The University of Massachusetts Amherst


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.

Elizabeth M. Schmidt, 2019 PEP Fellow, interviewed on WGBY Connecting Point about how COVID-19 is changing charitable giving.

Elizabeth M. Schmidt, 2019 PEP Fellow, says the societal changes cause by the response to COVID-19 are changing charitable giving. Speaking on WGBY's local public affairs program “Connecting Point,” Schmidt says it appears that wealthy people are giving more, but that it’s too soon to tell what the overall trend will be, considering that there are also many people losing their jobs.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, co-authors Conversation article about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on service workers

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, and several colleagues write an article in The Conversation outlining how the recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic is impacting service workers. They explain these workers will be hit hard and are least equipped to deal with job loss or the risk of infection from remaining on the job. They conclude with recommendations for assisting those workers most at risk such as living wage and universal health care. Article reprinted in Santa Ynez Valley NewsStamford Advocate and

2020 PEP Fellow, Rebecca Ready, writes column in Psychology Today about loneliness in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic

2020 PEP Fellow, Rebecca, Ready, writes column in Psychology Today explaining that contrary to popular belief, older adults are no more lonely than younger or mid-life adults. Reducing social contact during the COVID-19 crisis is essential for older adults whom are most vulnerable to virus, but Ready explains that once it ends, they will likely pick up where they left off socially.

Stephen Sireci, 2016 PEP Fellow, co-authored NCME statement on College Admissions Testing

2016 PEP Fellow, Stephen Sireci, co-authored a National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) statement in response to a lawsuit brought against the University of California system for its use of college admissions exams. The statement concludes that, "[rather] than limiting the types of information college admissions officers can use, we encourage proper use and interpretation of all data associated with college readiness...".

2016 PEP Fellow, Stephen Sireci, interviewed on CNBC story about SAT lawsuit

2016 PEP Fellow, Stephen Sireci, interviewed on CNBC news story about a group of students suing The University of California system over its use of SAT and ACT in admissions decisions. Sireci explains that these college admissions tests are "used to provide information to admissions officers to learn more about the people applying to their college."

PEP Co-Directors Hold Public Engagement Workshop at 2020 SPSP Annual Convention

PEP Co-Directors, Linda Tropp and Ezra Markowitz, conducted a public engagement workshop titled "Strategic Public Engagement for Social Psychologists" at the 2020 annual convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). This workshop, held on February 29th, was designed to help social psychologists, at any career stage, contribute to the public good by cultivating engagement skills like goal setting, network mapping, message development and effective strategies for communicating with non-academics.

PEP Holds OpEd Writing Workshop with Scholars Strategy Network

On March 9th, PEP, in collaboration with The Scholars Strategy Network, held a free, hands-on OpEd Writing Workshop for scholars interested in learning how to write and pitch compelling, research-based op-eds. During the workshop, participants worked in groups to 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.

Paul M. Collins, Jr., 2015 PEP Fellow, writes Washington Post column on President Donald Trump’s recent criticism of the U.S. Supreme Court

Paul M. Collins, Jr., political science, and colleague write Washington Post column on how President Donald Trump’s recent criticism of the U.S. Supreme Court differs from attacks on the court made by previous presidents. Collins and colleague from the University of North Texas are co-authors of the book, “The President and the Supreme Court: Going Public on Judicial Decisions from Washington to Trump.


In appreciation of their generous support, the UMass Public Engagement Project would like to thank the Office of the ProvostUniversity Relations, and the Colleges of Natural SciencesSocial and Behavioral Sciences Humanities and Fine ArtsEngineeringPublic Health and Health Sciences, and Education.  The UMass Public Engagement Project also recognizes and appreciates in-kind contributions and collaborations with the Center for Research on Families and the Institute for Social Science Research