Browsing: Social Sciences

The fossil-rich sedimentary rock basin of Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya was set upon almost 50 years ago by renowned paleoanthropologist and Stony Brook professor Richard Leakey. To build on decades-long and groundbreaking fieldwork and research, Leakey and Stony Brook University founded the Turkana Basin Institute (TBI) in 2006 to provide the crucial infrastructure needed to facilitate future research and discovery in the remote desert region, now known to be the most complete and important repository in the world for human fossils. Supported entirely through private philanthropy, the kinds of discoveries possible at TBI are manifest in a recent find…

As she completes the finishing touches on her honors thesis, Diana Hernandez remarks: “It’s the first big paper that I’ve ever done like this. And it was a really incredible experience!” On track to graduate with honors in Comparative Literature in May 2017, Diana is completing an honors thesis that focuses on a 1933 work written by Salvadoran author Salarrué called Cuentos de Barro (Tales of Clay), a collection of folktales about the everyday lives of El Savador’s “campesinos” or impoverished farmers. Working under the mentorship of Professor Timothy August of the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, Diana…

At Stony Brook University, Matthew Henninger ’16 took great risks and found big rewards. Matthew, who grew up in Farmingville, only 20 minutes away from the University, moved to Brookfield, Connecticut with his family when he was eight years old. He grew to love the relative seclusion and natural beauty of his new surroundings and vowed he would never return to densely populated central Suffolk County. His academic interests, however, lured him back. “The friends I remained close to on Long Island who attended Stony Brook raved about the immense opportunities and impeccable education they were getting there,” he says. “At…

Lynn Lewis-Bevan ’17 has some advice for freshmen feeling pressured to declare a major — don’t. Lynn, who credits her father with encouraging her to “see the science behind everything,” was introduced to a Jane Goodall documentary in third grade and she was hooked on studying the natural world. Initially, she wanted to become a veterinarian but surrendered that dream because she didn’t want to euthanize animals. She almost gave up her science dreams because she was advised by administrators in her North Carolina high school, who told her that they didn’t see her doing well in science. The reason?…

In a new article in the Yale Daily News, “The Dark Side of Diversity,” Stony Brook Professor and LDS Faculty Director Todd Pittinsky asks why the media confuses a plus from an ampersand. When Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, announced his “Us + Them” tour, with “a story that’s about whether love trumps everything,” Pittinsky noticed that the media kept calling it the “Us and Them” tour. This struck home because Pittinsky’s recent book, Us Plus Them, was also constantly referred to as Us and Them. In its small way, says Pittinsky, this mistake shows how hard it is for people…

Defying conventional wisdom and the polls, Stony Brook University Political Science Professor Helmut Norpoth predicted Donald Trump’s victory using a model with a remarkable record of predicting election outcomes. Based on his analysis of primary voting, Norpoth gave Trump an 87%-99% chance of beating Hillary Clinton nearly one year ago. He stuck by his model in press interviews despite an overwhelming consensus of pollsters and pundits promising a Clinton victory. Norpoth’s projection is based on a statistical model that relies on presidential primaries and an election cycle as predictors of the vote in the general election. Under the model, winning the early primaries…

Sharon Benedett ’18 loves to talk, so it’s fitting that the Stony Brook senior is devoted to the field of linguistics. Sharon’s affinity for language — or at least conversation — was noted as early as primary school. “My report cards always read, ‘Socializes too much in class.’ I was one of those people who really love to hear themselves talk,” she says. As a native of upstate Webster, New York, Sharon grew up thinking of Stony Brook as a state park in the Finger Lakes region. But when she began her college search process, she soon learned about another Stony Brook — the…

We hear a lot about campus and workplace microaggressions — small, casual, almost unnoticeable degradations of people in marginalized groups such as ethnic minorities, women, disabled people or transgender people. Microaggressions are a real diversity issue with real consequences. But if people are expressing negative attitudes in passing, aren’t they also expressing positive attitudes in passing? Yes — those are microaffirmations. In a new article for Kappan, Stony Brook University Professor Todd L. Pittinsky emphasizes what social scientists, administrators, advocates and policy makers have been ignoring — the small actions in everyday life that make people feel welcome, valued and encouraged.…

There’s a lot of talk about empathy — but what does it mean to empathize with someone? In common usage, “empathy” means “sympathy” — feeling sadness or sorry for someone. That’s usually what it means in social science research, too. But it shouldn’t. Empathy is a sharing of someone else’s feelings and those can just as well be feelings of pleasure, joy and success. That’s called “empathic joy,” but it’s rarely recognized, let alone researched, in the social sciences. Professor Todd L. Pittinsky of Stony Brook’s Department of Technology & Society and his colleague, R. Matthew Montoya, of the University…

The School of Social Welfare at Stony Brook University is presenting a three-part educational series, “What Ought to Be: Cultural Proficiency and Trans Care Across the Lifespan: Trans 101, Client Engagement and CBT.” These courses can be taken individually or, for a more comprehensive look into this topic, you can attend all three sessions. Licensed social workers can earn four continuing education contact hours per session. Transgender and Gender Non-conforming (TGNC) people are those who have a gender identity that is not fully aligned with their sex assigned at birth. They often face widespread discrimination and mistreatment within the healthcare…

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