Current Research

Networks, Deliberation, and Socio-Ecological Resilience

Agricultural runoff remains one of the largest non-point sources of water pollution, but proposed solutions for protecting water quality remain politically divisive. Large-scale farmers, small farmers, environmental advocates and the agricultural industry are often at odds about the right approach to reducing pollution. With a grant from APSA’s Research Partnerships on Critical Issues (RPCI) program, our interdisciplinary team is examining whether collaborative and deliberative approaches to policymaking can improve environmental and public health outcomes.

Risk and Resiliency in Communities Impacted by PFAS

This project examines public understanding of PFAS risks and mitigation efforts in Wisconsin. This research is part of a larger, interdisciplinary program titled "In Defense of Water," funded with a two-year, $3.8 million grant from the Department of Defense to develop novel, sustainable technologies to protect human health and the environment, treat sewage and ensure clean drinking water, and provide a framework for emergency response to water contamination. You can read more about our work on public perceptions of water quality in Wisconsin here. 

Past Research

Condon, M., & Wichowsky, A. (2018). Developing citizen-scientists: Effects of an inquiry-based science curriculum on STEM and civic engagement. The Elementary School Journal, 119(2), 196-222.

McNew-Birren, J., & Gaul-Stout, J. (2022). Understanding scientific literacy through personal and civic engagement: A citizen science case study. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 12(2), 126-142.

McNew-Birren, J. (2015). ‘All policy is local’: punctuated equilibrium theory and the politics of US lead regulation. Environmental Politics, 24(5), 681-702.

McNew-Birren, J. (2014). Public understanding of local lead contamination. Public Understanding of Science, 23(8), 929-946.

Wichowsky, A., Gaul-Stout, J., & McNew-Birren, J. (2022). Creative Placemaking and Empowered Participatory Governance. Urban Affairs Review.

Supervised Dissertations

Jennifer Gaul-Stout, 2022. "Considering Constituencies Contributing to Lead-Water Discussions in Milwaukee: Three Article Dissertation"

Currently Associate Policy Analyst, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago