Steering Committee

Michael Knodler, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering 
Director, UMass Transportation Center

Michael Knodler, Ph.D. is a Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Director of the Transportation Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Knodler's research and teaching are related to transportation safety, traffic operations, and roadway design. 

Read more about Knodler's research here. 

Kirsten Leng, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the Department of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies

Kirsten Leng is Associate Professor in Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Leng's research focuses on two questions: (1) How have gender politics influenced scientific knowledge on sex and sexuality, specifically among feminists in the early twentieth century? (2) What role has humor played in U.S. feminism? Leng's recently published book, Sexual Politics and Feminist Science: Women Sexologists in Germany, 1900-1933 (Cornell University Press, 2018), illuminates the neglected history of early 20th century women sexologists in Berlin and Vienna who used sexual science to challenge the gendered and heterosexist assumptions of their male colleagues. Leng's work has appeared in journals such as the Journal of the History of Sexuality, Feminist Formations, Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Gender and History, German History, History of Psychology, and the Journal of Women's History. 

Read more about Leng's research here

Ezra Markowitz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Environmental Decision-Making, Department of Environmental Conservation

Ezra Markowitz, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Environmental Decision-Making in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research and teaching focus on the intersection of decision-making, persuasive communication, public engagement with science and environmental sustainability. He is the author of over three dozen peer-reviewed research papers, book chapters, and reports, including the 2015 Connecting on Climate guide to climate change communication. At UMass Amherst, Markowitz teaches courses on Environmental Decision-Making, Conservation Social Science, and Public Engagement and Communication for Scientists. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, Studies & Policy and an M.S. in Psychology from the University of Oregon, as well as a B.A. in Psychology from Vassar College. Markowitz previously held appointments as an Earth Institute Fellow at Columbia University and as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University.

Read more about Markowitz's research here. 

Elizabeth Sharrow, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of History & Department of Political Science

Elizabeth Sharrow, Ph.D. is a professor of history and political science. Sharrow's research focuses on the ways public policy has shaped understandings of gender, race, sexuality, disability, and class in U.S. politics over the past fifty years. Sharrow's work has been published or is forthcoming in Public Opinion Quarterly; Political Research Quarterly; Political BehaviorPolitics, Groups, and Identities;  American Politics Research, the Journal of Women, Policy & Politics; Social Science Quarterly, and several edited volumes. It has been featured at The Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Vox, the Scholars Strategy Network, the Gender Policy Report of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, the Women's Sports Foundation, and Minnesota Public Radio.  I also published a co-authored opinion piece in The Washington Post.

Read more about Sharrow's research here. 

Laurel Smith-Doerr, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Sociology

Laurel Smith-Doerr, a professor of sociology at UMass Amherst. She studies the organization of science and technology, such as how collaboration can be more effective, include broader participation by women and underrepresented minorities, and have innovative outcomes including economic growth. A current project with colleagues examines the impact of women’s leadership in federal science agencies (Women in Science Policy—WiSP). Prof. Smith-Doerr has worked with natural scientists and engineers, with science policymakers, and spoken with journalists. For example, she worked with policymakers, attorneys, and other scientists at the National Science Foundation on implementing the ethics education, data management, and postdoc mentoring requirements in the Congressional 2007 America COMPETES Act. She won the NSF Director’s Award for Collaborative Integration in 2009 for this work.

Linda R. Tropp, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Linda R. Tropp, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology. She received the 2012 Distinguished Academic Outreach Award from the University of Massachusetts Amherst for excellence in the application of scientific knowledge to advance the public good. Her research concerns how members of different groups approach and experience contact with each other, and how group differences in status affect cross-group relations. She has worked with national organizations to present social science evidence in U.S. Supreme Court cases on racial integration, on state and national initiatives to improve interracial relations in schools, and with non-governmental and international organizations to evaluate applied programs designed to reduce racial and ethnic conflict. She has introduced intergroup research into broader public debates through citations in newspaper and magazine articles (New York Times, Boston Globe, O Magazine, Associated Press, ABC News, BBC News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Tampa Bay Times, among others) and being interviewed on radio and television (Talk of the Nation, WAMC Northeast Public Radio; TVO Toronto).

Lisa Troy, Ph.D.

Director, Public Engagement Project

Director of Public Engagement Project Faculty Fellows Program

Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition
Director, Nutrition Assessment Laboratory

Commonwealth Honors College Professor in Nutrition

Lisa M. Troy, Ph.D. is Assosiate Professor of Nutrition and Commonwealth Honors College Professor in Nutrition at UMass Amherst and uses novel pattern analysis approaches to examine the role of diet and exercise on chronic disease prevention. She also studies how government programs and policies impact diet quality and public health outcomes. She has extensive experience in public policy engagement including as a study director for the National Academies of Sciences, Institute of Medicine and has given invited lectures at professional conferences on “Tips for talking to policy-makers,” and “Using Qualitative Data to Inform Social Policy.” In 2010-12, Dr. Troy worked in the U.S. Senate (Robert P. Casey, PA) and U.S. House of Representatives (James P. McGovern, MA) through Columbia University’s Health and Aging Policy Fellowship and American Political Science Association programs. She was a founding member of the Massachusetts Food Policy Alliance, which played an instrumental role in advocating for legislative commitment to creating a Food Policy Council for the state of Massachusetts.

Read more about Troy's research here

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