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

Summer Methodology Workshop: De-Mystifying Public Engagement
June 10-11, 9:00am to 3:30pm
June 12, 9:00am to 12:00pm (Optional)
Machmer Hall, Room E20, University of Massachusetts Amherst

As scholars, we often find ourselves wishing that our research could help people and organizations improve their work and lives, yet oftentimes we lack the skills and networks necessary to accomplish this worthy goal. In response, this workshop aims to promote participants' efficacy as public communicators and engaged scholars. Through a series of hands-on exercises and activities, participants will improve their ability to communicate effectively with non-academic audiences, learn how to engage diverse audiences, and develop personalized public engagement plans to promote follow-through and long-term success as engaged scholars. Participants do not need previous experience with public engagement and/or communication to attend but should come prepared to work on one or more concrete engagement products (e.g., op-ed, policy brief, media interview preparation). Go here for more info.

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.

2015 PEP Fellow Rebecca Spencer is interviewed for KPCC segment on sleep deprivation and disease

Rebecca Spencer, 2015 PEP Fellow, is interviewed for a KPCC radio segment on sleep deprivation and how scientists now think it may be associated with increased risk of a variety of health problems including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and some mental disorders. Spencer says lack of sleep has developed into a public health crisis. Segment begins at 1:00.

2018 PEP Fellow Matthew A. Lackner, and 2017 PEP Fellow Erin D. Baker, co-write an essay in The Apopka Voice on offshore wind industry in the U.S.

Matthew A. Lackner, 2018 PEP Fellow, and 2017 PEP Fellow, Erin D. Baker, write an essay in The Apopka Voice on why they believe the offshore wind industry in the U.S. is about to dramatically expand. They say a combination of support from state governments, a developing market that is lowering prices and technological advances are the drivers of this trend.

Michael A. Rawlins, 2015 PEP Fellow, quoted in Daily Gazette and the Republican on record 2018 rain season in Amherst

Michael A. Rawlins, 2015 PEP Fellow, says in Daily Gazette and the Republican that 2018 was the second rainiest year to date since 1836 in Amherst when records began being kept. He says 63 inches of rain fell. "This anomalously high precipitation in 2018 is part of a longer-term trend. It's getting wetter across the Northeast U.S.," he says. The wettest year on record was 1888. Rawlins says three of the four most rainy years as measured in Amherst occurred since 2008. The trend fits with what climate scientists have been predicting in a warming world. Rawlins also penned column on this rain record for WWLP

Research by 2015 PEP Fellow, Rebecca Spencer, on napping and memory for small children featured in Education Dive

Research conducted by 2015 PEP Fellow, Rebecca Spencer, featured in Education Dive, indicates missing a nap for small children significantly and negatively reduced memory in several areas, including motor-skill development and regulating emotions, is cited in a news story. The story says even if children in preschool and kindergarten don't require a nap, they should at least have some quiet time during the day. It also says up to 60 percent of 4-year-olds still need naps. Also featured in WTVMWashington Post and The Morning Sun.