The Academic Minute for 2020.01.06-2020.01.10

The Academic Minute from 01.06 – 01.10

Monday, January 6th
Gary Ackerman University of Albany
Defining What Drives a Terrorist
Associate Professor of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Gary Ackerman’s research focuses on understanding how terrorists and other adversaries make tactical, operational and strategic decisions, particularly with regard to innovating in their use of weapons and tactics. Much of his work in this area is centered on the motivations and capabilities for non-state actors to acquire and use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons.

Ackerman, who grew up in South Africa, joined the University in the Spring of 2018. In addition to his faculty position at Albany, Ackerman is the founding director of the Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), to which he remains a senior advisor. His previous positions have included research director and special projects director at START, and before that the director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Research Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif.

Tuesday, January 7th
Brendan Gaesser – University at Albany
Pathways from Imagination to Altruism
As of fall 2016, I am an assistant professor of psychology at SUNY and Member of Purpose Co-working. Before starting at SUNY Albany, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Boston College in the Morality Lab led by Liane Young and affiliated with the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab led by Elizabeth Kensinger. I received my B.A. from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and my Ph.D. from Harvard University, where I was a graduate student in the Memory Lab led by Dan Schacter.

Wednesday, January 8th
Beth DuFault – University at Albany
Improving the Patient Experience in the NICU
Beth Leavenworth DuFault is Assistant Professor of Marketing at University at Albany, State University of New York. Beth’s academic background is in marketing and economic/cultural sociology. She studies cultural change, specifically in the areas of quantification of consumer and society, transition of health care markets to consumerism, and institutions salient to consumer identity.

Thursday, January 9th
Wonhyung Lee – University at Albany
Helping the Homeless Through Business Improvement Districts
Wonhyung Lee is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Welfare of the University at Albany, State University of New York. With her background in social work and urban planning, her research centers on community development and engagement. She is particularly interested in the process of neighborhood revitalization and asset building in disadvantaged communities. Her research interests range from the improvement of physical spaces and economic activities to the promotion of collective actions and access to services. Dr. Lee pursues interdisciplinary and community-engaged research opportunities, which comprises expertise from various disciplines such as arts, business, engineering, public health, and public policy. Some of her recent work reveals the potential for human service and business communities to work together to benefit marginalized populations. Two examples include business improvement districts (BIDs) that serve the needs of homeless populations and microfinance programs that help entrepreneurs with low assets and credit. Dr. Lee is currently co-leading an NSF-funded project on Smart and Connected Communities with a goal of developing a technology that can improve the communication between service-seekers and service-providers. In and outside the classroom, Dr. Lee applies community-engaged and experiential approaches to facilitate hands-on learning for students.

Friday, January 10th
Brett Levy – University at Albany
Political Polarization Through Education
Dr. Levy is an assistant professor of Educational Theory and Practice. His research explores how educational programs can support civic and political engagement among youth and how such engagement can in turn foster academic and life skills. His dissertation, which explored adolescents’ political efficacy and engagement during a Model United Nations program, won the 2012 Exemplary Dissertation Award from the National Council for the Social Studies, and he is currently conducting studies exploring students’ experiences in discussion-based government courses at several high schools. Dr. Levy teaches courses on youth civic engagement, social studies education, research methods, and environmental education. Before graduate school, he taught middle school social studies, history, and English at public and private schools in California.


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