In the following letters, previous years’ Public Voices fellows share their experiences with the program and speak about the value the program has had for their careers and research.
The Public Voices Fellowship is a wonderful and potentially path and life changing opportunity for anyone who’s privileged to participate.
1) As a relatively new faculty member to Yale, it welcomed me to the institution more than any other activity with a collaborative and informative spirit across the College. I feel much more a member of the community than ever before.
2) It was truly broadening in every sense but mainly in terms of motivation and information about what is possible in terms of managing information and messaging into the world – promoting ideas and a healthy vital society with all voices valued and available/heard.
3) I witnessed one of my Public Voices peers essentially catapult into a new and/or complementary career path growing her public voice into being a regular columnist for Time. This was amazing to witness and see the potential blossom.
4) I encouraged 15 Yale faculty colleagues and encouraged them to apply last year and many did.
I thank Yale, Public Voices and the Op-Ed Project for this amazing opportunity.
Laura J. Morrison, MD, FAAHPM
Director of Palliative Medicine Education
Director, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
Yale University School of Medicine
Yale-New Haven Hospital
This presentation is from the ‘Being Human in STEM’ course that several of us did a session on Op Ed writing on, and Anna, Deepti & Lynne provided feedback on what the students had written.
The faculty in charge of the course report that our session made a big impact on the students. We all met as participants in the the Public Voices/Op Ed project 2015-2016 - so I am proud to be part of the ‘positive contagion’!
The announcement below is about the students presenting the results of their surveying STEM students at Yale about their experiences. Should be interesting. I plan to attend, hope that some of you can also.
Last fall, a group of Yale undergraduates participated in Being Human in STEM - a course that replicated a very successful class with undergraduates at Amherst College. The students’ experiences in this course were so positive that a number elected to continue working on inclusive issues after the course was completed. They are eager to share their experiences as part of the “What Yale Students Want You to Know” series on Tuesday, May 2 from 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Bass Center (266 Whitney Avenue) Room 405 with lunch served at 11:45 a.m.
The students will present results from a STEM climate survey administered in the fall and completed by more than 600 undergraduates. The students will also provide their recommendations for practical interventions to make the STEM environment - and all classrooms - more inclusive. This is the final presentation of the work and research the students have produced in the Being Human in STEM course. It will include an informative discussion after the presentation.
Nancy S. Niemi, Ph.D.
Yale University Center for Teaching and Learning
Director of Faculty Teaching Initiatives
Thank you for this work you’re doing!
The Public Voices fellowship has been a major source of inspiration for me here at Yale, and the experience deeply changed how I think about communication and persuasion—which is my area of expertise. I published in mainstream media for the first time during the fellowship, and started public speaking far and wide, now for audiences of up to 1,500. I’ve started my first book and have signed with the agent who came to discuss book publishing in the Public Voices workshop. I’ve referred many people to the Op Ed Project’s public workshops, and look forward to engaging more. I didn’t know how important this issue was before the Op Ed project and the Public Voices fellowship brought it to my attention—and of course it has become increasingly more important in recent months for scientists, social scientists, and all experts to be heard above the din of fake news. I hope the school will continue to support this important program, and I’m also willing to do whatever I can that would be helpful. (Like running a public speaking skills workshop, like hosting the mentor team at my house—seriously anything!) I’ll be forever grateful for this opportunity.
I came to PV with a good amount of writing experience, having published many personal essays (and some opinion pieces) over the years, and having (and continuing to) teach a writing workshop for medical residents. I’d read a lot about the successes of PV and was intrigued. I expected a series of useful workshops and that I would learn how to write a classic op-ed. I had no idea that I would have access to a year of mentorship…not just any mentorship but dedicated, intensive, inspiring, and yes, life-changing mentorship. I signed with a literary agent who read one of my pieces that was published during my PV year.
I’d always felt that my writing - personal essays and opinion pieces - was viewed as peripheral in the academic medical world; the PV fellowship demonstrated that Yale values opinion writing and not just that but that it values us and what we have to say.
I am so pleased that I’ve been able to pay this forward by teaching more and more op-ed writing to trainees in a variety of settings…medical residents, medical students, and clinical scholars. I recommend that they seek publication in many of the places where I placed my pieces.
I’m considering hiring the Op-Ed Project to give a one-day workshop for medical students and residents here at Yale Medical School – in large part because they will then have access to the mentor-editor network.
All of this said, I am convinced that my experience was so great in huge part because of the quality of my group’s facilitators - Lauren Sandler and Zeba Khan.
Anna B. Reisman, MD
Associate Professor, Yale School of Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Director, Program for Humanities in Medicine
Director, Yale Internal Medicine Residency Writers’ Workshop
367 Cedar St, 2nd floor
New Haven, CT
Loved the fellowship, published almost monthly, improved my writing dramatically, have kept writing op-eds and am teaching op-ed writing to pediatrics residents and post-doc fellows and at a national pediatrics meeting in San Francisco next month. My writing has been praised leadership in my dept/school–especially two pieces since the fellowship –one on the changing of the name of Calhoun College and one on sexual harassment in medicine–that I never could have written and published without the fellowship.
Marjorie S. Rosenthal, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Co-Director, National Clinician Scholars Program
Assistant Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program
Yale University School of Medicine
P.O. Box 208088
333 Cedar Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8088
I joined Yale’s faculty almost 10 years ago and nothing has benefitted me more than this fellowship. For many years, I wanted to share my knowledge with a wider audience but was unsuccessful in doing so. I did not have the confidence, contacts, skills, or know how before I met Lauren, Zeba and Katie. I do now.
The Op-Ed Public Voices Fellowship was a gift beyond any other, to me. Not only did I met and closely work with 19 other underrepresented scholars from our campus but I published almost 40 op-eds. My op-ed’s are all behavioral science driven, highlighting the latest research findings as well as my clinical experiences and tying it with timely and pertinent world news. I have written pieces on women’s mental health issues from bringing attention to women veterans who served in Vietnam and have resulting PTSD to stopping U.S. states from shackling female prisoners in childbirth. Additionally, I’ve written on gun control, domestic and international terrorism, the recent US presidential election, and how individuals can heal from traumatic events. All of this, all of this is because of this fellowship.
I went into the field of psychology to help make the world a better place. And, while I believe I have helped in this regard, my scientific publications have had a limited audience. Although I have served as the principal investigator on six federally-funded grants and am the author of nearly 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications, book chapters, and clinical articles, I was talking to people just like me. But through my op-ed writing I have reached thousands of people in outlets such as CNN, Ms. Magazine, USA Today, and The Conversation to name a few. And I’ve even become a regular contributor to TIME Ideas.
I don’t want to think of how my growth and voice were stunted prior to meeting The Op-Ed Project. This fellowship and the associated individuals fueled my fire to disseminate behavioral science to the public and stoked the flames. To think of this opportunity not being available for other underrepresented scholars on our campus makes me sad for our faculty and frankly for our world. If ever we need strong articulate impassioned voices it is now!
I should also say that similar to Margi I too am helping other people on campus write op-eds. This year I was asked by my department (Psychiatry) to serve as the faculty advisor to a year-long writing workshop for the psychiatry and neurology residents. We meet monthly – one month they “shop” their pieces and I help them edit and suggest venues for submission and the other month we get outside academic+ public speakers (e.g., recently we hosted psychiatrist Richard Friedman who writes for The New York Times; there were more than 30 people in attendance, and quite a number of them were faculty). In addition, a Pulitzer Prize winner, Walter “Robby” Robinson, Editor at Large for The Boston Globe (and the real life Michael Keaton in the 2015 Academy Award winning movie Spotlight) wrote to me the same day he read one of my op-ed pieces. Not only have we struck up a friendship but Robby came to Yale as Poynter Fellow for three days this Fall because of it. So, to me, that speaks to the reverberating positive effects of The Op-Ed Project.
My most recent piece/ a commentary in an outlet/ digest called “Global health now” (out of Hopkins, which I only found out about at an academic conference I attended in April). Yes beginning of April. (I actually can’t believe it’s been that long to finally see it in “print”– which has required change in what I thought was the best hook ever… and patience w them as they worked through edits always promising interest and follow up). Basically, at this conference they had a panel discussion put on by PULITZER to discuss academics involving themselves in more media- I actually half thought OpEd project would be on it- all the same there was a documentary maker, an academic turned journalist, and the chief editor for this outlet, plus someone from Pulitzer. So firstly, the experience didn’t hold a candle to public voices (hello!) but still useful in that– afterwards I walked up and verbally pitched myself to the editor, followed up by email w 2 of my pieces (yay guys we have a “portfolio” now hehe) who was eager to have me write something for them. Of course, I walked away, wired, thinking – what did I just do! How much time does THIS mean I have. And what am I going to write about. Anyway, the rest is history now. Hope that you can enjoy it.
Also, last night Joan and Margie (unfortunately missed Anees and Anna due to scheduling conflicts– others from college of medicine) joined me on the first of hopefully a continued outlet (maybe with other public voices members- classmates favored of course!) educating our residents on getting into the “OpEd space” and media etc. It was a well received event for the first time w 25 attendees- 1.5h, and was sponsored by the medicine/ pediatrics residency program (food, AV stuff). Thanks so much to Joan and Margie for coming and pouring their hearts out on the panel, and offering themselves as resources. Lots of props to the OpEd project, a picture of Katie, and talk of our “mentor” (realized we have the same one) ie Lauren — basically you sounded like yoda by the end of the night (“my mentor told me… Etc).
Christine Ngaruiya, MD, MSc, DTM&H,
Section of Global Health and International Emergency Medicine,
Department of Emergency Medicine,
+1 (203) 997-5882
I have wanted to be a part of this year-long fellowship since ages, but it was only this year that the stars aligned and my calendar opened up to allow me to devote the energy to re-educate myself in an entirely new way of thinking about my work and its impact in the world. At a time when the academy and especially the humanities are sidelined as ‘elite’ and impotent, the lessons Zeba and Deborah have taught me have been invaluable in making realize the responsibility I have to speak up. For me, working on the Middle East and the Islamic world, the tools I have gained, are invaluable.
I have enjoyed every meeting, coming away more stimulated and excited about my work but also that of the incredible women that are part of this group. We’re on different sides of the campus, and yet Z and D have managed to create an environment of empathy and honest critique that allows for us to learn from each other in ways that I had not anticipated.
I already have a list of colleagues - from History to Comp Lit - who I will recommend apply to the fellowship. So please do plan on running this fellowship for as long as feasible - the collaboration is extremely important, now more than ever.
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture
Department of the History of Art
652 Loria, 190 York Street
P.O. Box 208272
New Haven, CT 06520
203. 432. 5803 office