Us & Them podcast host invites local community to discuss trust in science during live taping


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Award-winning podcaster Trey Kay is bringing his program Us & Them to Marshall University’s campus for a deep discussion about diminished trust in science.

“Diminished Trust: How Do We Restore Faith in Science?” is scheduled for 4 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19, in Marshall University’s Drinko Library Atrium. Kay will talk with Dr. Jonathan Zimmerman, University of Pennsylvania’s education historian and author of “Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools”; Dr. Habiba Chichir, Marshall University’s biological anthropologist; and Dr. Adam Franks, M.D., associate residency director for the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is recommended because space is limited. Registration is available at and includes an audience Q&A segment with preference given to students. The live event will be taped for use in a future episode of Us & Them. The event is co-sponsored by Marshall University’s John Deaver Drinko Academy, the West Virginia Humanities Council and West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the broadcasting home of Us & Them.

Last month, Kay and his team hosted a “Diminished Trust” event at West Virginia University that focused on waning public trust in journalism and the news media.

“Trust is in short supply in America these days, ” Kay said. “Across the board and across the political spectrum people seem to lack trust in our government… in many of our
agencies and organizations – even in each other. That’s why our Us & Them team is staging these conversations to encourage citizens to consider how long our society can sustain this erosion of trust.”

“The current diminishment of trust in science is one expression of anti-intellectualism, a longer trend in our culture, and one which waxes and wanes,” says Dr. Monserrat Miller,
executive director of Marshall’s John Deaver Drinko Academy. “Diminishing trust in science, though, is something that we need to explore and discuss because it poses a
range of dangers from public health to cynicism about the idea of truth itself.”

Guests for this event include:

Zimmerman is a Professor of History of Education and the Berkowitz
Professor in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. A former Peace Corps
volunteer and high school teacher, Zimmerman is the author of “Whose America?
Culture Wars in the Public Schools” (University of Chicago Press, 2nd ed.) and eight
other books. Zimmerman is also a columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer and a frequent
contributor to the Washington Post, the New York Review of Books, and other popular
publications. Zimmerman taught for 20 years at New York University, where he
received its Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008.

Chirchir is a biological anthropologist and anatomist. Her research focuses
on understanding the relationship between changes in skeletal anatomy and behavior
by investigating trabecular and cortical bone. She conducts comparative analyses of
anatomical features in fossil human ancestors, modern humans, other primates and
non-primate animals including dogs and big cats using CT imaging. Chirchir earned a
B.A. from the University of Nairobi, an M.A. from New York University, and a Ph.D. from
George Washington University. Chirchir is a research associate at the National Museum
of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Franks is a family medicine physician at Marshall Health, and a professor
and vice chair of the department of family and community health at the Marshall University
Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Franks’ practice provides full-spectrum care for
children and adults, including obstetric and gynecologic care. His research areas
include COVID-19 protocols, opioid monitoring protocols, and blood borne pathogen
exposure monitoring protocol adherence.

Kay is the creator and host of Us & Them, a podcast/radio program distributed by
PRX that airs on West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Kay’s passion for reporting on
culture wars began in his hometown of Charleston, West Virginia, with “The Great Textbook
War” (2009), a radio documentary. He followed that award winning work with “The Long
Game: Texas’ Ongoing Battle for the Direction of the Classroom” (2013), which he
researched as a Spencer Fellow for Education Reporting at the Columbia Journalism
School. He’s produced for This American Life, The New Yorker Radio Hour,
Marketplace, American RadioWorks, Morning Edition, Inside Appalachia and PBS
Frontline. Kay also taught at the Columbia Journalism School, Marist College and the
State University of New York at New Paltz. He splits his time between New York’s
Hudson Valley and West Virginia’s Kanawha Valley.

The taping at Marshall is the second in a series of public Us & Them events focused on
diminished trust in America. Kay’s team is planning future “trust” related events with
Marshall, WVU and other West Virginia institutions.

Media Contact

Leah Payne
University Marketing and Communications

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