Public Engagement Project Fellows Visit the Massachusetts State House to Share Their Research with Policymakers

Monday, May 15, 2017

The 2017 PEP Faculty Fellows traveled to Beacon Hill on May 9th to share their research and explore synergies in meetings with 16 state representatives, senators, and other policy leaders. In their meetings with lawmakers, the PEP fellows shared research relevant to a range of policy areas, including urban cultural policy, newborn screening and public health, energy policy, policy responses to rising sea levels, and media literacy education. "We hope that these initial meetings can be springboards for ongoing collaborative relationships through which UMass researchers can share their expertise with Massachusetts lawmakers," said PEP Director, Amy Schalet. 

The 2017 Public Engagement Faculty Fellows from SBS are:

Erica Scharrer, professor of communication. Scharrer’s research expertise concerns the role of the media in the lives of children, adolescents, and adults. As a fellow, she will work on a book and short articles for the general public, which relay the pertinent findings from research on media and kids, and recommend strategies for parenting in an age when young people spend increasing amounts of time and attention consuming the media.

Jonathan Wynn, associate professor of sociology. Wynn’s research expertise concerns the impact of music festivals and other temporary cultural events on city revitalization. As a fellow, he will write policy briefs and articles for local communities on how to use music, food, and arts events for economic and social gain.

Deepankar Basu, associate professor of economics. Basu’s research focuses on the dynamics of capitalist economies and economic development in India. As a fellow he will use his research to contribute to policy and public conversations on nutrition, poverty, health and employment in India. 

Pictured from left to right: Jonathan Wynn (Sociology), Erin Baker (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering), Erica Scharrer (Communication), Julie Brigham-Grette (Geosciences), and Scott Garman (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology).