January 2023

• • • Science Driving Solutions • • •

The School of Social Ecology began 2022 by welcoming a new dean and, over the days and weeks that followed, celebrated events, accolades, research accomplishments, community engagement and more that reinforce our motto, “Science Driving Solutions.”

  • Assistant Professor Michael Méndez is named to the 2022 class of Andrew Carnegie Fellows.
  • Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Loftus receives her eighth honorary degree (No. 8 comes from Australian National University), is named among’s 1,000 top female scientists in the world and makes the Highly Cited Researchers list for 2022.
  • Distinguished Professor Julian Thayer also lands on the Highly Cited Researchers list for 2022.
  • The Master of Advanced Study in criminology, law & society is named the nation’s best online criminal justice master’s program by U.S. News & World Report for the third year in a row.
  • The University of California, Irvine ranks 14th (up from 19th) for the best psychology program among the nation’s public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report’s graduate school rankings.
  • The Western Society of Criminology bestows its Paul Tappan Award on Dean Jon Gould for his outstanding contributions to the field of criminology.
  • Professor Jessica Borelli receives two American Psychological Association awards for her distinguished contributions to family and citizen psychology.
  • Distinguished Professor Valerie Jenness wins the Peterson-Krivo Mentoring Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Crime, Law and Deviance and its Section on the Sociology of Law.
  • The Association for Psychological Science bestows its Rising Star designation on Assistant Professor Oliver Sng.
  • Associate Professor Kristine Molina is awarded the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education’s 2022 University Faculty Award. 
  • Assistant Professor Kate Ryan Kuhlman receives the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Early Stage Investigator Award.
  • Distinguished Professor Roxane Cohen Silver is named the 2022-23 recipient of UCI's Distinguished Senior Faculty Award for Research. 
  • For their extensive research on collective trauma, Silver and Professor Alison Holman receive the 2022 Innovation Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
  • Assistant Professor Tony Cheng wins the 2022 Joan Petersilia Outstanding Article Award his “Social Problems” piece on police and community relations.
  • Emeritus Professor James Diego Vigil wins the 2022 Solon T. Kimball Award for Public and Applied Anthropology from the American Anthropological Association.




  • Andrew Yang, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who now co-chairs the independent Forward Party with Republican Christine Todd Whitman, is the inaugural speaker in the School of Social Ecology’s Leading the Change Distinguished Speaker Series.  
  • Change-making is also on the mind of the School of Social Ecology’s June commencement speaker, Gustavo Arellano. “Change is your vocation,” the Los Angeles Times columnist tells the new graduates. “You have dedicated yourselves to dive into the depths of uncertainty and emerge with answers to take on our ever-shifting existence.”
  • The UCI Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation, doctoral student Kelsey Morgan, postdoctoral scholar Angela Robinson and Blum Director Richard Matthew organize a July appearance by John Cotton Richmond. The attorney, diplomat and former U.S. Ambassador to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons tells the luncheon crowd that ending human trafficking requires more academic research.
  • As part of ChangeMakers’ Daybreak Dialogues, George Tita, director of the Livable Cities Lab, and Laura Archuleta, CEO of Jamboree Housing, present “A House, a Home, a Hope: The OC Housing Shortage is More Than Just a Homelessness Issue.” They share with a November morning audience in The Cove at UCI Beall Applied Innovation results from an important and timely study showing the real effect of affordable housing on property values and crime. 


  • Alumnus Maurice Sanchez becomes the first person of color to be appointed an associate justice on the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division 3.


  • Graduate student Justine Bautista presents her idea to create a mental health self care kit at the MTV Mental Health Youth Action Forum at the White House.
  • Ph.D. candidate Kelsey Morgan is fighting human trafficking.
  • Fudge Scholar Andrew Norman beats cancer twice and completes his bachelor’s degree.
  • Former Long Beach City Council member Jeannine Pearce, who is pursuing her Ph.D., is studying the political ecology of the labor movement and transitioning fossil fuel industries.
  • Graduate student Veronica Valencia Gonzalez wins the American Society of Criminology Graduate Student Paper Award and Western Society of Criminology’s 2023 Student Paper Competition for her work on California’s sanctuary policies and Latina immigrant survivors of intimate partner violence.
  • Graduate student Carlo Chunga Pizarro, recipient of a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, is focusing his study on mitigation practices in disaster planning.
  • Graduate student and Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow Cameron Ross Wiley is studying the connection between psychological phenomena and physiological responses. 
  • Graduate student Sara O’Connor wins the Etel Solingen Award for Outstanding Paper in International Relations, which recognizes her work on transitioning states.


  • Faculty members receive $23.2 million in grants and contracts. The biggest grant — $10 million — is awarded to Professor Elizabeth Cauffman to expand her Orange County Young Adult Court study.
  • More than 150 donors contribute a total of $3.6 million to support student scholarships and faculty projects.
  • The National Institutes of Health awards nearly $4.7 million over five years to support research teams on a project, designed by associate professor Stephen Schueller, that combines peer support with the use of a digital platform to better serve the mental health needs of Latino patients with limited English proficiency.
  • The state of California allocates $1.8 million to expand the University of California, Irvine’s Leveraging Inspiring Futures Through Educational Degrees effort, the first in-prison B.A. program in the UC system.
  • Arnold Ventures awards two grants totaling $854,956 for a study, led by Dean Jon Gould, of prosecutor office policies and decisions made by prosecutors. 
  • With a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, researchers led by Assistant Professor Maura Allaire launch a project to illuminate governance failures that cause inequities in drinking water and public health.


  • Our scholars are cited in more than 250 news stories in national publications and media outlets for their expertise on everything from awe to climate change to criminal justice to psychological trauma.



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UCI School of Social Ecology
5300 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway
Irvine, CA 92697

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School of Social Ecology · 5300 Social And Behavioral Sciences Gateway · Irvine, CA 92697-0001 · USA