Hear from California alums: What impact has having a public voice had on your life?

We asked some of our California OpEd Project Alums to tell us about the impact having a public voice has had on their lives.

“I started with the intention of writing a few commentaries and in less than 2 years, I’ve published 10. I am also enjoying writing in a way that I hadn’t in years and maybe hadn’t ever. The capacity to communicate research findings to a larger and more diverse audience changed what is possible in and through my work. I’m now working to build a donor funded Women’s Health Research and Policy Center in RAND, where we can leverage a wide range of health research to address the gender gaps in knowledge and treatment in key areas such as cardiovascular disease.

ChloeBird OpEd Project Alum Chloe E. Bird, PhD is a senior sociologist at the  nonprofit,  nonpartisan RAND Corporation, where she studies  women’s health and health care as  well as social determinants of  health. Dr. Bird  is also a professor at the Pardee RAND  Graduate  School and editor-in-chief of the  journal Women’s Health Issues.  Read her  latest work on the RAND Blog.


“In the spring of 2014 my digital storytelling project was featured during the Museum of History and Industry’s “Queering the Museum” Project in Seattle. The sound of my voice became a part of the public conversation through images, music and text without my physical presence. My story, “Every Woman, Ever More” is a place marker for young women coming into an understanding that their identity may cleave them from the maternal terrain they call home. The opportunity to use words to create a new global territory that can be occupied by public opinion and dialogue liberates me to travel through it with new companions that I discover through discourse. My isolation abates.”

Jourdan Keith headshot 

OpEd Project Alum Jourdan Keith’s essay “Homophobia’s Carbon Count” is  forthcoming in Orion  Magazine. She is the founder and director of Urban  Wilderness Project. Check out some of Jourdan’s latest  work here.


“Having a public voice has impacted my life in many important ways. By participating in the public conversation on Huffington Post, I have been able to network and meet like-minded individuals. Of course, I am not just meeting like-minded people in the public arena. Debating with people who disagree with my views allows me to look at my positions on issues that matter and to create stronger arguments for future discussions. As an academic, I find myself participating in a more public forum has allowed me to disseminate information to a much broader audience and I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in many important, public conversations.”

Julia Meszaros HeadshotOpEd Project Alum Julia Meszaros is a PhD candidate at Florida International  University in the Global Sociocultural Studies Department. She currently lives in Oakland, California and is a blogger for the Huffington Post. 

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