Faculty Position in Data Science at the Johns Hopkins Mathematical Institute for Data Science

first_imgThe Johns Hopkins Mathematical Institute for Data Science (MINDS)invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position. Thesuccessful candidate is expected to conduct fundamental research inthe mathematical, statistical and computational foundations ofmachine learning.Primary appointments will be in the academic Department mostappropriate for the candidate within the Whiting School ofEngineering – e.g. Applied Math and Statistics, BiomedicalEngineering, Computer Science, or Electrical and ComputerEngineering. For additional information see https://www.minds.jhu.edu/job-openings/.Opportunities for interactions across the University include theCenter for Imaging Science, the Center for Language and SpeechProcessing, the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics,the Institute for Data Intensive Engineering and Science, theInstitute for Computational Medicine, the Malone Center forEngineering in Healthcare, the Johns Hopkins Applied PhysicsLaboratory, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the KriegerSchool of Arts and Sciences, and the Bloomberg School of PublicHealth.Outstanding candidates at all academic ranks will be considered.Candidates must hold a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, BiomedicalEngineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics,Statistics, or related fields, and will be expected to establish astrong, independent, multidisciplinary, and internationallyrecognized research program. Commitment to teaching excellence atthe undergraduate and graduate levels is required.All applicants should submit their application online at https://apply.interfolio.com/70041. Electronic applications should include a cover letter describingthe principal expertise of the applicant, a statement of teachinginterests, a statement of research interests, a complete resume,and a publication list. Applications at the Assistant Professorlevel should also include at least three reference letters.Applications at the Associate or Full Professor levels should notinclude reference letters or names at this stage.Applications will be reviewed starting January 15, 2020 and will beaccepted until the position is filled. Onsite interviews will beconducted on Thursday, February 20 and Friday, February 21.The Johns Hopkins University is committed to equal opportunity forits faculty, staff, and students. To that end, the university doesnot discriminate on the basis of sex, gender, marital status,pregnancy, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age,disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity orexpression, veteran status or other legally protectedcharacteristic. The university is committed to providing qualifiedindividuals access to all academic and employment programs,benefits and activities on the basis of demonstrated ability,performance and merit without regard to personal factors that areirrelevant to the program involved.The successful candidate(s) for this position will be subject to apre-employment background check.If you are interested in applying for employment with The JohnsHopkins University and require special assistance or accommodationduring any part of the pre-employment process, please contact theHR Business Services Office at jhurecr[email protected] For TTYusers, call via Maryland Relay or dial 711.The following additional provisions may apply depending on whichcampus you will work. Your recruiter will adviseaccordingly.During the Influenza (“the flu”) season, as a condition ofemployment, The Johns Hopkins Institutions require all employeeswho provide ongoing services to patients or work in patient care orclinical care areas to have an annual influenza vaccination orpossess an approved medical or religious exception. Failure to meetthis requirement may result in termination of employment.The pre-employment physical for positions in clinical areas,laboratories, working with research subjects, or involvingcommunity contact requires documentation of immune status againstRubella (German measles), Rubeola (Measles), Mumps, Varicella(chickenpox), Hepatitis B and documentation of having received theTdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccination. This may includedocumentation of having two (2) MMR vaccines; two (2) Varicellavaccines; or antibody status to these diseases from laboratorytesting. Blood tests for immunities to these diseases areordinarily included in the pre-employment physical exam except forthose employees who provide results of blood tests or immunizationdocumentation from their own health care providers. Anyvaccinations required for these diseases will be given at no costin our Occupational Health office.Equal Opportunity EmployerNote: Job Postings are updated daily and remain online untilfilled.EEO is the LawLearn more:https://www1.eeoc.gov/employers/upload/eeoc_self_print_poster.pdfImportant legal informationhttp://hrnt.jhu.edu/legal.cfmlast_img read more

Friday Beach Update: Dune to Wrap Around 59th Street

first_imgA new frontal dune curves around the end of Central Avenue and the entrance to Corson’s Inlet State Park.Check OCNJ Daily for updates and photos of the Ocean City beach replenishment project for 2015 in the south end between 37th and 59th Streets.DATE: Friday, Sept. 18The entrance to Corson’s Inlet State Park will now include a dune crossover.PROGRESS: As of Friday at 3 p.m., heavy machinery was shaping the new dune at the end of Ocean City to form a curved wall protecting the flank of the southernmost homes. The dune runs in a straight line from 37th Street to 59th Street (burying the 59th Street jetty) then curves back in an arc to meet the vegetated upland portion of Corson’s Inlet State Park.The beach at 59th Street remains closed as crews complete sand-pumping operations now expected to be complete by Tuesday. The beach at 58th Street is open and protected for the weekend by Ocean City Beach Patrol lifeguards.Beaches between 37th Street and 58th Street are now complete.WHAT’S NEXT: Work will continue in the area at 59th Street and just beyond until Tuesday, Sept. 22. The contractor will take another five to seven days to remove pipeline, clean up and finish dune crossovers. The planting of dune grass is scheduled for November.READ MORE: Ocean City NJ Beach Replenishment 2015 Daily UpdateFOR DAILY UPDATES by E-MAIL: Sign up for freelast_img read more

O.C. Resident Pens Book About Dad, Alzheimer’s Care

first_imgMaryanne Scott, at right, with her late father, Sam Valenti, the subject of her book, “An Eight Year Goodbye,” and her children, Katelyn and Jim. (Photos courtesy of Maryanne Scott) By TIM KELLYSaying goodbye to a friend or loved one can be a journey. And sometimes the navigation of that journey requires a team effort to get through.That was certainly the case of the farewell to Samuel Valenti, a former South Jersey resident who passed away in 2014 at the age of 93, following a gallant eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.Along the way, Sam’s friends, family and extended family dealt with the realities of caregiving, medical red tape and the slow loss of Sam, in addition to the normal grieving process.Much of the journey is documented in a wise and touching memoir, “An Eight Year Goodbye,” by Sam’s daughter, Maryanne V. Scott, a part-time Ocean City resident who also has a home in Doylestown, Pa.“Before my father passed, I wrote some things down, and decided to turn it into a book afterward,” said Scott, a fourth grade teacher. “I’m not a writer, but I thought that if someone could benefit from reading about our experiences, it could help them.”Scott underestimates herself. She is certainly a writer, despite a previous lack of experience.In “An Eight Year Goodbye,” Scott weaves a gripping story of Sam’s life, including some humorous anecdotes along with the jarring aspects of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient and finally, the sad outcome.The title reflects Scott’s and the other caregivers’ selfless efforts, and the literal sense of what was happening on a daily basis, she said.“Every day, as dad’s condition progressed, we slowly said goodbye to a piece of the man we all knew. A humble, healthy, independent guy and a hard worker, was losing a bit every day. And we were losing a part of him, too,” Scott said. “We were seeing a man who always did for himself and did for others, who could no longer do for himself.”Maryanne with her father on her wedding day.Though an undeniably sad narrative, the book also is a hopeful one. It provides the reader with an intimate look at the sacrifices and travails of Sam’s caregiving team, and puts a name and a face on one of the thousands who die from the disease each year.According to the Alzheimer’s Association website, more than 122,000 people died from Alzheimer’s in 2018, the most recent year of available statistics.However, the toll could be much higher because of deaths attributed to other symptoms or so-called “natural causes.”The Alzheimer’s Association website estimates 5.8 million Americans age 65 and above currently battle the condition.Whatever the true number, “An Eight Year Goodbye” is unflinching in its telling of Sam’s backstory and his illness, from the perspective of those whose boots were on the ground during his fight.Anyone caring for an Alzheimer’s patient, or wanting to learn more about the disease for which there is currently no cure, would benefit from reading it.It begins telling the story of South Philly native Sam, who dropped out of high school to join the Army and serve in the European theater of operations. Without a formal education, he took up tomato farming in the 1930s to provide for his wife, Mary, and eventually for Scott and her brother, also named Sam.“When people talk about my dad, the word that keeps coming up is ‘kindness,’” Scott said. “He was involved in the lives of our family members.”That included his first cousin, Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn.“(Hepburn) always told us she wanted to be an actress, and that’s exactly what she did,” Sam would say to the family, showing his understated wit.The book was published recently by Page Publishing and is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com and as an e-book.In addition to wit, Scott’s dad also had a knack for mechanics.“My dad was mechanically inclined and could pretty much fix anything,” Scott recalled. “If somebody told him they needed their car repaired, Dad could look at it, take it apart and put it back together running perfectly.”Sam bought a farm in Mount Holly, Burlington County, and became a tomato farmer.“He would raise his tomatoes, and drive truckloads to Camden and sell them to the Campbell Soup company,” she said.He was successful in providing for his wife and family.He was always there, “writing checks to help us with tuition bills,” Scott noted.“When I was thinking about becoming a lawyer, he said, ‘Go to law school. Tell me how much it is,’” she said.Years later, things began to change. “There was the forgetfulness, the repetition,” Scott explained.And eventually, there was the grim diagnosis.At that point, the family and extended family began their long goodbye.Maryanne Scott with her father, Sam Valenti, and her brother, also named Sam.Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative illness that usually starts slowly. The symptoms worsen and accelerate as it progresses.The book was published recently by Page Publishing and is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com and as an e-book.Currently, several book-signing events are in the works and will be announced shortly.Scott said she is proud of the cover. It features a photo of a South Jersey farm and a spectacular sundown to symbolize Sam’s later years, as well as his career in farming.  She said the design team at Page Publishing morphed a photo of a sundown over a second picture of a farm taken by her.“We drove all over South Jersey to find the perfect farm,” she said of herself and husband, Jim. “He has been my rock through all of this and my number one cheerleader for the book.”The couple has two adult children, Jim and Katelyn. Scott said her family helped with caregiving.Throughout, humor has always been a part of the formula for getting through the ordeal, she said.One time, Sam said something that the family took as funny, she said, even though the comment was directly related to his illness.“I said that I felt bad to be laughing more or less at the expense of dad’s disease,” she said. “But my brother made a good point. Sometimes when caring for an Alzheimer’s patient you have to laugh or you will cry.”Maryanne Scott, a part-time Ocean City resident, chronicles her family’s challenges in caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.last_img read more

Allergy alert

first_imgThe Food Standards Agency (FSA) revealed on Wednesday, 16 January, its new voluntary guidelines to warn consumers about possible allergens in food from food retail outlets, such as bakeries, cafés and restaurants, as well as food that is not prepacked. Two weeks later, on Wednesday, 30 January, the EU Commission went even further and announced an intention to introduce new legislation to make this mandatory.The FSA’s guidelines, backed by an advice booklet which warns that “eating even a small bit of food” can cause illness or death, suggest that products made with ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction should be listed on a card, label or menu.However, the guidance also points out that this is not compulsory and that an alternative is to ensure all staff are equipped to answer accurately questions from consumers about whether the food contains allergenic ingredients. The guidance stresses the importance of ensuring employees do not guess the answer to such questions.Allergy information on prepacked food is compulsory, but EU law allows member states an option to require, or not to require, written information about allergens in connection with food not packed at the time of sale – even if it is packed after the customer asks for it. The same exception applies to food from, and eaten in, bake-ries. The UK took up the option not to require written labelling in those cases.The new guidance was produced after extensive consultation with industry and expressly says it shouldn’t be used as a guide to enforcement by the authorities. This means that non-observance of the guidance is not to be regarded as an indication that an offence has been committed – which is right, because it is a best-practice guide.The guidance assumes that it is up to the allergic consumer to ask for information about ingredients and that there is no legal obligation on the business selling the food to volunteer that such ingredients have been used.However, the guidance stresses that if the consumer is given information about allergenic ingredients, it must be accurate, and points out that if information is given which is inaccurate, it is likely that the business is committing a criminal offence and may be liable to damages. Overall, the FSA has published some great practical guidance about how food businesses should control their exposure to this risk.However, the guidance may be fairly short-lived, since the European Commission has just announced it intends to use the proposed updating of EU food law to extend compulsory allergen information from prepacked foods to these other categories. The text of the Commission’s proposal is not yet available, and there is a hint that alternatives to labelling or display signage may be introduced. This is obviously an important topic for bakers and those selling food that is not prepacked – such as many sandwich bars. Such food businesses should keep a close eye on the proposals and lobby to ensure the eventual regulations are practical. * Owen Warnock is partner and food expert at international law firm Evershedlast_img read more

BSB takes conference to NEC

first_imgThis spring’s British Society of Baking (BSB) Conference is at the Baking Industry Exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham. There is a gourmet dinner from 6.30pm on Monday, 7 April. Rooms can be booked at the Holiday Inn by the BSB.Tuesday registration is at 8.30am. Talks start at 9.20am, with the Food and Drink Federation’s director of communications Julian Hunt speaking on ’The Activities of the Food and Drink Federation’. Bill Dean, MD of shortbread producer Deans of Huntly, will talk about NPD and promotional initiatives, and Paul Barker, who won 2007’s BIA Marketing Award, will discuss ’Cinnamon Square – the theatre of baking’.Alan Marr of Aulds (Food) will give an address on ’Out of the Ashes, Success!’ and describe his new factory. Matthew May of the Association of Bakery Students and Trainees will speak on training, followed by Jean Grieves and Albert Waterfield, who will introduce their new Bakery School website. The conference ends at 2pm.l For full details, contact BSB secretary Sharon Byrne: T: 01869 247098. Email: [email protected]last_img read more

Senior Resource Fair to be held in Farmington

first_imgFARMINGTON – The third annual Senior Resource Fair will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29, offering workshops and information booths with information about local resources for seniors. The event is presented by SeniorsPlus and will run from 8 a.m. to noon at Mt. Blue High School.The Senior Resource Fair will showcase area agencies and programs that provide support and services for older adults in the Farmington area. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about these different organizations, what they offer, and how they can help older adults in Franklin County to continue to live at home. SeniorsPlus will have a table with staff members to answer questions about local services. Also available will be free blood pressure checks and cholesterol screenings. There is no charge for the event and it will include a complimentary lunch made by the Mt. Blue High School culinary students.Three workshops will be offered covering the following topics: introducing Healthy Living for ME and its programs for improving health; changing gender roles in society; and avoiding scams.The Senior Resource Fair is presented by SeniorsPlus in collaboration with its community partners on a three-year Maine Health Access Foundation “Thriving in Place” grant that focuses on the Farmington and Rangeley communities. The goal of the grant is to assist people with chronic health conditions to stay healthy in their homes rather than needing hospital or nursing home care.SeniorsPlus is grateful for the support of the partners of the Seniors Resource Fair: Western Maine Community Action, Healthy Community Coalition, Rangeley Health & Wellness, Rangeley Family Medicine, Franklin County Health Network, Senior Center, and Western Maine Transportation.For more information, visit www.seniorsplus.org or contact Mary Richards at [email protected] or 207-864-2645.Established in 1972 and headquartered in Lewiston, SeniorsPlus is the Western Maine designated Agency on Aging covering Franklin, Oxford, and Androscoggin counties. The overall program goal of SeniorsPlus is to assist older people and adults with disabilities in its tri-county area to remain safely at home for as long as possible.last_img read more

Panic On The Boardwalk II: WSP Delivers Old School Set At Brand New Venue

first_imgLast night, Athens, GA rockers Widespread Panic continued their Fall Tour with their second and final performance at the newly opened Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk. The same rowdy crowd that was there Friday night was back again and then some, as the scene on the boardwalk seemed virtually twice as big as the night before. The cool ocean breeze that swept over the beach pre-show was a welcome change after Friday’s swampy heat, and as a beautiful sunset painted the skies above the venue, a rainbow appeared over Coney Island’s iconic carnival rides.With the breathtaking views–and the strength of Friday’s performance–the audience was already buzzing when the band took the stage. From the opening “Disco”, the band made their intentions clear–tonight was going to be a classic dance party. Fourteen of the twenty songs performed were debuted by the band in 1990 or before, making for a show stacked with early Panic and well-loved cover staples (“Stop~Go”, “C. Brown”, “Conrad”, “Pigeons”, “Driving Song”, and “Tie Your Shoes”: 1986; “Arleen”, “Genesis”, and “Bowlegged Woman”: 1987; “Disco”, and “Jack”: 1988; “Rock”: 1989; “Fishwater” and “Ribs and Whiskey”: 1990).“Disco” dissolved into a spacey, Jimmy Herring-led outro jam. Next, the band launched into a well-executed three-song sequence, flowing seamlessly from “Stop~Go” into “Rock” into “Heroes” without skipping a beat. Another three-song run followed, as “Airplane” kept up the energy in the room before segueing into fan-favorite Winston Riley cover “Arleen” and, finally, into the anthemic “C. Brown”. An emotional “Genesis” came next, before a ripping “Conrad”, put an exclamation point on a top-notch first set.The band kicked off Set 2 with Howlin’ Wolf‘s “Tail Dragger”, a staple of the band’s setlists over the last five years. From there on, Widespread Panic launched into the stratosphere and never looked back, putting on a truly memorable set for the Brooklyn crowd. An excellent “Pigeons” got the ball rolling before segueing into “Jack”. “Driving Song” materialized out of “Jack” to roaring approval from the audience, and segued into an extended “Tie Your Shoes”, which the band brought to a raucous peak before diving into “Pilgrims”. While keyboardist “Jo Jo” Herman was notably “on” all night, “Pilgrims” was where his funky keyboard grooves shined the brightest, propelling some locked-in improvisation that eventually made its way back to a “Driving Song” reprise.Next, singer-guitarist John Bell drove the ladies in the audience crazy (and–lets be honest–the guys too) with a steamy rendition of Tom Waits‘ “Goin’ Out West”, before a rowdy “Fishwater” > “Bowlegged Woman” > “Fishwater” sandwich brought the set to a close.Any devoted fan of any band is well-acquainted with the idea of a “piss break song.” Of course, you hope that every song at a show will be so incredible that you can’t look away, but sometimes nature calls, and a so-so tune can be a greatly appreciated window to take care of business. Last night, Panic caught fire as soon as they hit the stage, and stayed red-hot ’til the final notes rang out. Coney Island Night 2 had no “piss breaks” to speak of, and the ecstatic crowd happily “held it”–transfixed by a band performing at the top of their game.Finally, the band returned for a two-song encore to cap off a stellar weekend on the boardwalk, with the whole theater singing along to “Ribs and Whiskey” and the Talking Heads‘ “Life During Wartime”. After getting their footing in D.C. this past week, Panic truly hit their stride in Brooklyn this weekend. With Fall Tour 2016 heating up, you can expect the band to ride this wave of momentum as they make their way to Philadelphia’s Mann Center tonight.You can watch fan-shot video of “Heroes” and “Pigeons” below, courtesy of YouTube user danfro.“Heroes”“Pigeons”Check out the full setlist below, via PanicStream.9/10/16 – Widespread Panic | Ford Amphitheater At Coney Island Boardwalk | Brooklyn, NYSet 1: Disco, Stop~Go > Rock > Heroes, Airplane > Arleen^ > C. Brown, Genesis^^, Conrad (80 mins)Set 2: Tail Dragger*, Pigeons > Jack > Driving Song > Tie Your Shoes > Pilgrims > Driving Song, Goin’ Out West** > Fishwater > Bowlegged Woman > Fishwater (78 mins)Encore: Ribs and Whiskey, Life During Wartime*** (14 mins)Notes: ^General Echo cover; ^^Jorma Kaukonen cover; *Howlin’ Wolf cover; **Tom Waits cover; ***Talking Heads coverlast_img read more

Jimmy Herring Brings The Invisible Whip To Chattanooga [Photos]

first_imgJimmy Herring is currently on tour with his new band, The Invisible Whip, with his most recent stop in Chattanooga, TN at The Revelry Room. As a founding member of The Aquarium Rescue Unit, Project Z, and Jazz is Dead – in addition to playing with everyone from The Allman Brothers Band to The Dead to Widespread Panic – Herring has made an indelible impact on improvised music. Composed of longtime friends and musical collaborators, The Invisible Whip, named for the intangible musical force that fuels them, is a nod to their time spent playing with their fallen hero Col. Bruce Hampton – who made a lifelong impact on the members of the band. The Invisible Whip is: drummer Jeff Sipe (aka Apt Q258), Matt Slocum on B3 organ and clavinet, bassist Kevin Scott and multi-instrumentalist Jason Crosby on Fender Rhodes, piano and violin.EXCLUSIVE: Jimmy Herring Talks New Band, This Year’s Losses, And The Unknown Future Of PanicJimmy Herring and The Invisible Whip will tour nationally through September, then they’ll join John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension in November and December. For the full tour schedule, head to Herring’s website.Check out photos from the Chattanooga performance below, from photographer Christian Stewart.Jimmy Herring & The Invisible Whip | Chattanooga, TN | 7/23/17 | Photos by Christian Stewart Load remaining imageslast_img read more

Staying covered

first_imgWidespread layoffs amid the COVID-19 pandemic threaten to cut off millions of people from their employer-sponsored health insurance plans. But the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will protect many of these people and their families from losing coverage, according to a new study.The Perspective article in the New England Journal of Medicine, co-authored by Harvard University Ph.D. student Sumit Agarwal (also of Brigham and Women’s Hospital) and Benjamin Sommers, professor of health policy and economics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was published online Aug. 19.To quantify the ACA’s effect on changes in health insurance coverage after job loss, the researchers looked at data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a set of large-scale surveys of families and individuals, their medical providers, and employers across the U.S. The analysis compared the trajectories of 1,350 adults who lost their jobs before 2014 — the year that the ACA’s Medicaid and marketplace provisions, aimed at increasing health insurance coverage, went into effect — with the trajectories of 1,103 adults who lost their jobs in 2014 or later. The researchers examined the insurance status of these participants during the first three months and the last three months that they were surveyed.Between 2011 and 2013, job loss was associated with an average health insurance coverage loss of 4.6 percentage points, the analysis found. The proportion of participants with any coverage decreased from 66.3 percent to 61.7 percent. The very virus that has brought about record unemployment levels is the same agent that makes health insurance — and the new options created under the ACA — more important than ever. Democratizing work for the people and the planet How COVID turned a spotlight on weak worker rights The authors noted that insurance coverage gaps remain even with the ACA, and that the law’s future is still uncertain amid a Supreme Court challenge from 18 Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration, who are arguing that the law is unconstitutional.“In the current context of millions of Americans losing their jobs and an ongoing pandemic, overturning the ACA would most likely be devastating to patients, clinicians, hospitals, and state economies,” the authors wrote. “The very virus that has brought about record unemployment levels is the same agent that makes health insurance — and the new options created under the ACA — more important than ever.” Shutdown may be threatening millions of businesses, but reopening is fraught with challenges of its own But after the ACA went into effect — when the overall coverage rate was much higher to begin with (76.2 percent ) — job loss was no longer linked to an increase in the uninsured rate. Large gains in Medicaid (8.9 percentage points) and marketplace coverage (2.6 percentage points) nearly fully offset the reduction in employer-sponsored insurance for people who left or lost their job, according to the authors. Overall, the implementation of the ACA was associated with a 6.0-percentage-point net increase in the likelihood of having coverage after a job loss.“These results indicate the critical role that the ACA will play in alleviating coverage losses related to the Covid-associated recession,” the authors wrote.center_img Professor Julie Battilana and international collaborators lead the charge in rethinking how we work Related American economy on the bubble Block and Sachs point to flaws in the social safety net, an indifferent OSHA, and a system that favors employers over employees last_img read more

Professor recognized for writings

first_imgSociology professor Christian Smith recently received honors for his latest works, “What is a Person” and “Souls in Transition,” from top scholarly institutions, including “Choice” magazine and the Lilly Fellows Program. Smith expressed gratitude when presented with his awards and praised the University for its contributions to his research. “You spend years and years working on books, so it’s nice when someone thinks they’re worthwhile. I’m very happy for Notre Dame as well,” Smith said. “The University’s resources have been invaluable to my research.” In addition to teaching sociology courses, Smith serves as Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the Director of the Center for Social Research. Smith said he developed an interest in religion and the spiritual lives of youth early in his career. “I was always interested in the field of religion,” he said. “In 2000, I began studying the religious and spiritual lives of teenagers. I find the lives of young people fascinating and a great way to understand culture and society.” “Souls in Transition,” the winner of the 2011 Lilly Fellows Program Book Award, explores spirituality and religion during emerging adulthood, a time Smith defines as between 18 to 23 years of age. “There’s a lot of freedom, opportunity and dangers during this limbo phase between the teenage years and young adulthood,” Smith said. “In the book, I look what happens to the lessons from childhood. Also, growing up in a pluralistic society, I wondered how teenagers would approach spirituality once leaving home and separating from their parents.” While researching for his book, Smith discovered his findings supported previously established claims, while also validating obvious yet surprising explanations concerning the religious lives of young adults. “We have known that going to church declines in this period. There’s not a decline in beliefs necessarily, but more so in public practice,” he said. “It should be obvious then, but the most important factor in shaping the lives of young people is their parents. It’s surprising because we tend to believe parents become less and less important, and this is not the case at all.” Smith has brought his research to the Notre Dame community, hoping that residence staff and campus ministry can help students develop and sustain their spiritual lives during their undergraduate careers. “I have presented my findings to all the rectors, and my main message is if you really want to reach young people with faith, then you have to engage them where they are in their lives,” Smith said. “Notre Dame can’t control what parents have taught, but they can continue to engage students in conversation.” Smith’s other work, “What is a Person,” explores the question of personhood within a comprehensive framework informed by sociological and philosophical principles. “I think social science gets human beings wrong in a lot of ways,” Smith said. “What it means to be a person is something very particular and complicated. If humans are persons, then social science needs to take personhood seriously rather than taking a reductionist view.” Smith said he advocates a pluralist approach, a philosophical system recognizing the possibility of more than one ultimate principle. “We need to develop a better theory of personhood that defends a humanistic view as human beings are special and worthy of dignity,” Smith said. “I think culture is moving away from this view, and it’s a big problem.”last_img read more