
Meyer, Star Tribune

Will the Bangladesh factory disaster help U.S. labor organize?
Meyer, American Public Media Marketplace

Thorny issues, opportunity at U.S.-China summit
Solinger, USA Today, Desert Sun and Detroit Free Press

Muslims turn left
DeSipio, OC Register

2012 grad will study mercury levels in Norwegian Arctic
Naviaux, OC Register

When Wall Street does the math, it can get it wrong
Weatherall, OC Register

First Kauffman Scholars prepare to graduate
Feliciano, Kansas City Star

Crossing borders
Rumbaut, Radcliffe Institute

Making a word meme
Meyer, New York Times

A call to suspend deportations while Congress debates reform: How realistic is it?
DeSipio, Southern California Public Radio

Hyundai building $200 million US headquarters in Fountain Valley
Brueckner, Southern California Public Radio

Recent celebrity deaths are predicted by Ranker Crowdsourcing, study shows
Lee, San Francisco Chronicle

Artificial telepathy to create Pentagon's telepathic soldiers
D'Zmura, Digital Journal

The Vatican Spring?
Lynch, The Immanent Frame

Riverside County supervisor race puts Latino vote in spotlight
DeSipio, The Desert Sun

Author of The Physics of Wall Street ponders strings, black swans and a final theory of finance
Weatherall, Scientific American

OC protesters rally against immigration reform but in smaller numbers
DeSipio, Southern California Public Radio

Another false immigration amnesty claim: Tax edition
DeSipio, Media Matters

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Bill Maurer is named dean of School of Social Sciences

Cultural anthropologist will head UCI's largest academic unit

After a nationwide search, UC Irvine anthropology professor Bill Maurer has been named dean of the campus's largest academic unit, the School of Social Sciences. "It's gratifying when we find that the very best person for the position in the country is already right here," said Chancellor Michael Drake. "I'm delighted that my distinguished faculty colleague, Bill Maurer, has agreed to assume this important role in the life of our university." Maurer is known widely for his research in the anthropology of law, money and finance. He has served in a number of administrative roles at UC Irvine while founding two major research centers and collaborating across campus, with the business community and with the nonprofit sector.

Read on...

Commencement ceremonies

Saturday, June 8, 2012, 3:30 p.m. @ UCI Bren Events Center
Saturday, June 15, 2012, 1:00 and 4:30 p.m. @ UCI Bren Events Center

The UCI Graduate Hooding Ceremony for Ph.D., Ed.D, and M.F.A. students will be held Saturday, June 8 at 3:30 p.m. in the UCI Bren Events Center. Commencement ceremonies for social sciences undergrads and master's students will take place Saturday, June 15 at 1:00 and 4:30 p.m. in the UCI Bren Events Center. Felipe Hernandez, political science and music performance undergraduate major, will be the featured speaker at 1:00 p.m. and Mazamir Yousefi, international studies and political science major, will speak at the 4:30 p.m. ceremony.

Read on to learn more about their and other outstanding students' accomplishments. Commencement ceremonies will be streamed live at http://commencement.uci.edu/webstream.php.

An accomplished anteater

Truman and Fulbright scholar Felipe Hernandez will be one of two featured speakers at social sciences' commencement ceremonies

Music was Felipe Hernandez's ticket to a better life. Growing up in a low-income family east of Compton, drug addiction, gang violence and poverty were stories of everyday life. "I have a few childhood friends who made it out and are currently in college, but most stayed behind, trapped," says the UCI senior. "Several friends that I grew up with are in prison, on the run or dead." At several pivotal points in his childhood, he considered decisions that would have led him down the same path. That all changed when, at twelve years old, his father, a musician and composer, put a guitar in his hands. Soon, time previously spent on the street was filled with musical chords and melodies. He learned how to play other instruments, too - the timbales, congas, bongos, bass and piano - while his mother, a singer, gave the young Hernandez vocal lessons. Soon, the budding musician was accompanying his parents on stage as they traveled the west playing gigs and recording new tracks.

Read on...

Delivering her closing argument

Mock Trial standout Mazamir Yousefi will be one of two featured speakers at social sciences' commencement ceremonies

Mazamir Yousefi has wanted to be a lawyer since she was a sophomore at Mission San Jose High School in Northern California. "I had the opportunity to meet California Senator Ellen Corbett and after talking with her about the gang-ridden area I grew up in and how I had seen my own classmates receive harsh sentences for minor crimes, she helped me see that I could make a difference and defend kids just like my classmates in the future," she says. "I've also always been involved in performing and acting, so being a trial attorney gives me the perfect opportunity to do both." When it came time to pick a college, UCI was at the top of her list. "The atmosphere of the campus was incredibly inviting and I felt a sense of community as I walked around Aldrich Park," she says. "I also love how close UCI is to the beach, which is where I spend most of my free time."

Read on...

13 social sciences undergrads receive Chancellor's Award of Distinction

Honor recognizes UCI's most outstanding graduating seniors

The Chancellor's Award of Distinction acknowledges the University of California, Irvine's most outstanding graduating seniors. Awarded by the UC Irvine Alumni Association, these students represent exceptional academic achievement and a commitment to cutting-edge research, leadership and service to UCI. Selected by a committee of alumni, recipients can be identified by the blue and gold shoulder cord worn with their commencement regalia. The School of Social Sciences is happy to have among its outstanding class of graduates 13 of the campus's 35 award recipients in 2013.

Read on...

Social sciences names 2013 Order of Merit recipients

Honor recognizes top 2% of undergrads for academics, leadership and service

Since 1983, the Order of Merit recognition has been given to the top 2% of social sciences undergraduates who best exemplify a commitment to academic distinction, leadership and service to the school, campus and community. On June 15, the School of Social Sciences will host its annual ceremony to honor 26 outstanding students.

Read on...

Wang receives Excellent Academic Writing in Social Sciences award

Senior honored at UCI Upper-Division Writing Awards Ceremony

On May 9, Kevin Wang, economics and political science undergrad, was honored at the UCI Upper-Division Writing Awards Ceremony as the Excellent Academic Writing in Social Sciences award recipient. The honor recognizes him for research which calls into question Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's application of textualism in administering judicial interpretation. Wang is a senior at UCI. He is an active member of Mock Trial and plans to attend law school after completing his bachelor's degree.

Read on...

Sabherwal receives Schonfeld and Rosten scholarships

Honors recognize scholarship, service and leadership

Sasha Sabherwal counts completion of the School of Social Sciences' Summer Academic Enrichment Program among her biggest accomplishments at UCI. Coming from a low-income immigrant family, the international and women's studies double major found it difficult to navigate the university system. "SAEP helped bridge the gaps in my understanding of a university education, showing me the importance of research, studying abroad, community service and leadership," she says. It's also where she got the opportunity to work with her mentor, political science associate professor Caesar Sereseres.

Read on...

Naviaux is social sciences' third 2013 Fulbright winner

'12 economics and earth and environmental sciences alumnus will study impact of atmospheric mercury on Arctic ecosystem

John Naviaux, '12, has been awarded a 2013 Fulbright Fellowship to study the impact of atmospheric mercury on the Arctic aquatic ecosystem in Norway. The economics and earth and environmental sciences alumnus was the 2012 recipient of the UCI George R. and Cathleen Hill Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Economics and he received the Chancellor's Award of Distinction as a senior at UCI. He will attend Caltech in fall 2014 after completing his fellowship. Naviaux is UCI's fifth Fulbright Scholar named this year and the third from the School of Social Sciences.

Read on...

UCI cognitive scientist uses crowdsourcing to predict celebrity deaths

Algorithms by Michael Lee show Ranker users' predictions to be surprisingly accurate

Participating in a celebrity death pool is a pretty macabre way to pass the time, but when multitudes of people do it the results can be fairly prescient. UC Irvine professor of cognitive sciences Michael Lee (pictured) and colleagues found that the collective opinions of users of Ranker - a website that solicits crowd opinions on a variety of topics - predicted recent celebrity deaths better than individual users, chance or age. Lee used algorithms developed by his research team to analyze lists provided by 27 users. Lee found that 99 celebrities were included in at least one list, and at the time of analysis, six of the 99 celebrities had passed away. Lee's modeling included a list of all 99 celebrities in an order that combined user rankings. The top 5 in this aggregated list were Hugo Chavez (already a correct prediction) Fidel Castro, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Abe Vigoda and Kirk Douglas.

Read on...

VIDEO: Expert on stereotype promise

UCI sociologist Jennifer Lee explores the consequences of positive stereotyping

Hardworking. Disciplined. Successful. Positive stereotypes commonly associated with Asian American students can serve as performance boosters and result in a self-fulfilling prophecy, says UCI sociologist Jennifer Lee, but they can also lead to a host of unintended consequences. "Not only do positive stereotypes place extraordinary pressure on Asian American students to excel, but they can make students feel like abject failures when they don't stand out and place them at a disadvantage in competing for spots at top universities," she says. In the school's latest "Expert On" series, Lee talks about the positives and potential pitfalls of stereotype promise.


Mexican American mothers' immigration status affects children, grandchildren

UCI-led study finds two-year difference in educational attainment of next generation

Mexican American mothers' formal immigration status influences the educational achievement of their children and even their grandchildren, according to a new study led by a UC Irvine sociologist. Researchers found - based on a large‐scale survey of young, second‐generation Mexican American adults in Los Angeles - that those whose mothers were authorized immigrants or U.S. citizens had, on average, two more years of schooling than those whose mothers had entered the country illegally. The researchers estimate that at least a third of the education gap between third‐generation Mexican Americans and native whites is attributable to the legacy effects of grandparents' unauthorized status. "The implication of our findings is that clear pathways to legalization can boost Mexican American educational attainment even as late as the third generation," said lead author Frank Bean, Chancellor's Professor of sociology at UC Irvine. "Legislation providing the possibility of entry into full societal membership helps not only the immigrants themselves but also their children and their children's children."

Read on...

Taagepera receives UCI Outstanding Emeritus Award

Honor recognizes retired political scientist for continued commitment to university mission

Rein Taagepera, political science professor emeritus, is the recipient of the 2013 UC Irvine Outstanding Emeritus Award from the UCI Emeriti Association. The honor annually recognizes an outstanding emeritus professor on campus for exceptional contributions in research, teaching, and service. A native of Estonia, Taagepera joined the UC Irvine faculty in 1970. He is the author of more than 100 research articles ranging in topic from nuclear physics, arms races and corruption, to population growth and linguistic studies. He is the founding dean of the School of Social Sciences at Tartu University in Estonia and served for two years as president of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies. In 2008, he was awarded the Johan Skytte Prize for his analysis of the function of electoral systems in representative democracy.

Read on...

Bogart receives grant from NSF to study transportation improvements

Research ties technology innovations to lower costs

Dan Bogart, economics associate professor, has received a $295,829 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the relationship between transportation improvements and the Industrial Revolution. This project makes use of Geographical Information Systems mapping technology to precisely model the transport cost and travel times between British cities from 1700-1870. The project will also estimate each city's cost of accessing markets and the effect on its wages and adoption of technologies, like the steam engine. Findings will shed light on savings made possible by new technology innovations in the transportation industry during this time frame. Funding for this project began in March and will run through February 2016.

Read on...

Lee receives grant from NSF to develop cognitive models for categorization

Funding period runs from March 2013-February 2016

Michael Lee, cognitive sciences professor, has received a $182,362 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop cognitive models that will help scientists understand the processes involved in how people learn categories. In the last 10 years, new behavioral and brain imaging data has led to a diversification in theories of category learning, and the idea that people have multiple learning systems has become prominent. Lee's work aims to try and rein in this diversity, using statistical methods to identify how many category learning processes are fundamentally important, and then developing cognitive models that include these processes. Working with him will be a cognitive sciences graduate student who specializes in cognitive modeling. The grant is a subcontract to a larger study in progress at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Lee's portion is funded from March 2013-February 2016.

Read on...

Mireshghi receives Woodrow Wilson fellowship for research on kidney transplants in Iran

$25,000 award will support her dissertation write-up

Iran is the only country with a bureaucratically organized and religiously sanctioned policy for kidney sales. Though most fatwas by Iranian Shi'a jurists permit kidney sales, and the majority of transplants originate from paid donors, the development and implementation of the policy has been mired with uncertainty since its inception. Elham Mireshghi, UCI anthropology graduate student, studies the relationship between medical policy, Islamic law and activism surrounding the practice. Funded by both the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, her research examines how the volatile moral alignments necessary for the implementation of the policy emerged, and the consequences that it entailed. In April, she was one of only 22 recipients to be selected from 600 applicants for a competitive Woodrow Wilson Charlotte Newcombe Dissertation Writing fellowship.

Read on...

Norman wins State Department scholarship to study Arabic in Morocco

Political science graduate student one of 610 American students to receive award

Kelsey Norman, a UC Irvine Ph.D. student in political science, has received a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Morocco. Norman (pictured, in Egypt) will live with a host family in the historic city of Meknes while attending classes this summer. She is one of about 610 American undergraduate and graduate students in the scholarship program who will spend seven to 10 weeks at intensive language institutes in 13 countries learning Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish and Urdu. "I'm thrilled about the opportunity to continue building my language skills in a new Arabic-speaking country and familiarizing myself with Morocco's sociopolitical and cultural context as part of my pre-dissertation research," Norman said. The program is part of a U.S. government effort to increase the number of Americans who know critical foreign languages. Norman studies citizenship and global migration with a focus on the Middle East.

Read on...

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