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Graduate student always on the run

Liam Ahern’s mission to help students started with a sprint during an interview to become a Watson peer adviser at the end of his freshman year. Now a graduate student, he’s still sprinting.
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In the News

November 2005

David Sloan Wilson, professor of biological sciences, was quoted in the November 1 issue of the Winston-Salem Journal, in an article about his research on the role of gossip in group interactions. According to Wilson, although gossip has been written off as unworthy of serious study, it “appears to be very sophisticated, multifunctional interaction which is important in policing behaviors in a group and defining group membership.”

Wilson was also quoted in a November 6 New York Times magazine article titled “Literary Darwinists” and the November 6 Boston Globe, which both explored how an emerging school of literary criticism is using text to study innate patterns of human behavior. A book, The Literary Animal, co-edited by Wilson and Jonathan Gottschall ’96, is mentioned extensively in both articles. The book brings together scholars from the forefront of the evolutionary literary analysis and according to Wilson is a reflection of how literature serves as “the natural history of our species.”

Wilson’s book Darwin’s Cathedral was discussed in a November 21 article in the Washington Times. His argument that “religiosity” fosters group discipline was discussed at length. Wilson notes that this could have given our hunter-gatherer ancestors an advantage for survival as they grouped together for worship. The article was also featured on www.townhall.com.

Bobbie Ann Mason ’66 was mentioned in the November 1 issue of the Shreveport Times in an article highlighting her achievements. According to the article, Mason will be presented the 15th annual John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence at Centenary College in Shreveport, La.

Binghamton University was mentioned in the November 4 issue of The Business Review as one of the 11 SUNY campuses recognized by the Research Foundation for innovative research. The Foundation supports the advancement of education and research at SUNY.

Senior Yaniv Larish was quoted in the November 4 issue of The Wall Street Journal in an article about Phi Beta Kappa, the United States’ most famous honor society. The article noted that in recent years, the elite club has pushed hard on adding new members, partly due to increasing competition from other honor societies. Larish noted that he had been courted by at least six honor societies in his freshman year, including Phi Beta Kappa.

Linda P. Spear, distinguished professor of psychology, was honored in the November 7 issue of the Springfield, Ill., State Journal-Register in an article related to her long-term contributions to alcohol research. Spear, who received the 2005 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Mark Keller Award, indicated that her research urges parents to be particularly vigilant as young people can develop a tolerance for alcohol that could lead to binge drinking in adulthood.

Binghamton University was included in a November 9 Utica Observer-Dispatch article related to a creation of a seven-university center for research into molecular computer technology. The center is expected to foster development of a new industrial base in New York State and is part of collaborative efforts involving campuses such as Binghamton, Cornell and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

MTV visited the Binghamton University campus on November 9 to film a series of promotional spots highlighting a variety of mtv-U programs. mtv-U is broadcast on over 800 campuses nationwide. The spots were aired in November.

Binghamton University was mentioned in the November 9 issue of U.S. Fed News in an announcement by Rep. Maurice Hinchey D-NY (22nd CD) that he had secured $1 million in federal funding for the University. Hinchey noted, “With the $1 million in new federal finding, Binghamton University will be able to further expand its work with microelectronics research, which in turn will benefit our nation’s space exploration efforts.” The funding news was also carried on the websites of WSTM, Central New York, and WCAX-TV, Burlington, Vt.

President Lois B. DeFleur was interviewed by the Voice of America for November 10 coverage of Binghamton University’s dual degree program with Turkish universities. DeFleur said that much of her commitment to international studies is influenced by her own experiences. “Having a strong international experience changed my perspectives. In all of the administrative posts that I have occupied, I have always been committed to broadening the internationalization of the schools and colleges.” Sophomore Merve Yasin Yavuz, who is studying international affairs at Binghamton University and the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, was also interviewed. She noted that for international relations students, it’s very important to go abroad and “get some experiences of different people, different perspectives of world views.” Oktay Serkercisoy, assistant director, dual-diploma programs, also participated in the interview. He noted that in addition to having two degrees from two countries, students also gain valuable international experience. “Binghamton University values internationalization and we have students from different countries,” he said, adding that interacting with students from across the globe is a major feature of the program. “It is an incredible experience for them to take back. They are part of this global village that we are living in now.”

Linda P. Spear, distinguished professor of psychology, was honored by the National Institutes of Health for her research in alcohol and the developing brain. In accepting the award, Spear said, “I am honored to receive this award and am excited that alcohol research in adolescence is receiving so much recognition.” News of the award was carried in Medicine and Law Weekly; Life Science Weekly; Health & Medicine Weekly; Elder Law Weekly; Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Weekly; Disease Prevention Week; Mental Health Law Weekly; Science Letter; Lab Law Weekly; Pain & Nervous System Week; Medical Device Business Week; and Biotech Week.

Cheryl Brown, director of undergraduate admissions, was quoted in the November 14 issue of The Record of North Jersey, in an article focusing on campus tours. The article highlights that the mid-November period is becoming popular and that more families are accompanying their kids on the tours. Brown noted, “The campus visits, in general, have become a bigger thing for families. The visit is so important. The students can see the facilities and feel if it is right.”

Leslie Carlisle Gates, assistant professor of sociology, was highlighted in an article on Vheadline.com, Venezuela’s Electronic News service, about her research on Venezuela’s market reforms and politics. Gates, who was awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship, is also teaching a graduate class at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Ricardo Laremont, chair of the sociology department, was quoted in the article. “She definitely – what I think – is one of the true rising stars when it comes to sociology and Latin American studies,” he said.

Binghamton University was listed in the Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education’s “10th Annual Publisher’s Picks” for colleges and universities that are doing a commendable job of recruiting, retaining, educating and graduating Hispanics. The article notes that academic factors are critical – courses, majors, minors, and postgraduate pipelines.

Binghamton University was featured in the November issue of SEMsource, a publication of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, in an article relating to the approaches colleges and universities are taking to curb alcohol abuse among students. David Husch, director of Off-Campus College, discussed the importance of campus community coalitions in decreasing underage and binge drinking. “It’s the best way to go about it,” he said. “If everyone’s on the same page, everything works a lot better.” Rodger Summers, vice president for student affairs, was also quoted in the article. Summers mentioned some of the steps Binghamton University has taken to address the issue including launching educational programs such as Alchohol.edu and social activities like the Late Nite Binghamton. He said, “We want to be ahead of the curve.”

Research by Matthew Gervais ’06 and David Sloan Wilson, professor of biological sciences, exploring the evolutionary origins of laughter was featured in a November 22 United Press International (UPI) article. The article noted that laughter can be stimulus-driven or self-generated. According to Gervais and Wilson’s research, humans can now voluntarily access the laughter program and utilize it for their own ends, including smoothing conversational interaction, appeasing others, inducing favorable stances in them or downright laughing at people who are not liked. The study was also featured on newkerala.com; sciencedaily.com; Innovations Report; monstersandcritics.com; PyschNotes; Medical News Today; The New York Sun; the New York Post; WebIndia123.com; De Morgen, Belgium; and on BBC Radio Five’s “Up All Night.”

A study headed by Ralph Garruto, professor of biomedical anthropology, to determine if chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer can infect humans who eat deer meat was featured in the November issue of RedOrbit, formerly RedNova.com. The study, the first of its kind, will track a group of people who attended a dinner in 2005, many of whom consumed venison from a deer infected with CWD. The study was also featured in Science Daily; monstersandcritics.com; WebIndia123.com; United Press International (UPI); the Times-Herald-Record of Middletown, NY; Innovations Report; News-Medical.net; WSTM-TV, Syracuse, N.Y.; WHAM-TV, Rochester, N.Y.; and the Toledo Blade.

Ali Mazrui, the Albert Schweitzer professor of the humanities and director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies, was featured in the November 24 issue of The Free Press, as the subject of a recently revised bibliography of his works, titled The Mazruiana Collection Revisited. The bibliographer, Abdul Samed Bemath, compiled the update, which consists of 650 entries including books, pamphlets and academic papers. The article notes that Mazrui is “undoubtedly a Global African and as this continent’s most respected contemporary scholar of repute is widely acclaimed as its foremost thinker and writer.”

Anne Clark, associate professor of biological sciences, was mentioned in the November 25 issue of Newsday in an article about a plan to deal with an increase in the number of crows in Auburn, N.Y. Clark offered tours and information sessions to Auburn residents and local authorities to help determine the best choices in dealing with the issue. News of Clark’s assistance was also featured on WSTM-TV of Central New York; WCAX-TV, Burlington, Vt.; and the Syracuse Post-Standard.

Gerald Sonnenfeld, vice president for research, was interviewed on “Tech Talk with Craig Peterson” in coverage of research being done in weightless environments and its effect on the human body. Sonnenfeld discussed his research work with NASA and a current bed rest study with female participants that will help scientists understand the changes to the immune response and decreased resistance to infection in space. The program ran on radio stations in the Boston area, including WGIR, WGIN, WGIP and WLMW.

Binghamton University was featured in the November 28 issue of U.S. Fed News in an announcement by Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y. (22nd CD) of a $200,000 federal grant for the University’s Center City Coordination (C3) project. Hinchey noted, “By focusing on the city’s neighborhoods most in need of revitalization, Binghamton University is doing its part to ensure that all residents get to experience the greatness of the city on an equal level.”

Gerald Sonnenfeld, vice president for research, was quoted in an article in Nonprofit Communications Report, related to an annual trip Binghamton University campus leaders make to Albany, N.Y., to deliver messages about University initiatives to state government officials. Teams meet with legislators to emphasize areas of value, such as research initiatives and economic development, which Binghamton University brings to the region and the state. Sonnenfeld said, “The event helps us make the entire state aware of the great things we’re doing.”

Binghamton University was mentioned in the November issue of Campus Events Professional in an article about how colleges and universities across the country stepped up to assist students affected by Hurricane Katrina. Binghamton was highlighted for its efforts to offer admittance to Tulane students displaced by the devastation.

Lois B. DeFleur, president, offered her congratulations to Education Update on their 10th anniversary. DeFleur’s wishes were included with messages from education and community leaders, including Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor of New York City; and Assemblyman Steven Sanders, chairman, Committee on Education, New York State.

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Last Updated: 6/22/10