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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Margaret Vickery, 2020 PEP Fellow, writes article in The Conversation about the aesthetic possibilities of utilities infrastructure

Margaret Vickery, 2020 PEP Fellow, writes article in The Conversation about the aesthetic possibilities of utilities infrastructure. In the article, Vickery explains that projects like  The Solrogard Energy, Climate and Environmental Park in Hillerod, Denmark "demonstrate the infrastructure can do more than provide energy and water: It can also create aesthetically welcoming spaces for society."

PEP Steering Committee Member, M.V. Lee Badgett, releases new book, "The Economic Case for LGBT Equality"

In her new book, "The Economic Case for LGBT Equality," PEP Steering Committee Member, M.V. Lee Badgett, finds that homophobic and transphobic policies cost 1% or more of a country's GDP. She argues this means a financial argument can now be made for LGBT equality. Read more about the book and Badgett's research in the Los Angeles Blade.

Rebecca Spencer, 2015 PEP Fellow, wrote article in The Conversation about the benefits that regular naps for preschool children

Rebecca Spencer, 2015 PEP Fellow, has written an article in The Conversation about the numerous benefits that regular naps provide to preschool children and providing tips to parents learning to implement nap times at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Reprinted in the Arizona Daily StarHouston ChronicleNew Haven Register, and The National Interest.

Deepankar Basu, 2017 PEP Fellow, and colleague co-authored article in Daily News series examining the coronavirus responses among four South Asian countries

Deepankar Basu, 2017 PEP Fellow, and colleague, have co-authored the first of a three-part Daily News series examining the differing responses to the coronavirus pandemic among four South Asian countries: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They say that Sri Lanka was best prepared to face the pandemic and reacted swiftly to contain its spread. Reprinted in MSN Asia.  

2018 PEP Fellow, Donald Tomaskovic-Devey's research on between-workplace inequalities in high income countries featured in

2018 PEP Fellow, Donald Tomaskovic-Devey and colleagues find rise in between-workplace wage inequality in 12 of 14 high income countries, including the U.S. Featured on, the research also finds inequality rises the fastest in countries with weak or declining labor market protections.

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, quoted in Boston Globe column about Joe Biden’s possible VP choices and U.S. Supreme Court picks

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is quoted in Boston Globe column about Joe Biden’s possible choices for a running mate and to fill any vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court if he is elected president. Collins says Biden, who has pledged to nominate a Black woman for the court, should consider U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and Kentanji Brown Jackson, a U.S. District Judge in Washington, D.C.

PEP Co-Directors write paper for Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy on how researchers can improve their public engagement

Former PEP Director, Amy Schalet along with PEP Co-Directors, Linda Tropp and Lisa Troy, co-authored a paper entitled, “Making Research Usable beyond Academic Circles: A Relational Model of Public Engagement,” for Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy outlining a new pathway for researchers seeking to share their research with non-academic audiences, such as journalists, policymakers, practitioners and advocates. They urge scholars to engage in relationship building and mutual learning, as well as partnership during the dissemination of research in order to give it salience and practical value to non-academic audiences. Read more here.

Jamie Rowan, 2020 PEP Fellow, wrote an article in the Conversation describing risks to military veterans during the coronavirus pandemic

Jamie Rowan, 2020 PEP Fellow, has written an article in The Conversation describing the ways that military veterans are particularly at risk from the coronavirus pandemic. Veterans, she writes, are particularly susceptible to both health and economic threats from the pandemic, and “face homelessness, lack of health care, delays in receiving financial support and even death.” 

Thomas Zoeller, 2016 PEP Fellow, writes op-ed for Environmental Health News on the disconnect between government and science during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thomas Zoeller, 2016 PEP Fellow, discusses the disconnect between government and science and the delay in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in an Environmental Health News op-ed. Zoeller explains that while the coronavirus crisis is the most recent example of government limiting the impact of science in public health decisions, this practice is not new.