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

Beyond the Ivory Tower: A Workshop for Scholars on Writing for the Public

Led by The New York Times editor James Ryerson, this three-day writing workshop will focus on how to conceptually frame scholarly work for a wider audience, how to structure the writing of such pieces, and how to most effectively "pitch" editors at magazines and newspapers. The workshop will take place at New York University from November 10-12, 2017. Applications are due August 16, 2017. For more details click here.

2016 PEP Fellow R. Thomas Zoeller discusses potential effective treatment for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in Science News

R. Thomas Zoeller, 2016 PEP Fellow, says the discovery that a common blood sugar medication or an extra dose of a thyroid hormone can reverse some signs fetal alcohol syndrome in rates that may help scientists find an effective treatment for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in humans. “At this moment, there’s really no pharmaceutical therapy,” Zoeller says. These disorders may affect up to 5 percent of children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and scientists don’t know exactly why alcohol has such a strong effect on developing brains. Read more: Science News

2017 PEP Fellow Jonathan Wynn discusses tackling issues of community through first-year reading selections in Inside Higher Ed

A story in Inside Higher Ed on reading lists for incoming first-year students includes a comment from Jonathan R. Wynn, 2017 PEP Fellow, who is one of two co-chairs of the book selection committee at UMass Amherst. The selection is “The Other Wes Moore,” a nonfiction book that tells the story of two black boys growing up in Baltimore. “We want to tackle issues of community and also engage students at the point of…making choices and defining who they are,” Wynn says.

2017 PEP Fellow Deepankar Basu writes a column in Livemint on the impact of public health expenditures on India's infant mortality rate

Deepankar Basu, 2017 PEP Fellow, authors a column in Livemint about the impact of greater investments in public health on lowering India’s infant mortality rate.  Basu's research, coauthored with colleagues Andrew Barenberg and Ceren Soylu, and recently published in the Journal of Development Studies, suggests that an increase in public health expenditure by 1% of state-level GDP lead to a decline in India's infant mortality rate by about 9 deaths per 1,000 live births, after controlling for all other factors. According to Basu, continued investments in public health "should help India improve health outcomes more rapidly."

2015 PEP Fellow Nilanjana Dasgupta's study on how women mentors make a difference in engineering is covered in The Atlantic, Inside Higher Ed, ScienMag and IMechE.org

 Students work on a plane's wing in an aeronautics class in Setúbal, Portugal

A new study by 2015 PEP Fellow Nilanjana Dasgupta and her Ph.D. student Tara C. Dennehy covered in The AtlanticInside Higher EdScienMag, and IMechE.org found that early in college, young women in engineering majors felt more confident about their ability, a greater sense of belonging in engineering, more motivated and less anxious if they had a female, but not male, peer mentor. At the end of the first college year, a remarkable 100 percent of women students mentored by advanced female peers were still in engineering majors, Dasgupta says. “That number is spectacular because the first year of college is typically the time of greatest attrition from STEM majors, but none of the women with female mentors dropped out,” she adds. This compares with an 18 percent dropout rate for women students with male mentors and 11 percent for women with no mentors, the control group.

Samuel Redman, Assistant Professor of History, explores what Charles Darwin's Piltdown Man hoax of 1912 can teach us about fake news today in The Conversation

Samuel Redman, Assistant Professor of History, writes in The Conversation about how the Piltdown Man hoax in 1912 showed how scientific information and inquiry can be hampered and distorted when researchers are denied access to findings and historical objects. He says the faster and freer flow of information in today’s world would make such a hoax much more difficult to pull off. He also says free flow of information is key to promoting scientific discovery and preventing false or misleading findings.

2017 PEP Fellow Julie Brigham-Grette will present the Colorado Scientific Society's Emmons Lecture on May 18th

Julie Brigham-Grette, 2017 PEP Fellow, will present the Colorado Scientific Society's Emmons Lecture, Too Warm, Two Poles: How Past Interglacials Should Inform Future Coastal Policy, on Thursday, May 18th at 7pm at the American Mountaineering Center Auditorium, Golden Colorado.