Fifteen selected to be Public Engagement Faculty Fellows


The Office of the Vice President for Research has selected 15 faculty members from across the University of Michigan for a fellowship program that enhances and integrates public engagement in their research and scholarship for broad societal impact.

The university launched its Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship program in 2020 to help faculty bolster their knowledge and skills, and also reflect on how public engagement aligns with their scholarly identity.

The effort includes creating an interdisciplinary, intergenerational learning community, as well as encouraging recognition of and experimentation with all forms of public engagement.

“This year’s cohort of fellows will be able to consider new and innovative ways of translating their work into public impacts,” said Ellen Parakkat, program manager for the Public Engagement and Research Impacts team, which transitioned to OVPR from the Center for Academic Innovation in 2022.

“The interdisciplinary community of scholars working toward the same goal of public engagement in a wide variety of creative and unexpected ways allows unique projects to take shape.”

This year’s faculty cohort represents nine schools and colleges across the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.

The 2023 mentor fellows are:

  • Simone M. Charles, clinical associate professor of environmental health sciences, School of Public Health.
  • Antonio C. Cuyler, professor of music, School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
  • Justin Heinze, associate professor of health behavior and health education, School of Public Health.
  • Laura Napier, lecturer in art and design, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.

The 2023 fellows are:

  • Justin Colacino, associate professor of environmental health sciences and nutritional sciences, School of Public Health.
  • Paul Fleming, assistant professor of health behavior and health education, School of Public Health.
  • Cynthia Gabriel, lecturer in women’s and gender studies, LSA.
  • Shelie Miller, Jonathan W. Bulkley Collegiate Professor of Sustainable Systems and professor of environment and sustainability, School for Environment and Sustainability.
  • Alireza Mohammadi, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, UM-Dearborn.
  • Laura Power, clinical associate professor of epidemiology, School of Public Health.
  • Rebeccah Sokol, assistant professor of social work, School of Social Work.
  • Matthew Solomon, professor of film, television, and media, LSA.
  • Tian An Wong, assistant professor of mathematics, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, UM-Dearborn.
  • Amy M. Yorke, Myron and Margaret Winegarden Professor and associate professor of physical therapy, College of Health Sciences, UM-Flint.
  • Yunus Zeytuncu, professor of mathematics, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, UM-Dearborn.

The first phase of the fellowship includes a five-week studio experience that involves community building, exploring and learning. Mentor fellows and fellows will have opportunities during this phase to engage in skill development, reflection, exploration, networking and project planning.

Following successful completion of Phase One, eligible faculty fellows can then move into Phase Two, which is primarily focused on project planning and support.

While designing plans for a publicly engaged project, fellows are eligible for up to $10,000 in funding and in-kind support from OVPR and other university partners so they can pursue engagement projects.

“Public engagement is integral to OVPR’s mission to serve the world through research,” said Nick Wigginton, associate vice president for research – strategic initiatives. 

“The support and community created by this fellowship program will empower our faculty to better translate their research into positive impacts on the everyday lives of our local and global communities.”


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