Political Science Grad Nominated for Post in U.S. Dept of Education by President Obama
Stony Brook, NY – Jack Buckley (Ph.D., 2003) has been nominated by President Obama to the position of Commissioner of Education Statistics, National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), Department of Education.
The position requires confirmation by the Senate.
Dr. Buckley was one of several nominations for various administrative posts made by the President in early July.
President Obama said, “The American people will be well served by these outstanding men and women. I am grateful they have chosen to lend their talents to this administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.” (whitehouse.gov)
The National Center of Education Statistics is housed within the U.S. Department of Education. The main goal of the department is to collect, analyze, and publish statistics on education and public school district finance information in the United States. The department also conducts international comparisons of education statistics.
Buckley received his Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science in 2003. His dissertation is titled “Advances in the Quantitative Analysis of Public Policy.”
In 2007 his book Charter Schools: Hope or Hype was published (co-authored with dissertation advisor Mark Schneider), a detailed analysis of the effectiveness charter schools in the Washington, D.C. area.
“Jack is a gifted methodologist,” said Schneider. “He has a very high quality work ethic. He has a strong ethic of government responsibility and public service.”
“While he was working at the CIA, I was Commissioner at NCES I recruited him to be my deputy. He is very smart and hard working, and people loved him [at NCES], and their ecstatic about the possibility of him coming back. The people at NCES really wanted him to come back and be Commissioner.”
Dr. Buckley is currently Associate Professor of Applied Statistics, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at NYU. He has taught statistics at Georgetown University, Boston College, and Stony Brook. Before pursuing graduate studies Buckley served in the U.S. Navy then worked at the CIA.
Chapin Commons: A New Refuge for the Apartment Trapped
Stony Brook, NY – Almost all graduate students at Stony Brook know how hard it is to get decent housing in the area. I came to Stony Brook in 2002 without any knowledge of the housing situation, so I chose the simplest option by signing up for the cheapest graduate on-campus choice – a 3-bedroom, 6-occupant apartment in Chapin. Cost: $300/month.
There were difficulties to be sure – crowded living conditions, a filthy refrigerator and kitchen left from the previous occupants (one of which was still sleeping illegally in my bed when I arrived), and a main front door that would not close properly and lock (not that I or any of my apartment mates had anything worth stealing).
I suppose that one of the things that bothered me and others the most was that there was no close place to get away and relax. Chapin Apartments is located beyond the University Hospital if you’re walking away from campus. It’s essentially isolated, and most residents (many of whom are international students in the U.S. for the first time), don’t have vehicles. Even if you do have a car, the immediate area doesn’t exactly provide many thrilling opportunities for relaxation and enjoyment for financially challenged graduate students.
So it was nice to hear of the opening of Chapin Commons this past winter, a newly-constructed community center at the entrance to the complex. The new facility includes Chapin Apartment’s main office, a recreation room (including a large screen TV, overhead projector and ping-pong tables), a computing room and a fitness center.
“It took some time but we convinced the leadership in one year that this was a good thing to take on – the expense of borrowing the money and building,” said Dr. Dallas Bauman, Assistant Vice President for Campus Residences.
When the apartments were built in 1980 with 240 units, not a single square foot was dedicated to common space. The point was to get the most number of students accommodated with the least number of dollars.
“When I got here in 1982,” said Bauman, “we converted two apartments that were 3-bedroom units into and office and a common area. But that was grossly inadequate for the needs of the community here. The office was functional and fine – I tried for several years to convince people that [a community center] was a good investment.”
“But once we got the agreement to pursue the question we worked with the Chapin Apartment’s Residence Association leadership to discuss what we wanted to have in the facility. We went through multiple iterations – converted that to a program statement which was used to hire architects, solicit inputs from architects, select an architect.”
The space originally converted into communal space and the office has now been changed back to apartments, which offset some of the cost of new construction (and has the added bonus of increasing capacity). Rent for all residents has been raised an additional $10 per month, all of which is used to pay for the construction, financing, utilities and staffing.
The main recreation room is spacious and his an overhead projector that can be used to show films. There is also a large-screen television and space enough to accomadate people for popular sporting events. But, according to Dr. Bauman, the ping-pong tables get the most consistent use.
The computing center is small, but for a reason. It was not meant as a large room with many workstations for individual use. Almost all students have their own personal computer, or have access to computers in their offices or other places on campus.
This template is gaining in popularity at Stony Brook.
“We’re shifting now to a new kind of approach with smart boards, integration of desktop stations with smart-board," said Bauman. "The smart-boards are a tool to use when working on group projects, which we hope students will use here.”
The fitness center is impressive and sharp.
“This fitness room gets used a lot. There were people who were skeptical about whether this room would be as popular as it is. In terms of level of popularity in the complex it competes with ping-pong tables.”
When I asked Dr. Bauman who was responsible for pushing the plan for the Commons, he answered wryly, “I suppose I have to take the blame for it.”
“[But] the response from the resident’s has been really quite positive. I’m guessing that people come here now couldn’t imagine Chapin without a facility like this. It will be interesting to see when we go through the review process in the spring if there is interest in keeping the facilities open longer.”
Former Graduate School Dean and Renowned Chemist Bigeleisen Dies at 91
Stony Brook, NY – Jacob Bigeleisen, former Dean of the Graduate School at Stony Brook and a founder of the field called isotope chemistry, died on August 7th. He was 91.
Dr. Bigeleisen was a researcher on the Manhattan project at Columbia University in 1943 where he worked on developing a method to separate uranium-235 from uranium-238 (uranium-238 being by far the most common occurring isotope in nature). Isotopes are different versions of the same element but have different atomic weights. Uranium-235 is the isotope needed to make atomic bombs.
Although his method of photochemistry was never successful for the separation (gaseous diffusion was eventually used), his research led to the development of a theory for calculating behavior of isotopes in chemical reactions.
Bigeleisen worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the Chemistry Department from 1948 – 1968, left for a position at the University of Rochester, then returned to Long Island and Stony Brook in 1978 as Vice President for Research (1978-1980), Leading Professor of Chemistry (1978-89) and Distinguished Professor Emeritus (1989-2010).
He served as Dean of Graduate Studies at Stony Brook from 1978-1982.
Jacob Bigeleisen was born in Patterson, N.J., in 1919. He went to University College of NYU in the Bronx for his Bachelor’s, then Washington State University for a Master’s and Berkeley for the Ph.D.
In addition to working at Brookhaven, Rochester, and Stony Brook, Bigeleisen spent time at the Ohio State University and the University of Chicago.
He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1966, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Engineering Student Wins Award for Paper on Spine Research
Stony Brook, NY – Recently Nilsson Holguin, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, won the Ross McFarland Student Award for best paper at the Annual Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association for his work on the effects of mechanical signaling on the degeneration of inter-vertebral disc morphology and function. I interviewed Nilsson about the award and his research.
Paul Bugyi: Tell me about the conference where you won this award. What did it focus on?
Nilsson Holguin: It was the first time I had gone to that conference – the people who go there are doctors in the field, in the military or research scientists. The things they are generally interested in are things that affect fighter pilots, ground infantry and astronauts. My project had to do with space flight and the implications for the changes in the spine and potential countermeasures.
PB: Has there been a history of that type of research on the spine?
Nilsson Holguin recieving his award at the Annual Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association
NH: It’s been going on for awhile. The idea is that when people (or rats or other animals) go into space they lose functional loading to the spine, or weight-bearing. People lose muscle, bone, their fluid shifts. With humans the disc expands and potentially that can cause back pain. So that can be from the swelling or from some downstream effect from changes to the disc.
The idea with the paper I presented was that we would try to use hindlimb unloading as a model. The rats that I use - their hind limbs are no longer touching the ground, so that portion is not receiving loading. But the spine is in tension rather than pure unloading and so the muscles may not impose full force contractions on the spine.
Not only did we show changes from this altered loading, we gave the rats very small vibrations (very, very small – nothing like you would see at a construction site) that was somewhat able to mitigate the changes associated with the altered loading.
PB: How did you design the experiment?
NH: The rats are hindlimb unloaded for 4 weeks. What that means is that these rats are suspended so that their hind-limbs are barely touching the ground if at all. The treatment animals were removed for 15 minutes, and put inside these acrylic transparent tubes – that way I could see them. The purpose of the tubes was so that I could have them stand and then apply a vibration in the long-axis direction of the spine as a therapy or countermeasure.
Not only did we see changes from these animals that were standing and being vibrated, but we also compared them to a group of animals that were hindlimb loaded and received the same amount of time upright but didn’t receive vibrations. This suggests that the changes were associated with the vibrations and not necessarily from handling.
A hindlimb unloaded rat used in the experiment.
PB: How close does this replicate what humans experience in space?
NH: Obviously it’s difficult to say because these are quadrupeds and they don’t have the same spine morphology that humans have. They don’t need all the curvature of the spine that upright walking humans do. But the disc itself is biomechanically similar. Also, there is a form of change that is similar between astronauts and rats. What could be said though is that degeneration of the discs could be altered by the mechanical signals and the vibrations.
This research comes out of what I did for my Master’s thesis where I studied bed-rest subjects who had positive responses from vibrations. So we wanted to see what happened with vibrations in a mechanistic way – how is it altering the biochemistry of the disc, which is what we were trying to accomplish in this project.
PB: What was your inspiration for using this procedure in this setting? Is this therapy typical for this type of research?
NH: People are exploring the idea of vibrations for humans, and it’s typically used in hospitals. However, the idea of looking at the inter-vertebral disc, it is relatively new because people don’t usually look at changes in cartilage, or at least this type of cartilage. Also, people thought that loads would have to be very large to have an effect, but we’ve shown that small vibrations can have a big effect.
PB: This would seem to be wonderfully practical, especially for astronauts who never have pressure on their spines?
NH: Let’s say you’re in space for a week, when it comes to the disc, the changes are reversible. But if you stay longer and longer in space muscle and bone loss (and intervertebral disc damage), may become less and less reversible.
I suppose what we are trying to bring out is that small mechanical loads have a very large effect. Even though people don’t exercise every day, they don’t lose muscle and bone strength. Just the act of standing or walking a little bit has the effect you need.
SBU Student Awarded A Fulbright U.S. Student Program Scholarship
Travis W. Holloway to study Philosophy in Germany
STONY BROOK, N.Y., August 10, 2010 — Stony Brook University Ph.D. student Travis W. Holloway has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship to Germany in Philosophy, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently.
Holloway was named a Graduate Fellow by the Fulbright Commission and will receive a research grant to study at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. He is one of over 1,500 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program during the 2010-2011 academic year.
“Travis is a thoughtful and inventive student who thinks globally about international trends in philosophy,” says Robert P. Crease, Chairman of the Department of Philosophy. “He spends as much time as he can in Europe, brushing up on languages and studying with preeminent philosophers there. This is a wonderful opportunity for him, and he is the perfect person for it.”
Holloway entered the Ph.D. program in Philosophy at Stony Brook in Fall 2007. He holds a B.A. from Belmont University and an M.A. from Boston College, where he received the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences School Award in 2007. He has studied at the University of Paris-IV (La Sorbonne), the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg in Germany, and Lingnan University in Hong Kong.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.
Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes. Prominent Fulbright alumni include: Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director and Founder, Grameen Bank, and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient; John Atta Mills, President of Ghana; Lee Evans, Olympic Gold Medalist; Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University; Riccardo Giacconi, Physicist and 2002 Nobel Laureate; Amar Gopal Bose, Chairman and Founder, Bose Corporation; Renee Fleming, soprano; Gish Jen, Writer; and Daniel Libeskind, Architect.
Fulbright recipients are among over 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than sixty years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.
Travis Holloway is the son of Gary and Marsha Holloway of Mount Vernon, Illinois, and a graduate of Mount Vernon Township High School. He currently lives in New York City.