Yale Public Voices Fellows – Year Four

YMS2413_0727_M_Juthani-MehtaOn Friday we launched the fourth year of our Public Voices Fellowship at Yale, a university which holds a special place in our hearts and history. Thanks to the brilliant and visionary Yale professors Meg Urry and Laura Wexler, who took a leap of faith with us, Yale was the first university to pilot our Public Voices initiative 3 years ago. The Public Voices Fellowship is now a multi-year national initiative in partnership with top universities and institutions across the country, with some of the most brilliant thinkers on the planet.

Thanks to Yale and all who have made this possible.

We’re thrilled with our newest cohort of 20 fellows who have expertise in the abstract rules of grammar, social norms on college campuses, video games and social media, and more.

2014-15 Public Voices Fellow and Associate Professor at the Yale School of Medicine in the Section of Infectious Diseases Dr. Manisha Juthani-Mehta shares her thoughts on the first convening, and the spectrum of voice and influence:

“Academia is full of many expert and knowledgeable women, and yet, most of us choose to share our expertise with our colleagues alone. This fellowship program has made me realize that we can each choose to pigeonhole ourselves into our own spheres of influence. The alternative is to become champions for the broad range of topics we know best in the national dialogue.”


Launching the Public Voices Fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin

Sonia and Jennifer supporting each other's evidence (front), while Reina and Deborah look on

Sonia and Jennifer support each other’s evidence (front), while Reina and Deborah look on

We are proud to launch our newest Public Voices Fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin. This co-hort of 20 Fellows bring expertise in a wide range of topics, including making theater and media with young people, flexible workplaces and work-life balance, slavery and genealogy, psychology of African-American academic achievement, literature by and for lesbians, Medieval Islamic art and architecture, Mexican American folklore and popular culture, and Native American and indigenous women’s rights.

We were joined by special guests, Janet Dukerich, Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, and Randy Diehl, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, who are sponsors and advocates for the Fellowship.

Domino & Eric

Domino & Eric polish their arguments

UT Austin group photo

Our newest crop of Fellows get “jazzy”

Emerging Thought Leaders ‘Write to Change the World’ in Los Angeles

Opinionists froGroup oep Sept 7m all over Southern California gathered at the Ms. Magazine headquarters in Los Angeles to participate in our Fall seminar. Participants from the California State University system, Educators 4 Excellence, Red Thread Advisors, Cal Lutheran University, and others shared their expertise on the utility of college degrees, facebook and political activism, medical sociology, and the juvenile justice system.

Following the seminar we met up with local alums for drinks, appetizers, and good conversation.

We look forward to reading these experts soon!

group 2 oep la sept 7

“The Publisher Came Looking for Me:” How One Alum is Setting the Agenda

Guest Post by OpEd Project Chicago Alum, Meta Brown.

Meta Brown headshot 2At the April 2013 OpEd Project workshop in Chicago, facilitators Michele Weldon and Katherine Lanpher did an amazing job of unearthing the accomplishments of the attendees. It was a real-eye opener as we went through the “I am an expert in” exercise, and the seemingly commonplace group of faces surrounding me revealed themselves as authorities in topics ranging from natural African-American hairstyles to the legal rights of immigrants in the United States. What an inspiring experience.

Since attending that workshop, I’ve published more than 20 new articles in industry publications, launched a blog on women in analytics that is drawing attention from journalists, and published 3 books. My new book, Data Mining for Dummies, will be out in September 2014. To many readers, the For Dummies book defines the subject, so I could not have hoped for a better opportunity to set the agenda in my profession. And here’s something I want you to know: the publisher came looking for me, based on the work I had already done. There’s living proof that sharing your knowledge and voice will lead to good things.

CGPS Participants Talk Connection

Three Center for Global Policy Solutions Public Voices Greenhouse Participants share their takes on connection.

mijinAs a policy specialist, I usually think that my brain is straight and  narrow. The second convening of Public Voices Greenhouse helped me tap into  creativity that I didn’t know I had. One of our exercises was to take a news hook out of a box and tie it to a piece we had in mind. Mine was an ad for the HurryCane, “the world’s biggest coupon for the Internet’s biggest selling cane.” First, I thought it was a joke. Then my brain froze. Then I let myself open up and started to play with the headline. The result was how we really needed the world’s biggest coupon for our democracy and a call for campaign finance reform. It was so great to hear how my other colleagues used their creativity, too. Thank you, Deb and Michele!

J. Mijin Cha is Associate Director of PolicyLink. 

rAPsVfrALet’s face it. Connection is a powerful word, but it’s just not that sexy. Not when we live in a world where individuality increasingly reigns supreme and it’s always “I”, “me”, and not “we.” Given those dynamics, who could blame any one of us for glossing over the word’s significance and believing that good ideas are somehow singularly created in a vacuum of isolation? That was my mindset. But this week’s Greenhouse session changed it. Like a much needed reality check, Michele, Deborah, and my fellowship colleagues reminded me of the importance of connection and the true power of not only seeing– but seeking– the relationships between people and ideas. I finally feel connected again and, for that, I will forever be grateful. For me, knowing that you don’t stand alone is empowering.

Mitria Wilson is the Director of Legislative and Policy Advocacy at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. 

ChanelleAt the convening last week we wrote our “hunches,” sought input, and fleshed them out into pieces. We left armed with the tools to produce writing that not only speaks in needed voices, but writing that is enriched by the input of a network of talented and thoughtful peers of color. The point: Just write already! With each session, Michele and Deb help to chip away at the fears that cause those of us who think we have something to say, but doubt that anyone wants to hear it, to silence ourselves.  So here’s to banishing fear and to speaking truth to power.

Chanelle Hardy is Senior Vice President for Policy at National Urban League and executive director of the National Urban League Washington, DC bureau. 

Thought Leadership Sizzles in Hotlanta

Our summer program in AtlanErika & Kathy 8.23.14ta — hosted by the Center for Women and Goizueta Business School at Emory University — brought together participants from 9to5 Atlanta, CDC, Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta, Bluknowledge, Challenge for Change, Aha! Strategy, as well as faculty and graduate students from Georgia State University, Morehouse College, and Emory University.

Following a high-impact day, we relaxed over pizza and beer in the beautiful neighborhood of Druid Hills, near the Emory University campus.

Group photo ATL 8.23.14