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

Upcoming Events

The Conversation
March 22, 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Campus Center Meeting Room 174-76, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Why write for the general public? Access to independent, high quality, evidence-based, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. At this talk, Ari Fertig, Manager of University Editorial Relations and Maggie Villiger, Senior Science and Technology Editor at The Conversation, will address why academics should write for the general public, how academics can learn to pitch to media outlets, and the benefits of reaching a wide audience. NEW OFFICE HOUR!!! Ari and Maggie will be available 12:30-1:30pm for one-on-one meetings. Space is limited, registration is required. Go to here to register.

Jonathan R. Wynn, 2017 PEP Fellow, is co-author of an essay in The Conversation on the fragile state of the modern music festival economy

Jonathan R. Wynn, 2017 PEP Fellow, is co-author of an essay in The Conversation where the fragile state of the modern music festival economy is examined in light of the Fyre Festival debacle of 2017. The authors say smaller events such as the Green River Festival in Greenfield could both boost the fortunes of festival organizers and benefit musicians who haven't yet attained national exposure. They also call for more local organizing and less corporate ownership that tends to make all festivals seem the same

2018 PEP Fellow, Elizabeth Evans receives a $1.5 million grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

2018 PEP Fellow, Elizabeth Evans receives a $1.5 million grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will fund a three-year research project undertaken by Elizabeth Evans, health promotion and policy, and two western Massachusetts sheriff's offices to design, implement and study an opioid treatment program for jail detainees. The program could serve as a model for tackling one of the nation's top public health crises. Read more about the project on MassLive, the Daily Gazette, WAMCNews-Medical.net, Healthcare News, and Phys.org.

2015 PEP Fellow, Rebecca Spencer, research on sleep and memory featured in Medical Xpress

Research conducted by 2015 PEP Fellow, Rebecca Spencer, on sleep and how it affects learning and memory, is featured in Medical Xpress. "People are talking about sleep more now," Spencer says. "Doctors have realized that they need to ask patients about sleep, but they don't have the answers. So, they send them for a sleep study. Well, everyone has some level of sleep disorder – we just don't know enough about how to delineate them." Spencer says she is currently studying sleep in both preschoolers and the elderly. 

M.V. Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee Member, quoted in Concord Monitor discussion the decline in the number of same-sex marriages many N.E. states

M.V. Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee Member, says in the Concord Monitor, that the decline in the number of same-sex marriages in New Hampshire, Vermont and to a lesser degree in Massachusetts, may be due to an easing of pent-up demand now that federal law allows it and people don't have to come to New England states to get legally married. She says, however, that is something of a guess because same-sex marriage hasn't been around long enough to reveal long-term trends.

2015 PEP Fellow Michael Rawlins interviewed on WAMC Northeast Public radio about the climate records set in 2018

2018 was the fourth warmest year on record globally and the wettest year on record in Massachusetts. Michael Rawlins, 2015 PEP Fellow and associate director of the Climate System Research Center at UMass Amherst, says on a WAMC Northeat Public radio interview that in 5-10 years when the next El Nino happens, temperatures are likely to approach the threshold that we're trying to stay below to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. He says this is a wake-up call and we need to see a transition to renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize the climate. He also says that the current rapid fluctuations in temperature are indication of "weather whiplash," an expected phenomenon as the climate warms.

2016 PEP Fellow Miliann Kang quoted in two Connecticut Post articles about labor abuses in the nail salon industry

Two articles in the Connecticut Post about labor abuses in the nail salon industry in Connecticut quote Miliann Kang, 2016 PEP Fellow, who has studied the nail industry since the 1990s. Kang says the broader issue is not labor violations, but an immigration policy that makes it difficult for people to come to the U.S. and work legally, forcing immigrants into a shadow labor market. Connecticut is the only state in the U.S. that does not require nail technicians and estheticians to be licensed. See articles here and here.

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