Public Voices Fellow

Launching our 2014 Public Voices Fellowship at Texas Woman’s University

Guest post by new Fellow, Mandy Golman, Assistant Professor of Health Studies at TWU:     

As tired as I was when I got home on the night after our first convening, I was excited to start writing. I wrote until midnight and then told myself to go to sleep. 12:30 A.M.: I turned the light back on to add a few more things. Lights off. 1:00 A.M.: I thought about a few more things to add. Lights on! 1:30 A.M.: I decided I better get some sleep. Lights off (finally). As tired as I should have been, it was such an energizing experience!

Welcome remarks as we get started!

Welcome remarks as we get started!

Facilitator, Martha Southgate

Facilitator, Martha Southgate

TWU group photo

Our newest crop of Fellows at TWU

Facilitators, Martha Southgate & Teresa Puente
Facilitators, Martha Southgate & Teresa Puente

Advertisements

A Professor Searches for a Public Voice

Daniel Colon-Ramos at TEDx San Juan

Daniel Colon-Ramos at TEDx San Juan

As we launch year three of our Public Voices fellowship at Yale University this month, we wanted to take a moment to return to the words of Daniel Colon-Ramos, a fellow from our Yale Public Voices fellowship last year, who wrote about the difficulties and rewards of being a public scholar.  In particular, we were struck by his description of how he first encountered “science,” and the notion of expertise:

When I was a child growing up in Puerto Rico, I was interested in science but did not know any scientists, nor did I understand how science was done. My father worked in the newspaper business and would occasionally find articles and opinion pieces written by Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan that had been syndicated and translated into Spanish by local newspapers. He would cut them out neatly and bring them home as special gifts. I was allowed to read them only after I had finished my homework. Those short essays were great treats—windows into a wonderful but inaccessible world of possibilities and discovery. Back then I often wondered why scientists did not write more for the public.

Read Colon-Ramos’ full article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Successful Last Convening of the Northwestern Public Voices Fellowship

Photos and story by Maura Flaherty. Flaherty is The OpEdProject intern. She will be graduating from Medill in June.

Photos and story by Maura Flaherty. Flaherty is The OpEdProject intern. She will be graduating from Medill in June.

“What do you think about when you think about your legacy?”

This was an opening question in the final and fourth convening recently of The Northwestern Public Voices Fellowship.

Michele Weldon, director of the fellowship, and EJ Graff, fellowship leader, began the day in Northwestern’s Hardin Hall with discussion of the fellows’ greatest accomplishments and challenges over the past year. Those included 121 examples of thought leadership, including 62 published opeds, as well as appearances on television and radio, panel participation, expert quotes in media and more from the selected 20 NU faculty members involved since November 2012.

Both Weldon and Graff invited the 16 fellows present to share stories about personal success. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach discussed her oped linking pollution in St. Louis to a cancer cluster there. Laura Beth Nielsen told the group about getting her article “What is Terrorism?” published in Al Jazeera following the Boston bombings.

After reviewing the content of the year’s Media Gatekeepers schedule of conference calls with editors from the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor and other outlets, Graff reviewed key elements of Twitter as a tool for contagion of ideas.

Weldon presented guidelines and tips on public speaking from keynotes to panels. She also advised on blogging. Both leaders then discussed pitching to outlets and proceeded to lead a Pitch Slam with each fellow pitching a great idea to the group, who acted as editors.

During their lunch break, the participants surprised Graff and Weldon with Op-Ed Project t-shirts customized for the group with “That’s Ridiculous!” printed on the backs. All the fellows plus the leaders donned the shirts. The faculty members performed an improvisational skit thanking the leaders for their constant encouragement and dedication.

Graff and Weldon then showed a video made of the fellowship by documentarian Mary Olive Smith who filmed interviews with the fellows during the third convening.

Later the fellows grabbed large markers and paper to participate in a game called Why Do You Do What You Do? (WDYDWYD) Fellows had 10 minutes to brainstorm one-sentence answers to the powerful question. Some answers included: “Because personal narrative has value and integrity;” “To advocate for those who do not have a voice;” and “Because my skills can help improve lives.”

During the last activity of the convening the fellows wrote about their own enduring legacies- where they saw themselves in one, 10 and 30 years from now. The leaders and fellows said goodbye with a congratulatory toast to the all of the group’s successes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.