Penn State Beaver faculty members show expertise in presentation, publication

A presentation and a publication by Penn State Beaver faculty members were recently announced.

Robert Szymczak, associate professor of history, was a guest speaker at a Pittsburgh panel discussion titled “Good Neighbors, Bad Neighbors: How War and Conflict Change Us,” and Ana Beatriz Arêas da Luz Fontes, assistant professor of psychology, coauthored a journal article.

Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre (PICT) hosted the panel discussion in May following a presentation of Tadeusz Slobodzianek’s play, “Our Class,” a story of classmates who betray one another when their village is invaded by Nazi and Soviet regimes.

Panelists discussed how war and political conflict create enmity and violence among people who have lived peaceably together for a long time in areas as diverse as Poland, Ireland and the Balkans.

In addition to Szymczak, panelists included Jan T. Gross, professor of history at Princeton University and author of the book, “Neighbors,” which revealed that the killing of up to 1,600 Jews in Jedwabne, Poland, in 1941 was perpetrated by their own neighbors, not the Germans.
Panel moderator was former U.S. Ambassador Dan Simpson, a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Fontes coauthored the article, “Attributional Gender Bias: Teachers’ Ability and Effort Explanations for Students’ Math Performance” in the international journal Social Psychology of Education, Volume 16, No. 1, 2013.

The article explores the tendency to generate different explanations for female versus male students’ performance in math, i.e. boys’ successes in math are attributed to ability and girls’ successes are attributed to effort. Conversely, males’ failures in math are attributed to a lack of effort and girls’ failures to a lack of ability.

For information, contact Szymczak at or 724-773-33895 and Fontes at or 724-773-3885.

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Last Updated June 03, 2013