In Brief

Alumnae Doing Well

Sherry H. Penney, Ph.D.'72, who served as the first female vice chancellor of the State University of New York from 1982 to 1986, has been appointed interim president of the 60,000-student University of Massachusetts system. Penney, a professor of American Civilization, was chancellor of UMass-Boston at the time of her appointment.

The UMass system consists of campuses at Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester.

Another alumna, Marilyn Dabady, who received her Master's degree in psychology in 1994, has been awarded Honorable Mention status in the 1995 Ford Foundation Predoctoral and Dissertation Fellowships for Minorities program.

The program, administered by the National Research Council and sponsored by the Ford Foundation, accords Honorable Mention to those applicants judged deserving of fellowship awards but for whom funds are not available.

High Quality Gains School Reaccreditation

The Council on Social Work Education, a national accrediting body, recently reaccredited the Baccalaureate and Master of Social Work programs at the University's School of Social Welfare for a full eight-year cycle.

"The faculty are outstanding, having achieved national recognition as scholars", said the Council. "Many faculty provide leadership in national professional organizations."

The Council also cited the high quality of the faculty and students, strong academic programs and administrators, and the advantages of the School's location in the state capital, with access to public agencies and government officials.

Lynn Videka-Sherman, dean of the School of Social Welfare since 1989, said that the school was rated at the highest level by meeting each of 13 standards.

"It's a testament to the overall strength of our program," she said.

Study on Adolescents Wins First Prize

Patricia J. Dittus, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychology, has won First Prize for the 1995 Social Issues Dissertation Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Issues.

In her dissertation Predicting Adolescent Sexual and Contraceptive Behavior: The Influence of Maternal Beliefs and Extent of Communication on Motivations for Sexual Activity, Dittus addressed adolescent sexual activity of low income African-Americans that includes unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Dittus interviewed over 750 inner-city adolescents and their mothers to study communication between mothers and their children, with regard to parental influence on adolescent sexual behavior.

Physics Professor a Special Giver

Harold Story, professor in the Department of Physics and an experienced Red Cross volunteer, was honored at the 1995 Red Cross Awards Dinner and Recognition Ceremony in May at St. Sophia's Community Center in Albany with the Special Citation for Exceptional Volunteer Service. Story has been a volunteer for the American Red Cross for the past eight years.

Study of Reservation PCBs Extended

The School of Public Health has been granted a five-year, $13.2 million renewal of its Superfund research project, an investigation headed by David Carpenter, dean, of the effects of toxic substances on Native Americans who live at Akwesasne reservation in northern New York.

Akwesasne, home to 12,000 Mohawk Indians, is heavily contaminated with PCB's released from the nearby General Motors foundry. The Superfund Project, now in its third funding cycle, began in the 1980s after Mohawk women became concerned about PCBs in breast milk, which scientists found contained high levels of the substance.

Researchers are now looking at the long-term effects of PCBs on offspring of these women, and they will study their effects on endocrine, liver and reproductive functions. Akwesasne is included on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund list, the federal government tally of priority hazardous-waste cleanup areas.

Work Reflects Young Female Writers

Millicent Lenz, associate professor in the School of Information Science and Policy, read her paper on "The Juvenile Female Kunstlerroman in English Since 1945" during the 12th Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children's Literature in Stockholm, Sweden on September 1 - 5. The work reflected her research towards a book on the topic of girls as writers in fiction and autobiographies written for young readers.

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