Public Voices Fellowship
NORTHWESTERN launched its fifth consecutive Public Voices Fellowship in October 2016. The pilot year of fellows at Northwestern produced an incredible 133 successes, a success rate of over 700%, including op-eds in The New York Times, CNN, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. According to Northwestern provost’s office, 60% of news hits for the entire university could be attributed to our 20 Public Voices Fellows. Between them, 100 Northwestern Public Voices Fellows (20/year) have produced over 800 concrete media successes, driving expansive impact both in the academic and public sphere.
The Nebraska legislature’s monumental decision to abolish the death penalty prompted Juliet Sorensen (Northwestern Public Voices Fellow, Year 2) to write an op-ed exploring the issue’s history in the state. Senator Nordquist was so impressed with the piece that on May 27, just hours before the legislature was to vote on Governor Pete Rickett’s veto, he gave a copy to each of the senators. In a historic 30-19 vote, the Nebraska legislature overrode the veto and abolished the death penalty, a decision that many cited was influenced by Juliet’s unique perspective.
President Obama’s Office of Education reached out to Uri Wilensky (Northwestern Public Voices Fellow, Year 4) following the publication of his oped on the role of computer science in education. They invited him to be a part of the national committee setting standards for computer science education over the next ten years. He also received inquires from school districts across the country, including in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, who invited him to develop new computer science curriculum. Uri is currently working with the Chicago school district, which may make his computer science program a requirement for all high school students.
Nancy Loeb's (Northwestern Public Voices Fellow, Year 2) op-eds on environmental racism have been published in a wide range of print and online media, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and Quartz, and resulted in a feature story with the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN). Nancy’s TIME op-ed on the Flint water crisis resulted in interview requests with NPR and VICE News, and invitations to speak at The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and The Loyola University Chicago School of Law. "I have been working on lead issues for the past two and a half years, and have met with very high level EPA officials to try to influence policy in this area," said Nancy. "I have no doubt my voice is now being heard on this issue in a way I could not have achieved without the Public Voices Fellowship."