Seven Faculty Members Named 2020 Public Engagement Project Fellows

Leontine Alkema
Leontine Alkema
Sanjay Arwade
Sanjay Arwade
Megan Lewis
Megan Lewis
Rebecca Ready
Rebecca Ready
Jamie Rowen
Jamie Rowen
Elizabeth (Libby) Sharrow
Elizabeth (Libby) Sharrow
Margaret (Meg) Vickery
Margaret (Meg) Vickery

Seven faculty members from across six departments and five colleges have been chosen as 2020 Public Engagement Faculty Fellows by the Public Engagement Project (PEP). The faculty fellows will draw on their substantial research records to impact policy, the work of practitioners and public debates. Faculty fellows receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, and will travel to Beacon Hill to share their research with lawmakers. This is the sixth cohort of Public Engagement Faculty Fellows.

“We are excited that PEP Fellows program has a critical  role to play in developing  an interdisciplinary network of publicly engaged faculty at UMass and building relationships to share the high quality research produced at UMass beyond the walls of academia so that journalists, policymakers, practitioners and others can use it,” said Lisa Troy, director of the Public Engagement Project.

The Public Engagement Project is a faculty-driven initiative building on a collaboration of the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) and the Center for Research on Families (CRF). The Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship has been made possible by funding from the College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, College of Natural Sciences, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Provost’s Office, and University Relations, as well as the collaborating centers and institutes.

The 2020 Public Engagement Faculty Fellows are:

Leontine Alkema, associate professor, biostatistics. Alkema develops statistical models to assess trends in reproductive, maternal, and child health worldwide. During her Public Engagement Fellowship, Alkema will develop materials to increase understanding and usage of model-based estimates to inform health policies and programs.

Sanjay Arwade, professor, civil and environmental engineering. Arwade conducts research to improve the quality of offshore wind energy infrastructure. Society benefits from this research by having access to a clean, renewable, secure, and reliable energy source.  Industry and the federal and state governments partner to realize the potential of offshore wind and supporting that partnership is the key goal of his public engagement plan.

Megan Lewis, associate professor, theater. Lewis studies how whiteness or white racial identity plays out in nations and how theatre can inspire social change. As a PEP Fellow, she will use op-eds, podcasts and public talks to encourage conversations across racial divides and model how white folks can contribute to a more just world.

Rebecca Ready, professor, psychological and brain sciences. Ready studies aging and well-being. As a PEP Fellow, she will disseminate information about the science of the psychology of aging to the public to dispel negative stereotypes about growing older and improve decisions made by older adults and by healthcare providers who care for older adults. 

Jamie Rowen, associate professor, political science. Rowen studies how law is used to solve social and political problems related to war. As a PEP Fellow, she hopes to translate her research for legislators, advocates, and the general public to better understand how law and legal institutions can help, and not harm, vulnerable populations such as immigrants, survivors of conflict and veterans.

Elizabeth (Libby) Sharrow, assistant professor, political science. Sharrow’s research identifies the challenges for and consequences of implementing sex non-discrimination policy in the United States, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and sexual harassment policies in the workplace. As a PEP Fellow, Sharrow will develop a strategy to share her research findings with policymakers, professional associations and leaders in academia.

Margaret (Meg) Vickery, lecturer, history of art & architecture. Vickery’s research shows how landscapes benefit from uniting utility, beauty and community. As a Public Engagement Fellow, she will communicate the value of art, architecture and landscape architecture in the design of infrastructures such as power production, water treatment plants and agriculture.