Montclair State University Public Health Associate Professor Tamara Leech has been named to the 2022 class of Andrew Carnegie Fellows and will be awarded a $200,000 stipend to devote up to two years for research and writing in the humanities and social sciences.

Leech's work centers on the well-being of youths who live in marginalized and underserved urban environments, the school said in an announcement. In 2019, Leech co-authored a study about common recruitment and retention obstacles that scholars interested in racial disparities research face: potential mistrust from the black community; a stigmatized research topic; and high participation burden, the announcement said.

The goal of her fellowship project, "Community Conversations and Reimagining Public Safety," is to help cities center impacted communities in their public safety redesign process.

"Specifically, I aim to conduct community conversations in three geographically distinct jurisdictions and then produce research tool kits openly available to scholars, municipalities and community members attempting to reimagine first response in their cities," Leech said in the announcement. "Ensuring that communities have a meaningful voice in the reform process is critical to developing effective and equitable public safety systems."

The fellowship is backed by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a philanthropic foundation that supports scholarship and research into the social sciences and humanities, and addresses important societal issues. Leech is one of 28  scholars and writers selected for this year's class.

"I am delighted and honored to receive an award that allows me to continue to engage with diverse groups of community members in different regions throughout the U.S.," Leech said. "Given the current cultural climate and readiness for reform, I'm ecstatic that this support will help me continue this work and bring it to fruition."