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Past Issues

Greetings from David Lake, Acting Dean

I am particularly inspired by stories of Tritons like Jacob Searing, an alumnus who travelled to the heart of Japan to help survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Jacob spent eight grueling days shoveling mud and clearing debris to help families literally "dig out" from the massive devastation caused by these disasters. Jacob's selfless example is inspiring, and it is indicative of a promising trend of UC San Diego alumni, students and faculty making an impact across the globe.

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Social Sciences News

Surprise! Spoilers don’t spoil stories according to new research by Nicholas Christenfeld and Jonathan Leavitt of the Department of Psychology.

Do androids creep you out? An international team of researchers led by UC San Diego cognitive scientist Ayse Pinar Saygin has discovered why this may happen.

"Mirroring" might reflect badly on you according to a new study conducted by psychologists and philosophers at UC San Diego.

No amount of alcohol seems to be safe for driving finds a study led by sociologist David Phillips.

Is there a "Tiger Mother" effect? Economist Valerie Ramey says that Asian students study twice as many hours as any other racial or ethnic group.

Upcoming Events

Social Sciences Supper Club, October 12, 2011 —  Mary Walshok, vice chancellor for Public Programs, dean of UC San Diego Extension and adjunct professor of Sociology, will discuss her thoughts on aligning workforce development with regional economic growth during her presentation, “America’s Changing Job Landscape: How Regions Are Reinventing Themselves.” UC San Diego Faculty Club. Time: 5:30 p.m. Learn more and register.

Ethnic Studies Alumni Book Talk, October 17, 2011 — Join ethnic studies alumnae Juliette Hua, M.A. ’02, Ph.D. ’06 and Ashley Lucas, M.A. ’03, Ph.D. ’06 as they discuss their respective books Trafficking Women’s Human Rights and Razor Wire Women. For more information contact Lexi Killoren at

Economics Roundtable, October 20, 2011 — Carmen Reinhart, professor of Economics and director of the Center for International Economics, University of Maryland, will discuss financial crises in “After the Fall.” UC San Diego Faculty Club. Time: 7:30-9 a.m. $50 fee includes parking and Continental breakfast. Learn more and register.

Communication Professionals Network Luncheon, November 4, 2011 — Join the UCSD Alumni Communication Professionals Network for a networking luncheon and special presentation, “Revitalizing Downtown San Diego: Its Past, Present and Future,” by Derek Danziger, vice president of marketing and communications at Centre City Development Corporation. All alumni and guests are welcome. Rock Bottom Brewery in La Jolla. Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. $15 fee includes full lunch, non-alcoholic drink and gratuity. Learn more and register.

Recent Gifts

UC San Diego Alumnus Makes $1 Million Gift to Social Sciences
Global finance innovator Ken Kroner, Ph.D. ’88 and his wife, Jennifer, have expressed their gratitude for the training he received at UC San Diego by making a $1 million gift to fund the Kroner Family Endowed Fellowship in Social Sciences. The endowment will give the dean the flexibility to create a competitive fellowship package for an outstanding prospective graduate student or offer multiple fellowships at smaller amounts to other top candidates. Read More.

To learn more about how you can support the Social Sciences, please contact Doug Kurtz at (858) 822-0805 or

Alumni Updates

Ellen R. Gritz, Ph.D. ’71 (Psychology), is improving cancer prevention and treatment for thousands of Americans. Her current work evaluates the use of cell phone technology in smoking cessation for high risk groups. She also heads an evaluation of behavioral sun protection, which includes skin cancer prevention interventions in families of melanoma survivors with children under age 12.

Gritz has conducted cancer-related research covering issues such as genetic testing, counseling for hereditary cancers, and cancer survivorship. She serves on numerous advisory boards including the National Cancer Institute, several comprehensive cancer centers, and is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research Task Force on Tobacco and Cancer. Gritz is professor and chair of the Department of Behavioral Science and Olla S. Stribling Distinguished Chair for Cancer Research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Lan Quach ’99 (Political Science) started the Pasadena law firm of Proudfoot & Quach LLP in 2007 along with her mentor, Don A. Proudfoot, Jr. She is currently the president of the San Gabriel Valley Bar Association. It was an internship during her time at UC San Diego that sparked her interest in law school and subsequently she attended UCLA School of Law. Quach has been named a Southern California Rising Star for the last seven years in LA Magazine and was featured in the article, “Rescued by an Ark,” in the Southern California Rising Stars 2010 issue of Super Lawyers magazine.

Erik Schmidt ’85 (Anthropology), is a senior research analyst with Sustainable Conservation, a nonprofit focused on finding environmental solutions in partnership with business, agriculture and government. Schmidt’s experience is in federal and state regulatory processes, primarily applied to stream habitat and endangered species conservation and water quality improvements. While a student at UC San Diego, Schmidt competed as a triathlete, most notably in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, where he took 30th place overall. After graduation, Schmidt went on to compete at the national and international level in cycling. He rode for the U.S. National Team at the Tour of Guatemala and Tour of Morocco, and finished highly at the 1988 Olympic Trials.

Julietta (Julie) Hua, M.A. ’02, Ph.D. ’06, (Ethnic Studies) recently published a book, Trafficking Women’s Human Rights. In the book, Hua maps the ways in which government, media and scholarship have described sex trafficking for U.S. consumption. She is currently an assistant professor of Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University.

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