Monthly archives: August, 2015

UIC sociologist elected to international honorary


Barbara Risman

A University of Illinois at Chicago scholar of gender, sexuality, marriage and family has been elected to the prestigious Sociological Research Association.

Barbara Risman, a professor of sociology who recently completed a nine-year term as head of the UIC sociology department, is among a select group of scholars to join the honorary association. The group, established in 1936 to recognize and promote excellence in sociological research, includes 400 leading sociologists in the U.S. and Canada.

She will be inducted Aug. 23 during the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Chicago. She will also begin serving as vice president of the national organization, which has a membership of 13,000.

For more than 30 years, Risman has studied contemporary meanings of gender, sexuality, marriage and family. Her work explores topics such as gender politics in families, teen sexuality and feminist activism.

She is author of “Gender Vertigo: American Families in Transition” and co-editor of “Families As They Really Are,” a collection of essays on how families function in everyday life. Her work includes over two dozen journal articles in publications such as American Sociological Review, Gender & Society, and Journal of Marriage and the Family.

Risman is president of the board of directors of the Council on Contemporary Families, a national organization that brings new research and clinical findings to public attention. In 2011, she received the American Sociological Association’s award for public understanding of sociology.

She was recently awarded a fellowship at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, where she will spend the 2015-16 academic year completing a book, “Where Will Millennials Take Us: Transforming the Gender Structure?” which is based on more than 100 life histories of contemporary young adults. Other projects during the fellowship will examine gender as a social framework for contemporary marriage, and intimacy among aging couples.

Before coming to UIC in 2006, Risman spent two decades at North Carolina State University, where she was an alumni distinguished research professor, founding director of the gender and women’s studies program, and director of graduate studies in sociology.

17th Annual National Cuatro Festival

Cuatro Festival

Tickets for the annual Cuatro Festival, sponsored by the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, are now available. For more information, please visit:

Adolescent Drinking Affects Adult Behavior Through Long-Lasting Changes in Genes

Binge-drinking during adolescence may perturb brain development at a critical time and leave lasting effects on genes and behavior that persist into adulthood. The findings, by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine using an animal model, are reported online in the journal Neurobiology of Disease. 

 “This may be the mechanism through which adolescent binge-drinking increases the risk for psychiatric disorders, including alcoholism, in adulthood,” says lead author Subhash Pandey, professor of psychiatry and director of neuroscience alcoholism research at UIC. Pandey and his colleagues used experimental rats to investigate the effects of intermittent alcohol exposure during the adolescent stage of development.

 On-and-off exposure to alcohol during adolescence altered the activity of genes needed for normal brain maturation, said Pandey, who is also a research career scientist at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. The gene alterations “increased anxiety-like behaviors and preference for alcohol in adulthood,” he said. The behavioral effects, he said, were due to “epigenetic” changes — “which previous research has shown can be influenced through environmental substances, including alcohol.” Epigenetic changes can be long-lasting or permanent in an individual. Previous studies have shown that some epigenetic changes can be heritable. Epigenetic changes regulate many processes, including brain development and maturation during adolescence. Changes to the histones expose the genes needed to form new synaptic connections, or to prune unneeded neurons.

Rats exposed to alcohol during adolescence exhibited changes in behavior that lasted into adulthood, long after exposure to alcohol ended. They showed increased anxiety-like behaviors and drank more alcohol in adulthood. When the researchers analyzed tissue from a part of the brain called the amygdala, they found in the exposed rats that the DNA and histones appeared to be tightly wrapped. They also found increased levels of a protein called HDAC2, which modifies histones in a way that causes DNA to be wound tighter around them.

These epigenetic changes in turn were linked to lowered expression of a gene that nerve cells need in order to form new synaptic connections. Pandey believes the lowered activity of this gene may be due to the tighter winding of its DNA. The diminished expression of the gene persisted in adulthood, even if alcohol exposure was stopped weeks before. The researchers observed diminished nerve connectivity in the amygdalae of these affected adult rats. “Our study provides a mechanism for how binge-drinking during adolescence may lead to lasting [epigenetic] changes … that result in increased anxiety and alcoholism in adults,” Pandey said. Intermittent alcohol exposure “degrades the ability of the brain to form the connections it needs to during adolescence.”

 “The brain doesn’t develop as it should, and there are lasting behavioral changes associated with this.” But a pharmacological experiment hinted at the possibility of a treatment. When adult rats that had been exposed to alcohol during adolescence were given a cancer drug known to block the activity of HDAC2, the drug restored expression of the gene needed for synapse formation. The DNA was observed to be less tightly coiled, as expected. Most importantly, the rats exhibited less anxiety and reduced alcohol intake. “We aren’t sure if the drug needs to be given long term during adulthood in order to completely reverse the harmful effects of adolescent alcohol exposure,” Pandey said. Further experiments with this and other epigenetic drugs are planned.


Mayor, City Colleges and UIC announce new scholarship program

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, University of Illinois at Chicago Chancellor Michael Amiridis and City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman today announced a new tuition award that will enable Chicago Public Schools (CPS) graduates to pursue further education at significantly lower costs through eligibility for the new UIC Star Scholar Award, a UIC-funded education award, for two years. This new program will allow hard-working students $2,500 per year in additional tuition per year for two years support to access a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago following graduation from City Colleges.

Chicago Star Scholarships Press Conference

In its inaugural year, the Chicago Star Scholarship has enabled more than 800 Chicago Public School (CPS) graduates to pursue their Associate’s Degree and other credentials from City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) free-of-charge. Building on City efforts to remove financial obstacles to earning a college degree, students will now be eligible for the new UIC Star Scholar Award, a UIC-funded $2,500 per year education award, for two years.

“Having a college education should always be determined by a student’s willingness to work, not their ability to pay so today we are giving more Chicago students access to a degree from our City Colleges but also a four-year degree from UIC without the financial burden,” said Mayor Emanuel.  “I want to commend both UIC and the City Colleges of Chicago for their partnership in helping more Chicago students have access to a high quality 21st century education and the prospects of a middle class life that come with it.”

As part of the UIC Star Scholar Award, at least 250 Star Scholars who transfer from CCC to UIC with an Associate Degree and a 3.0 GPA, will be eligible to receive an Award of $5,000 over two years. The Award is at least $2,500 for each of their two years of bachelor’s degree completion at UIC, in addition to any other financial aid that the student qualifies for and receives.

In addition to providing a minimum of 250 Star Scholar graduates with a tuition award, all Star Scholars who have earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher will be ensured participation in the Guaranteed Admissions Transfer (GAT) program to UIC.

“UIC is honored to participate in the Star Scholar program and we are eager to welcome those Chicago students who are willing to work hard to achieve a quality education and provide them with a new pathway of affordability to achieve a four year degree,” said Michael Amiridis, UIC Chancellor.

“This new initiative reflects what the University of Illinois is all about—expanding world-class educational opportunities that transform young people’s lives and building on the pipeline of 21st century talent that is essential to move our state forward.  I’m proud of this new partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago and grateful to Mayor Emanuel for his support,” added Timothy Killeen, University of Illinois President.

This scholarship and other financial aid awards students may qualify for will significantly reduce the costs of obtaining a bachelor’s degree. In total, savings could reach up to $45,000 toward a four-year degree, when calculating the amount saved by attending CCC for two years compared to other area universities, plus the additional savings from the new UIC Star Award.

“A college credential is required for entry into family-sustaining careers in today’s economy, and for many careers, a bachelor’s degree is needed,” said Chancellor Cheryl Hyman of City Colleges of Chicago. “This partnership creates a seamless path for outstanding Chicago public high school grads to earn an associate’s and bachelor’s degree, saving at least $45,000 along the way.”

In addition to the opportunities for Star graduates, UIC and CCC have committed to intensify efforts to identify the best pathways to two- and ultimately four-year degree completion for all City Colleges students. Moving forward, all City Colleges students intending to transfer to UIC will benefit from increased transfer support by UIC, including a designated UIC transfer counselor at CCC and access to UIC resources for CCC students

UIC and CCC will also work to identify the best pathways to two- and ultimately four-year degree completion. Some pathways have already been completed; for example, every major in the UIC College of Business Administration has a pathway outlined for CCC students. In addition, cross-collaborative working groups will identify other highly sought-after bachelor’s degree programs to increase CCC to UIC pathways to degree.

To assist qualifying students in making a smooth transition, both UIC and CCC are designating additional resources to ensure high retention and completion rates for all transfer students. UIC will also make available to students key campus amenities and services—including a full-time advisor, student services and libraries—in order to facilitate their college retention and transition to UIC, and ultimately, college graduation.

Scholar Creates Tools to Solve Health Problems

Tiana Wong

Tiana Wong, junior in bioengineering, is helping to create a device to treat women with postpartum hemorrhage, a major cause of death in developing countries. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

Tiana Wong was attracted to bioengineering because of the tools it brings to solving health-related problems. Wong, who plans a research career, was awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for outstanding undergraduates in mathematics, science and engineering. She is among 260 students nationwide to receive the $7,500 scholarship, named for the late Republican senator from Arizona. Wong became interested in bioengineering when a scientist from Indiana University came to her high school to talk about science careers. She was intrigued by the idea of investigating a problem, then taking the information to make a device that could lead to a solution.

“I just thought I’d try it out and see if I liked it,” said Wong, an Honors College student in bioengineering, a department in the colleges of Medicine and Engineering.

She is working on a research project with Hananeh Esmailbeigi, clinical assistant professor of bioengineering, to fight postpartum hemorrhage, the leading cause of death worldwide for women after childbirth, particularly in developing nations. The researchers are creating a medical auto-transfusion device that would filter and re-transfuse a woman’s own blood. The device would help stabilize the woman’s condition so she could be taken to a facility with more medical resources. Wong is also working with Andreas Linninger, professor of bioengineering, on a one-dimensional, computational model of cerebral spinal fluid. The researchers believe that a better understanding of the flow of cerebral spinal fluid will help health professionals improve the effectiveness of spinal injections for chronic pain.

Wong, who would like to do research on computational modeling of the nervous system, enjoys the puzzle-solving that bioengineering presents. “The most rewarding part is seeing a completed project develop from all that I’ve learned,” she said. A native of Chicago, she graduated from Walter Payton College Prep High School. She is a member of Phi Eta Sigma, a national honor society, and Alpha Eta Mu Beta, a national biomedical engineering honor society.

Three UIC students received Goldwater Award honorable mentions: Elise DeBruyn, bioengineering, Navika Shukla, chemistry, and Thomas Insley, mathematics and chemistry.

Music Video and Discourse Video Release and lecture: The work of Mexican Graphic Artist and filmmaker Gran Om

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Pilsen Outpost, El BeiSMan, Cultural Arts online magazine and OPEN Center for the Arts have the pleasure of inviting the public to join the filmmaker, Gran OM, at the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th Street, Chicago, IL 60608, Wednesday August 26th, 7pm – 10pm for a screening and discussion of his video. Immediately following the discussion there will be a reception for the artist. Admission is free and open to the public.

One of Mexico’s most engaging and prolific young filmmaker’s and graphic artist visits Chicago to present his most recent video work and lecture based on his project Music Video and Discourse. Known for works that confront the reality of Mexico’s social and political Perspectives. In Music Video and Discourse, film is used as a tool for making tangible transformation by making visible present social conflicts. One of its main objectives is producing music video with artists committed with their communities and assuming a proactive point of view to deliver an alternative to the present music industry.

Gran Om is a filmmaker and graphic artist born and raised in Mexico City.

His work is multidisciplinary, ranging from popular printing, gig posters and propaganda to filmmaking, documentaries and music videos that link social and political processes and human rights issues. As a graphic and visual artist Gran Om has exhibited his work internationally. His last exhibit in Chicago 2014 in Pilsen was received with tremendous accolades.

Pilsen Outpost is an artist run retail shop and gallery in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. The shop/gallery is open Mon & Tue by appointment, Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 8pm and is located at 1958 W. 21st Street in Chicago.

Gran Om videos:


English Version GranOM Poster

Job: Youth Center Director

Casa Juan Diego is currently seeking a director for our youth center. With Casa Juan Diego’s programs now located in our beautifully renovated building, it is a great moment for an individual committed to serving families in Pilsen in innovative out-of-school programs.
Job Title:

Director of Casa Juan Diego Youth Center


Full time


2020 S. Blue Island
Chicago, Illinois


The Director is a full-time job which is responsible for overall management and operation of Casa Juan Diego and protection of the organization’s financial assets while ensuring compliance with board directives and applicable grantor, federal and state requirements. The Director reports to the pastor or his delegated supervisor of St. Pius V Parish.


  • Oversees all accounting functions with the parish business manager, including those necessary for auditing, budgeting, financial analysis, and property management and payroll in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, Board and St. Pius V Parish policies and procedures, and all other applicable rules and guidelines.
  • Handles all aspects of human resource management for up to 10 employees, including but not limited to hiring and termination, developing position descriptions, setting compensation, working with employees’ supervisors and applying parish-approved employee policies and benefits in accordance with federal and state requirements; regularly supervises CJD administrative staff.
  • Interacts with other personnel and organizations, such as the schools, community organizations, city organizations, and other nonprofits and research sponsors in regard to matters affecting Casa Juan Diego.
  • Oversees all grants and contracts management together with development director, including negotiating research agreement terms that reflect the needs of CJD; monitors progress of agreements and maintains agreement documentation to ensure fulfillment of agreement terms including receipt and expenditure of funds.
  • Assists in the development of current and long-term organizational goals and objectives as well as policies and procedures for CJD operations.
  • Establishes plans to achieve goals set by the Board of Directors and implements policies, subject to approval by the Board of Directors.
  • Works closely with staff members to ensure they are provided with appropriate support systems and responsive, quality service in the areas of working with children, grant preparation, project management, human resources, purchasing and related administrative functions.
  • Develops and oversees all program elements to ensure for educational quality. Oversees the measurement and aggregations of data to ensure impact of programmatic elements.
  • Interacts positively with parents and other members of the community. Engages these groups in the leadership and management of the program.

Requirements:  Bilingual (Spanish) and bicultural/multicultural, Hispanic/English; computer literate. Teaching and some management experience. Fund raising experience; college degree.

Please send resume and cover letter to: 

Fr. Jose Santiago, OP

1919 S. Ashland Street, Chicago, IL 60608


$1M for Literacy Project

Alfred Tatum

Alfred Tatum

Literacy expert Alfred Tatum believes a new generation of literacy leaders must work with urban school principals and parents to empower African American boys.

Tatum, dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has received a three-year grant of nearly $1 million from the Kellogg Foundation to improve the literacy of 100 African American boys in grades 3, 4 and 5 by working through 20 parents and five school principals in schools on the South and West sides.

The schools will be selected from those led by principals enrolled in UIC’s Urban Education Leadership doctoral program, which is designed to prepare principals to transform urban public schools. Each principal will choose four parents who will assist students in a five-week summer writing institute based on Tatum’s summer institute for African American adolescent males, but revised for younger students.

Tatum said most previous literacy efforts have focused solely on reading skills, ignoring the need for students to gain intelligence across disciplines. In his framework, students will read materials relating to 10 academic areas, including science, math, sociology, philosophy and the classics. He also noted that educators have failed to consider the “multiple identities that boys bring to the classroom — personal, cultural, economic, gender and community.

The Early Literacy Impact Project has five objectives:

  • Professional development for elementary school principals that focuses on the literacy development of African American boys
  • Recruiting and training five UIC graduate students to become experts in reading instruction
  • Literacy initiatives in Chicago and suburban schools that directly affect African American boys in grades 3, 4 and 5, to be led by the five graduate students
  • The summer institute for African American boys and 20 parent-assistants, who will share their knowledge and experience with other parents
  • Publishing research and a database on how to use the Early Literacy Impact methods in other schools and principal preparation programs

The Early Literacy Impact Project will begin this fall and is funded through summer 2018.

NEA Grant Showcases Chicago’s Latino art

Ceramic artist Jesus Torres creates pottery at Hull-House in the early 1930s. Photo: Wallace Kirkland, UIC, Jane Addams Memorial Collection

Ceramic artist Jesus Torres creates pottery at Hull-House in the early 1930s. Photo: Wallace Kirkland, UIC, Jane Addams Memorial Collection

The University of Illinois at Chicago has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop a Chicago-centric online collection of Latin American and Latino art.

The $20,000 grant will support the UIC-based Inter-University Program for Latino Research‘s Latino Art Now! Virtual Gallery, which will showcase work by Chicago-based Latin American and Latino artists from the 1930s to the present.

In partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center, the project supports Latin American and Latino art history while providing greater visibility to contemporary art inspired by changing demographics, says the project’s principal investigator, art historian Olga Herrera, who is director of the inter-university program’s Washington, D.C. office.

“Although Latino and Latin American art in the last 10 years have made significant strides, the art production of the Midwest, and in particular Chicago, continue to be conspicuously absent in the U.S. art historical canons, major exhibitions, publications, classrooms and narratives,” said Herrera, author of “Toward the Preservation of a Heritage: Latin American and Latino Art in the Midwestern United States.”

Herrera and fellow project investigator Maria de los Angeles Torres, UIC professor of Latin American and Latino Studies and executive director of the inter-university program, envision that the virtual gallery will function as an interactive educational resource for middle and high school students and teachers.

The project will be introduced next April when the inter-university program and the Smithsonian center host the Latino Art Now! conference in Chicago. The three-day event, partially funded by the Boeing Foundation and the Joyce Foundation, will include a retrospective exhibit of Chicago Latino art, neighborhood arts events and panel discussions.

UIC was among 960 nonprofits nationwide to receive the latest round of 2015 NEA Art Works grants, which were awarded in 13 artistic disciplines.
The Inter-University Program for Latino Research is a national consortium of 25 university-based Latino research centers that aim to promote policy-focused research and advance the Latino intellectual presence in the U.S. Founded in 1983, the group supports research and programs that foster greater understanding of U.S. Latinos in politics, economics, culture, art, history and immigration.

What our garden grows

The UIC Heritage Garden grows not only plants, but a sense of community, sustainability, diversity and social justice.