Photo by William White

Editor’s Note: Issue 1

By Nan Eileen Mead, MA

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Journal of Engaged Research (JoER), a publication of Sustainable Progress and Equality Collective (SPEC). SPEC opened its doors in June 2020 to respond to the challenges of the pandemic and social injustice facing their communities. Our mission “is to empower individuals to become globally-minded change agents by helping them learn the essential skills required to build sustainable careers and make a positive impact in their communities.”

As an extension of SPEC, the JoER functions as a learning and service space, where everyone who participates (from editors to writers) can engage in ongoing collaboration and upskilling.

The twin crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current period of social unrest inspired us to create a space for diverse individuals who may not have access to traditional academic publishing channels. The launch of JoER is driven by our desire to give voice to those who take action, no matter their formal training. Many of our contributors come from what would be considered non-traditional backgrounds. We are the first in our families to attain higher education. We are visual and performing artists. We are entrepreneurs and career changers. We range in age from mid-teens to early sixties and come from all walks of life. The uniting factor is that each of us is actively involved in working to improve our communities.

Many submissions for this issue reflect some analysis of the self in the context of identity — how we see ourselves, and how our self-perception informs our interactions with others. Through self-reflection, we can work to improve our dealings with one another, see past differences that may exist, and work together to make the world a better place. We hope that you will agree and we welcome your feedback.

If you have questions about SPEC or the JoER, please reach out to Co-Founder Rhianna C. Rogers, Ph.D., at

We hope you enjoy this issue and consider contributing to future iterations of the journal,

Nan Eileen Mead
Editor, JoER Inaugural Issue
May 6, 2021

About the Author
Nan Eileen Mead, M.A. is the Research Lead at SPEC and has been a member of the Buffalo Project since 2018. Her research focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion in educational settings. She is in the M. Ed. program at SUNY Empire State College and is an education policymaker in New York.



The Journal of Engaged Research offers publishing opportunities to learners and scholars & is the publication of Sustainable Progress & Equality Collective (SPEC), a workforce development organization that combines principles of DEI & STEAM to provide mentorship & upskilling.

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