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Dean Antonio D. Tillis and the CLASS Office of Communications.

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Fall/Winter 2019

Money Talks: Historian Decodes Ancient Coins to Reconstruct the Past

University of Houston history professor Frank Holt hasn’t just studied ancient history; he’s reconstructed and rewritten it. Holt has discovered kings and queens of ancient civilizations by studying the heritage of ancient coins. It’s an area of study called numismatics.
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CLASS Launches Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality

The University of Houston has launched the first university-based think tank focused on examining how gender and sexuality impact all aspects of life in Houston and Harris County, including workforce, health, family, relationships, social dynamics, leadership and equity. The Institute for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality (IRWGS) unites two dozen faculty experts from across disciplines to gather data and generate innovative research along with meaningful community dialogue. Read More

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders to Launch Ph.D. Program in 2020

The University of Houston is addressing a local and national need for more experts in speech-language pathology and audiology with the launch of a doctoral program in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD). The credential places UH among a select group of Texas universities that offer a Ph.D. in the field. The COMD department’s first class of doctoral students will begin their studies in fall 2020. Read More

Director of Italian Studies Receives Prestigious Award in Italy

CLASS is proud to congratulate Alessandro Carrera, a Moores Professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, on receiving the 2019 Flaiano Prize for Italian Studies. Read more

Students and Faculty Provide Speech, Language and Hearing Services in Belize

A team of 17 students and four faculty members in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD) recently traveled to Belize to provide speech, language and hearing services to underserved individuals. Read More

Swept Up in Emotion: Italian Researcher Reflects on the Flooding in Venice

The images of extreme flooding in St. Mark's Basilica and other historic Venice landmarks have appalled many around the world. The damage hits particularly close to home for Alessandro Carrera, Ph.D., University of Houston Moores Professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and director of Italian Studies. A native of Italy, Carrera has conducted research in Venice and knows the city intimately. Read More

Daylight Saving Time: A Bright Idea or Not?

If you felt a little more rested the morning after Daylight Saving Time ended, you may think that “extra hour” of sleep had something to do with it. The practice of advancing clocks by one hour in the spring and “falling back” during autumn may have given us an additional hour of sleep, but Candice A. Alfano, professor of psychology and director of the UH Sleep and Anxiety Center of Houston, says our circadian rhythms — also known as our sleep/wake cycle — aren’t fooled by the change of time. Read more

Professor Studies Intersections of Race, Culture, and Dementia

Assistant Professor of Psychology Luis Medina is a 2019 grant recipient of the Alzheimer’s Association Research Fellowship to Promote Diversity. Medina’s research addresses how race, ethnicity and culture combine to influence the cognitive effects of aging and dementia. Read More

Study Offers Insight on Mentoring Programs for STEMM Students

Professor of Psychology Christiane Spitzmueller served as a committee member on a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) study involving mentoring in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and manufacturing). The study examined research on the mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students in STEMM fields, with a focus on individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. Read more

Debunking Common Misperceptions of Asian Community Health

According to professors of communication Lan Ni, Zhiwhen Xiao, and Wenlin Liu, Asian Americans don’t fit the common societal perception of a group suffering from health disparities. Compounding the problem, health care organizations positioned to help may be hindered by their own misperceptions about this ethnic group. Read more

Childhood Chores Not Related to Self-Control Development

In a new study published by the Journal of Research and Personality, Assistant Professor of Psychology Rodica Damian found that completing household chores might not help improve children’s self-control or attention spans. Read more

UH Obesity and Diabetes Program Reports Success

One year after launching in Houston’s East End, Project TOUCH (Treating Obesity in Underserved Communities) has new and meaningful numbers to report. The effort to prevent and treat obesity, type 2 diabetes and other ailments opened in the East End after success in Houston’s Third Ward. The program is funded by a $2 million grant from the United Health Foundation and is free to participants. Read more

How Can We Prevent Suicide in Diverse Populations?

Professor of Psychology Rheeda Walker analyzed data on over 300,000 adults who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, dividing the list along ethnic lines to better understand the unique suicide risk factors faced by different racial groups. Read more

Hope is a Key Factor in Recovering from Anxiety Disorders

Associate professor of clinical psychology Matthew Gallagher has added his voice to a debate that spans the ages: the importance of hope. Gallagher reports in Behavior Therapy that hope is a trait that predicts resilience and recovery from anxiety disorders. Read more

Adults Who Mix Cannabis with Opioids Report More Anxiety, Depression

Andrew Rogers, a doctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology, has found that adults who take prescription opioids for severe pain are more likely to have increased anxiety, depression and substance abuse issues if they also use marijuana. Read more

Journalism Researcher Explores “Fake News” Phenomenon

Assistant Professor of Journalism Dani Madrid-Morales co-authored a study exploring the perception of the “fake news” phenomenon, which he believes is critical to combating the ongoing global erosion of trust in the media. Read more

U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program to Launch with Mellon Foundation Grant

Brown Foundation Director of Research Carolina Villarroel and Associate Professor of Hispanic Literature Gabriela Baeza Ventura will oversee a $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish the U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program. The program will give scholars expanded access to a vast collection of written materials produced by Latinos and archived by the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literacy Heritage (“Recovery”) program and UH’s Arte Público Press, the nation’s largest publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by Hispanic authors from the United States. Read more

Professor Named Fellow in American Academy of Health Behavior

Associate Professor of Health and Human Performance Daphne Hernandez has been accepted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB). Hernandez received a unanimous endorsement from the AAHB Board of Directors on the strength of her publications, grants, and presentations, which demonstrate a sustained commitment to excellence in research and improving public health. Read more

English and Creative Writing Professor Honored Among Houston’s Finest Authors

Professor Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni of the Department of English will be honored at the inaugural Houston Literary Awards. The Houston Public Library Foundation selected Divakaruni as one of five local writers to be recognized for their engaging, entertaining literary works that deepen readers’ understanding of themselves and the world around them. The author of 18 books, Divakaruni published her latest novel, “The Forest of Enchantments,” in 2019. Read more.

Sociology Professor Receives Prestigious Honors

Professor of Sociology Pamela Anne Quiroz, Ph.D., has been recognized by several local and statewide organizations for her outstanding record of service and leadership. Read more.

CLASS Names 2019 Recipients of Lence Awards for Teaching Excellence

CLASS gives out teaching excellence awards in two categories each year, Humanities and Social Sciences. This year’s winners are Whitney Breslin, Ph.D. clinical assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance (Social Sciences) and Caryn Tamber-Rosenau, Ph.D. instructional assistant professor in Comparative Cultural Studies and Jewish Studies (Humanities). Read more

NYC Research Center Hosts Cultural Studies Professor for Fellowship

Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies Rachel Afi Quinn received $4,000 as part of a New York Public Library short-term fellowship. During her month-long fellowship, Quinn studied at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Read more

UH Receives $2 Million to Support Study of Tamil Language and Culture

A Texas nonprofit organization with a mission to promote Tamil language, culture and literature has made a $2 million commitment to the University of Houston to establish an endowment supporting the study of Tamil heritage. Read more

UH Introduces New Scholarship for Nutrition Excellence

A new scholarship will honor the legacy of dedicated CLASS alumna and nutritionist Maris M. Coggin. The Maris M. Coggin Endowed Scholarship for Nutrition Excellence was created by Coggin's husband Clyde in order to continue her commitment to keeping people in the nutrition profession. Read more

Lifelong Learner Among Fall 2019 Graduating Class

The definition of a lifelong learner is someone who actively seeks opportunities to grow and believes it’s never too late to start something. That sums up Curtis Mooney. And at 72, Mooney will graduate from the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences with his second Ph.D. — a doctorate in American history with a concentration in health care. Mooney’s first doctorate, a Ph.D. in social work, came from the University of Texas at Arlington. Read more

Creative Writer Awarded Worldwide Residencies to Complete New Book

Natalia Trigo, a Ph.D. student in Spanish with a concentration in creative writing, has won the 2019 International Aura Estrada Prize in Literature. On the merits of a literary work that achieved its political and artistic goals, Trigo received a $10,000 stipend, four artistic residencies located around the world, and a book contract with Almadía Press. Read more

Chinese Studies Minor Wins Speech Competition

Sunkyung Nguon, an undergraduate student minoring in Chinese language, won the 18th Annual Greater Houston Chinese Speech Contest on November 10. Nguon took first prize in the Non-Chinese Background group. Read more

Undergraduate Literary Magazine Begins 12th Year of Publication

Glass Mountain, UH's undergraduate literary magazine, enjoyed its 12th year of publication this fall. For the last ten years, the Glass Mountain team has run the Boldface Conference for Emerging Writers each spring at the M.D. Anderson Library, welcoming new community writers and undergraduates from other programs across the country. Read more

Professor of Political Science Gregory R. Weiher Passes Away

Gregory R. Weiher, Ph.D., born September 13, 1948, passed away on Sunday, September 29. Professor Weiher joined the UH Department of Political Science in September of 1984 after receiving a Ph.D. from Washington University. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1991 and promoted to professor in 2003. Read more.

23rd Annual Table Talk Luncheon

Table Talk is a fascinating combination of conversations over lunch, led by dynamic women of various cultures, professions and experience at each table. The 23rd Annual Table Talk Luncheon, to be held on March 5, 2020 at the Houston Hilton Americas, will provide young women enrolled at UH the chance to network and learn from Houston’s most successful female leaders. Table Talk benefits the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at the University of Houston. Read more

Valenti Impact Awards

The 2020 Valenti Impact Awards will be held May 1, 2020 in recognition of outstanding students, faculty, and community partners of the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. Read more

MPA Public Official of the Year Awards Luncheon

Each year, the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program honors outstanding elected officials who have acted as positive influences on the ideals of public service in the greater Houston metropolitan area. The 2020 MPA Public Official of the Year Luncheon will be held March 6, 2020 at 11:30 a.m.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Delivers Lecture on America’s Public Hospitals

CLASS was honored to host David M. Oshinsky, director of the Division of Medical Humanities at New York University Langone Health and a professor in the Department of History at NYU, as the keynote speaker for the 2019 John P. McGovern Annual Award Lecture in Family, Health, and Human Values. On November 7, Oshinsky delivered a lecture titled “The Frayed Safety Net: The Future of America’s Public Hospitals” to an enthusiastic crowd of over 150 students, alumni, and community members. Oshinsky received the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in History for “Polio: An American Story.” Read more

Internationally Acclaimed Photography Exhibit Brings Civil Rights History to UH

The works of renowned photojournalist Ernest C. Withers (1922-2007), who captured the progression of anti-racism protests, marches and activism throughout the United States, were on view at the University of Houston M.D. Anderson Library from Oct. 20 through Nov. 3. Read more

Outstanding Dissertation Earns Hispanic Studies Alumna First Book Contract

Laura Gasca Jiménez, a former doctoral student in the Department of Hispanic Studies, received the prestigious 2019 ASELE-Routledge international award for best dissertation and book contract. Gasca Jiménez completed her Ph.D. in Spanish linguistics in 2018. Read more

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