Facilitating Thought Leadership

SSD faculty are uniquely positioned to make essential contributions to public knowledge. From considerations of public health, to the global economy and political structures, to education, culture and social life, many faculty have highly relevant—and potentially transformative—expertise to share. This program facilitates thought leadership among SSD faculty, providing support in writing and placing op-eds based on their research or academic analysis.

Contributing op-ed expert Dave Nussbaum focuses on creating structures for busy faculty to write and pitch op-eds quickly and efficiently, without “dumbing down” research results or sacrificing accuracy. He will work with faculty to offer guidance and editorial feedback on their developing pieces, including assistance in writing, advice on including effective and timely news hooks, and assistance in pitching to likely editorial fits.

This program is implemented in close collaboration with the SSD and the University Communications Office, and with the Academic Communicators Network. As such, we can scaffold and benefit from existing communication infrastructure to amplify our faculty’s voices in the world.

To get involved, email Katherine Kinzler at kinzler@uchicago.edu. Please write with a specific idea or just with a general interest in writing for a broader audience—we are happy to help!

Leadership Team

Katherine Kinzler

Faculty Director

Example Articles:
Bias against African American English speakers is a pillar of systemic racism,Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2020.
The Superior Social Skills of Bilinguals,The New York Times, March 13, 2016.
How Kids Learn Prejudice,The New York Times, October 23, 2016.
Babies Watching People Eat,The New York Times, August 21, 2016.


Katherine D. Kinzler is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology in the Division of the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. She first joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2008 as a Neubauer Family Assistant Professor. She spent 2015-2019 at Cornell, where she was most recently Chair of the Department of Psychology. Her research sits at the intersection of developmental and social psychology. Her work focuses on the origins of prejudice and ingroup/outgroup thinking, with an emphasis on understanding how language and accent mark social groups. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the John Templeton Foundation. Her work has appeared regularly in the New York Times and other media outlets, and she was named a “Young Scientist,” one of 50 scientists under age 40 recognized by the World Economic Forum. Her first book, How You Say It (2020), is geared toward a general audience.

Dave Nussbaum

Op-ed Consultant

Example Articles:
Courage could be contagious in the Senate,” The Boston Globe, January 1, 2020.
Reasoning behind a veil of ignorance,” The Boston Globe, November 22, 2019.
Believing What You Don’t Believe,” The New York Times, November 1, 2015.
American Dream? Or Mirage?,The New York Times, May 3, 2015.


Dave Nussbaum, an adjunct associate professor of behavioral science at Booth and Communications Director for the Behavioral Science and Policy Association, has extensive experience teaching academics to write about and place their work in top media outlets. He focuses on creating structures to reduce the burden on faculty of publishing op-eds and makes it easier for them to navigate the process. Nussbaum has a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Stanford University. His own work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, and FiveThirtyEight. He has facilitated and edited hundreds of op-eds by leading academics in the social sciences, successfully pitching pieces to a robust network of editorial contacts at The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Politico, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Scientific American, The Boston Globe, The Conversation, The Atlantic, San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR.

Elizabeth Braun Rush

Executive Director for Strategic Communications


Elizabeth Braun Rush leads the Division’s internal and external communications portfolio. Prior to joining the University of Chicago in 2015, she led communications for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University and for the Woods Hole Research Center. Rush holds Honors Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and in History and a Master of Arts in Education, each from Saint Louis University.

Cate Goebel

Associate Dean, Research and Strategic Initiatives


Cate Goebel works closely with the Dean to advance the Division’s research priorities and initiatives and leads a team of research development professionals who work with faculty across the Division of the Social Sciences, Harris School of Public Policy, and the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice to maximize research productivity and impact. Goebel also oversees the Social Science Research Center (SSRC), a research accelerator space that supports an evolving portfolio of sponsored research projects, offers a competitive seed-grant program for SSD faculty, and provides programming for faculty and graduate student researchers related to social research resources and methodologies. Goebel has nearly 20 years of experience securing extramural support for research and programs, and a broad range of non-profit management experience, having worked previously for the Field Museum, a cancer research organization, and Barnard College. She holds degrees from the University of Chicago and Columbia University.

Isobel Heck

Writing Fellow


Isobel is a PhD student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. Prior to her time at UChicago, Isobel received a Master’s in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University and a Bachelor’s in Cognitive Science from Brown University. At Brown, Isobel discovered an interest in science communication while serving as a writer and then editor of the Science, Research and Technology section of the Brown Daily Herald. Building on this interest, Isobel served as the Department of Psychology’s Science Writer at Cornell. Isobel is passionate about the effective communication of research to broad audiences and excited to be in this new role.

Advisory Committee

John Mark Hansen

Example Articles:
Flashback: How fingerprinting made Chicago famous: New technology led to 1910 murder conviction in a first for the nation,” Chicago Tribune, April 3, 2020.
The complicated history of Gen. Philip Sheridan,” Chicago Tribune, November 21, 2017.
University of Chicago: Locate Obama library where first family has a history,” Crain’s Chicago Business, January 28, 2015.


John Mark Hansen is the Charles L. Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Political Science and the College, Deputy Dean in the Division of the Social Sciences, and former Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences. His interests in American politics range from elections and participation to Congress, interest groups, and political parties. Hansen is the author of two books, Mobilization, Participation and Democracy in America (1993) with Steven Rosenstone and Gaining Access: Congress and the Farm Lobby, 1919-1981 (1991). In 1999, he received the Heinz Eulau Award from the American Political Science Association for the Best Article Published in the American Political Science Review in 1998. He also received the Outstanding Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists for Mobilization, Participation and Democracy in America in 1995. In 2003, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Hansen’s most recent book, The City in a Garden, is a historical guide to the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods.

Micere Keels

Example Articles:
Righting the Enrollment and Graduation Ship,” Inside HigherEd, October 28, 2016.
False Comfort in School Security,” The New York Times, September 6, 2018.
Supporting Students With Chronic Trauma,” Edutopia, March 23, 2018.


Micere Keels is an Associate Professor in the department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on understanding how sociodemographic characteristics (race-ethnicity and poverty, in particular) structure the supports and challenges that individuals experience. She is particularly invested in developing systems-change interventions. She is currently leading two projects that work to improve the educational experiences and outcomes of students from historically marginalized communities. She is the founding director of the Trauma Responsive Educational Practices Project, which is a research-translation and research-practice-partnership that aims to connect the brain and behavior research on developmental trauma with the realities of school and classroom management. She has been tracking a cohort of over 500 Black and Latinx students who entered college in 2013 to advance our understanding of postsecondary persistence. Some of the findings from this project are published in her book on Campus Counterspaces.

Dali Yang

Example Articles:
Wuhan officials tried to cover up covid-19 — and sent it careening outward,” Washington Post, March 10, 2020.
China’s early warning system didn’t work on COVID-19. Here’s the story,” Washington Post, February 24, 2020.


Dali L. Yang is the William Claude Reavis Professor in the Department of Political Science and the College and Senior Advisor to the President and the Provost on Global Initiatives at the University of Chicago. From 2010 to 2016, he was the founding Faculty Director of the University of Chicago Center in Beijing. He is a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Dali Yang is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles on the politics and political economy of China, including Calamity and Reform in China (Stanford University Press, 1996); Beyond Beijing: Liberalization and the Regions in China (Routledge, 1997); Remaking the Chinese Leviathan (Stanford University Press, 2004); and most recently China and Youth Well-being in China (Routledge, 2019).

Melissa Gilliam

Example Articles:
A Guide To Navigating Birth Control,” National Public Radio, February 19, 2020.
As Providers, We Must Pay Attention to the Social and Systemic Factors Behind Health,” Rewire News, January 18, 2018.
The Alternate-Reality Games That Teach Kids The Cause And Effect Of Their Circumstances,” Fast Company, October 8, 2014.


Melissa Gilliam MD, MPH, is the Ellen H. Block Professor of Health Justice and a Vice Provost at the University of Chicago. Dr. Gilliam is the founder and director of Ci3, an interdisciplinary research center at the University of Chicago addressing the health of adolescents using technology, design, and narrative. She is also a member of the National Academy of Medicine. Her clinical focus is in pediatric and adolescent gynecology.

Jeremy Manier


Jeremy Manier, Assistant Vice President of Communications, oversees the University’s external communications and all interactions with news media, including strategies for outreach to increase public understanding of the University’s activities in research and education, and communications on institutional issues. As leader of the media and public affairs team he collaborates with leaders across the University and helps faculty, students and staff communicate effectively with broad audiences. He joined the University in 2008 after more than a decade as a specialty reporter at the Chicago Tribune covering science and medicine.

Colleen Mastony


Colleen Mastony is the director of media relations at the University of Chicago. She works with reporters and editors, coordinating media coverage and contributing to key UChicago priorities by increasing public understanding of the University’s educational mission and impact. Colleen runs a daily news engine that drives proactive media engagement and collaborates closely with the digital, social and news content teams. Before joining the University, Colleen was a journalist and worked at the Chicago Tribune, the Palm Beach Post and Forbes.