The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Why Public Engagement?

As citizens and as scholars, we have an interest in today’s debates about public policy, conversations about the state of the world, and imagining a different future. Read more about the Public Engagement Projects' Mission and Vision

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Elizabeth Sharrow, 2020 PEP Fellow, found that support for Title IX is threatened as a result of the COVID-19 crisis impact on college athletics

Elizabeth Sharrow, 2020 PEP Fellow, found that support for Title IX is threatened as a result of the COVID-19 crisis impact on college athletics. In a new report published by the journal Politics & Gender, Sharrow and co-author James Druckman discuss how the results accentuate the vulnerability of certain populations during crises, and the importance of maintaining strong institutional policy support during such times. Sharrow and Druckman explain, “We wondered whether Title IX’s protections continue to receive high-levels of support as the crisis unfolds and found that male college athletes and those with high sexist attitudes exhibit decidedly low levels of support for Title IX and sexual harassment protections during the COVID-19 crisis.” 

Kristen DeAngelis, 2019 PEP Fellow, published a new study finding shifts in the diversity of soil microbial communities can change the soil’s ability to sequester carbon, where it usually helps to regulate climate

Kristen DeAngelis, 2019 PEP Fellow, published a new study finding shifts in the diversity of soil microbial communities can change the soil’s ability to sequester carbon, where it usually helps to regulate climate. DeAngelis explained, "empirical evidence for the response of soil carbon cycling to the combined effects of warming, drought and diversity loss is scarce." Read more about this research at Phys.orgScienceDailyScience Codex, or the News Office release.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, mentioned in an article that calls for more than hiring diverse police officers.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, mentioned in an article that calls for more than hiring diverse police officers. Preito-Hodge and Tomaskovic-Devey call for greater police officer accountability in their recent research publication and explain, “Because officers have the lawful power to take away life, they should be held at a much higher standard than the average citizen when using force.” Further discussed in The Crime Report, it was found that police forces with more college-educated officers are less violent toward citizens, but there was no association between the race and sex compositions of law enforcement organizations and the level of police violence.

Amy Schalet, PEP Steering Committee Member, was recently quoted on NPR's Marketplace discussing Americans struggle with the growing financial crisis

Amy Schalet, PEP Steering Committee Member, was recently quoted on NPR's Marketplace discussing Americans struggle with the growing financial crisis. Schalet is explains aspects of American culture that contribute to the stigma of  adults living with extended family, "It’s a pretty strong belief in the U.S. that to become an adult you have to stand on your own two feet, you know, the rugged individual." Shalet further explains as the economy changes so will our meaning of "growing up." 

Nilanjana Buju Dasgupta, 2015 PEP Fellow, leads academy for students of color and women interested in technology and engineering careers

Nilanjana Buju Dasgupta, 2015 PEP Fellow, leads academy for students of color and women interested in technology and engineering careers. Dasgupta is the director of faculty equity and inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences and launched the program through the UMass Amherst Institute of Diversity Sciences in collaboration with other Massachusetts colleges and universities and with the sponsorship of top tech and engineering firms. Read more at MassLive and the UMass Amherst news office release.  

Thomas Zoeller, 2016 PEP Fellow, coauthor on a new article reporting that exposure to even minuscule amounts of bisphenol-A, or BPA, can cause a myriad of health problems

Thomas Zoeller, 2016 PEP Fellow, coauthor on a new article reporting that exposure to even minuscule amounts of bisphenol-A, or BPA, can cause a myriad of health problems. The new findings show that ingesting BPA can harm people at doses 20,000 times lower than what the FDA currently says is safe. Read the full article here and an overview of the research and findings at Environmental Health News.

Lisa Modenos, PEP Summer Participant, publishes article on academia's approach to nontraditional students

Lisa Modenos, PEP Summer Participant, publishes article on academia's approach to nontraditional students. Modenos discusses the potential pitfalls to the notion that nontraditional students is the new tradition when it comes to students in higher education. Read more from her article in Sage journals

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, quoted in an article on tech firms and diversity efforts following George Floyd protests

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, quoted in an article on tech firms and diversity efforts following George Floyd protests. In an article by Fierce Electronics, Tomaskovic-Devey discusses that diversity is more than just a quota. He explains, "These workers must be integrated into workgroups, empowered to raise issues of racial bias when apparent to them and protected when co-workers are resistant to racial claims." 

Elizabeth Schmidt, 2019 PEP Fellow, writes an article on U.S. laws that apply to fundraising

Elizabeth Schmidt, 2019 PEP Fellow, writes an article on U.S. laws that apply to fundraising. In an article published by Candid, Schmidt explains, "Charities must also be careful that their messages are completely truthful and understandable because anything short of that can deceive donors." 

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