2020 has been quite the year... a pandemic, rampant racism and civil unrest, polarized politics, and a contentious election. As we approach a new year, with an extended winter break, we can use this time to reflect on all we've lived through, and what insights we have to offer as we look ahead. The op-ed workshop is designed to help UMass scholars prepare for sharing their insights with the public at this crucial time. Participants will learn how to craft a good lede, identify and incorporate timely news hooks, signal the author’s unique and relevant expertise, increase the likelihood of publication, and structure an op-ed for maximum impact. The workshop is great for all scholars, whether they have written op-eds before or are just starting to think about writing their first piece.
These days our country feels more divided than ever, but that doesn't mean we can't have friends with different viewpoints. With Chandra Whetstine (One America Movement), we will learn why it is hard to broach difficult subjects, and we will practice talking about those topics in small groups.
Chandra DeNap Whetstine serves as the One America Movement’s Senior Director of Programs and Operations, leading the development and implementation of the chapter model which brings people together across political, racial, and religious divides to take action on issues that matter in their communities. Chandra supports the development of strategic partnerships with other non-profit and faith-based organizations as well as community and corporate leaders to further
Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is the author of two opinion columns about Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and was recently quoted about the ROE act. The first article focuses on Coney Barrett’s evasiveness and reluctance to answer questions during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, while the other examines how conservative groups will advance their agendas before a Supreme Court if and when Coney Barrett is seated. Collins is also quoted in a news article about renewed interest among local activists in passing the ROE Act, state legislation that would reduce restrictions on abortion in the commonwealth and, for the first time, introduce an affirmative right to abortion into state law. Read more at the Conversation, the New York Daily News, and the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, a part of report finding that the economy, health care, and COVID-19 - not immigration - will drive 2020 Latino vote. “Both political parties need to recognize that Latinos are 18% of all Americans, and this year and in the future, they will decide elections,” said Tomaskovic-Devey, founding director of the UMass Center for Employment Equity. “Latinos are citizens and should be valued for their contributions to the society as essential workers, with broad policy preferences that include living wages, freedom from discrimination, and access to high-quality health care.” Read more at the UMass News Release.
Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, discusses the approach Judge Amy Coney Barrett took during the questioning phase of her confirmation hearings by avoiding critical court issues. “Though past nominees have also avoided answering some of the senators’ questions, Barrett took this to a whole new level,” said Collins. “Having studied how forthcoming nominees have been since public confirmation hearings at which nominees testified began in 1939, I think Barrett will rank as among the least responsive nominees in American history.” Read more at Boston Globe.
Ezra Markowitz, PEP Steering Committee Member, has been appointed to the newly formed American Psychological Association's Climate Change Task Force. The task force will review previous and current research and meet virtually to discuss goal recommendations and strategies for future initiatives. The task force will produce a report for the Council of Representatives and share results with APA membership and the public. Read more about the task force here.
Linda Tropp, PEP Steering Committee Member, is quoted in an article titled, “How to Meet People Who Are Different from You.” Tropp discusses the interpersonal and emotional processes involved with changing how we think of others and how they should be treated. She explains, “What we see is that deep, close contact across group lines, like friendships or meaningful relationships, tends to be stronger in changing how we feel toward other groups.” Read more at Yes! magazine.
Elizabeth Evans, 2018 PEP Fellow, will serve as CONNECT’s evaluator, the first Opioid Task Force which received a two-year $1, 000, 000 grant. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to launch the Community Opportunity, Network, Navigation, Exploration, and Connection Team or CONNECT. With federal grant funds, CONNECT will create the first Franklin County/North Quabbin, Massachusetts 30-town, 24/7 opioid overdose rapid response team, using an evidence-based regional hub and spoke model, to respond to fatal and non-fatal overdoses in the only federally-designated rural county in Massachusetts. Read more about the Opioid Task Force here.
Brian Whitcomb, 2019 PEP Fellow, was a part of a research team that identified a single-measure biomarker in sperm mitochondrial DNA that may predict male reproductive health and pregnancy success. “This project is a really nice example of interdisciplinary work and team science,” Whitcomb says. “This research required the measurement of biomarkers in the laboratory combined with statistical modeling. Answering scientific questions like this one benefits from a broad range of expertise.” Read more at Science Daily, inews, DE24 News [Germany], The Diet World, and the News Office release.
Amy Schalet, PEP Steering Committee Member, published an opinion piece about the dangers of stigmatizing teenage sexuality. “I am consistently surprised by the ways older teenage and young adult students report having had their sexuality, including their romantic relationships, stigmatized and devalued,” she writes. “I believe their development as young adults is being hindered by the framing of sexuality as a ‘health risk.’” Read more at NBC News.