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Ambassador Andrew Young lecturing on stage

Public Policy Lecture Series

In 2008, MCLA announced the establishment of the Public Policy lecture series, making public policy forums an ongoing part of the College's long-term speaker offerings, in complement to MCLA's major in political science and public policy.  The series is made possible through the generosity of the Ruth E. Proud Charitable Trust. 

Sarah Smarsh

Author of Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

Sarah Smarsh

 

 

Thursday, April 4, 2019, 7 p.m.
Church Street Center Auditorium

Free and Open to the Public,
Information: 413.662.5224
   

 

Sarah Smarsh is an author, educator, speaker, and journalist who focuses on socioeconomic class and rural America. Her book Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth examines historic economic inequality and tells the story of her upbringing among the working poor on a Kansas farm.

By ninth grade, Sarah attended eight southern-Kansas schools, ranging from a 2,000-student high school to a two-room prairie schoolhouse. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia, as well as degrees in journalism and English from the University of Kansas. Her book, Heartland, has been compared to Jeannette Walls’ bestselling memoir The Glass Castle and is a perfect companion to Barbara Ehrenreich’s iconic Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. A former English professor and grant-writer for social service agencies, Sarah aims for all of her work to have a backbone of civic responsibility.

Sarah’s reportage and commentary have been published by The Guardian, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and many other publications. Her essays on class and poverty, “Poor Teeth” and “The First Person on Mars,” were both listed as notables in Best American Essays. Sarah recently published a four-part piece in No Depression about Dolly Parton and the working-class feminism found in country music. She is a regular commentator in national media and has spoken on poverty, politics, rural issues, cultural divides and the future of news. Sarah was recently a Fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and will soon launch a much-anticipated podcast about class and rural America.

As a fifth-generation Kansas farm kid, Sarah is a long-time dancer of the Country Two-Step, and she once won a nail-driving contest. She lives in Kansas.

Past speakers of the Michael S. and Kitty Dukakis Public Policy Lecture:

2018: Ta-Nehisi Coates

2017: Jeffrey Toobin

2016: Cokie Roberts

2015: Ray Kurzweil

2014: Jose Antonio Vargas

2013: Ambassador Andrew Young

2012: Senator George J. Mitchell

2011: Dr. Robert Gates

 

Past speakers of the Public Policy Lecture Series:

2018: Clint Watts

2017: The Honorable Jane Swift

2016: Panel - Joe Thompson, Julia Bowen, Thomas Krens, Kathy Lloyd '13, Mitch and Seth Nash, Brad Svrluga

2015: Cheryl Jacques

2014: Gloria Steinem

2013: Irshad Manji

2012: Zainab Salbi

2010-2011: Vandana Shiva; James Carville and Mary Matalin

2009-2010: Paul Rusesabagina; Lisa Cortes, Jonathan Kozol, and Carole Simpson

2008-2009: Bob Woodward; David Plouffe