The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Devon Greyson and Joya Misra Named 2021 Public Engagement Faculty Fellows

Joya Misra, professor, sociology (left) and Devon Greyson, assistant professor, communication.Joya Misra, professor, sociology (left) and Devon Greyson, assistant professor, communication.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Public Engagement Project (PEP) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is pleased to announce the 2021 Public Engagement Faculty Fellows. Seven UMass faculty members from across seven departments and six colleges will draw on their substantial research records to impact policy, the work of practitioners and public debates.

Faculty fellows receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences. The PEP Fellows Program facilitates connections between fellows and lawmakers on Beacon Hill and in the U.S. Congress, journalists, practitioners and others to share their research beyond the walls of academia. This is the eighth cohort of Public Engagement Faculty Fellows.

“Now more than ever the public wants and needs to hear from academics to make sense of the world around us, to guide decisions, and much more,” said Lisa M. Troy, director of the Public Engagement Project and associate professor in the Commonwealth Honors College and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences.“The PEP Fellowship plays a critical role in creating an interdisciplinary network of publicly engaged UMass faculty, developing skills to effectively engage in a public arena, and building relationships to share the high-quality research produced at UMass."

PEP is a faculty-driven initiative building on a collaboration of the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) and the Center for Research on Families (CRF). The Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship has been made possible by generous funding from the UMass College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, College of Natural Sciences, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Office of the Provost and University Relations, as well as the collaborating centers and institutes.

The 2021 PEP Faculty Fellows are:

Jeremiah Bentley, assistant professor, accounting.Bentley studies how measuring outcomes changes the way people define success, distort their behavior and deceive others. As a Public Engagement Fellow, Bentley will share his research through op-eds, media interviews and writing a book.

Darrell Earnest, associate professor, teacher education and curriculum studies. Earnest examines how people use tools and calendars to manage their time. His focus includes populations that have had less exposure to time management practices. During his PEP fellowship, he will write op-eds for the public audiences as well as develop workshops to support literacy around time management.

Devon Greyson, assistant professor, communication. Greyson studies what people do with information and how this affects public health. As a Public Engagement Fellow, Greyson will write articles for the public and connect with policymakers to improve communication about vaccines and cannabis.

Rebecca Lorimer Leonard, associate professor, English, and director of the UMass Amherst Writing Program. Lorimer Leonard studies how people use multiple languages to write. Her research asks why schools, workplaces or communities may overlook the rich writing practices multilingual people use in their daily lives. As a PEP fellow, Lorimer Leonard will partner with local nonprofits to write materials for education policymakers and practitioners that build on the strengths that multilingual people bring to writing situations.

Joya Misra, professor, sociology, and director of the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR). Misra is an expert on gender inequalities in employment, wages and poverty, and the policies that work to reduce them. As a PEP fellow, she will write short articles and op-eds describing the most effective approaches to creating gender equity.

Susan Shaw, associate professor, health promotion and policy, and director of the UMass Amherst Center for Community Health Equity Research (CCHER).Shaw examines how low-income and minority patients think and feel about their chronic disease medications, and what shapes their adherence. With the PEP Fellowship, Shaw will develop a webpage and other content for CCHER to advance knowledge and understanding of health equity.

Dong Wang, associate professor, biochemistry and molecular biology. Wang studies how plants use beneficial bacteria (aka good germs). During the Public Engagement Fellowship, Wang will develop blogs and publications to encourage people to grow their own food locally, year-round, guided by his expert research on what plants like.