The School of Social Sciences is pleased to have among its faculty, staff, students, alumni and community friends three recipients of the UCI Alumni Association’s Lauds & Laurels awards for 2014.  Established in 1971, the awards have recognized and celebrated the accomplishments of more than 800 outstanding anteaters who have prominently contributed to and supported the advancement of UCI’s fundamental mission of teaching, research and public service.

Barbara Dosher
Distinguished Professor, Cognitive Sciences
Faculty Achievement

Dosher’s nearly 40-year academic career has been spent studying the distinct forms and processes of attention, memory and perceptual learning. Her findings have been published widely in such major journals as Psychological Review, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Psychological Science, Vision Research, and Journal of Memory & Language, and her research has been funded through multi-million dollar grants from the National Eye Institute, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Institute of Mental Health and National Science Foundation, among others. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego and her master's and doctorate degrees in experimental psychology from the University of Oregon. She was a professor of psychology at Columbia University for 15 years before she joined the faculty of UC Irvine in 1992. That same year, she was elected as a fellow to the Society of Experimental Psychologists and the American Psychological Society. In 2002, she was named dean of social sciences. For 11 years, she led the campus’ largest academic unit through a period of significant growth, despite budgetary constrictions. Under her leadership, social sciences undergraduate and graduate programs grew by 44 and 35 percent, respectively, and the number of degrees conferred by the school increased from 1640 in 2003 to 2411 in 2010 – a 47 percent rate of growth. Among her most impressive accomplishments as dean: social sciences grant funding for research grew more than 115 percent. In 2011, Dosher was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She was named Distinguished Professor in 2012 and a year later, she was awarded the Howard Crosby Warren Medal by the Society of Experimental Psychologists, an honor that is the oldest and one of the most prestigious awards in experimental psychology. Most recently, she was named the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award for Research. Awarded by the UC Irvine Academic Senate, the honor recognizes the campus’s most outstanding faculty member for research excellence. Read more...

Sasha Sabherwal
Undergraduate, International Studies, Political Science and Women’s Studies
Outstanding Undergraduate

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. “Dr. Sereseres provided me with support, guidance and direction in helping me narrow and pursue all that I am interested in,” she says. “Without his encouragement, I would not have applied for the many programs that I have been fortunate to be a part of. He helped me to believe in myself and stressed the importance of leadership and academics.” With her mentor’s guidance and the skills she acquired through SAEP, Sabherwal pursued the humanities honors program through which she completed a thesis on the intersections of gender and nationalism in India within the Hindutva movement. Her work was funded by the Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Her research has taken her to India and England, as well as Washington, D.C. where, through the UCDC program, she worked for a semester as a policy intern. “I’ve been interested in policy and the transnational sphere since high school where I was involved in policy debate, an activity that circles around foreign policy, critical theory, economics and history,” she says. While at UCI, Sabherwal has been able to channel those interests through the Los Angeles Urban Debate League. She is also a member of the School of Social Sciences Dean’s Ambassadors Council and Humanities Out There, and she founded UCI’s International Studies Club and Mentorship Program which focuses on cultural perspectives, governmental structures and building a network of students to discuss global, contemporary issues. In 2013, she was named as the recipient of both the Elena B. and William R. Schonfeld Scholarship and the David Rosten International Education and Service Scholarship, awards which are helping fund her final year of study at UCI, after which she plans to attend graduate school. Read more...

Jackie Lacey
Alumna, Psychology, 1979
Outstanding Social Sciences Alumna

Jackie Lacey is a woman of many firsts. Before she was the first woman and the first African American to be named district attorney of Los Angeles County, Lacey was a first-generation college student who received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Irvine (class of ‘79) and a law degree from the University of Southern California. She went on to become a deputy district attorney, where she earned national recognition for a 1998 case that was the first successful prosecution of an LA County race-based hate crime murder. As she worked her way to the top, Lacey also established the first Animal Cruelty Prosecution Program in the United States. Lacey is now in her second year as the Los Angeles County district attorney. The OC Register’s Anna Iliff recently sat down with Lacey to find out how UCI has played into her success and what lessons she’s learned along the way. Q. How does it feel to be the first woman and first African American to hold the position of LA District Attorney? A. It’s a tremendous amount of responsibility. I don’t want to mess up. I don’t want to ruin opportunities for others who may come behind me. Although it’s great to be known as a history maker and what that stands for, I also want to be known as a great D.A. and beyond. Q. How did majoring in psychology fit into your career goals at the time? A. I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. Elementary school teachers for African Americans in the South were the most educated people. Along with my father’s message of “go to college” was “and maybe you want to be a teacher.” So I started off thinking that’s what I wanted to do, but I soon discovered it wasn’t for me. I took this class that was the introduction to the study of law and it’s kind of like I fell in love. I found my calling. Read more...

Join the School of Social Sciences in honoring our three award winners at the 44th annual UCI Alumni Association Lauds & Laurels Banquet to be held May 15 at the UCI Student Center Pacific Ballroom. Tickets are $250, with 10-person tables available. For more information, call (949) 824-2586.


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