Anthony Tuck, HFA professor and chair of the Classics Department and chair of the Languages, Literatures, Cultures Department, and Michelle Trim, CICS informatics program director and senior lecturer II, have been selected to receive $90,000 in Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) grants from New America to advance the public interest technology movement.

Tuck and Trim will lead a project team to develop a study abroad data science course, co-located and integrated with the curriculum of the Poggio Civitate Archaeological Field School in Tuscany, Italy. Tuck currently serves as director of excavations for the excavation, which is among the oldest and most well-respected archaeological training programs in the world.

“We hope to use this grant to develop curricular partnerships between Classics and Informatics through archaeological data science,” says Tuck. “Poggio Civitate is a perfect example of undergraduate research, where students get hands-on experience, so the goal is not just to bring students out into the field, but to help pull students from siloed environments together.”

The course aims at expanding the data literacy skills of humanities majors while providing experience in applied research in the humanities for informatics majors, with particular focus on recruiting women and students from underrepresented groups into public interest technology programs.

While at the field school, students will receive training in all aspects of fieldwork, including excavation and data collection, archaeological survey and drawing, objects conservation, illustration, photography, and cataloging.

“I’m looking forward to bringing Michelle into our project at Poggio, and similarly looking forward to bringing that collaborative energy back here to UMass to develop curricular opportunities between these colleges,” Tuck says.

The work will be completed in coordination with UMass Amherst's Public Interest Technology Initiative (PIT@UMass), an initiative launched in 2022 which seeks to provide students and the greater community the skills, awareness, information, and experience to navigate a tech-powered world in a socially responsible way—both as citizens and professionals.

According to Francine Berman, director of the PIT@UMass Initiative, "We are excited about the positive impact this project will have in situating technical aspects of data science within a larger, public-focused and socially responsible context and, through its publicity, increasing student interest in the area of  humanities."

The Public Interest Technology University Network is a partnership of 48 colleges and universities convened by New America, the Ford Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation. The network and challenge grants are funded through the support of the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Mastercard Impact Fund, with support from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, the Raikes Foundation, Schmidt Futures and Siegel Family Endowment. PIT-UN is dedicated to building the field of public interest technology through curriculum development, faculty research opportunities, and experiential learning programs, in order to inspire a new generation of civic-minded technologists and policy leaders.

To learn more about Poggio Civitate Archaeological Field School, visit

Article posted in Academics for Faculty and Public