Accolades and news

Updates from the Division of the Social Sciences.

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Divisional News

The Division of the Social Sciences welcomed 31 new faculty members in 2015, ranking from assistant professor to professor. Read about their impressive range of expertise in many fields and methodologies.

Alumni News

Juanita Lott, AM’73 (Sociology), a retired senior demographer for the US Census Bureau and board member of the University’s Bay Area alumni club, writes: I really enjoyed Claire Zulkey’s article “Go Out There and Meet People” (Spring/Summer 2015), featuring Harvey Choldin, AB’60, AM’63, PhD’65 (Sociology). He’s right about how relevant the pioneering fieldwork of the Chicago school is for today’s changing American neighborhoods and cities, including my hometown, San Francisco. In preparing for the 1990 and 2000 Censuses, it was always a delight to hear Harvey’s thoughtful and insightful advice to the US Census Bureau and its advisory committees.

Sarah L. H. Gronningsater, AM’08, PhD’14 (History), received the manuscript prize for her dissertation, “Delivering Freedom: Gradual Emancipation, Black Legal Culture, and the Origins of Sectional Crisis in New York, 1759–1870” at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic annual conference in July. The prize was awarded to an exceptional dissertation defended in calendar years 2013 and 2014 pertaining to the history of North America from 1776 to 1861. The manuscript will be published as a volume in the Early American Studies book series, cosponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Ajay K. Mehrotra, PhD’03 (History), became director of the American Bar Foundation in September. The foundation’s mission is to serve the legal profession, the public, and the academy through empirical research, publications, and programs that advance justice and the understanding of law and its impact on society. Mehrotra is the associate dean for research, a professor of law, a faculty fellow, and an adjunct professor of history at Indiana University.

Darryl Heller, PhD’12 (History), has been named Indiana University South Bend’s director for student and community engagement. A visiting history lecturer at the University of Illinois at Chicago for three years, his duties will include directing IU South Bend’s Civil Rights Heritage Center. Previously Heller cofounded the Amistad Institute, a New York–based nonprofit organization that provided educational programs for inner-city communities.

Kim Babon, PhD’07 (Sociology), took over as Occidental College’s Director of National Awards in April, helping students and alumni pursue scholarships and fellowships. She has taught sociology at numerous liberal arts institutions, including Harvey Mudd College. Babon previously served as the assistant director of fellowships and national awards at Claremont McKenna College.

Robert Nelsen, PhD’89 (Social Thought), is the new president of California State University, Sacramento. Nelsen was formerly president of the University of Texas–Pan American, where he oversaw the creation of the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, a bicultural university with its own medical school. He’s also served as associate vice president for academic affairs for Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi.

Michael Sloan, AM’73 (MAPSS), has embarked upon an “encore career” as a lecturer at San Diego State University, primarily teaching social entrepreneurship and directing the social entrepreneurship programs at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center. In addition to teaching at SDSU, he provides entrepreneurial training and mentoring for small businesses in low-income communities throughout the country.

Philip Kotler, AM’53 (Economics), published Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System (Amacom) this past spring. In the book, Kotler, the S. C. Johnson Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, examines 14 major problems undermining capitalism, including poverty, job creation in the face of automation, high debt burdens, and steep environmental costs.

Stephen J. Morewitz, PhD’83 (Sociology), founded the Forensic Social Sciences Association (FSSA) in San Francisco. The FSSA is an international interdisciplinary association that promotes the application of social sciences to expert witness testimony and government testimony as well as the analysis of law, policy, and worldwide justice systems.

June Carter Perry, AM’67 (History), former US ambassador to Sierra Leone and to Lesotho, has been president of the Senior Seminar Alumni Association Board of Directors, an interagency organization of graduates from the State Department’s executive leadership program, since June 2014. In this role she reaches out to US government agencies whose senior personnel participated the State Department’s Senior Seminar for officials in executive level positions. Perry also serves on the Board of Directors of Africare, the preeminent organization addressing food security and water resources in Africa, and is a board member of the Humanities Council of Washington, DC.

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