The Institute for Social Science Research is pleased to announce the selection of our 2017-18 Scholars, who represent six departments across four Colleges at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst: the  College of Humanities and Fine ArtsCollege of Natural Sciences, College of Nursing, and  College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

ISSR's mission is to promote excellence in social science research. One of our most important goals, served by the ISSR Scholars Program, is to strengthen existing social science infrastructure on campus in order to stimulate high-quality scholarship and interdisciplinary collaboration. ISSR Scholars participate in a year-long seminar with Mentors,  N aomi Gerstel, PhD (Sociology) and  Mary Fechner, PhD (Office of Resource Development), to help each of to develop a strong research grant proposal. In addition to attending in-depth sessions on grant writing and receiving valuable peer feedback on their proposals, ISSR Scholars are given unique opportunities to consult with nationally recognized experts about their proposals.

This year's ISSR Scholars will develop innovative new research that has the potential to shape social theory and policy. Please take a moment to meet our 2017-18 Scholars, and to congratulate and wish them well. 

Meet our 2017-18 Scholars
Joseph F. Bergan, PhDAssistant Professor
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences | College of Natural Sciences
Synaptic Foundations of Sexually Dimorphic Circuit Architecture
Social interactions reflect the interplay between the external world and the neural circuits that mediate social behavior. Dr. Bergan will apply microscopy and physiological techniques to investigate how sensory inputs are transformed into sexually dimorphic cognitive, endocrine, and behavior outcomes. 
David A. Cort, PhD Associate Professor
Department of Sociology | College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
HIV Stigma Beliefs and Precautionary Sexual Behaviors in Southern Africa
A large literature explores how HIV stigma affects the precautionary sexual behaviors of those infected with HIV, yet we know little about the relationship between expressing stigmatizing beliefs (about people with HIV) and the precautionary behaviors of those who do the stigmatizing. Dr. Cort will explore how HIV stigma beliefs affect precautionary behaviors such as condom use in Southern Africa.
Peter M. Haas, PhD Professor
Department of Political Science | College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Global Sustainability Through Issue Coupling
Global issues tend to be governed in isolation from one another.  Yet we know that many issues are interconnected, and that their effective and sustainable governance requires attention to externalities experienced elsewhere in the world. Dr. Haas will study how these linkages are recognized, and issues are coupled through new legal efforts and new practices.
Elizabeth A. Henneman, RN, PhD, CCNS, FAAN Associate  Professor   | College of Nursing
A Novel Approach for Managing Unpreventable Interruptions During the Medication Administration Process
Interruptions in the healthcare workplace bring negative consequences, including medical errors and delays in care. Dr. Henneman will evaluate a training program for managing unpreventable interruptions in the medication administration process. The goal of this program is to reduce negative consequences of interruptions and improve patient safety.
Jason M. Kamilar, PhDAssistant Professor
Department of Anthropology  | College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
How is Sociality and Group Structure Related to Kinda Baboon Microbiome Diversity?
Humans exhibit uniquely complex social systems, but the basic structure of human social interactions is seen in other primate species. The Kinda baboon of Zambia is a highly social primate whose microbiome diversity can shed light on the evolution of the human microbiome (i.e. bacteria and other micro-organisms found on and in the body). Dr. Kamilar's project will be among the first to test hypotheses relating sociality to diversity in the Kinda microbiome.
John Kingston, PhDProfessor
Department of Linguistics  | College of Humanities and Fine Arts
The Intensity Puzzle
Because speech sounds nearly always occur in the context of other speech sounds, each one's acoustics and perception varies as function of what speech sounds occur next to it. Dr. Kingston will explore a paradox in this relation: The size of perceptual effects depends directly on how intense those neighboring sounds are, but their own identification does not.