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New Faculty: Five Objects that Matter
March 18, 2021

Rutgers School of Social Work is pleased to announce theCory Mortonappointment of Dr. Cory Morton. Dr. Morton joined the faculty of the Center for Prevention Science and the School of Social Work as an assistant research professor in January 2021. 

Dr. Morton has more than ten years of experience conducting research in the field of prevention science, substance misuse, and child maltreatment. His research focuses on how to structure communities to support individual and family well-being through an investigation of how various features of the built environment are associated with substance-related harms. His recent work has focused on documenting rising alcohol sales during the COVID-19 pandemic and using questions posed to substance use experts to develop youth-focused prevention curricula.

We asked him to identify five meaningful objects in his home and office.

Pile of Newspapers
I am a big fan of print media. The pile of newspapers helps me keep an archive at home to revisit articles until I tie them up for recycling. Reading the newspaper is a practice for me that requires time and space, and the ceremonial aspects help buffer against the endless doom scroll that often happens when I view digital newsfeeds of late.

I love collecting records, and a big part of that love is bound to the hunt. While record stores are great, it is the ones I find in thrift stores or estate sales amongst the many copies of Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass that are the most special. Whether the find is a regional R&B act from Canada or Neil Young’s “Time Fades Away” (out of print for over 40 years until 2014!), I am always curious of the Bill Keane-like journey these objects have taken as they are brought back to life on my turntable.

Transitional Objects
These images represent two generations of transitional objects: cookie monster (mine), beary, and elephant blanket. I have two daughters, aged ten and three, and both put so much love into their respective transitional objects. If anything has been good about last year, the time spent with my kids has been that silver lining for me.

Ceramic Owl 
I was fortunate to have my great-grandparents around during my early years in Memphis, Tennessee. My paternal great-grandparents owned and resided on the grounds of a nursery, and exploring those grounds is one of my most treasured early memories. On their property, they kept turkeys, cows, and peacocks along with a large ceramic shop and kiln that my great-grandmother operated. She made this owl for me when I was a toddler, and I have kept it as a talisman since.  

Halloween Polaroid Polaroid
My wife and partner, Kelly, and I have been together for around 15 years. For most of those years we have documented our Halloween costumes with a Polaroid. Here, we were Dale Cooper and Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks. It is always fun to go back and look at these pictures that represent a couple of the things I love most about her— a playful spirit and, of course, a willingness to nerd out.  

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