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Scholars Strategy Network's No Jargon


No Jargon, the Scholars Strategy Network’s weekly podcast, presents interviews with top university scholars on the politics, policy problems, and social issues facing the nation. Powerful research, intriguing perspectives -- and no jargon. Find show notes and plain-language research briefs on hundreds of topics at

No Jargon, the Scholars Strategy Network’s weekly podcast, presents interviews with top university scholars on the politics, policy problems, and social issues facing the nation. Powerful research, intriguing perspectives -- and no jargon. Find show notes and plain-language research briefs on hundreds of topics at


United States


No Jargon, the Scholars Strategy Network’s weekly podcast, presents interviews with top university scholars on the politics, policy problems, and social issues facing the nation. Powerful research, intriguing perspectives -- and no jargon. Find show notes and plain-language research briefs on hundreds of topics at




Episode 207: From The Tea Party to The Resistance

In 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African American president in this country’s history after a momentous election. But for many in this country, that election was anything but joyous. Soon after, a movement that became known as the Tea Party took shape on the right in opposition to this president and his policies. Fast forward 8 years and a very familiar story seemed to play out, but this time on the left. It became known as The Resistance. PhD candidate Leah Gose explains what...


Episode 206: Creating Inclusive Campuses

Over the last few decades, minority enrollment at America’s colleges and universities has increased exponentially. These institutions, many predominantly white, like to tout enrollment rates as evidence of their commitment to racial diversity. But do these numbers tell the whole story? Professor Bedelia Richards details how black students still frequently experience discrimination on campus, what this means for their education and wellbeing, and how universities can make change to help...


Episode 205: Black Teachers Wanted

America is getting more diverse, and that means more children of color are students in our schools. But teachers are still overwhelmingly white, so many of these students rarely see teachers who look like them. Professor Michèle Foster tells the little-known story of why America lost many of its black teachers, what that means for students, and what can be done to change things. For More on this Topic: Read Foster’s brief, Why America Needs More African-American Teachers and How to Recruit...


Episode 204: Battling the Opioid Crisis

We are living in the midst of an epidemic. Over the past 15 years, the number of Americans dying from opioid-related overdoses has skyrocketed by more than 200%. Facing a mounting death toll, policymakers have proposed solutions from needle exchanges to reducing the availability of prescription opioids. But the crisis seems to rage on. Professor Keith Humphreys digs into how we got here, what we know about which policy responses actually work, and what might be next in the never ending fight...


Episode 203: Realizing Democracy

What should the next 10 or 20 years look like in the United States? Many Americans say we need to go back to the future. They want to restore something, or protect something they’re worried the United States is losing. And that’s not just the Make America Great Again crowd. But others argue that it’s not time to restore democracy -- it’s time to realize democracy. Dr. K. Sabeel Rahman explains what it would take to make America’s democracy work for everyone and why the time for big,...


Episode 202: The Fight for Climate Justice

Last year, climate change took center stage. With presidential candidates releasing bold plans to tackle the issue, massive protests organized by young people across the globe, and ever more dire reports coming out of the United Nations, this issue is getting attention unlike ever before. Doctor Fernando Tormos-Aponte discusses where climate organizing stands now, how some organizers are focusing on justice and equity in their work, and how this is all playing out in Puerto Rico after the...


Episode 201: Death by a Thousand Cuts

No one likes to believe they would be on the wrong side of history. Most of us prefer to think that in times of crisis, we would do the right thing -- we wouldn’t be complicit in evil. Yet every day, individuals just doing their jobs make decisions that harm people. And when many members of an organization make many small, harmful decisions, that builds up. Professor Ashley Nickels lays out how organizational decisions and structures can lead to real acts of evil that harm individuals and...


Episode 200: Democracy in the States

This year, millennials officially became the largest generation in America. In passing over Baby Boomers, these young Americans, along with Generation Z, have the potential to change US politics by making their voices heard at the polls. The only problem is, many of them don’t turn out to vote. Professor Jake Grumbach explains what’s behind their low voter turnout, how one policy could change that, and what this all says about the role of states in pushing US policy and democracy...


Episode 199: Empty Wallets, Empty Stomachs

The old saying goes: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And yet, across the country, there are thousands of children who struggle to find a good meal in the morning. In fact, hunger is likely a bigger problem in this country than most people realize. Professor Maureen Berner lays out the problem of food insecurity in American, what it can tell us about the larger issue of poverty, and how we need to reframe our thinking to address the problem. For more on this topic: Read...


Episode 198: What’s My Schedule?

Imagine you’re a working parent. You make ends meet with a part-time job at a department store, but the ever-changing schedule makes life difficult. Some weeks, you work so much that you’re left scrambling for last-minute childcare. Others, you barely get enough hours to cover all your expenses. Professor Susan Lambert describes why this has become the reality for an increasing number of Americans, how these scheduling practices impact both employees and their employers, and what...


Episode 197: Making Research Matter

What works best to teach children in our schools? How does pollution affect public health? Why is economic inequality on the rise? These are just some of the big and important questions researchers try to answer every day. But all too often, their findings don’t actually help usher in improvements in the lives of people. Why not? The William T. Grant Foundation’s Vivian Tseng shares the history of research use in U.S. education policy, how a new approach to research can improve connections...


Episode 196: The Rise of Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes

Twenty-one years ago this month, a gay University of Wyoming student by the name of Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered. His story brought national attention to anti-LGBT hate crimes and spurred a popular movement for hate crime legislation. Since then, the LGBT community has won major advances and become more visible than ever - but hateful attacks are on the rise. Professor Liz Coston explores why these crimes keep happening, what they look like in 2019, and what can be done to protect...


Episode 195: The Promise of Midwives

America is the richest country on Earth with some of the most advanced healthcare services you can find. And yet, every year, hundreds of women die during childbirth, an issue that particularly affects black women. One of the potential solutions that’s being offered: returning to the centuries old practice of community midwives. Rachel Applewhite lays out what research can tell us about the effectiveness of midwives and doulas, how they help serve communities left behind by our healthcare...


Archive Episode 87: NAFTA Winners and Losers

Despite an ongoing impeachment inquiry, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been signaling that a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada is in the final stages of negotiations, and Congress could be ready for a vote in the near future. In this archive episode, Professor Alyshia Gálvez dives into the often overlooked consequences of this trade agreement on food and health in both the U.S. and Mexico. For more on this topic: Check out Alyshia’s SSN brief, How the North American Free Trade...


Episode 194: The Science of Science Communication

With a global climate strike on September 20th and waves of protests surrounding the UN summit on climate change, public interest in science seems to be on the rise. And scientists are answering the call, with more researchers than ever taking to social media to share their work with the public and each other. Professor Sara Yeo discusses how different audiences perceive science communication, the ways in which emotions can factor into it, and how scientists can make the most of engaging...


Episode 193: The Toll of Stereotypes

America’s schools are supposed to treat all students fairly. But we know that all too often, black students face racial discrimination, stigma, and stereotypes in their schools. And for black girls in particular, that can be compounded by their gender as well. Professor Seanna Leath explains how do these experiences affect the lives and development of black girls, what broader stereotypes and stigmas exist around mental health for black women, and what can be done to improve the...


Episode 192: Black Homes, Black Cities

Memphis, Baltimore, and Detroit. East Cleveland, Ohio, and Wilkinson, Pennsylvania. Black cities are on the rise. In 1970, Black people made up a majority of 460 cities and towns across the United States. Forty-seven years later, the number of majority Black municipalities is up to 1,262. Dr. Andre Perry discusses what is driving this increase, why black cities and black neighborhoods have been devalued, and how America can do right by these places. For more on this topic: Check out his...


Episode 191: Paying for Pollution

Climate change is threatening our world, that much is becoming more and more apparent every year. And often it seems like little is happening on a policy level to address this impending crisis. But, in 2008, a group of states in the Northeast managed what seemed nearly impossible. They put in place a robust, multi-state system to put a price on carbon. Professor Leigh Raymond explains how they were able to overcome obstacles that have doomed so much other climate policy, how exactly this...


Episode 190: Dental Care for All

For many people, regular visits to the dentist are little more than a necessary inconvenience. But in lower-income communities, access to dental care can be all but nonexistent - with serious consequences for public health. Professor Donald Chi lays out how a single childhood cavity can lead to a lifetime of problems, why so many people struggle to access even basic dental care, and what policymakers can do to provide every American with the coverage they need. For more on this...


Episode 189: Who Owns America’s Schools?

Back-to-school season is upon us, and back as well are some familiar debates. From charter schools to voucher programs, education in America is becoming more privatized than ever - and some communities are pushing back. Professor Janelle Scott reveals why so many schools are shifting toward privatization, why these reforms are so controversial, and what they mean for inequality in America’s education system. For more on this topic: Check out Scott’s research paper with Jennifer Holme on...