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Spotlight: Chris Fry, Ph.D. ’98

Chris Fry It is Chris Fry’s job, as senior vice president of engineering at Twitter, to make sure his flock of engineers continues to fly in formation. Yet it is his ability to build and manage innovative teams that makes him one of the most valuable technology leaders in the business today. Fry credits his versatility to the interdisciplinary education he gained while pursuing a Ph.D. in cognitive science at UC San Diego. Read More


What Social Sciences Brings to the Table

a letter from Dean Jeff Elman

Our most enduring, and probably our most significant, impact on the world as a major public research university is through our students. I’m not just talking here about an economist who goes to work for the Fed, or a political science major who becomes a path-breaking politician, or an education scholar whose dedication as a principal profoundly changes a school. We have alumni who have done all of these things. What is less obvious to many is that students leave UC San Diego with a set of skills and tools that can be applied across a stunning array of different fields. Read More


Social Sciences News


A lever for local STEM education: CREATE’s STEM Success Initiative aims to gather community and university resources to lift the region’s K-20 education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


You can’t catch a cold from a friend online but apparently you can catch a mood. A new study shows how Facebook feelings are contagious.


Are social media raising an army of armchair activists? Sociologist Kevin Lewis co-authors a new study that suggests commitment to a cause might be only as deep as a click.

Lied-to children are more likely to cheat and lie: New experiment is the first to show connection between adult dishonesty and children’s behavior.


When a doctor’s visit is a guilt trip: Psychologist Christine Harris examines patient reactions to physician-inspired guilt and shame.


Can a text message get a person to the polls? Political Scientist Clark Gibson is heading a team that will seek the answer during national elections in South Africa.  

Buzzkill: There is no safe combination of drinking and driving suggests a new study led by David Phillips of Sociology.


40th Faculty Excellence Awards: Leslie Carver of Psychology wins the award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and is recognized for her “wise and inspiring” leadership.

Find us on Facebook! Connect with Social Sciences and stay up-to-date on news from the division.


Upcoming Events


Social Sciences Supper Club, April 8, 2014 – “What’s Next for U.S. Immigration Reform and Border Enforcement?” Find out when David FitzGerald, the Theodore E. Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations, associate professor of Sociology and co-director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego, presents at the UC San Diego Faculty Club, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, April 12-13, 2014 – Whether you are an alumni author, or an alumnus who just enjoys a good read, please join us!

Economics Roundtable, April 16, 2014 – Stephen Mayfield, director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, John Dove Isaacs Chair of Natural Philosophy and UC San Diego professor of Biology, will discuss “Programming Algae for Advanced Bio-Manufacturing: Food and Fuel for the 21st Century” at the UC San Diego Faculty Club, 7:30 to 9 a.m.

Cognitive Science Reunion, May 3, 2014 – Save the date! The reunion will be held at the UC San Diego Qualcomm Institute. Please contact with any questions.

Alumni Weekend, June 5-8, 2014 – Register now for Taste of UCSD, the 50th Anniversary of the Watermelon Drop, Night at the Padres, the Triton 5K and Festival, Alumni Celebration and the True Triton Brunch!


Giving Update


Gift Creates Social Problem-Solving Research Center

Imagine making our healthcare system less expensive. Imagine identifying K-12 education practices that improve student performance. Or, imagine ways to overcome rising inequality by promoting opportunities that are accessible to all.

The Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research seeks to find practical solutions that will address these challenging social issues. The new center was established thanks to the generous gifts of Daniel Yankelovich, a renowned social researcher and public opinion analyst who cares deeply about the future of American society. Learn more at

To learn more about how you can support the Social Sciences, please contact Doug Kurtz at (858) 822-0805 or


Alumni Updates


2014 Alumni Visionaries - Seeking Nominations

Do you know a visionary alumni leader? The Division of Social Sciences is looking to recognize alumni who, through professional accomplishments and/or public service, have demonstrated outstanding visionary leadership. We want to know who is out there making a difference and how they are doing it!

Who are outstanding visionary leaders?
- change agents building a better world through professional and/or public service endeavors
- alumni using their social sciences degree in a unique way to make a difference
- young alumni demonstrating potential to become leaders in their field
- inspirational role models for current UC San Diego students

Have someone in mind? Nominate him or her today and help us celebrate the distinguished service and achievements of our Social Sciences alumni community! Self-nominations are encouraged. Alumni selected will be featured in the next issue of E-Connection. Nominations due May 23, 2014.

Questions? Please email