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News from CLASS

Another Day, Another Reason to Grieve

Every news cycle seems to bring another cataclysmic event that, collectively, the country must endure. Whether the death of a dignitary or a mass shooting, Americans have become numb with grief. That’s an unhealthy outcome, according to Rheeda Walker, associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Houston and director of the Culture, Risk, and Resilience Lab. Read more

Psychology Program Ranks among Nation’s Best

The UH doctoral program in Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology was ranked among the top programs in the nation in studies published by the American Psychological Association’s Division 14, the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, published on March 26. The program ranked highly in research development opportunities for doctoral students, overall program quality based on student perceptions, and interdisciplinary research.  Read more

Fulbright Recipient to Pursue Graduate Degree in Paris

CLASS undergraduate Bianca Salinas is one of only 18 students in the U.S. this year to receive a Fulbright U.S. Student Program study/research award, which she will use to complete a master’s degree in translation in Paris, France, starting in the fall 2018 semester. The competitive national fellowship will cover all her expenses during her two years of study at the Sorbonne or Université Paris-Diderot. Read more

Political Science Major Invited to Attend Ralph Bunche Summer Institute at Duke University

A rising senior political science major, Isaiah C. Johnson, has been named a 2018 APSA Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) Scholar. The 2018 RBSI program will take place from May 27 to June 28 at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Participants in the RBSI are drawn from a competitive national applicant pool, and Johnson is one of only 16 students accepted this year. Read more

Professor Lands Prestigious Award for Social Science Research

Dr. Ling Zhu, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, is one of 27 recipients presented the Awards for Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity at the Assistant Professor level for the 2017-2018 academic year by the UH Division of Research. Recipients are selected through nomination by their peers and ranked by faculty. Each candidate is rated on criteria relevant to their discipline. Dr. Zhu is the first from the department to win this award. “It is the supportive and intellectually stimulating environment in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences that makes this possible,” Dr. Zhu explains. She focuses her research on the role democracy plays in relieving social inequality and this recognition brings an awareness to social science research.

Tesh Retires and Nelms Takes the Helm

After 38 years, Joy S. Tesh recently retired from her post as director of the UH Language and Culture Center (LCC), which provides intensive English instruction for international students. When asked what she would miss the most, Tesh didn’t hesitate, “Most of all, I will miss the students,” she explains. “I will miss my colleagues and friends. I will miss the energy and excitement of an ordinary day in the LCC. I will miss the conversations, the culture festivals, the food, the music, the dance, and the laughter.” Following Tesh’s departure, Dr. Jodi Nelms, former LCC assistant director, took the helm as the new director of the LCC in January 2018.

‘Turn it Gold’ Documentary Shines a Light on Childhood Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14. Research aimed at preventing and curing the disease has to be funded, and funding grows from awareness. This was the impetus behind, “Realistically Ever After: A Turn It Gold Movement,” co-produced by Dr. Jill Yamasaki, associate professor of health communication in the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, along with two Emmy-award winning collaborators. The documentary profiles the efforts of a Houston-based nonprofit organization as it partners with schools, athletic teams and community members to communicate the hard facts of childhood cancer and increase funding for research. The film will be screened for the UH community this September, which is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Turchi Awarded Grant for his Multi-Media Project

Peter Turchi, creative writing professor in the Department of English, has just received a $10,000 Individual Artist Grant for his project, “That is Not to Say We Have No Regrets,” which combines excerpts from a group of interrelated novellas in progress with songs and music written by Turchi and his son. The Houston Arts Alliance administers the program on behalf of the City of Houston with the goal of improving Houstonians’ quality of life and promoting cultural tourism. Individual Artist Grants support the development and presentation of new artistic works across the community. Proposed projects are evaluated through a competitive open application process by external peer-review panels.

Grad Student Wins Trip to Study Ancient Greek Religion in Athens

Matthew Finnie, a graduate student in the UH Department of History, has been selected in a national competition to travel across the globe to attend the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece. During his trip, he will be participating in the “Ancient Greek Religion in Situ” seminar course led by Dr. Irene Polinskaya. A fan of Disney’s "Hercules" since he was four years old, Finnie shares his excitement about embarking on this dream-fulfilling adventure. “The opportunity to study these sites of Greek religion and to analyze the relationship between Greeks and their surrounding environment will prove vital to the completion of my PhD dissertation on the role of hero cult in ancient Athens,” he explains.

Notes From Behind the Pine Curtain: UH Alum Recognized for East Texas Historical Efforts

Dr. James C. Maroney, who received a PhD from UH’s Department of History in 1975, is passionate about preserving the history of East Texas, that part of the state that’s known as “behind the pine curtain” because of its early isolation and its piney woods. Dr. Maroney was named a Fellow of the East Texas Historical Association (ETHA), which maintains a maximum of only 20 fellows at a time. Maroney also received the annual Ralph W. Steen Award at ETHA’s fall meeting in Galveston last October for his outstanding service to historical efforts in East Texas. A specialist in labor and working-class history, Maroney, who is retired from Lee College, has published numerous articles in books and professional journals, and is co-editor and contributor to "Texas Labor History," published in 2013 by Texas A&M Press.