Three SESP Scholars Selected for Public Voices Fellowship

Three SESP Scholars Selected for Public Voices Fellowship

Jeannette Colyvas, Matt Easterday, Heather Schoenfeld

(Pictured from left to right:  Jeannette Colyvas, Matt Easterday, Heather Schoenfeld)

Three Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) professors have been selected for the 2016-17 Public Voices Fellowship Program, a yearlong initiative designed to help faculty members strengthen their public voices.

Jeannette Colyvas, Heather Schoenfeld and Matt Easterday will join 17 other scholars from six schools and a variety of disciplines. Colyvas, Schoenfeld and Easterday also are affiliated with the Institute for Policy Research.

SESP faculty members have participated in the fellowship during four of the last five years, but this is the first time the school has had three participants at once. Prior Fellows include Uri Wilensky (2015-16), Emma Adam (2014-15) and Diane Schanzenbach and Miriam Sherin (2012-13).

Throughout the year, the fellows will attend four interactive workshops, regularly work one-on-one with mentors, give speeches and write commentaries.

The program is led by journalist-mentors Michele Weldon, director of the NU Public Voices Fellowship Program and journalist Amy Guth. Both Weldon and Guth are senior leaders with the OpEd Project.

Jeannette Colyvas:

Colyvas, associate professor of learning sciences and human development and social policy, researches why some innovations spread and fizzle out, and why others never stick, despite evidence they work. She also looks at how new ideas impact the people and places that use them, including scientific labs, schools, or urban youth settings.

“I am dedicated to improving how we develop socially important innovations,” said Colyvas, director of undergraduate programs at SESP. “Establishing a public voice that is on par with the merits of my scholarship and expertise is critical to making a meaningful contribution to society.”

Heather Schoenfeld:

Schoenfeld, a sociologist who came of age during the war on crime in the 1990s, has dedicated the last fourteen years of her life to understanding the lack of a mass movement – or even public discussion – about the vast inequities in the criminal justice system.

She studies mass incarceration: the imprisonment of large swaths of the American public and, in particular, poor, less educated, and black and brown Americans.

Schoenfeld, assistant professor of human development and social policy at SESP and an assistant professor of legal studies in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, hopes her Public Voices Fellowship will make her research accessible to the general public so she can contribute to vitally important discussion.

“Now more than ever, we need to understand how the United States became the largest jailer in the world so that we do not repeat our mistakes,” Schoenfeld said.

Matt Easterday

Easterday, assistant professor of learning sciences, develops technology that helps students design solutions for social problems, such as poverty, climate change and education.

Inspired by colleagues who have previously participated, Easterday wants to reach people who can solve social challenges, including students in his lab, who are interested in social impact research.

“The new models of civic education will have little impact if we can’t persuade a broader audience of educators, administrators and policy makers of their importance,” said Easterday, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia.

For more information, read the Public Voices Fellowship website.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 10/18/18