Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice swore in UC Irvine psychology and social behavior professor Roxane Cohen Silver on Dec. 2 to a new federal advisory board that will help create policies for travelers entering the United States. Silver will serve on the committee for the next two years.
‘I’m very pleased that the Department of Homeland Security has tapped into one of the many national experts at UCI,’ said Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who is also the senior Democrat of the Subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection and Cybersecurity of the Committee on Homeland Security, in a UCI press release dated Dec. 6. ‘Professor Silver’s expertise and extensive research on the psychological responses to terrorism will help shape public policy in the homeland security arena.’
The advisory board, known as the Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee, advises Rice and Chertoff on potential travel policies and new programs. The 18-member committee exists to help fulfill the Rice-Chertoff Vision, which aspires to develop travel policies that will allow people, including foreign students and scientists, to travel to the United States without compromising homeland security.
‘The Departments of State and Homeland Security clearly are committed to including educators and scientists along with business and travel industry leaders in the discussions about how to keep our borders open yet secure,’ Silver said in a UCI press release dated Dec. 6 ‘I am honored to be among the distinguished members of this committee and pleased to serve the country in this manner.’
The committee encompasses representatives from the travel industry, business leaders and academic professionals. Other members of the committee include the Chairman and CEO of Marriot International J.W. Marriot, and the Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts James A. Rasulo. The president of Carnegie Mellon University, Jared L. Cohon, will serve as the chairman of the committee.
‘We are proud that Professor Silver has again been called on by the federal government to provide expertise on a critical area of national security,’ said Executive Vice Chancellor Michael Gottfredson in a UCI press release dated Dec. 6. ‘Her work exemplifies how research at UCI is relevant to understanding and addressing real world problems in the 21st century.’
Silver studies the various responses of individuals to traumatic life events, in terms of stress and coping. Nationally recognized for her research, she led the longest-enduring national study of psychological responses to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Following the attacks, in 2002, Silver spoke to the Homeland Security office about the repercussions of psychological terrorism.
‘I am interested in how individuals cope with stressful life experiences, such as loss of a spouse or child, divorce, childhood sexual abuse, physical disability, war, natural disaster, terrorism and immigration to a new country,’ Silver said in her research abstract. ‘In my work, I seek to examine cognitive, emotional, social and physical responses to stressful life events, and to identify factors that facilitate successful adjustment to them. I also explore the long-term effects of traumatic life experiences, and consider how beliefs and expectations of the social network impact on the coping process.’
As the only psychologist on the advisory board, Silver will address issues concerning the entry of foreign students and scientists, including the visa process that has triggered a decrease in foreign applicants and thus raised concern in American universities. She will also address strategies that will help alter the perception of travelers to be more realistic. Silver brings her observations and knowledge of people’s responses to terrorist threats and the consequences that result from terrorist acts within a community.
‘Mostly, I’ve identified what’s been done wrong with the homeland security national threat advisory rates being highered and lowered, and to change the message of those alerts,’ Silver said in an interview with the OC Register dated Dec. 26. ‘With the liquid bomb scare in London, the alert was raised in only one arena