The Professor Is In: Q&A with Emilie Zaslow

In this Professor Is In, Emilie Zaslow, PhD, talks feminism and family, dinner guests and Downton Abbey, and more!

Written by Pace student Sarah Aires ’14

It’s no surprise that Professor Emilie Zaslow, PhD, was named “Best Professor” for the 2012 Pawscars. She has been featured in articles in The New York Times, the Associated Press and MTV.com. Her book Feminism, Inc.: Coming of Age in Girl Power Media Culture, a critical account of the girl power movement, was published in 2009. Her research explores the media’s impact on gender identity and femininity. She’s been granted many research grants including Pace’s prestigious Dyson Summer Research Grant several times, and written for and reviewed countless scholarly articles and journals. Whether she is acting as adviser, holding a riveting lecture, or moderating a classroom debate, Professor Zaslow is always available to her students in any capacity. In this Professor Is In, she lets Pace know just what makes her tick!

What was your favorite class as a student? Least favorite?

As an undergraduate my favorite classes were History and Sociology of the English Speaking Caribbean. It was an interdisciplinary course that used sociological, economic, and political frameworks to explore the relationship of a region. It was a real eye-opener and made me consider the global impacts of my values and actions. My least favorite class was Oceanography, taken at 8:00 a.m. The instructor was so enthusiastic but the combination of my lack of interest in the subject and the time of the class made it very difficult for me to focus.

What one thing or person made you passionate about your current career?

I don’t know that I could ever say there is one thing that made me passionate about being a professor. My research explores the messages young women receive from contemporary media and how they negotiate the narratives they receive about what it means to be female, feminine, and feminist. I feel passionate about my research every time I have a wonderful class discussion in which students confront and critically analyze the messages they take for granted.

What quality do you most value in your students?

I really value students’ desire to look at the complexities of our world, ideologies, and values and their willingness to question the ideas we hold most deeply. It’s very easy to be “critical” but more of a challenge to “think critically”; it can sometimes be easier to find answers than to ask more questions.

What’s your advice to students to make the most out of their time in college?

My advice is two-fold: (1) Do a lot of planning. I am a list maker. Once, during my sophomore year of college, when I was trying to settle on a major, I made a list of all the courses I wanted to take at my school and all the places I wanted to study abroad and all the extra-curricular experiences I wanted to have. My list could have kept me in school for over 10 years (which, of course, explains my career choice…). The significant part of this, though, is that I did not let my education unfold before my eyes. I took hold of it. I was mindful in my decisions. (2) Embrace the core! A lot of students complain that they find it difficult to get through all of the Area of Knowledge courses but a liberal arts education is not simply to prepare students for a professional life but also to inspire intellectual curiosity and nurture an analytic approach to cultural, social, natural, and political life. At the very least, you can gather some material for a great dinner party conversation.

If you had to do it all over again and took another path, what profession would you like to attempt? What profession would you not like to do?

I have a children’s book or two in me waiting to come out. I would also love to develop my artistic skills; I have taken classes in photography, silkscreen, and painting but never pursued any of them very far. At one point, before going to grad school, I considered getting a graduate degree in Library Science. I love books and I love libraries. I am glad that I didn’t do this since I have really mixed emotions about the digitization of information.

What is your favorite book/TV show?

I’m a media scholar. I love my TV. All for different reasons, my current favorites are: Parenthood, The Daily Show with John Stewart, Downton Abbey, Mad Men, Modern Family, and Project Runway.

I am a big Toni Morrison fan and enjoy almost anything she has written. Song of Solomon is particularly beautiful. I recently really enjoyed People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

What would you do if you had an extra hour every day?

Sit on the floor and play, read, draw, paint, talk with my kids. There is never enough time.

What is your favorite journey/experience?

Personally, watching my kids grow up is the most amazing journey I have ever been on.  Professionally, I had a wonderful moment this past year when I co-authored an article on girls, media, and Presidential politics with my best friend of over 15 years, who is now Director of Research at the Girl Scout Research Institute. We met in kindergarten and followed very similar educational and career paths but this is the first time we have published together.

What is your favorite saying/words to live by?

“The people united shall never be defeated.” We should never just accept the status quo if it doesn’t work for the people. We can and should come together to make change.

If you could have any five people, living or dead, imagined or real, as guests at a dinner party, who would you choose?

I would probably choose a dinner with my family, both living and dead.  Before my great aunt died, I was able to gather some materials for an oral history. I heard wonderfully rich stories about my family’s immigrant experience in the early 1900s, but those are on cassette tapes now collecting dust in someone’s attic. I’d love to hear more of these stories.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Dyson Professor Abbey L. Berg discusses her research on the long-term implications of iPod usage, the implementation of tools for use in emerging countries, and much more.

“I’m really hoping to go to Belize and Mozambique within the next year,” says Dyson Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Abbey L. Berg, PhD. “I was asked by UNICEF to design a validation study comparing a low-cost hearing screening instrument to a more expensive equipment. If it turns out that this low-cost hearing screening tool is fairly accurate, it would be a wonderful instrument to use in developing countries that don’t have the infrastructure or resources that developed countries have.”

Berg, who was approached by UNICEF in May 2012, has been working on the development of a tool that is capable of assessing the risk of hearing disabilities in children 2-17 years of age in developing and emerging countries. One of the tenets of the task was to create a tool that could be easily used and understood by community fieldworkers, the majority of whom are only high school graduates.

Though hearing disability is just one of several disabilities UNICEF is exploring, Berg’s proposal has been accepted to the review process and will hopefully soon be piloted in Belize and Mozambique. “I’m very excited about the global implications,” Berg says.

In a related vein, Berg’s most recent notable research has come from her study of the changes in high-frequency hearing thresholds in adolescents. Data collected from adolescent females from a foster care facility over a 24-year period was examined.

“What my colleague, Dr. Yula Serpanos and I found was that in 2008, the high-frequency hearing thresholds were much higher—that is, the girls had poorer hearing than children in the facility in say 1990,” says Berg, “Our analysis supports that the higher high-frequency thresholds observed resulted from the increased use of iPods and other MP3 players.”

Going forward, as these devices become more prevalent, children will be more susceptible to noise-induced and age-related hearing loss; a reality that will have both social and economic consequences.

“They’re going to need hearing aids—it’s going to cost health care dollars,” she says, “and the social isolation that comes from hearing loss can be very serious. Recent studies have found an association between hearing loss and dementia.”

Berg’s most recent research continues on high-frequency hearing loss in the adolescent population. She is working with psychology and communication professionals to deduce which media best reach resistant populations, because, as Berg explains, adolescents are not known to take advice well.

“We’re currently exploring public health options and other methods to reach kids early in life. We hope that as they grow up, they won’t take risks with their hearing,” says Berg. “It’s tough, but I’m very excited about this.”

We Want to Hear from YOU!

Do you like us? Check yes or no. Marketing and Communications wants to know… “how we doin’?” and in return for answering a short survey, we’ll serve you better and enter you to win one of three $50 Visa gift cards.

Dear Pace University Faculty and Staff:

In our continuing effort to provide you with the most relevant and timely information on campus news, activities and events, we need your participation in a brief survey we are conducting.

Please click on the link below to take this short survey that will better assist us and provide you with the information you want to read about Pace University’s current news and campus events.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RY5SV35

As recognition of your participation in the survey, you will be included in a drawing to win one of three $50 Visa gift cards.

We thank you in advance for your participation.

We wish you continued success and a very happy and healthy new year.

Regards,

Pace University

Marketing Communications Department

Cybercrime in the World Today

Pace University hosts a stimulating discussion about the growing impact of cybercrime on various industries and a review of original research focused on the issue of skimmer fraud.

On Thursday, February 28, join Pace University and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) USA as they come together for Cybercrime in the World Today, a symposium with a focus on skimmer fraud. The day’s participants come from a variety of backgrounds and include Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau and Investigative Division David Szuchman, and Kelly Bissell, principal, Information and Technology Risk Management and Global Incident Response at Deloitte & Touche.

The term “cybercrime” often conjures up the image of a rogue hacker, hiding away behind a computer screen, attempting to crack the digital code that protects the Fort Knox of databases. But, the truth is we expose ourselves to the hazards of cybercrime each time we open our wallets.

Skimmer fraud, a crime responsible for billions of dollars in lost revenue and is one of the major crimes being fought by federal and local law enforcement agencies, typically occurs during legitimate transactions. “Gone are the days when a bank robber needed to point a gun at a teller to steal money,” says Seidenberg Computer Information Systems Chair and computer forensics expert Darren Hayes, DPS, “Now the thieves can bilk millions from financial institutions using simple skimming devices.”

Theft of personal information happens through the copying of information on a credit card, the illegal installation of a “skimming” device, or “parasite” on a point-of-sale machine at stores or gas stations, or theft of bank information from overlay skimming devices at ATMs.

“We’re working on a survey of corporations, distributed through accounting firms, to make an assessment of companies that have been victims of skimmer fraud,” Hayes says, “Our goal is to quantify how big the problem is and ultimately provide guidance on how organizations can seek to mitigate these risks.”

Many agencies, says Hayes, talk about the issue of cybercrime, but they don’t break out the skimmer fraud piece and how important that is for overall evaluation. Hayes is collaborating with other researchers from Seidenberg and Lubin, who have partnered together to study skimmer fraud as part of the broad spectrum of cybercrime. Hayes and those involved with the upcoming symposium hope to provide advice to large companies who are seeking to re-evaluate their future business practices, as well as the individual credit or debit card user on how to mitigate the risks of skimmer fraud.

For more information about the day’s participants and to RSVP for Cybercrime and the World Today, please click here.

The Results Are In

We asked and you answered! Expanding on the University’s academic theme of “Justice,” we asked the Pace Community several hard-hitting questions to better understand their interpretation of the theme.

“I was thrilled to see how diverse the responses were to the questions, as they are reflective of the diversity of the Pace Community,” says University Director for Student Academic Engagement, Sue Maxam, EdD.

The questions, which were posted in both Opportunitas and The Pulse during the fall semester, sought to open a dialogue and get respondents really thinking about equality, freedom, fairness, happiness, and respect.

“The polling was important because these controversial questions enabled our community to think about, and weigh-in on, justice related questions that have no easy answers,” Maxam explains. “In the end, 100% of respondents had justice in mind when answering the questions, yet their personal experiences, cultural or religious backgrounds, and moral upbringing all resulted in different conceptions of what the ‘right’ answer was.”

The following graphs express the poll data collected from faculty, staff, and students during the Fall 2012 semester:

 

How do you weigh in on the questions above? What do you think these results say about the Pace Community? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

Does Size Matter?

Dyson Professor Brandon Adams and student Henry Li think it might. The pair is studying the predictive relationships between obesity criteria and neuropsychological deficits.

“It has been shown that individuals who can be classified as obese tend to do poorer on cognitive tests,” says Dyson Psychology Professor Brandon Adams, PsyD. “Typically, those who are overweight display poorer memory and poorer cognitive abilities.”

Controversial as it may sound, Adams and Psychology student Henry Li believe that this is an important topic, worthy of further exploration through Pace’s Undergraduate Student-Faculty Research Initiative. Though their research is still in the early stages, the pair has begun to build a strong foundation for their study, including an examination of prior related studies and multiple interviews with medical professionals from a variety of hospitals and clinics, including Columbia University Medical Center, Wyckoff Hospital, and St. Luke’s Hospital.

“What originally made me interested in this subject was that I was obese myself when I was younger,” Li explains. “Being obese or bigger than an ‘average weight’ person did not really seem to have much of a difference in my eyes. Furthermore, there were many different standards for obesity around the world. I wanted to find out if any of these standards or classifications have any real accuracy or differences.”

To explore the correlation between body and brain power, Adams and Li think the first step is to properly examine how we define obesity. The body mass index (BMI), developed in the mid-19th century, uses an individual’s height and weight to determine body fat. Despite limitations of the BMI’s ability to measure obesity–chief among them that it does not account for muscle mass–it has been commonly used and accepted since its development. The alternative methods for determining body fat being explored by the pair include height-to-waist ratio and hip-to-waist ratio.

“With the growing rate of obesity in the U.S., it is important to understand if the statistics are accurate,” Li notes. “Therefore, it is our goal to find an alternative to the currently used BMI definition.”

During the coming months, Adams and Li hope to gain approval from the Institutional Review Board to begin recruiting sample participants for the second part of their research. Those that fit the researchers’ profile for obesity will be given a battery or neuropsychological tests to measure intelligence, memory, and executive functioning. The two are hoping to examine whether memory and cognitive abilities have an influence on weight or vice-versa.

“Dr. Adams was originally my experimental psychology professor, and I learned a lot [from him] about different ways of conducting research,” says Li. “All last semester for this research we were very busy and had to work individually, but so far we have both learned a lot from what we have gathered and shared with one another.”

To learn more about this and other research projects and pairings, visit the Undergraduate Research Initiative blog.

Pace Cares

While the storm may be over, the recovery is ongoing. The Pace Cares Initiative has worked diligently to provide hands-on assistance, donations of goods, and monetary relief for those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Pace University formed the Pace Cares Initiative, the result of a University-wide task force established to mobilize the volunteer efforts of the Pace Community. More than 100 Pace volunteers participated in Pace Cares Day, a collaboration across campuses and departments, on Friday, November 16, in New York City and Westchester County, collecting more than 2,000 items of donated food, clothing, personal care items, and cleaning supplies to assist communities that were severely affected in the wake of super storm Sandy. The donations were distributed to a variety of local and national organizations that are helping victims.

In addition, Pace established the Pace Cares Fund to provide financial assistance to Pace students who were affected by the storm. As of November 30, the fund has raised $34,488 from 490 donors. Contributions can be made online at www.pace.edu/pacecares or by calling the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at (212) 346-1765.

Students also continue to help those hit hardest in the wake of Sandy. Pace’s Center for Community Action and Research (CCAR) has been continually partnering with volunteers in the communities impacted by the storm.

The CCAR on both campuses recently arranged for student volunteers to help with the post-Sandy clean-up on Staten Island. The students worked with All Hands Volunteers, a nonprofit group dedicated to providing hands-on assistance to impacted communities around the world. The organization estimates that Pace students helped 72 families and contributed to approximately $115,553 of donated labor. More photos of Pace students helping with the Staten Island clean-up can be viewed on the CCAR’s Facebook page.

In total, more than 250 Pace students have participated in organized projects, including:

  • Working with elected officials (including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver).
  • Delivering meals to homebound elderly in Manhattan.
  • Allocating space for 124 displaced pre-school and Kindergarten students.
  • Hosting a clothing drive at three Pace Volleyball home games to aid local residents.
  • Using the Westchester Campus as a warming center for local residents still without power
  • Helping with a clean-up at the Westchester SPCA

The Pace Football team was featured on the Red Cross website as “a prime example of a community coming together in the face of a massive tragedy.” For the full articles, click here and here. “This has been a real learning experience,” said one of the players. “When times get tough, we come together and become one to help the less fortunate.”

While the storm may be over, the recovery is ongoing. There is still a need for hands-on volunteers to staff shelters, hand out food and clothing at distribution centers, and work to clean up/rebuild entire towns. If you’d like to contribute to the relief efforts or if you know of any other ways to provide assistance, please contact ccarplv@pace.edu in Pleasantville or ccarny@pace.edu in New York City  with the information.

Don’t Buy Into It

Pace’s marketing gurus Larry Chiagouris and Paul Kurnit get down to business when it comes to holiday shopping, consumer trends, and the best time to shop.

“Savvy shoppers understand that full-price spending is for suckers,” says Paul Kurnit, Lubin clinical professor of marketing, “or at least for the very rich.”

As the gift-giving season continues to gain momentum after Black Friday, shoppers are looking for the best bang for their buck. Marketing and consumer behavior experts like Kurnit and Lubin Professor Larry Chiagouris, PhD, are here to offer their sound advice and observations about this year’s shopping trends.

“Black Friday had a very, very healthy growth this year over last, to the tune of about 24 percent. Part of the reason for this is because last year, for the first time, stores opened late on Thanksgiving Day. This year, even more stores opened after dinner,” explains Kurnit. “First comes the feeding, then the feeding frenzy.”

Professor Paul Kurnit

With more and more retailers offering across the board discounts of 30 percent off all inventory, shoppers are beginning to take notice of the overall mark-up on items at the store level. A 30 percent discount barely makes a dent in stores’ overall profits.

“Things are going virtual and smaller scale,” says Chiagouris. “Things that are less than 10 dollars are going to be very appealing to consumers. Making that purchase won’t make them feel put-out.”

Chiagouris, who is also an expert on interactive marketing and technology, adds that Facebook’s Gift App, a recent attempt at mobile monetization, may prove to be a great revenue generator for the company. The app allows users to buy physical gifts virtually and now post-Sandy, make charitable donations in lieu of more traditional gifts. Another trend Chiagouris is quick to point out is the use of database marketing and management.

“Harry and David Gourmet Gifts, as well as Omaha Steaks, are beginning to prompt consumers to repeat a purchase they’ve made in the past,” he says. “If you sent steaks to someone last year, then this year you’ll probably receive a personalized message asking if you’d like to send steaks to that person again this year.”

Kurnit believes that it’s these sorts of online marketing tactics that are creating the best in-store deals. “What retailers understand more than ever before is that aside from the state of the economy and sluggish consumer spending, the biggest competition they have is from online—hence, Cyber Monday.”

Professor Larry Chiagouris

Retailers are combating the online sales boom with special in-store promotions, better deals, and longer store hours. A recent development of in-store shopping is the week-long coupon book, which offers different promotions and deals during a specific week. It ensures loyal customers come inside the store, not just once, but many times during the week.

So now that we’ve identified some of the ways retailers are vying for your hard earned cash, when is the best time to actually spend it?

“There’s a bit of mythos surrounding Black Friday,” says Kurnit, “but it’s actually not the best day for deals.”

“Don’t wait until the holiday season to start shopping,” Chiagouris urges. “For the people who really matter, you should be shopping all year long, not putting yourself under stress to get that perfect gift.”

“My advice would be to not wait until the last minute,” Kurnit says. “Stores are going to have less variety and fewer options and you may not be able to get what you want.”

But, if you’re the type that waits until the last minute, fear not:

“There are going to be some fantastic bargains on December 23 and 24,” says Chiagouris, “Trust me.”

Supply and Demand

College of Health Professions Assistant Professor Andréa Sonenberg discusses how the anticipated increases in the number of insured will affect the already short supply of primary care providers.

“We’re going to see about 32 million newly insured people on our rosters, most of which will be on the Medicaid rosters,” says Andréa Sonenberg, DNSc, WHNP, CNM, an Assistant Professor in the College of Health Professions. “The potential problem being projected is that we won’t have enough primary care providers to service this newly insured population.”

With the Supreme Court’s decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) taking place this past June, and with the outcome of this year’s Presidential Election, it is expected that the PPACA will progress to full implementation over the course of the next two years. In an effort to seek out ways to improve access to care for the newly insured, Sonenberg and Dyson Assistant Professor of Public Administration Hilary Knepper, PhD, teamed up with Joyce Pulcini, PhD, PNP-BC, FAAN, FAANP, of George Washington University to examine the role of regulatory policies on the practice of nurse practitioners and the health outcomes of would-be patients throughout the United States.

“Our premise is that regulatory policy impacts the ability of nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their education and scope of training,” asserts Sonenberg, who goes on to say that the Institute of Medicine recommends the expansion of the scopes of practice for nurse practitioners, who studies have shown to have clinical outcomes that are at least as good as physicians, and who’s patient satisfaction rates are oftentimes significantly higher than physicians.

“Nurse practitioners are a high-quality, cost-effective solution to the primary care shortage,” Sonenberg says, “Not to mention that they’re highly sought after by patients.”

Currently, many of the regulations governing scope of practice within the country, which vary from state to state, are very restrictive. The restrictions typically come in three areas: legislative, which regulatory body decides what the scope of practice for nurse practitioners can be; reimbursement policy, the percentage of the service fee Medicaid or a private insurer is willing to pay a nurse practitioner for providing the same service as a physician; and finally prescriptive authority, which gives nurse practitioners the right to prescribe medications independently of physician supervision.

“We look at how many nurse practitioners practice in a particular state, what percent of the services under Medicaid are delivered by nurse practitioners in that state, the population health outcomes in the state, and whether or not there is any correlation of those variables to the regulatory policies within the state,” she says.

States with more stringent restrictions on scope of practice for nurse practitioners may be less likely to attract nurse practitioners, which potentially impacts the patient population’s access to care within the state. If nurse practitioners are only earning 85 cents to the dollar as compared to a physician delivering the same service, or if a nurse practitioner is able to diagnose a patient’s health issue but must send the patient to a physician to receive a prescription for medication, access to care becomes even more strained.

“I think it’s so important to do this work collaboratively and intercollegially,” says Sonenberg. “I think it expands our perspectives and viewpoints as scholars. For example, working with our colleague in Public Administration has offered a different perspective than solely the health care outcome perspective. And working with a researcher from George Washington University gives us a new geographical outlook, which is especially important when looking at policies that vary depending upon location.”

 

We’ve Got the InsideTrack

The InsideTrack returns later this month as President Stephen J. Friedman sits down with William C. Dudley, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, to talk about our post-election economy.

The InsideTrack returns to Pace on November 29 when President Stephen J. Friedman, William C. Dudley, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Pace Community sit down for an illuminating talk on the post-election economy. This season’s InsideTrack kicks off bright and early at 8:30 a.m. in the Michael Schimmel Center with a coffee and networking session for Pace alumni. At 9:00 a.m., President Friedman and Dudley will take center stage for an engaging discussion and Q&A session.

Dudley became the 10th President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on January 27, 2009. In this capacity, he serves as the Vice Chairman and a permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the group responsible for formulating the nation’s monetary policy.

President Stephen J. Friedman has served as Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Capital Markets Policy at the U.S. Treasury Department, and Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Equitable Companies Incorporated and the E.F. Hutton Group Inc. He has written and lectured widely on regulation of the securities markets and of financial institutions.

Please register online by Monday, November 19 at www.pace.edu/insidetrack

Questions? Contact Verrilline Turner at vturner@pace.edu or (887) 825-8664.

Kicking Up Her Heels

If you’ve gone to Radio City to see the Christmas Spectacular or watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the last 10 years, chances are you’ve seen Dyson Professor Lauren Gaul in the line as a Rockette.

Professor Lauren Gaul

For more than 75 years, the Radio City Rockettes have been a staple of the holidays for millions of people around the world. They’ve traveled across the country to perform and two million people have traveled across the world to see them each year. And for the last 10 years, Dyson Commercial Dance Professor Lauren Gaul has been a member of this precision dance troupe.Many people go on a dozen auditions and never get a call-back, but for Gaul, it was the first time that was the charm. In 2000 after graduating from college with a degree in dance, her first professional audition was for the legendary Radio City Rockettes. After competing against 500 women for two days, Gaul got her dream job.“I performed on the line as a Rockette in the New York show as well as performed on tour across the country,” she says.

But her preferred position was as a swing, a role she held for three years and required her to know every person’s part and routine and go in at a moment’s notice. “I got to see the whole other side of it—how it was all created, the staging, and how it came together,” she said.

Her favorite thing about being a Rockette? It wasn’t the popular eye-high leg kick, which Gaul says was perfected with hours and hours of practice. “The camaraderie amongst the women,” she says. “People don’t think about that part of it. I worked with the girls in the line for 10 years, traveling, touring, and working in rehearsals—some were in my wedding. That’s what I’ll miss the most.”

This year, she hangs up her costume and her super high-kicks to help students achieve their dreams as a full-time lecturer of Commercial Dance at Pace, but that doesn’t mean she’ll be leaving the Rockettes behind completely. When a friend at Rockette operations was looking for interns, Gaul had the perfect candidate. Commercial Dance and Communications double major Ashtain Rothchild, who’s also an Arts and Entertainment Management minor, had her own set of auditions with the Rockettes, and ultimately got the part: a high-level internship working in marketing and Rockette branding under senior VP of product management and brand oversight, Chris Moseley.

“Lauren’s a fantastic teacher and is also giving students opportunities outside of school and helping us professionally,” says Rothchild. “To have teachers who are still working in the industry—as Rockettes and in Chicago—makes our program really progressive. There’s no commercial dance program like Pace’s out there.”

Pace student Ashtain Rothchild

And Gaul is also helping students become the teachers as part of a unique partnership with the New York School for the Deaf, where she is currently the coordinator of dance. This fall, Gaul and Rhonda Miller, director of Pace’s Commercial Dance Program, brought Pace students to the school in White Plains to present an abbreviated version of the students’ popular Dance Out Loud showcase and give a lecture.“It’s a great thing for both our students and the New York School for the Deaf students, and for our students to work as teachers,” says Gaul. “One of our first graduates of the Pace dance program, Ashley Williams, is now teaching there, so hopefully we can continue to partner with them to send our dance students there.”At Pace, Gaul is using her Rockettes-pertise to assist Miller with Pace’s new Commercial Dance program and make sure call-backs become even more common.

“Being a part of the Rockettes gave me a broad scope and vision of what I needed to know to help them do the same. I know how to give them the tools to get them to Broadway or to be Rockettes. That’s what we want to do. We want to tell them what we did to succeed and help them do the same,” she says.

And for some, like Ashtain Rothchild, she’s already making it happen.

“I went to my first corporate meeting the other day and was watching videos where they were showing a timeline and the history of the Rockettes. They’re showing these videos they’re going to have playing at the concession stands and I see Lauren, and I’m like ‘there’s my teacher,” Rothchild said.

The Amazing (Presidential) Race

Every four years we are treated to the best reality TV there is–the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. Join faculty, staff, and students in a vaunted Pace tradition—Debate Watching Parties—and answer the critical question: who has your vote?

By Sarah Aires ’14

Young adults are more attuned than ever to the goings on of the Presidential election knowing that the outcome on November 6 directly affects their opportunity and their choices.

The Pace Community knows the importance of staying civically engaged in the political process–the only way we can make sure that our voices are heard! It has become a Pace tradition to watch the debates as a community to discuss, evaluate, and cheer-on your favored candidates. For each round, there will be pre-debate discussions where you can make your stance known on any number of issues. The debate watching parties are hosted by faculty and staff on both campuses. And for those of you who are first-time voters who haven’t registered, learn more about Pace’s voter registration drive below!

NYC Campus

First Presidential Debate
Wednesday, October 3, 8:00 p.m., Lecture Hall North
Featuring a debate on the issues between Communications Studies Professor Satish Kolluri, PhD, and Economics Professor Mark Weinstock

Vice Presidential Debate
Thursday, October 11, 8:00 p.m.
Schimmel Theatre
Featuring a discussion on women’s issues in the 2012 election with Dyson Professor of Women and Gender Studies Nancy Reagin, PhD, Women and Gender Studies and History major Victoria Measles, and Pace alumna Annamaria Santamaria ’12

Second Presidential Debate
Tuesday, October 16, 8:00 p.m., Schimmel Theatre
Featuring a debate between Pace students

Third Presidential Debate
Monday, October 22, 8:00 p.m., Schimmel Theatre
A discussion on foreign policy in the 2012 election featuring Political Science Professor Mattew Bolton, PhD, and Peace and Justice Studies Professor Emily Welty, PhD

PLV Campus

First Presidential Debate
Wednesday, October 3, 8:00 p.m.
Gottesman
From QE3 to “drill baby, drill” candidates duke out the issues.

Vice Presidential Debate
Thursday, October 11, 8:00 p.m.
Kessel Well–Bookstore Area
Biden v. Ryan. What more do you need?

Second Presidential Debate
Tuesday, October 16, 8:00 p.m.
Kessel Well–Bookstore Area
Occupy Wall Street. Anarchy in the E.U. Take to the streets (or at least get out of your seats) and debate top issues at home and abroad.

Third Presidential Debate
Monday, October 22, 8:00 p.m.
Kessel Well–Bookstore Area
Global warming. Nuclear programs in Iran. China-Japan showdown. Presidents and students tackle some of the most pressing foreign policy issues of the day.

Up for Discussion

The Office of Multicultural Affairs teams up with some high-profile experts, including NY State Senator Eric Adams, to tackle tough topics including New York’s Stop-and-Frisk practices and homophobia in the Latin@ community.

“We’re really, really excited” says Denise Belén Santiago, PhD, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, of their upcoming event, Stop and Frisk, which features a panel discussion examining the current controversial policies that are heralded by some as a crime prevention tool and by others as racism at its worst.

On Thursday, October 11 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the NYC Campus’ Multipurpose Room, a panel of speakers will come together to discuss the nuances of stop-and-frisk and attempt to sort out the gray areas in between. Panelists include New York State Senator Eric Adams, Pace Law Professor Randolph McLaughlin, Data and Policy Analyst Coordinator for the New York Civil Liberties Union Sarah LaPlante, and Pace Professor of Criminal Justice and Security and former New York Assistant District Attorney Christina Chuliver. The panel discussion will be moderated by Pace Professor of Communications Studies Satish Kolluri, PhD.

“There’s another aspect to this event,” says Santiago, “which is that we’ll be working in concert with a new program we just started called the Urban Male Initiative. This was formed to benefit historically underrepresented black and Latino students at Pace.”

Also planned for this October, OMA will host In Our Own Words, On Our Own Terms: Reflections of Latin@ LGBTQ Writers. The event is scheduled for October 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a break for lunch before the writing workshop session.

“We decided to have the writers talk about their experience in what is largely a homophobic society within the Latino community,” Santiago says. “They will also be addressing how we become allies and how to effectively combat homophobia.”

The event will begin with the writers reading selections from their work, followed by lunch, and then a writing workshop for participants to tell their own stories, which will then be used as part of a digital storytelling project.

For more information or to RSVP to attend these events, contact Denise Belén Santiago at dsantiago@pace.edu

Setters Come Home

Homecoming and Family Week get underway this month with events planned for all members of the Pace Community.

Homecoming and Family Week come to campus this October as NYC and PLV gear-up for some serious fun. These celebrations aren’t reserved for only students and families–staff and faculty are invited, too. In NYC, Family Week starts on Thursday, October 25 and continues until Saturday, October 27. Events include a pep rally, several Broadway shows, an alumni pub crawl, and more. On the PLV Campus, Homecoming kicks off Thursday, November 1 and includes a pep rally, a student unity parade, football game, and much more. Check out the list of events below for just a small taste of all Pace has to offer for Homecoming 2012.

NYC Family Week 2012

Oktoberfest
Wednesday, October 24, 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Join us in the Courtyard for an afternoon of authentic Oktoberfest food, activities, and games. Departments and student organizations will also be hosting carnival games during the event.

Homecoming Pep Rally
Wednesday, October 24, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
The only way to celebrate the new school year is with a Pep Rally. Deejays, games, sport teams, cheerleaders, and the Homecoming Court will be on hand for a night filled with laughter and fun in the Gymnasium.

Broadway Shows
Friday, October 26, all shows begin at 8:00 p.m.

  • Lion King, $85 Giraffes strut, birds swoop, and gazelles leap in a dazzling panorama that overwhelms the senses and inspires you with the wonder of life.
  • Once, $45 On the streets of Dublin, an Irish musician and Czech immigrant are drawn together by their shared love of music.
  • Nice Work If You Can Get It, $56 Overflowing with 15 great songs, including “But Not For Me,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me,” this brand new Gershwin musical comedy combines laughter, romance, and high-stepping musical magic.

Alumni Leaders and Legends Brunch
Saturday, October 27, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Join our new Provost Uday Sukhatme in the Student Union as we recognize our former student leaders who made significant contributions to the Pace Community while attending the University as well as those who continue to make an impact as alumni. All alumni and their families are welcome as we celebrate your special Pace connections at this complimentary event.

Neighborhood Walking Tour with the Dean for Students
Saturday, October 27, 3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Join Dean Marijo Russell O’Grady, PhD, in Pace’s Reading Room and head out on a walking tour of Pace’s historic home in lower Manhattan. Learn how Pace’s future plans are helping to change the overall campus experience for both our students and the surrounding community.

Keeping Pace Pub Crawl (Alumni only)
Saturday, October 27, 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Relive your college days at our first ever neighborhood trivia pub crawl. Join us as we visit some of the most popular locations in downtown Manhattan where you spent so much time as a student, when you were not studying, of course! Show your school spirit and wear your favorite Pace gear and en route, answer trivia questions about Pace and earn free drinks!

PLV Campus Homecoming

Student Unity Parade
Friday, November 2, 6:00 p.m.
Come watch and enjoy the parade as we kick-off Homecoming weekend as our royal court, football team, campus organizations, and pep band show off their decorating skills and parade their way to Goldstein Gym.

Pep Rally
Friday, November 2, 8:00 p.m.
Time to cheer on your Pace University Athletics teams! Come to the pep rally and be introduced to our football team along with other fall sports teams and enjoy fun contests and cool giveaways!

Football Game
Saturday, November 3, 12:00 p.m.
It’s Game Day! Pace Football kicks off against Stonehill College at noon in the final home game of the regular season. Show up early for the game as the tailgate lots open at 10:00 a.m.! Our senior football players will be honored before the game, the Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned at halftime, and enjoy a free giveaway at the ticket gate!

Dinner and Entertainment
Saturday, November 3, 6:00 p.m.
Enjoy a delicious dinner with family and friends while watching some entertainment.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to join in the celebration by registering to be guest judges for the banner contest, the step and stroll show, or Fabulosity. Contests not your thing? No problem. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to register to ride on floats in the Student Unity Parade.

For a full schedule of events on both campuses, please visit www.pace.edu/homecoming.

Curtain’s Up!

The 2012-2013 season kicks off this month with a variety of music, dance, theater, and cabaret performances. Pick your pleasure, as this season’s Schimmel lineup is sure to have something for everybody.

The Pace Presents 2012-2013 season, which runs from September through April, will kick off with a performance on September 22 by Fanfare Ciočarlia, a thrilling 12-piece brass orchestra and one of the world’s most cherished Gypsy bands. If brass bands aren’t your thing, not to worry—there are plenty more performances that may pique your interest.

On September 28, Fatoumata Diawara takes the stage for her New York debut. At the center of her music is a warm, affecting voice; spare, rhythmical guitar playing; and gorgeously melodic songs incorporating elements of funk, soul, and jazz.

Something may be rotten in the state of Denmark, but Pace is delighted to have one of the world’s most renowned Shakespeare companies back on the Westchester and New York City campuses for a third time. On October 2-7, following a widely acclaimed tour and run at the Globe in 2011, a handful of players will perform a raw, thrillingly elemental production of Hamlet, in the US. This engaging and youthful production has political conspiracy, obsession, violence, depth, humor, and tragedy. The Westchester presentation of Hamlet will be performed outside on the Miller Lawn.

On October 13, tabla superstar Zakir Hussain, India’s most celebrated living artist and an extraordinary percussionist of international renown, will be joined by bansuri flute prodigy Rakesh Chaurasia, a nephew of maestro Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia. Also scheduled for this October are performances by jazz legend Ramsey Lewis, singer/songwriter Justin Townes Earle, and a banjo summit, featuring Béla Fleck with some of the world’s most influential bluegrass banjo players.

Things heat up this November 3 and 4 as the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company brings its celebrated repertoire to the Schimmel. Calpulli will be unveiling its world premiere of Dia de los Muertos, evoking the unending relationship between the living and the departed with music and dance as the language that transcends. As the year comes to a close, join Tony Award-winner Debbie Gravitte and her special guests on December 8 as she celebrates the holidays. In the past, her guests have included Harvey Fierstein, Oscar and Tony Award-winning composer, Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz, Broadway fave Rebecca Luker, among others.

Just to name a few, planned for the spring are performances by renowned British dance company, Scattered; acclaimed Japanese pianist Harumi Hanafusa and Lower Manhattan’s own Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra; and back by popular demand, an eight-part lecture series by Pace Professor Janetta Rebold Benton, PhD, which will focus on Italian art—from the Pantheon to St. Peter’s.

Tickets for staff and faculty are $10 and can be purchased by calling (212) 346-1715 or by visting the Box Office, Monday through Friday, 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information about these and other events at the Schimmel Center, please visit schimmel.pace.edu.

The Quest for a Just Society

Would you sell your kidney on the black market if it meant making enough money to support yourself and your family?

Answer this and other hard hitting questions as part of the University’s common theme: The Quest for a Just Society. Kicking off the academic year earlier this week was the Convocation keynote address from Harvard professor and bestselling author Michael J. Sandel, who spoke on what it means to be just and live in a just society.

In an effort to promote and integrate the academic theme within the Pace Community, the Office for Student Success has developed a series of questions that seek to open the lines of communication between faculty, staff, and students. In the coming months, be on the lookout for thought-provoking questions about justice posted within various Pace publications, such as Opportunitas, The Pulse, and on Pace’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. We’ve launched the first justice poll in this issue of Opportunitas as a pop-up in the lower right hand corner of your browser. Cast your vote and see the running totals.

If push came to shove, would your colleagues resort to cannibalism? How do students feel about mail-order brides and grooms? At the beginning of the spring 2013 semester, Opportunitas will announce the polling totals that have been gathered throughout the fall semester. Stay tuned, stay engaged, and find out what others are saying.

In addition to the polling, the Office for Student Success has also set up a discussion board that can be used by faculty, staff, and students to discuss, debate, and ponder what justice means and why we feel that way.

For more information on the University’s academic theme and for the polls and discussion board, visit www.pace.edu/justice.

The Professor Is In: Q&A with Allen Oren

Professor Allen Oren talks about his years in the Holy Land, his Emmy experience, what it takes to get an “A” in his class, and much more in this month’s issue of The Professor Is In.

He’s an award-winning director and producer, a globetrotting journalist, and an accomplished writer, but in his spare time, Allen Oren, Dyson associate professor of Media and Communication Arts, calls the Pleasantville Campus home base. During his professional career, Oren has worked as a freelance writer and columnist in Israel, as the Entertainment Editor for USA Today, and as a producer and reporter for the MSG Network. It was during his time at MSG that he researched, wrote, and produced the Emmy Award-winning documentary on the history of Madison Square Garden, The World’s Most Famous Arena And How It Got That Way. Over the years, Oren has been nominated for several Emmy Awards including two 2012 nominations in the categories of Religion and Research for his documentary 18 Voices Sing Kol Nidre, which tells the story of Judaism’s most sacred prayer.

What was your favorite class as a student? Least favorite?
I loved a two-year core course called “Contemporary Civilization.” It was basically a quick tour of world history, intellectual history, and artistic history; I liked it so much I created my own more intensive version when I graduated.

I took a year off between undergrad and grad school and read (and listened and looked) my way through history. The idea was to fill some of the holes I still had in my education and also to put what I had learned into a firmer context. So I proceeded chronologically—creation of the universe, ancient history, medieval history, and so on—starting each era with an overall history of that period, then biographies of the key personalities of that period, then a sample of their key works. Each morning I made my way to a library like others made their way to work, and one year, 400 books, and assorted artworks later, I re-joined the present day.

Least favorite class?  I got a solid C in statistics.

What one thing or person made you passionate about your current career?
I guess it was in the genes. Both my mother and father were good writers and speakers and, as important for me as a journalist, they both asked well and listened well. So, by second grade I was editing a mimeographed penny weekly at school, with Mom, of course, as assistant editor.

And my uncle was a professional journalist who moved to Israel. So I, after journalism grad school, decided to take a two-week trip to the Holy Land… which led to a two-month language lab there… which stretched to four years as a magazine writer there, where I found, among other things, my journalistic voice.

What quality do you most value in your students?
Originality, creativity. I went into features rather than news because it allows subjects and style that are more creative. I went into broadcast after print because it offers more tools to be creative—not just words, but pictures, sound, voice, music, graphics, special effects.

I always tell students I don’t give extra credit work, but the truth is when I grade a student’s article or broadcast or speech, I subconsciously give bonus credit for originality. I sometimes give the same grade to an original that falters as to a predictable that succeeds.

What’s your advice to students to make the most out of their time in college?
See the course catalogue as a giant buffet, a smorgasbord, an all-you-can-eat. It’s your opportunity to try things as you will never be able to again. Sure, specialize in a major that may lead to work. But then diversify, become better-rounded. A great college art course helped me see better, a great college music course helped me hear better, a great philosophy course helped me wonder better. I probably broke the record for most departments sampled in a college career, but it’s a record I’m proud of and that served me well later.

If you had to do it all over again and took another path, what profession would you like to attempt? What profession would you not like to do?
As a journalist, I was fortunate to touch on a lot of the professions I would have enjoyed. For example, I’ve been an arts critic and editor for many years, and can see myself enjoying being a filmmaker, a photographer, a musician, an architect.

I was a psych major in college (though I really majored in the campus newspaper) and almost switched to psych as a career at one point. It’s no coincidence that much of my journalistic work was profiles of people. I’ve long said that a good journalist and a good therapist are very similar: Both get to know their subjects intimately and sensitively, but the journalist is paid to make it public, the therapist is paid to keep it private.

A job that’s not for me? I once did a magazine piece on a guy who stood in a glass booth against the tile wall inside the Lincoln Tunnel, looking for car emergencies. He was a nice guy who passed his eight-hour shift making Rorschach patterns from the tiles across the way. I stood with him, but very restlessly. I called the piece, “Looking for a Breakdown.”

What is your favorite book/TV show?
The book I’m in the middle of is Imagine by Jonah Lehrer, about the essence of creativity. It’s really a fascinating book and a tragedy that it became mired in ethical scandal. I kept reading anyway because, though quotes were admittedly altered, my guess is the book is generally well reported and the underlying themes are very compelling.

My favorite TV show varies, though the network doesn’t. The show always stands in a long line of HBO series, from The Sopranos to Curb Your Enthusiasm to The Wire to Deadwood to Treme to the current The Newsroom. Actually, The Newsroom is only half good, but that half is very good. The show is a very adult, sophisticated take on the important issues of current journalism, but a very juvenile, simplistic take on romance and relationships. A schizophrenic series, sums up this critic.

What would you do if you had an extra hour every day?
I’d bank the hours. That way I’d have an extra day every 24 days, an extra 15 days every year, and, over an 80-year lifetime, I could add 1,200 days. For those extra three years, I’d be very thankful.

What is your favorite journey/experience?
My most recent favorite was the journey of producing and directing an independent documentary, 18 Voices Sing Kol Nidre. It was the story of Judaism’s most sacred prayer, the Kol Nidre chant that starts Yom Kippur, as told by 18 people who were touched by it.

I had always done my broadcast pieces as an employee of stations or networks, but this topic was so esoteric I knew it wouldn’t attract interest as just a concept. So my wife and I financed the production ourselves in the hope that a finished product would find support.

It did. The 40-minute piece was picked up by WNET-Channel 13 in New York, then a national PBS distributor, then a documentary distributor. The last two falls it has aired in 75 PBS markets across the US, including nearly all the largest. And this High Holiday season “18 Voices,” which was nominated for two Emmys, will air again.

What is your favorite saying/words to live by?
I guess it’s more of a visual. Those who’ve seen my desk at Pace know that on one corner is an item I pieced together myself. On each of the scales of an old scale of justice I placed a cardboard box with a hand-written label. One says, “As it is.” The other says, “As it should be.” I change which scale is higher or lower depending on how I’m feeling about the world. But the point—the saying you asked for—is that life is always a struggle between the real and the ideal.

If you could have any five people, living or dead, imagined or real, as guests at a dinner party, who would you choose?
Well, since the question mixes actual and imagined, I’d choose five fascinating personalities in history—there are more than enough to choose from—and imagine they had lived five years longer. I’d then ask that the topic of their dinner conversation be how they had lived their final five years, and why that way.

Do the Right Thing

Join the Pace Community on September 4 as we kick off the school year at our 5th Annual Convocation on the PLV Campus and enjoy a talk by keynote speaker Michael J. Sandel.

Is it moral to steal food for the benefit of the hungry? Is violence ever necessary? What is the value of one human life?

On September 4, 2012, faculty, staff, and students will gather on the Westchester Campus for an exciting address from Harvard University professor and bestselling author Michael J. Sandel, where he will discuss these and other quandaries related to justice, equality, democracy, and citizenship at Pace’s 5th Annual Convocation.

The theme of this year’s Convocation “The Quest for a Just Society” was inspired by Michael J. Sandel’s bestselling book Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, which explores  issues of morality, politics, and personal convictions. This year’s Convocation handbook, which was developed by Joseph Pastore, PhD, and the Justice Curricular Integration Committee, states that:The search for justice impacts our daily lives as we seek to do what is right for ourselves and for others. This agenda is crucial in a university setting where the search for learning is premised upon the development of a ‘good society’ where human development, rights, virtues and character are critical…We hope the academic year, 2012‐2013, will be a time when the entire Pace University community unites in a search for the meaning of a just society.”

“Interestingly, we decided to experiment with a different approach to the common reading this year,” says Susan Maxam, university director of Student Success. “Rather than have the incoming students read Sandel’s book, we are providing them with a comprehensive, thought-provoking handbook and asking them to view Sandel’s videos.”

“Additionally, we have two University-wide committees working tirelessly to integrate the theme into the student experience from both a curricular and co-curricular perspective,” she says. “This theme has garnered more excitement than any past theme; in fact, the enthusiasm from the faculty, students, and staff is palpable!”

Maxam emphasizes that this year’s Convocation and common reading theme is not about telling students what to think, but rather how to think. The efforts, she hopes, will get students engaged in dialogues that facilitate critical thinking. “We want them to see that there are many perspectives to each justice-related issue,” says Maxam. “And that it is important to consider them all before deciding for themselves what is ‘right.’”

Faculty and staff from both campuses are encouraged to be a part of providing a warm welcome to Pace’s newest class and helping usher in a year justice seeking!

Buses to the Pleasantville Campus will depart from the Schimmel Theater between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and the Convocation Ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m. For more information about Convocation and this year’s common reading selection, please visit www.pace.edu/convocation.

Making Peace: A Q&A with Emily Welty

Dyson Professor and Director of Peace and Justice Studies on the NYC Campus, Emily Welty, PhD, discusses her experiences with conflict and peacemaking both abroad and right here on Wall Street.

Emily Welty, PhD, is no stranger to conflict—well, studying conflict, that is. She recently completed a major research project that served as the basis of her doctoral work, during which time she spent a year in Uganda and Kenya observing the faith-based peace building by nongovernmental development organizations, the Mennonite Central Committee in particular. Welty is also part of a seven-year advisory board with the World Council of Churches, where she works to help churches think about how to engage in international affairs, peacemaking, and social justice.

Most recently, Welty collaborated with fellow Pace faculty members including Matthew Bolton, PhD, Meghana Nayak, PhD, and Chris Malone, PhD, on a book entitled Occupying Political Science: The Occupy Wall Street Movement from New York to the World. The book, which will be published in January 2013, focuses on how political science helps to explain Occupy Wall Street and what Occupy Wall Street demonstrates about political science. Welty’s research examines the different ways nonviolent tactics have been used by Occupy Wall Street.

You address peacemaking from several different perspectives, but your specialty is the “religious dimension of conflict and peacemaking.” Why do you suppose religion plays such a crucial role and what have you learned from your personal research experiences?
Conflict affects everyone and often many of the dynamics that make conflict feel particularly uncomfortable is that it calls into question central, core parts of our identity or worldview. Globally, we see many conflicts both internationally as well as domestically that involve core tenets of people’s identity. Faith, religion, and spirituality represent core identity tenets for many people— they are among the nonnegotiable aspects of our personal identity. So, when that identity is challenged, it is particularly difficult.

I first became interested in studying religious dimensions of peacemaking because I was frustrated by the way that religion was often blamed for causing conflict. My experiences living and studying in Palestine/Israel, South Africa, and Northern Ireland as a Watson fellow made me realize that religion is a force for both conflict and peace. In all three of those cases, religion has been used by parties to justify violence but there have also been tremendous voices for peace coming out of the religious groups. I find religion fascinating—the more I learn about the strong peacemaking and social justice traditions in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, the more interested and excited I become about the power of religion to be a force for peacemaking.

What is one surprising or unexpected thing you’ve learned while conducting your research?
I feel really strongly about the importance of approaching research with both passion and curiosity. It is more important to know how to ask good questions and listen than it is to try to be an expert or tell people how to do things. I think I bring this same sensibility with me into the classroom. My students have wonderfully rich personal experiences that they bring with them to Pace; I see my role here as helping them to think about their own story by using peace and justice studies theory.

I have also been continually surprised and grateful for the hospitality I have been offered in almost every context that I have worked. Many religious traditions refer to the tradition of offering hospitality to the stranger and I have seen that in practice throughout my work. Throughout my research in East Africa, dozens of Ugandans, Kenyans, and North American volunteers spent hundreds of hours with me sharing their story. That kind of abundant generosity is humbling and an enormous privilege. As a researcher, having so many people help you in so many ways, means you must produce the finest quality work to honor them.

What do you hope to gain or learn by continuing research into conflict and peacemaking?
My larger goal is to help the process of peace and justice studies become part of the mainstream curriculum at universities—it is a wonderful interdisciplinary field and so many different disciplines have much to offer.

In my own research, I hope to continue to understand how contemporary faith traditions can draw on their own cherished traditions in order to end the suffering of others. I am very inspired by so many of the people I meet around the world who are practicing nonviolence and making enormous sacrifices for peace—I see my role as a researcher as helping to tell their stories. I want to change the perception that religion is a cause of conflict.

Do you have any other research plans for the future?
I am getting ready to leave for a trip to Sri Lanka and Myanmar/Burma to speak to several religious leaders about reconciliation. While most of my research has been international, I am interested in looking at the role of religion in social justice movements here in New York City as well. There has been intriguing work by faith leaders involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement that I would like to examine further.