Seven faculty members from across five colleges and schools have been named Public Engagement Faculty Fellows by the Public Engagement Project (PEP). They will draw on their substantial research record to impact policy, the work of practitioners and public debates. The fellows, who will receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, will also travel to Beacon Hill to share their research with lawmakers.
“Last spring’s inaugural fellows were very successful in getting their research into the hands of the media, policymakers and practitioner groups” said Amy Schalet, director of the Public Engagement Project. “And we are excited to be working with another accomplished group of scholars this year.”
The 2016 Public Engagement Faculty Fellows are:
Jeffrey D. Blaustein, professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences. Blaustein studies the cellular processes by which estrogens and progestins act in the brain to influence behavior, mental health, and cognitive function. During his fellowship, Blaustein will develop tools to help him better explain to oncologists and breast cancer survivors the important role that estrogens play in the brain, so that patients can make informed decisions about treatments that block estrogens.
Louis F. Graham, assistant professor in the department of public health and health sciences. Graham’s research shows how social systems and situations impact depression, and violence among ethnic and sexual minorities. As a fellow, Graham will use his research to enrich public discourse on social and health inequities, contributing to a more accurate and multi-faceted media portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender experiences.
Peter M. Haas, professor in the department of political science. Haas is an expert in global governance and the dynamics of international environmental cooperation. As a PEP fellow, he will develop policy briefs and briefings for diplomats and UN officials on how international organizations can best use science to promote sustainability.
Miliann Kang, associate professor in the department of women, gender, sexuality studies. Kang’s research shows how Asian-American women are stereotyped as model minorities and potential threats, which can fuel racial hostility and unrealistic expectations. During her fellowship, Kang will advocate for realistic and positive portrayals of Asian-American mothers in the media, and for education and policies that address the challenges their families face.
Ellen J. Pader, associate professor in the department of landscape architecture and regional planning. Pader’s research focuses on housing discrimination, an important cause of segregation that often goes unreported and unrecognized in the media. During her fellowship, Pader will aim to improve public understandings of, and policy solutions to, housing discrimination in the state of Massachusetts and beyond.
Stephen G. Sireci, professor in the department of educational policy, research and administration. Sireci’s research focuses on improving educational testing to better measure students’ knowledge and skills. Sireci will use the fellowship to engage policymakers about how to productively use educational testing, and why not to use tests for purposes beyond which they are designed, such as evaluating public school teachers.
R. Thomas Zoeller, professor in the department of biology. Zoeller studies the role of thyroid hormone and brain development and the ability of environmental chemicals to interfere with thyroid hormones to produce cognitive deficits in children. During his fellowship, Zoeller will develop tools and strategies to better communicate with non-science audiences including policymakers, health care professionals and the public.
The Public Engagement Project is a faculty-driven initiative building on a collaboration of the Center for Research on Families (CRF), Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA), and Institute for Social Science Research, (ISSR). The Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship has been made possible with funding from the College of Natural Sciences, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Provost’s Office and University Relations, as well as the collaborating centers and institutes.