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Studying the effects of immigration on U.S. workforce

August 28, 2015
Colgate University economics professor Chad Sparber

Photo by Andrew Daddio

The immigration debate has caused concern that foreign workers could out-compete U.S.-born applicants, reduce wages, and even discourage Americans from seeking science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. Using a $128,640 grant from the National Science Foundation, Associate Professor of Economics Chad Sparber and faculty from four colleges will study the impact that foreign-born workers with advanced degrees have on wages and employment at U.S. firms.

For years, firms have used the federal H-1B program to hire highly educated immigrants, who usually have backgrounds in STEM fields. The U.S. government grants a temporary work permit, allowing firms to tap a labor force that for years has helped to foster innovation, which generates positive effects on wage and employment growth, according to Sparber.

“These are the types of workers responsible for creating new growth-promoting technologies that create positive spillovers into other sectors of the economy,” he said. “Think about all the technologies that help us do our jobs more effectively that didn’t exist ten years ago — many of those advancements would not have been possible without H-1B workers.”

But others worry over the potential drawbacks of using foreign workers. The project will examine these issues. Research has begun by examining data that are free and open to the public. But information on wages, profits, employment, and expenses at firms is confidential and available only through the U.S. Census Bureau. Access requires visiting any of the 19 Research Data Centers across the nation.

“This grant allows us to do more ambitious work — helping to support travel required for accessing restricted-use data, for example,” Sparber said. “We would not be able to do this project without NSF support.”

Through the years, experts who studied migration focused on illegal immigration or workers with high school degrees or lesser education. Personnel with advanced degrees were largely ignored.

“Many people were missing the fact that foreign-born workers also make up a sizable portion of the U.S. labor force with a bachelor’s degree or more education,” Sparber said.

“The foreign-born share of workers with a graduate degree has grown from about eight percent in 1970 to twenty percent today,” he said. “Immigrants were responsible for seventy-seven percent of the STEM employment growth between 1990 and 2000 and more than half of the total growth from 2000 to 2010. It is really interesting — and important — to ask how those trends and figures are affecting the broader economy.”

The grant will fund their work for two years. But, said Sparber, a project isn’t finished until the papers are published: “In economics, the time between the inception of an idea and the publication of a paper can last several years. It is hard to say how long this project will take, but it is the top research priority for everyone on the team.”

New ColgateX online course: Medicating for Mental Health

August 25, 2015
A portrait of Scott Kraly

Scott Kraly, Charles A. Dana Professor of psychology (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

“It is highly likely that you, a member of your family, or a close friend will face the decision of whether to use a medication to treat a diagnosed psychiatric disorder. Do you have the skills and knowledge to participate in the decision to use a drug as therapy?”

That is the opening paragraph for Medicating for Mental Health: Judicious Use of Psychiatric Drugs, a new online course on ColgateX, launching on August 26.  The instructor is Scott Kraly, Charles A Dana Professor of Psychology.

Read more

Campus welcomes the Class of 2019

August 24, 2015
A family unpacks on arrival day, August 23, as the Class of 2019 joins the campus community.

A family unpacks on arrival day, August 23, as the Class of 2019 joins the campus community. (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

Waiting in line for arrival day registration Sunday, Alex Valdez ’19, of Ontario, Calif., and Enrique Nunez ’19, of San Antonio, Texas, said they became friends during this year’s First-Generation Initiative orientation.

“I decided to come here partly because of the beauty of the campus, and because of what I learned about the rigorous classes,” said Valdez, who added that his visit finalized that decision. “When I came for April Visit Days, everyone was totally welcoming.”

Read more

Colgate University Names Brian W. Casey as 17th President

August 13, 2015
Portrait of Brian W. Casey

Brian W. Casey of DePauw University will serve as Colgate’s 17th President, beginning July 1, 2016. (Photo by Duncan Wolfe)

Colgate University’s Board of Trustees has named Brian W. Casey, the president of DePauw University, as Colgate’s 17th president.

Casey, who has a distinguished history with America’s top academic institutions as both a student and an administrator, said: “I am truly excited to begin my service at Colgate. I have long admired the academic excellence, rich traditions, and spirit of the university. Colgate is a distinctive institution in the American higher education landscape, with a unique scale and atmosphere. The university is also marked by a dedication to the achievement of excellence. Throughout the search process, I encountered members of the community committed to moving Colgate — even more than it is today — into the very highest ranks of American colleges and universities. To achieve that, I know I will be building on the work of the faculty, the leadership of the Colgate board, and the profound support of the university’s alumni. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.” He will take office on July 1, 2016.

Read more

Arrival day 2015 is almost here

August 11, 2015
Seniors welcome the first-year students on arrival day. Photo by Andy Daddio.

Students welcome the class of 2017 on arrival day. Photo by Andy Daddio.

Arrival day for the historic class of 2019 is days away. The historic class of 2019 will come to Colgate as students, and start a process that will end on Colgate’s 200th year in existence.

To celebrate, here are some highlights from the last few years, starting with this gallery of photos from Andrew Daddio.

Colgate arrival day 2014

12 hours of Whitnall Field on move in day.

Aerial view, courtesy of Kevin Lynch’s drone flyover, on arrival day 2013:

Flashback to move-in day, 2007:

Enjoy Raider’s search for his new roommate during move-in 2014:

Finally, the Colgate Thirteen sing to Raider.


Mallory Shaner ’18: advocating for elders

August 11, 2015
Mallory Shaner '18 (back, right) spent the summer interning for Jack Kupferman '77 and the Gray Panthers, alongside Florence Shen '18 (front, right) and other college students.

Mallory Shaner ’18 (back, right) spent the summer interning for Jack Kupferman ’77 (back, left) and the Gray Panthers, alongside Florence Shen ’18 (front, right) and other college students.

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

Working this summer as an intern for the Gray Panthers, an organization dedicated to achieving justice and peace for aging populations, has been incredibly rewarding. I have met many fascinating and hardworking people who fight for things most people don’t realize are happening. Read more

Summer school for Shiner

August 3, 2015
Psychology professor Rebecca Shiner standing with members of her summer course

Psychology professor Rebecca Shiner (far right) with members of her summer course

Editor’s note: This post was written by Rebecca Shiner, professor of psychology

To what extent do we maintain the same personality traits from childhood to adulthood? Are our most extraverted college classmates likely to be the most extraverted middle-aged adults at our 25th college reunion? How do our motivations and goals shape the course of our lives? Do the ways that we narrate our experiences shape our well-being and satisfaction with our lives?

I have spent the last two weeks in Boston exploring questions like these with a group of 15 graduate students from PhD programs in social and personality psychology from the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Normally, Colgate professors do not teach during the summer and use that time to focus on their scholarship instead. But, I was offered the opportunity to co-teach a two-week course on personality development as part of the Summer Institute for Social and Personality Psychology, held at Northeastern University this July. Read more

Jennifer Dias ’16: Organizing a no-cost clinic with the Chenango United Way

August 3, 2015
Jenn Dias (right) is a biology and Spanish literature double major from South River, N.J.

Jenn Dias (right) is a biology and Spanish literature double major from South River, N.J.

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

This summer, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Chenango United Way (CUW) through a fellowship with Colgate’s Upstate Institute Summer Field School. The CUW funds programs that address issues regarding health, income, and education. I’ve learned the ins-and-outs of the CUW, from marketing and finance to how the organization seeks to make a local impact.

Because of its focus on health, the CUW is a leading community organization in the Greater Chenango Cares: Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) mission. This collaborative health care project among Chenango County organizations was a project led by the Department of Defense as preparation for wartime and disaster missions. For each IRT mission, the military serves high-need areas across the country, while partnering with leading community organizations.

This summer, the IRT mission chosen for Chenango County was a clinic at Norwich High School from July 13–22. The clinic included free medical, dental, optical, and veterinary services. Altogether, we served approximately 2,500 residents with the help of more than 500 volunteers.

As the CUW intern for this project, I sat on the IRT planning committee, which was responsible for the logistics and operations sections of the mission, as well as budgeting and volunteer recruitment.

As an aspiring doctor, this experience has shown me the importance of compassion, and allowed me to embrace the privilege of serving.

I’m judging you – by Roxanne Maduro ’17

July 31, 2015
Colgate students are in Bogata, Columbia at a spanish debate comeptition

Roxanne Maduro ’17, an Environmental Sciences major from Bronx, N.Y., (third from left) is one of four Colgate students participating in CMUDE 2015 as a judge

Editor’s note: Colgate students are in Bogota, Colombia at CMUDE, a Spanish debate competition. This post appeared originally on the off-campus study blog. See more pictures from the trip.  

Debating is not easy. You have 15 minutes to prepare a persuasive and informed argument on a topic you may or may not know and then another seven to speak about it, all while attempting to sound confident in a claim that you may not necessarily believe in, but have to prove to be true nevertheless.

If you are told your position is to prove that 2+2=5, your job is to make the judges and the opposition feel like they are complete fools for ever having believed otherwise. I hold extreme respect for students who challenge themselves by debating, especially those in our Spanish Language Debate Society team, who not only have to debate, but do it in another language.

While I admit that debating is hard, the alternative — judging a debate — is not easy either. Debating and judging are both very difficult for different reasons, and require different skill sets to be successful. If you are a great debater, you can still turn out to be a terrible judge, and vice versa.

The role that proves to be harder varies by individual. People who are very quick on their feet and love to challenge others’ opinions without having to consider the other side of things most likely would be great debaters but terrible judges.

Although some people have traits that predispose them to be a good judge, there are techniques and ways of thinking for particularly exceptional judges. To begin, you have to train yourself to be very detail oriented because the smallest nuance that you notice in an argument can have a large impact on the results of a debate. After that, it’s all in the notes.

When I started out as a judge, I was a mess. I would sit and take very careful and tedious notes during the debates that I judged, but when it came time to deliberate, I had absolutely nothing to say. By the end of the fourth round, it reached the point where I was the head judge and was the person that said the least out of the three panelists. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.

Eventually, I decided to look over my notes for the last four rounds, and just like that, I found the problem. I was taking notes like a debater. I wrote down the arguments, rebuttals, and anything else of importance in the speech itself, but did nothing to actually analyze what was being said, what points were stronger, and most importantly, the interaction between the arguments of opposing debaters.

I realized then that judging was twice as hard as debating in terms of note taking. Like debaters, you should keep track of arguments and rebuttals, but you also have to see which arguments are stronger, whether another team responded to the argument, if it was a sufficient response, whether points were elaborated upon, whether teams fulfilled their roles, and so much more.

The strongest teams are always those that make the strongest arguments, develop them, and destroy the bases of each opposing argument, point by point. A judge has to try to be as objective as possible and not hold any bias toward a motion or a debater. This wouldn’t be so bad if it were not for the fact that we’re not even allowed to laugh at a humorous comment or an entertaining debate in general, because judges are supposed to be as non-interferential as possible, and laughing could possibly distract from the debate.

I think that everyone, if given the chance, should debate at one point or another in their lives, because it has so many benefits with regards to reasoning, logic, and public speaking in general. But on a deeper level, judging has helped me begin to develop a new mindset and critical viewpoint that I would not have had if I just debated.

Being able to judge in CMUDE for this past week has allowed me to collaborate with students and professors who have years of experience as panelists, meet dozens of different teams from around the world, and most amazingly, learn from the vastly different experiences and lessons that my fellow Colgate teammates and I were able to go through in the exact same tournament.

Roxanne Maduro ’17.

Colgate Faculty in the News

July 31, 2015
A student works with laser experiments in Prof. Kiko Galvez's physics lab in Colgate's Robert H.N. Ho Science Center. (photo 2008)

A student works with laser experiments in Prof. Kiko Galvez’s physics lab in Colgate’s Robert H.N. Ho Science Center.

Even as summer temperatures neared the 90’s in Hamilton this week, Colgate’s faculty continued to achieve. Here are this week’s highlights.

The New York Times has called Graham Hodges, George Dorland Langdon Jr. professor of history and Africana and Latin American studies, “a taxi historian.” He recently weighed in on the debate making headlines in the NYC area: is taking a taxi or a car hailed with the smart-phone application Uber better, in terms of the exploitation of workers?

The argument has led to protests, lobbying, and harsh criticism from both sides. In an argument where there’s no clear choice, Hodges shared some insight into the difficult position drivers are in today, bearing the entire operating costs.

Read more about taxi drivers in Hodges’ book and see the full debate on Mashable.

Enrique (Kiko) Galvez, Charles A. Dana professor of physics and astronomy, will be honored as one of the chairs of the Third International Conference on Optical Angular Momentum in New York City August 4-7.

Galvez is recognized as a leading name within the field of optical angular momentum, which has received an increase in attention in recent years. His specialties include physical optics, quantum optics, and experimental atomic physics. While at the conference he will be presenting a paper he co-authored with Kory Beach ’15 and Jonathan Zeosky ’16. Learn more about the project.

Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, with the advent of life insurance, there has been a surge in personal data collection. Dan Bouk, assistant professor of history, combined his interests in modern U.S. history and the history of capitalism to write about the need to quantify our lives in How our days became numbered: Risk and the rise of the statistical individual.

Read the Financial Times’ review: (subscription required.)


The Slater brothers’ film festival is back July 30-August 2

July 30, 2015
Wade and Todd Slater, founders of Slater Brothers Entertainment and hosts of the Hamilton International Film Festival

Wade and Todd Slater, founders of Slater Brothers Entertainment and hosts of the Hamilton International Film Festival

Returning this weekend for its 7th year, the Slater Brothers’ International Film Festival will include an impressive range of cinematic experiences while maintaining the intimacy expected from a Hamilton, NY event.

Hamilton natives Grant ’91 and Todd Slater of Slater Brothers Entertainment created the festival 7 years ago to give back to their community. The festival serves as an opportunity for town residents, Colgate students and alumni, and eminent personalities from independent cinema to connect and enjoy great films. Read more

Board of Trustees elects new chair, vice chairs

July 30, 2015
A portrait of Daniel B. Hurwitz ’86, P’17

Daniel B. Hurwitz ’86, P’17

The Colgate University Board of Trustees elected new leadership during a meeting on Friday, July 24. Board Vice Chair Daniel B. Hurwitz ’86, P’17 will take up the chairmanship beginning on September 1. He succeeds Denis F. Cronin ’69, P’09,’10, who has served as a trustee for a total of 14 years and has held the top leadership post since 2011.

Trustees Gretchen H. Burke ’81, P’11,’19 and Michael J. Herling ’79, P’08,’10,’12 will take over as vice chairs, succeeding Hurwitz and Vice Chair Robert A. Kindler ’76, P’04,’08,’12,’17, who has served on the Board of Trustees for 13 years and as vice chair since 2011.

“Dan is a natural leader with strong personal skills who listens closely and patiently, manages adroitly, and inspires high expectations and ambitious outcomes,” said Cronin. “He appreciates Colgate’s many strengths and understands its challenges.”

Read more

Xintao Ding ’17: Looking at the genetic makeup of poodles

July 27, 2015

Xintao Ding is a molecular biology major from Zhenzhou, China

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

This summer, I am on campus working with Professor Barbara Hoopes in the biology department. Our lab is conducting research on genes that determine size variation in poodles. Read more

Students present summer research

July 24, 2015


From photochemical pathways to early animation devices to homosexuality in the Arab world — undergraduate research topics explored this summer by students and faculty were presented at yesterday’s poster session.  Read more

Colgate University faculty in the news

July 23, 2015
Buffalo Lockjaw is in an ad with Dockers

Buffalo Lockjaw by Greg Ames featured in Dockers ad

Even though it’s summertime, Colgate faculty continue to make news. Here is a brief roundup.

Buffalo Lockjaw, the award-winning first novel by Greg Ames, assistant professor of English, was featured in a recent ad for Dockers men’s clothing (pictured above.)

Using the hashtag #BookAndALook, the ad copy read “Here’s a soon-to-be-classic look to pair with a soon-to-be-classic novel,” reminding people that they know a new classic the moment they see it. As people learn each year with the Living Writers series at Colgate, a powerful novel can elicit deep feelings and emotions in a reader through a bond of intimacy with the writer. The Dockers ad seeks to evoke the sensibility and attitude of contemporary literature and borrow a bit of it.

Carolyn Hsu, associate professor of sociology, wrote an editorial titled “Draft law may test resilience of Chinese civil society” for East Asia Forum. Her current research examines the rise of NGOs in the People’s Republic of China. NGOs are a new phenomenon in China — they barely existed at all 20 years ago, but now there are millions.

Nina Moore, associate political science professor, was interviewed by Sputnik on Tuesday about the Iran Nuclear Deal. Moore argued that this deal “already is an election issue and will continue to be one in the months ahead, perhaps necessarily so.” Read the full interview.

And finally, a few weeks ago, the Alumni Club of Boston organized a live viewing of the radio show You’re the Expert. Along with all the alumni in the audience, professor Krista Ingram was the guest on the show. You can hear it below:

Grace Littlefield ’16: Growing at the Colgate Community Garden

July 22, 2015
Littlefield is an environmental geography major from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Littlefield is an environmental geography major from Brooklyn, N.Y. (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

This summer, I am interning at the Colgate Community Garden. As a local source of organically grown food, the garden is a great asset and educational tool for the university’s sustainability program. Read more

Xiamen-Colgate relationship expands

July 21, 2015
Xiamen Student American Experience program participants meet with former Senate parliamentarian Alan Frumin ’68 at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Xiamen University students meet with former Senate parliamentarian Alan Frumin ’68 at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Shana Walden)

This Friday, 17 exchange students from China’s Xiamen University will gather with faculty, staff, and Colgate undergraduates to wrap up their month-long visit to Colgate through the Xiamen Student American Experience program.

For Xiamen students, this has been an opportunity to travel to the United States; visit places such as Cornell University, New York City, and Washington, D.C.; explore the Chenango Valley; and connect with distinguished Colgate alumni along the way. It is also a chance to form friendships with the more than 203 Colgate students on campus this summer.

Read more

Adam Basciano ’16: Interning with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

July 20, 2015

Adam Basciano, originally from Randolph, N.J., is living and working in Washington, D.C., this summer.

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

Just following the July 4 holiday, I began my summer internship working for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under the minority leadership of Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. The past two weeks have truly offered many amazing and, at times, surreal experiences here on Capitol Hill.

Upon our arrival, the three other interns and myself were assigned to senior committee staff members based on our interests and previous experiences. As an international relations major with a focus on the Middle East, and having just returned from a semester abroad in Jerusalem, Israel, I was very excited to learn that I would be working with the Middle East and North Africa team.

While the recently announced Iran nuclear deal seems to have taken over every agency and think tank in the city, there are other topic areas relevant to the region that I have been able to explore. Each week, I sit in on meetings with policy makers and Middle Eastern representatives on matters ranging from Tunisia’s growing democracy to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria.

With regards to the Iranian deal reached in Vienna, Austria, last week, it has certainly made coming into work that much more exciting and dynamic. Between attending events on and off the hill and preparing the committee staff and senators for our first hearing on the issue this week, I have definitely been kept busy.

At this important and historic juncture for our country and the international community, I am extremely grateful to be in our nation’s capital working on these important issues. I am also very appreciative of the support from Colgate and our Center for Career Services, as well as the countless courses that have prepared me for this opportunity.

[More: Read Professor Nina Moore’s take on the Iranian Deal]

New grant supports the science of mind reading

July 15, 2015
Professor Bruce Hansen works with students to prepare a test subject for a brain scan.

Professor Bruce Hansen works with students to prepare a test subject as they try to determine whether electroencephalography captures the brain interpreting everyday experiences. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

Colgate Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Bruce Hansen probably should have predicted his recent $600,000 James S. McDonnell Foundation award to fund the next six to eight years’ worth of lab work with dozens of students.

After all, his research could easily be considered mind reading.

Read more

Warren Dennis ’16: Preparing for NASA’s future by understanding its past

July 13, 2015
Warren Dennis

Warren Dennis ’16 in front of the Space Shuttle Discovery

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

This summer, I’m interning for the History Program Office of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Washington, D.C. By providing easy access to information about its past successes and failures, the history office helps NASA to grow and better prepare for future situations. Read more

Former President Jeffrey Herbst named Newseum President and CEO

July 9, 2015
President Jeffrey Herbst

Former President Jeffrey Herbst finished a five-year term at Colgate on June 30th, 2015. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

In a statement released today on the Newseum website, former Colgate President Jeffrey Herbst was announced as the new President and CEO of Newseum.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be joining this world-renowned institution at such an important time in American history,” said Herbst in the announcement. “The Newseum is doing critical work to champion our core freedoms, and I look forward to helping write its next chapter.”

According to the Newseum’s website, the organization’s mission is to “champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through exhibits, public programs and education.” The Newseum is a not-for-profit established and supported by the Freedom Forum.

Read additional coverage of the announcement in the Washington Post.

Susan Price ’16 presents at UN Human Rights Council

July 8, 2015

Susan-price-2_WEBIt’s almost unheard of for an undergraduate student to present a statement at a United Nations (UN) session. Yet, Susan Price ’16 has done so not just once, but twice. Most recently, on June 18, Price presented at the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council. Read more

Madison Paulk ’16: Conducting social research in South Africa

July 6, 2015
Madison Paulk '16, a political science and African studies double major from Buffalo, N.Y. atop the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, built for the 2010 World Cup.

Madison Paulk ’16, a political science and African studies double major from Buffalo, N.Y., atop the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Editor’s note: In this series, Colgate students share stories about their summer experiences in offices, labs, and open spaces across the world.

This summer, I am in Durban, South Africa, conducting research with Congolese refugees through first-hand communication. Read more

Flaherty Film Seminar examines the Scent of Places

July 1, 2015
Laura U. Marks with several participants of this year's Flaherty Film Seminar hosted by Colgate.

Laura U. Marks with several participants of this year’s Flaherty Film Seminar

The “scent” of a locality is an invisible, unquantifiable aura that can be difficult to capture on film. Yet, it was the course of study for the 61st Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, hosted by Colgate for the eighth year. Read more

Katie Fallon ’16 gets the story, runs with it

June 30, 2015

Katie Fallon ’16 is spending the summer interning for CBS News in Washington, D.C., and it’s a far cry from making copies and getting coffee for this political science major from Hillsborough, Calif. Read her account of the experience at CBSNews.comRead more