• Recipients of the Pell Medal for U.S. History pose with Clay Pell at the University of Rhode Island.

    Rhode Island Students Awarded Pell Medal for U.S. History

    Newport, R.I.—Sixty-six Rhode Island students earned the Herbert and Claiborne Pell Medal for U.S. History this year.  The medal, administered now by the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, recognizes college and high school students in the state who have excelled in U.S. History.

    The Pell Medal was originally presented by Senator Claiborne Pell and his wife, Mrs. Nuala Pell, for more than 50 years. After Mrs. Pell’s passing in April 2014, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University agreed to become the steward of the medal process.

    Pell Medal U.S. History

    Clay Pell (far left) presented the Herbert and Claiborne Pell Medal for U.S. History to Rebecca Giguere (first row, second from right) at the University of Rhode Island

    “It has been a joy and an honor to recognize many of our most promising students across Rhode Island,” said Clay Pell who has personally presented several of the medals at events across the state.  “To me, this medal represents my grandparents’ reverence for the past as well as their confidence in future generations.”

    Pell Center Executive Director Dr. Jim Ludes said, “While I chose a career in public policy, I prepared for that career by studying history. So I’m especially grateful that the Pell Center can help continue this beautiful tradition.”

    Established by the Pell family, the Pell Medal is named for Representative Herbert C. Pell and his son, Senator Claiborne Pell.  Herbert Pell served as a member of Congress and American Minister to Portugal and Hungary, while Claiborne Pell, who is responsible for the creation of the Pell Grants and the National Endowment for the Humanities, served in the Senate for 36 years and worked to strengthen American foreign policy.

    “I also want to recognize Ms. Jan Demers,” said Ludes.  “For years Jan helped Senator and Mrs. Pell administer the medal.  We at the Pell Center know we have big shoes to fill in our new role and we are grateful for the support and encouragement Jan has given us.”

    The winners of the 2015 Herbert and Claiborne Pell Medal for excellence in the study of U.S. History are:

     

    Barrington

    F. Nelson Blount, St. Andrew’s School

    Madeline Schirber, Barrington High School

     

    Bristol

    Sabrina Dasilva, Mount Hope High School

    Andrew Carter, Roger Williams University

     

    Central Falls

    Leslie McBurney, Central Falls High School

     

    Coventry

    Jared Flamand, Coventry High School

     

    Cranston

    Jonathan Penta, Cranston High School East

     

    Cumberland

    Justin Wood, Cumberland High School

     

    East Greenwich

    Zachary Johnson, East Greenwich High School

    Mary McKenney, Rocky Hill School

     

    East Providence

    Monica Barbosa, East Providence High School

    Dante Diwan, Providence Country Day School

     

    Harrisville

    Samantha Mancone, Burriville High School

     

    Johnston

    Tiana D’Acchioli, Johnston Senior High School

     

    Kingston

    Rebecca Giguere, University of Rhode Island

     

    Lincoln

    Benjamin P. Chiacchia, Lincoln High School

    Reymy Pena, William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School

     

    Middletown

    Erin Keating, St. George’s School

    Samantha Plezia, Middletown High School

     

    Narragansett

    Rayne Henley, The Ocean Tides School

    Cole Metzger-Levitt, Middlebridge School

    Eileen Sullivan, Narragansett High School

     

    Newport

    Mitchell Cardon, Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School

    Catherine Hermes, Rogers High School

    Jessica Rose, Salve Regina University

    Brandon Watson, Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School

     

    North Kingstown

    Joseph Black, North Kingstown High School

    Lydia Sgouros, North Kingstown High School

     

     

    North Providence

    Brendan Walker, North Providence High School

     

    North Scituate

    Christine Wagner, Ponaganset High School

     

    North Smithfield

    Diane Newberry, North Smithfield High School

     

    Pawtucket

    Vanessa Dos Anjos, St. Raphael Academy

    Nathan Gagnon, William E. Tolman High School

    Judiana Moise, Blackstone Academy Charter School

    Djita Sidibe, Charles E. Shea High School

     

    Portsmouth

    David Brower, Portsmouth Abbey School

    Chris Norton, Portsmouth High School

     

    Providence

    Estrella Argueta, Hope High School

    Elizabeth Bitgood, Rhode Island College

    Jasmin Cantera, Academy for Career Exploration

    Johanny Castillo, Paul Cuffee Upper School

    Hannah Duncan, Brown University

    Lexus Fernandez, Mount Pleasant High School

    Emma Funaki, Rhode Island School of Design

    Kaly Heng, Central High School

    Julianna Marandola, La Salle Academy

    Henry Mayer, Classical High School

    James Morin, Providence College

    Julissa Sabater, School One

    Rose Maso, Lincoln School

     

    Scituate

    Robert Capron, Scituate High School

     

    Smithfield

    Kalah Caruso, Bryant University

    Megan Long, Smithfield High School

     

    Wakefield

    John Albert, The Prout School

    Rieley Auger, South Kingstown High School

     

    Warwick

    Henry Cascella, Pilgrim High School

    Riley Chabot, Bishop Hendricken High School

    Hanah Ellis, Warwick Veterans Memorial High School

    Hunter Heberg, Toll Gate High School

    Tuon Mi, Community College of Rhode Island

     

    Westerly

    Kyra McCormick, Westerly High School

     

    West Greenwich

    Brianna McFadden, Exeter-West Greenwich High School

     

    West Warwick

    Kristen DiSano, West Warwick High School

     

    Wood River Junction

    Lydia Crandall, Chariho Regional High School

     

    Woonsocket

    T.J. Bergeron, Beacon Chart High School for the Arts

    Adam Mercier, Mount Saint Charles Academy

    Abigail Shobako, Woonsocket High School

     

  • Annual Conference

    Annual Conference

    Story Day is the annual conference for Story in the Public Square, a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal that studies and celebrates public storytelling.

    Story Day 2014 examined moving images: animation, feature documentary and television, as well as short documentary and video. Through an engaging and interactive series of discussions with accomplished storytellers, the audience took part in a fun and informative day that also featured interactive storytelling, winners of the student contest, and presentation of the 2014 Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square to Emmy-winning screenwriter, producer and actor Danny Strong, who delivered the keynote address.

    Strong’s “Game Change,” the 2012 HBO production about the 2008 presidential election, won a Golden Globe, a primetime Emmy, a Writers Guild of America Award and a Producers Guild of America Award. His 2008 HBO film “Recount,” about the 2000 presidential election, won a primetime Emmy. Strong also wrote Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and “Mockingjay,” the two-part “Hunger Games” finale.

    Strong is also an accomplished Hollywood actor, having played roles in the TV series “Mad Men,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Seinfeld,” “Gilmore Girls” and, early in his career, the character Jonathan Levinson in the hit show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” He also acted as a producer on many of his projects, including “The Butler,” “Game Change” and “Recount.”

  • Head shot of Nuala Pell Leadership fellow Jacob Lang

    Lang ’18, Nuala Pell Fellow, to Present Paper at International Conference

    Jacob LangNEWPORT, R.I. — Nuala Pell Leadership Fellow Jacob Lang has been accepted to present at the Empire and Nation: Undergraduate Conference in Budapest, Hungary in August 2015.

    Lang will present his paper “Israel and Changing International Politics.”

    A philosophy major from N. Attleboro, Massachusetts, Lang was recently selected to be a member of the 2015-2016 Nuala Pell Leadership Program. Annually, the Program provides 12 diverse, high-achieving, Salve Regina University sophomores with leadership training and opportunities.

    The “Empire and Nation” conference is co-hosted by the Department of History and the Department of Medieval Studies at Central European University in Budapest. The conference is devoted to rethinking the role of empires and nations in history.

  • Head shot of Pell Center Visting Fellow G. Wayne Miller

    Fellow Spotlight: G. Wayne Miller

    G. Wayne Miller, Pell Center visiting fellow and Story in the Public in the Square director, is a storyteller in his own right.

    A staff writer for The Providence Journal,  Miller shares powerful accounts of individuals, families and loved ones affected by mental health issues and serves as an advocate for mental healthcare reform throughout Rhode Island and in the United States. Miller has also published several books, including Toy Wars: The Epic Struggle Between G.I. Joe, Barbie and the Companies That Make Them (Random House/Times Books, 1998), King of Hearts: The True Story of the Maverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery (Random House/Times Books, 2000), and An Uncommon Man: The Life and Times of Senator Claiborne Pell (University Press of New England, 2011).

    G Wayne Miller
    Over the course of your writing career, you’ve published an extensive body of work. Your portfolio consists of reporting, feature writing, fiction and non-fiction, but what’s most impressive is the diversity of subjects you write about. What draws you to cover a particular subject?
    First and foremost, people and their stories. I am compelled by stories of people who take journeys, who take risks, who experience love and loss, who endure, who are honest and loyal, who surprise themselves and others, who prevail despite conflict, who give back to the world, who inspire the rest of us with their courage, wisdom and tenacity. I love writing about kids, these wonderful new people who still believe in magic. I must say, however, that I am not big into villains. I guess I remain an optimist after all these years. Hard to sometimes, looking at what’s happening on and to the planet, but I still do.

    After people, themes. I have a great interest in public-policy issues—and “public,” of course, is people. When I can marry a good people story to an important issue—well, doesn’t get much better than that. My all-time favorite newspaper story remains “The Growing Season,” a 12-part series in The Providence Journal about the late Frank Beazley, who spent most of his adult life as a quadriplegic at Zambarano state hospital. Here was a man who had every right to be bitter and broken, and yet he became a celebrated artist, a champion of people with disabilities, and an inspiration to us all. He raised awareness of a critical public-policy issue — how we care for the most fragile members of society—in a way few others could have. Ask anyone who saw him at General Assembly hearings or the former governors who paid him visits. I was honored and humbled to become his friend, and give him a voice in the media.

     

    You’ve won nearly 50 honors and awards—most recently, the Bell of Hope Mental Health Heroes Award from the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island. In your opinion, to what extent can the power of narrative shape the public dialogue on issues like mental health?
    It can have a significant effect, in a way that statistics and data can’t, not that those aren’t important, too. This gets back to people. Humans are hard-wired to have an interest in others, so when you tell someone’s story — at least, when you tell it right — you command attention. And, in writing about people living with mental illness, you evoke empathy and compassion, which hopefully can lead to better understanding of an often-misunderstood issue, which in turn can lead to lessening of stigma and public policy change.

    My most recent writing about mental health, part of a continuing Providence Journal series, was a three-part look at a woman living with bipolar disorder and her family. I chose the title, “Katie’s Story,” quite deliberately: the hope was that readers would see it and be drawn in by the intimacy of using a first name, and the prospect of reading a story. Since our cave-day ancestors gathered around the fire, people have loved stories!

    In their remarks at the State House Bell of Hope ceremony, Elizabeth H. Roberts, secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and Maria Montanaro, director or the state department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, thanked me for writing “Katie’s Story,” noting that it was a moving reminder of the people in their care—and the improvements needed in a fragmented and underfunded system. They are executives in positions of power to make it happen. Here’s hoping.
    In addition to writing, you’ve been successful as a film maker. Coming Home (2011), a documentary that explores the experience of veterans who fought The War on Terror in the Middle East, won the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and was nominated for outstanding documentary at the 35th annual New England Emmy Awards. How does your experience as a writer complement your film making?

    Miller (left) with John DiRaimo, veteran, at 2013 Story Day Conference

    The key things in the writer’s toolbox—the need to observe, listen, question, research, understand, etc.—were invaluable when I got into film. I quickly learned that writing and film are two sides of the same storytelling coin. Text or moving image, you’re dead in the water without a good story.
    In your experience, what ways are writing and film making similar? In what ways are they different?
    Only difference is that one relies on words, the other more on images… Okay, there are other differences, but they are mostly technical. Writing is pretty much a solitary deal, filmmaking a collaborative effort. A pen and paper, or screen and computer, are all a writer needs; filmmakers must have the right equipment with knowledgeable operators. Editors are critical to both writing and film.

    One of your books, The Uncommon Man, is an extensive biography of the late Senator Claiborne deBorda Pell, Rhode Island’s longest serving senator. It happens that the National Endowment of Humanities, one of the senator’s lasting legacies in the United States, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. What do you believe is the greatest legacy Senator Pell left for Rhode Island and the nation?
    In a direct, concrete way: the Pell Grants. More broadly, his devotion to the public discourse and his belief that we all have a civic duty that we should exercise. These are principles incorporated in the Pell Center, needless to say.


    There have been many changes in the media landscape since the beginning of your career to present. Despite your workload and community involvement, how have you managed to adapt to those changes?
    It helps that I get up very early—a habit that began years ago when my children were young, and I wanted to devote time to them as their days began. So the pre-dawn hours are critical to the thing dearest to my heart, after my wife and family: my writing.

    In general, I have adapted by being flexible; by welcoming new ideas and formats such as social media; by never forgetting how lucky I have been to have supportive publishers and editors from the very start; and by always remembering that at the end of the day, literally and figuratively, we all love a good story.

    Miller’s next book, Car Crazy: The Battle for Supremacy Between Ford and Olds and the Dawn of the Automobile Age, will be released November 2015 and is now available to pre-order. Connect with Miller on Twitter and LinkedIn.

     

  • Frank Quigley poses with his certificate of induction into the Phi Sigma Tau philosophy honor society.

    Pell Center Work Study Inducted into Phi Sigma Tau

    Pell Center work study Frank Quigley ’16 was recently inducted in Phi Sigma Tau, the international honor society in philosophy, during the Spring 2015 semester.

    He was also selected to be a part of Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities, an exclusive honor conferred by more than 1,000 universities and colleges nationwide.

    Frank Quigley

    Quigley is a double-major in American History and Philosophy at Salve Regina University. As a Pell Center work study, Quigley is responsible for shooting, editing and publishing video of Pell Center lectures, as well as conducting research for Pell Center fellows. Quigley also contributes to the Pell Center’s blog.

    View the Pell Center’s latest lecture, Civil War and the Making of Modern America, on YouTube.

  • The Human Cost of Cheap Clothing

    We want to know where their food comes from—why wouldn’t we also think about where our clothing comes from?

    Two years have passed since the Rana Plaza collapse, one of the most tragic industrial disasters in recent history. Over 1,100 died and 2,500 more were injured—the worst part is that not much has changed for the surviving garment factory workers directly affected by the Rana Plaza or the industry as a whole.

    Believe it or not, fashion industry’s supply chain is even harder to navigate than the agricultural sector. The process for clothing manufacturing doesn’t start at factories like Rana Plaza—before garment workers can sew the fabric, the fabric needs to be made and designed. For the fabric to be made, the fibers need to be treated. For the fibers to be treated in the first place, the raw material needs to be picked…

    With each step of the process, there are questions that need to be asked—Is the process for picking the raw material ethical and environmentally-friendly? Are farm hands picking cotton of legal working age and earning a decent wage? What dyes are being used for the fabric? Are they toxic? How are the working conditions of the garment factories?

    Then what happens when the clothes leave the factory is an entirely different story altogether. Distribution. Marketing and advertising. Selling. The parts of the industry that the average person is the most familiar with.

    Unfortunately, the real behind-the-scenes of the fashion industry—the not-so glamorous factories, the impoverished workers—continue to be overlooked. The stories of those who lost their loved ones and their livelihoods as a result of the Rana Plaza continue to be overlooked.

    One Norwegian reality television show, Sweatshop: Deadly Fashion, sent three fashion bloggers to work at a garment factory in Cambodia. In the trailer, one of the young women cries and asks the camera, “What kind of life is this?”

    There are movements in place to raise more awareness of these controversial issues surrounding the fashion industry among consumers, the strongest being Fashion Revolution Day held on April 24, which commemorates the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse. Fashion Revolution Day invites people to ask themselves the big question—who made your clothes?

    Fashion Revolution Day: A Day to Ask #WhoMadeMyClothes? | The Huffington Post

    Rana Plaza: rallies in Bangladesh as victims await compensation | The Guardian

    DNA of 135 Rana Plaza Victims Still Not Found | BBC News

    ‘Human Cost of Cheap Clothes’: Retail giants fail to pay Rana Plaza victims compensation | RT

  • Lisa Genova, Best-selling Author of Still Alice, to Receive 2015 Pell Center Prize

    NEWPORT, R.I. – New York Times best-selling author Lisa Genova will be honored June 4 at Salve Regina University when she receives the third annual Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square, an award recognizing a contemporary storyteller whose work has had a significant impact on the public dialogue.

    Genova, who holds a Ph. D. in neuroscience from Harvard University, has written about neurological diseases and their impact on affected individuals and their families. Her works include Inside the O’Briens (2015), Love Anthony (2012), Left Neglected (2011), and Still Alice (2009), which has spent 56 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and been made into a major motion picture.

    Genova will receive the award at an event on June 4, 2015 on the campus of Salve Regina University in Newport, RI.  Additional details will be released in coming weeks.

    “I’m honored and thrilled to be receiving the 2015 Pell Center Prize,” Genova said. “Thank you for recognizing storytelling as an accessible way to understand complex and often frightening neurological diseases and disorders.”

    “Lisa Genova is a talented storyteller whose work prompts us to consider the personal experience of living with disease,” said Jim Ludes, executive director of the Pell Center. “We are thrilled to welcome her to Salve Regina University.”

    Said Story in the Public Square Director G. Wayne Miller, “With her science background and gift for narrative, Lisa occupies a unique position in the literature of Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurological disorders. She has helped prompt a national discussion about individuals and families with these diseases—and the overall public-health ramifications of an aging population.”

    still-alice-finalStill Alice tells the story of Alice Howland, a Harvard professor, wife and mother, who battles early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The novel has been recognized by several book clubs and is now a film from Sony Pictures Classics starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, and Hunter Parrish. Julianne Moore won the 2015 Best Actress Oscar for her role as Alice Howland.

    Inside The O’Briens (2015), Genova’s fourth novel, tells the story of a family living with Huntington’s Disease. Within a week of being published, Inside The O’Briens landed on the New York Times bestseller list and was recognized by the Library Journal as “a gut-wrenching and memorable read.”

    Previous winners for the Pell Center Prize are Danny Strong (2014), an Emmy-winning screenwriter, producer and actor; and Dana Priest (2013), two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning former Washington Post writer, now the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland.

    The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas. Dedicated to honoring Sen. Claiborne Pell’s legacy, the center promotes American engagement in the world, effective government at home and civic participation by all Americans.

    A partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal, Story in the Public Square is an initiative to study, celebrate, and tell stories that matter. For more information, please visit publicstory.org.

  • Upcoming Roundtable | The Ethics of Being a Shopaholic: Exploring the Impact of “Fast Fashion”

    In April 2013, a clothing factory in Bangladesh collapsed and killed over 1,100 garment workers and injured nearly 2,500 more.

    Nearly 30 major “fast fashion” retailers from the around the globe, including Primark, the U.K. equivalent of Forever XXI, were using this particular factory at the time of its collapse. Two years later, the impact of the Rana Plaza tragedy has pushed for major players in the apparel industry to become more socially responsible.

    Ethics of a Shopaholic

    Although some large fashion retailers are implementing better practices, should responsibility also be placed on the everyday shopper to improve the current condition of the “fast fashion” industry?

    On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, Salve Regina University students, staff and faculty are invited to explore the Rana Plaza collapse through the consumer perspective—participants will discuss the meaning of “fast fashion” and its consequences, as well as alternatives to “fast fashion.” The discussion will be held in Miley Private Dining Room from 11:45am-12:45pm. Free lunch is provided and space is limited. RSVP to [email protected].

  • Pell Center Continues Pell Family Legacy of Honoring RI Students for Excellence in U.S. History

    NEWPORT, R.I. — The Pell Center at Salve Regina University today announced it would administer the Herbert Pell and Claiborne Pell Medal for U.S. History.

    Established by the Pell family, the Pell Medal is named for Representative Herbert C. Pell and his son, Senator Claiborne Pell.  It is a testament to their belief that understanding American history is essential to leadership.  Accordingly, the medal is awarded annually to one student at each high school and college in the state who has excelled in the study of U.S. history. IMG_0538

    The medal, which features a pelican on the left side and an anchor on the right, symbolizes the Pell family and the state of Rhode Island.  Herbert C. Pell served as a member of Congress and American Minister to Portugal and Hungary, while Claiborne Pell, who is responsible for the creation of the Pell Grant and the National Endowment for the Humanities, served in the Senate for 36 years and worked to build strong foreign relations for the United States.

    The medal was originally presented by Senator Pell and his wife, Mrs. Nuala Pell.

    “We are humbled to serve as stewards of this wonderful tradition,” said Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes.

    “I am so happy that the Pell Medal will continue to recognize Rhode Island’s next generation of students,” said Clay Pell.  “Across every corner of the state, former recipients have told me how much this special recognition has meant to them.  I would like to thank the Pell Center at Salve Regina University for their partnership, and I look forward to meeting many future Pell Medal recipients in the years to come.”

    Selection forms will be sent to schools in April and the medals distributed before the end of the school year.

    The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University is a multi-disciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas. Dedicated to honoring Senator Pell’s legacy, the center promotes American engagement in the world, effective government at home and civic participation by all Americans.

  • Jim Ludes & G. Wayne Miller on set of Story in the Public Square

    ‘Story’ on TV

    NEWPORT, R.I.—The Pell Center at Salve Regina University has announced its latest undertaking—a talk show that interviews today’s best storytellers about their creative process and how their stories impact public understanding and policy.

    The show, “Story in the Public Square,” taped its first two episodes on June 5 and June 8, with Lisa Genova, best-selling author of Still Alice, and New York Times journalist Dan Barry, appearing as guests.

    “Story in the Public Square” is named after the Center’s initiative to study, tell and celebrate stories that matter. Initially presented as a conference, Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller, Director of Story in the Public Square and Providence Journal staff writer, saw an opportunity to expand the program’s reach.

    “Our conferences in the past were incredibly well-received by attendees, but we wanted to find a way to share the program’s insights with a broader audience,” says Ludes. “We are grateful to have the support from The Providence Journal, the University and our newest partner, Rhode Island PBS, to make this effort possible.”

    Ludes and Miller, who describe the concept as “Inside the Actor’s Studio” meets CNN, also serve as co-hosts for the talk show. Each brings a unique perspective and professional experience to the project.  Miller—an accomplished storyteller in his own right—has published 14 books, as well as a number of series for The Providence Journal, including “Into the Heart: A Medical Odyssey,” a nine-part series on the invention of open-heart surgery andThe War on Terror: Coming Home,” an eight-part series about returning veterans of the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also produced a documentary, “Coming Home,” which was nominated for Outstanding Documentary at the New England Emmy Awards.

    Ludes, in contrast, is the self-described “policy guy.”  In nearly 20 years in Washington, D.C., Ludes immersed himself in national security issues, served as a national security advisor to then-Senator John Kerry, now Secretary of State, built a think-tank, and shepherded President-elect Obama’s four priority nominees for leadership of the Department of Defense through successful Senate confirmations.

    While the hosts come at the show from different perspectives, the conversation brings them together.  Miller focuses on the guest’s storytelling craft, while Ludes explores the ways in which the guest’s work contributes to shaping public understanding of issues and, where appropriate, policy itself.  Together, the two hosts hope to educate audiences not simply about any single issue a guest may talk about, but about the power of storytelling in American society today.

    The first two guests, appearing before live audiences at the Pell Center in Newport, R.I., set the bar high.

    Lisa Genova, who also won the 2015 Pell Center Prize, was the first guest on Story in the Public Square. In a smart and provocative conversation, she shared how her personal narrative shaped her voice as an author and the impact of her work on communities hidden by neurological disease and conditions.  Having earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University, Genova is uniquely qualified to bring these stories to life.  In four best-sellers, she’s profiled people living with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, traumatic brain injury, and now Huntington’s disease, in her latest book, Inside the O’Briens.  She sees herself as an advocate for people who heretofore have been lost in public discussions, set aside by society that is intimidated—if not scared—by diseases and conditions they don’t understand.

    The show’s second guest, Dan Barry, elaborated on how his background living in a working-class community in Rhode Island helped shape his work as journalist.  Barry, who was part of a Pulitzer-winning team at The Providence Journal, was also a finalist for two other Pulitzer prizes at the New York Times.  In columns and series for the Times, Barry often employs a behind-the-scenes approach to reporting—heading in the opposite direction of the reporters covering big events. In his coverage of riots in Ferguson, Missouri, last year, for example, Barry profiled the people who work for the police department in that embattled city.  Unlike Genova, Barry does not see himself as an advocate, but both writers spoke eloquently about the importance of empathy in their work.

    “In their own unique ways, Lisa and Dan are exactly the kind of storytellers we will profile on Story in the Public Square,” said Miller.  “Their stories are full of heart, emotion, unforgettable characters, and meaning.  Whether they see themselves as advocates or not is almost irrelevant.  The fact is, both of these writers give voice to those who are otherwise voiceless—and in so doing enrich the public debate.”

    With the pilot episodes taped, Ludes and Miller are now focused on building a successful series.  “Rhode Island PBS has committed to broadcasting the episodes we’ve shot in Fall 2015,” said Ludes.  “But these are stories that deserve the biggest audience.”  To gain national distribution, the show will need at least 12 episodes.  “It’s all about funding at this point,” continued Ludes.  “We know we’ve got a great idea.  Now we need to find the sponsor who will bring this to a national audience.”