IDMH Director to Support 9/11 Survivors, Families at Memorial Museum Opening

SUNY New Paltz Faculty & Staff Portraits

Dr. James Halpern

Dr. James Halpern, director of SUNY New Paltz’s Institute for Disaster Mental Health (IDMH), will join a handful of Red Cross mental health volunteers to assist with providing emotional support for families, survivors, first responders, and visitors touring the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City from May 15-21.

“Considerable time has passed since 2001 and there has been much healing, but for those who lost loved ones or were injured on that day, attending the museum opening will likely be very difficult,” said Halpern. “It is an honor to be of some help to these survivors.”

Halpern was invited to volunteer due to his significant involvement with the Red Cross response to the 9/11  attacks. He led the first organized Red Cross disaster mental health team to Ground Zero; managed the Missing Persons Hotline, a major point of contact for weeks after the disaster; supported the visits of firefighter families to the site; and assisted residents in moving back to their neighborhoods. Halpern also supervised SUNY New Paltz disaster practicum students who supported 9/11 survivors at various memorials held at the World Trade Center site.

According to the Red Cross, mental health teams have been part of its Disaster Services dating back to the early 1990s. Then the goal was to provide support to volunteers on a disaster relief operation. The mission has expanded over the years to meet the types of needs seen during responses like the Oklahoma bombing, events of 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina. As knowledge has increased regarding the psychological impact of traumatic and disaster-related events, the contributions of disaster mental health volunteers have become increasingly important.

For more information about the museum visit

Evolutionary Studies Program Hosts Talk on Primate Sexuality

chacma-baboonNew Paltz’s Evolutionary Studies program will host its last event of the year, a talk on primate sexual behavior, on April 21, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. in Lecture Center room 102.

Dr. Craig Bielert, a psychologist and anthropologist at Oneanta, will deliver a lecture entitled, “Primate Sexual Behavior – Confirmations, Continuums, and Cautions,” which will highlight his experimental work with chacma baboons (Papio ursinus). Extensions into work with humans presented with a rare intersex condition will also be described. Dr. Bielert will also discuss the ways in which societal pressures have impacted the research efforts in this topic in both historic and contemporary times.  The lecture is free and open to the public.  A reception will follow after the talk.

The event is sponsored by the EvoS Program, EvoS Club, Student Association, Campus Auxiliary Services and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  For more information, contact Briana Tauber at

Lecture on Ethics as a “Human Project”

The Philosophy Department, the Evolutionary Studies Program, the EvoS Club, and the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society present “Ethics as a Human Project,” a talk by Dr. Philip Kitcher, on Thursday, April 10, 4:45 PM in Lecture Center 100.

What makes ways of living good or bad, actions right or wrong? Can we make objective judgments about what is valuable? Western philosophy has struggled with these questions. This lecture will suggest that we can liberate ourselves from familiar difficulties in answering them if we treat ethical practice as an evolving project, with deep roots in our human (and pre-human) past.

Philip Kitcher is the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He studied at Cambridge and at Princeton, where he obtained a PhD in the history and philosophy of science. He has taught at Vassar College, the University of Vermont, the University of Minnesota, and the University of California at San Diego, and he is a past president of the American Philosophical Association. The author of over a dozen books, Dr. Kitcher has written about philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of biology as well as ethical and political constraints on scientific research. His recent work focuses on the relation between science and religion, and evolution and ethics. He has also written on the work of writers James Joyce and Thomas Mann and the music of Richard Wagner.

We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Provost’s Office and Campus Auxiliary Services.

LA&S Summer Internship Scholarships

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce scholarships to support low-paying or unpaid summer internships for students.  For summer 2014 we will offer two or three $1,000 awards.  This program is supported by generous contributions from SUNY New Paltz parents, alumni, and friends to the LA&S Dean’s Fund.

These are merit-based awards that take into account the student’s GPA, the quality of the internship, the relevance of the internship to the student’s academic major and educational goals, and the relevance of the internship to the student’s future career.


  • Applicants should be majors in a department or program within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • Applicants should have a 3.3 or higher cumulative G.P.A.
  • Preference will be given to students in their junior year; seniors who will graduate in May or August 2014 are not eligible for this award.
  • The internship cannot be with a business or organization run by a family member, relative, or close family friend.

To apply, students should submit the following:

  • A 300-500 word description of the internship and its relation to the student’s academic major, educational goals, and career plans
  • A resume
  • An academic transcript with cumulative G.P.A.
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty

Applications should be sent to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, JFT 614.  Deadline for applications is May 7, 2014.  Awards will be announced on May 15, 2014.

Free Hearing Test for Students, Faculty & Staff

DSC03877Hearing loss is a very common problem that can significantly affect an individual’s ability to communicate. The Speech Language and Hearing Center (SLHC) here on campus provides full audiological evaluations at no cost for students, faculty and staff.  The evaluation takes approximately one hour and will be performed by a nationally and state certified audiologist. If you are interested, please call 257-3600 to make an appointment.

Statistics on Hearing Loss:

  • About 20 percent of adults in the United States, 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss.
  • 60 percent of the people with hearing loss are either in the work force or in educational settings.
  • At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss.
  • About 2-3 of every 1,000 children are hard of hearing or deaf
  • Estimated that 30 school children per 1,000 have a hearing loss.

Source: John Hopkins Medicine

Deaf Awareness Week – ASL Movie Night April 9, 2014

GeraldsmDeaf Awareness Week  – ASL Movie Night Wednesday, April 9

This film is rated PG-13 and is being shown for free. It is presented in sign language and closed-captioned for the hearing.

When: 6:30-8:30pm

Where: SUNY New Paltz Lecture Center Room 100 (LC100)

Please join us for this important and moving film. The story traces the journey of a young man, Corey, who discovers he has a deaf autistic grandfather he has never met. Determined to make a connection with his grandfather, Corey uncovers family ties and secrets in a dramatic chain of events, leading to a shocking truth.

Sponsored by: Mid-Hudson Deaf Awareness Group, Communication Disorders Department, Sociology Dept. – Human Services Concentration, and Taconic Resources for Independence, Inc. CAS

Psychology Professor’s Book Translated into Chinese

Mating Intelligence

By Despina Williams Parker

Mating Intelligence Unleashed, co-written by Psychology Department Chair Glenn Geher and Scott Barry Kaufman (New York University), will be published in Chinese (simplified characters) in Mainland China by The Commercial Press of Beijing in August 2015. Of the four books Geher has penned, this is the first to be translated into another language.

“I have to say that I’ve been happily surprised with the attention this book has gotten,” said Geher. “When Abby Gross, the editor who oversees psychology books for Oxford University Press, contacted my co-author and me indicating that this will be translated into Chinese, I just thought, ‘This is great.’”

First published by the Oxford University Press in 2013, Mating Intelligence Unleashed uses research on evolutionary psychology, intelligence, creativity, personality, social psychology, neuroscience, and more to answer age-old questions about mating and dating.  Among these are: How do people really choose mates? What traits are attractive? Do nice guys really finish last?

Geher coined the phrase, “mating intelligence” in 2006 and his work has been featured in Psychology Today, the Washington Post, Huffington Post and elsewhere.

“The whole point of publishing ideas, in book format or otherwise, is to get others to think – and the idea of having people on the other side of the world read this book and think about the ideas that we discuss, regarding human mating, relationships, and evolution, is just very exciting,” said Geher. “I hope the folks in China like it.”

Geher is the director of Evolutionary Studies at SUNY New Paltz, founder of the North Eastern Evolutionary Psychology Society (NEEPS) and co-founder of the International Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) Consortium, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Darwin Week Celebrates Scientist’s Contributions to Evolutionary Theory


SUNY New Paltz’s renowned celebrations of Charles Darwin’s 205th birthday reflect the extraordinary breadth that Darwin’s ideas bring to our modern understanding of the world.

Darwin Week 2014:  “From Human Brains to Desert Plants and Beyond!” will kick off with a talk by Professor Ralph Holloway of Columbia University entitled, “Paleoneurology and Human Brain Evolution.” This event, which is part of New Paltz’s 7th annual Evolutionary Studies Seminar Series, will be held Monday, Feb. 10 from 5:30-6:45 p.m. in Lecture Center 100.

The second Darwin Week event features a lecture by Professor William Varga of the Utah Botanical Center entitled, “Plants and People in the Intermountain High Desert: From Hunter-Gatherer to Sustainable Landscapes,” held Tuesday, Feb. 10 from 7-8 pm. in the Coykendall Science Building Auditorium.

Receptions will follow both events.  Attendees will enjoy free food and birthday cake.

This award-winning series is the cornerstone of New Paltz’s award-winning program in evolutionary studies.

Event Explores Use of Dogs in Helping Trauma Victims

The New Paltz Undergraduate Psychology Association and the Hudson Valley Psychological Association is hosting a free event featuring some of the top applied psychologists in the Hudson Valley who work on the topic of trauma and the role of dogs in helping trauma victims.

The event will be held Saturday, February 15, from 2-5 p.m. in the Coykendall Science Building Auditorium.

Topics include “Trauma sensitive courtrooms,” and the “Use of facility dogs in trauma-informed treatment and in the attachment-based group work with mothers and their babies.”  Presenters will discuss “Rosie Goes to Court,” the historic case of an 11-year-old Golden Retriever named Rosie.  Rosie accompanied an adolescent victim to court when she testified regarding sexual assault.  A professional dog trainer will also explain the training of facility dogs and give a demonstration with at least one dog that has finished the two-year training program.

Presenter Information:

David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP, Clinical Director, Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie

Lori Stella, LCSW, Social Worker, Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie

Stephanie Carnes, LMSW, Social Worker for Young Mother’s Program, Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie

Sherry Burger, Professional Dog Trainer, Educated Canines Assisting Disabilities (ECAD)

Ace, 2-year-old trained Golden Retriever, Facility Dog at the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie

This presentation is open for free to all HVPA members, non-HVPA members, lay people and of course all faculty, staff and students at SUNY New Paltz as well as students from other colleges

For more information, visit

Bloom Delivers Provocative Lecture on Sex, Physics and Evolution

PSYCH Howard Bloom

By Despina Williams Parker

Renowned writer and thinker Howard Bloom challenged physicists to abandon the theoretical equivalent of “stone tools” in describing a universe that contains the messy, irrational yet strangely compelling thing we call human sexuality in a provocative lecture delivered on Oct. 9 in the Coykendall Science Building Auditorium.

Bloom’s lecture, intended to demonstrate how “sex defies the laws of physics,” challenged two basic scientific assumptions within the framework of sexual reproduction:  the Principle of Least Action and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  The former holds that nature takes the most economical course of action, while the latter describes entropy as being in constant increase in the universe.

Using examples ranging from biology to Longfellow’s epic  weeper, “Evangeline,”  to the suicide of a gay friend, Bloom said that “sexuality does not comport” with the Principle of Least Action’s vision of a thrifty universe.  The principle, argued Bloom, does not explain the 19 trillion sperm produced in a man’s lifetime, a literary heroine’s lifelong search for her lost lover, or the tragic death of a brilliant 22-year-old in a time when homosexuality was taboo.

Bloom challenged the validity of a principle derived in 1746 from the study of light, which does not illuminate the complexities of human behavior and desire exemplified by a man’s fetish for women’s shoes or a loveless couple’s attempt to hold it together for the kids.

Nor was Bloom content with the Second Law of Thermodynamics’ vision of a universe falling apart.  How, he wondered, did entropy explain the genome’s remarkable game of mix and match, the shuffling and exchange at the heart of human reproduction?

“With 22,000 genes shuffled, how many permutations and combinations would that be?” Bloom asked. “How many ways of things going wrong could there be and how many ways of things going right?”  If entropy applied to sexual reproduction, Bloom argued, we would not have a population of unique men and women, but “soup.”

And if the Principle of Least Action and the Second Law of Thermodynamics do not explain the complexities of sexual behavior and reproduction, perhaps scientists have not accomplished much at all, Bloom proposed.

“Which is more real in this cosmos – light, or Glenn?” quipped Bloom, nodding at Glenn Geher, Chair of the Psychology Department and Director of the Evolutionary Studies Program. “You are as real an aspect of the cosmos as light. What you represent is as important to understand as physics. Until physics can understand you, physics doesn’t have a clue.”

An avowed atheist, Bloom argued that the “challenge of science is to explain these things, not to put them off on a god.”  His work in pondering these grand questions will form the basis of a new book.

Bloom has authored The God Problem:  How a Godless Cosmos Creates,The Lucifer Principle:  A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of HistoryGlobal Brain:  The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century, and The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism.

New Paltz’s Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) Club, the School of Fine and Performing Arts, Major Connections and the Honors Program sponsored the lecture.