October 2016
The path to professorship
Samantha Pettey '09 is halfway through her first semester at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and this time she is not taking midterms. She is giving them. As one of the newest Assistant Professors in the Department of History, Political Science and Public Policy, Pettey teaches students and provides them with direction and guidance towards their personal and professional goals. "I know I would not be in the situation I am today without the support and continued mentorship I received from my undergraduate professors," Pettey said. "It feels good to be able to give back to my students."
Pettey graduated from UMass Dartmouth in 2009 with a degree in Political Science, and she continued her studies at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and University of North Texas (UNT) . She earned her M.A. in Political Science from URI in 2011 and her Ph in American Politics from UNT in 2016. But it was her time at UMass Dartmouth that really set Pettey on her journey to professorship.
Her mentors - Professor Shannon Jenkins and Professor Doug Roscoe - helped her find her passion and realize the path she wanted to travel. "Jenkins and Roscoe's classes helped shape my love for politics into a theoretical and empirical understanding of government," Pettey said.  "I also had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for Professor Jenkins' classes, which helped me gain a different classroom perspective."
After 7 long years of graduate school, Pettey is finally done and ready to show students how they can make a difference in the political world. And as a young Political Science professor, Pettey is also proving to her students that a liberal arts degree is quite valuable. The skills she learned and the connections she made while an undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences gave Pettey the foundation she needed to achieve her professional goals. "A liberal arts education gives students the tools they needs to learn, critically think, problem-solve and adapt to succeed at a job they desire," Pettey said. "Further, liberal arts degrees emphasize the importance of written and oral communication--- both of which are crucial to being successful in any job, as well as everyday life."
Lee Blake earns K. Julie McCarthy Community Spirit Award 
Preservation Massachusetts, the state's historic preservation advocacy organization has announced UMass Dartmouth's Lee Blake as one of the recipients of the 2016 K. Julie McCarthy Community Spirit Awards. This award, which was created in 2010, recognizes individuals and groups who are active in efforts to preserve buildings, historic character or educate about the importance of historic preservation.  "Often times these individuals work behind the scenes," said Jim Igoe, President of Preservation Massachusetts. "They are inspirational models and leaders in our preservation community and are great examples for others to look up to."

Since high school, Blake  has wanted to counter the negative image that many have of the contribution s to history of people of color. When she began her career as a teacher, Blake taught African American studies in local high schools, and she realized that her students had no idea of the rich history that surrounded them. "I remember reading the Narrative of Frederick Douglass with high school students who just couldn't believe that Douglass lived in New Bedford," Blake said. "I made a personal commitment to make sure young folks would know why many came to New Bedford and what an amazing history we all shared."

As a way to fulfill her commitment, Blake is president of the New Bedford Historical Society, which celebrates the history and legacy of African Americans, Cape Verdeans, Native Americans, and other people of color in the region. S he's been been extremely active in historic preservation of New Bedford. " I have worked regionally and nationally to elevate the visibility of New Bedford's unique role in the history of 19th century African American history though work preserving and promoting historic sites that were part of the Underground Railroad in the region," Blake said.  
New course addresses significance of climate change
UMass Dartmouth will offer a new undergraduate course on climate change. Dr. Avijit Gangopadhyay, Professor of Oceanography at UMass Dartmouth's School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST), will teach the introductory course beginning this spring. Gangopadhyay's research in this area focuses on the effects of climate change on the Gulf Stream, and in turn, how climate change affects the weather in the United States and Europe.
Professor Avijit Gangopadhyay received his PhD from the University of Rhode Island in 1990. He then worked as a Research Associate at Harvard University and as a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His research focus includes ocean circulation, operational modeling, and basin-scale climate studies. A pioneer in the techniques of feature-modeling of ocean circulation, Gangopadhyay joined UMass Dartmouth as a faculty member in 1997 and has also taught courses at three leading Brazilian oceanographic institutions.
As part of the course, students will explore a variety of topics, including the effects of acid rain, the greenhouse effect as related to carbon footprint (e.g., the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels based on human activity), how warmer air and surface temperatures (brought on by climate change) impact corals and alter coral reef environments, and how global sea level rise might affect our coastal megacities.
In addition to lectures, textbook readings, and lab studies, the course will include a guest lecture from a local climate expert. Students will also tour SMAST's two-story, 32,000-square-foot campus in New Bedford where SMAST scientists and graduate students conduct research and perform lab work on the impacts of climate change and effects on marine ecosystems. The three-credit course, which will be taught twice weekly, is ideal for undergraduate biology, business, liberal arts, and STEM-studies majors, as well as students interested in climate change. The course satisfies Cluster Requirement 2B, Science in the Engaged Community (proficiency in thinking and understanding policy information related to climate). Prerequisites are not required to enroll in and successfully complete the course.
*Adrienne Wartts contributed to this feature. 
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