Megan Mack

Connections Executive Producer

Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming. She joined the WXXI News team from WHEC-TV, where she produced newscasts and "The Olympic Zone," and from the University of Rochester, where she served as an assistant director of public relations. Her background extends to television sports and entertainment, and to communications and social media management for non-profits.

Megan earned her B.S. in Television-Radio-Film from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and her B.A. in Italian Language, Literature, and Culture from the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University. She is also a graduate of The Second City’s Conservatory program.

Ways to Connect

We continue our series of conversations about the impact of the coronavirus. This hour, we’re joined by two local infectious disease doctors who help us gain a better understanding COVID-19. We discuss how it’s transmitted, its symptoms, when to seek care, and questions related to immunity.

We’re also joined by Nazareth College professor Tim Kneeland – an expert in studying pandemics. He discusses what we can learn about COVID-19 by studying the 1918 Spanish Flu.

Our guests:

  • Dr. Ghinwa Dumyati, M.D., professor and physician of infectious diseases at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Dr. Anja Bottler, M.D., infections disease physician at Unity Hospital
  • Tim Kneeland, chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Nazareth College

Reports of young people crowding Florida beaches for spring break have been a source of frustration for doctors and political leaders who are ordering social distancing. Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the issue last week, telling young people who think they are immune, “You’re not superman and you’re not superwoman, you can get this virus and you can transfer the virus and you can wind up hurting someone who you love or hurting someone wholly inadvertently.” According to the Business Insider, millennials say they’re frustrated for being called out; they say it’s Gen Z that’s not staying inside.

This hour, we talk to members of both generations about what they are doing to promote social distancing and to help community members in need. They join…from a distance. Our guests:

  • Emmarae Stein, student at Nazareth College and Connections intern
  • Kim Morse, editor and Rochester native
  • Bryce Spadafora, Rochester native

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

First hour: What local millennials and members of Gen Z are doing to promote social distancing and help the community

Second hour: Infectious disease physicians discuss what we should know about COVID-19

New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend specific autism screenings during well visits when children are 18 month and 24 months of age. Experts say doctors can gauge social milestones during those visits; those milestones could provide early signs of autism.

This hour, we discuss the new guidelines, and we talk about how to support children and young adults with developmental disabilities who are now at home and unable to access programs during the pandemic. Our guests:

  • Dr. Susan Hyman, M.D., professor of pediatrics, and division chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong
  • Sarah Milko, executive director of AutismUp
  • Rachel Rosner, director of education and support services for AutismUp

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk

The coronavirus pandemic is having an effect on the number of calls made to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Hotline staff report that a growing number of callers say abusers are using COVID-19 as a reason to further isolate victims. Locally, calls to Willow Domestic Violence Center have increased, with victims looking for advice for how to adapt their safety plans. The center has ramped up phone counseling services and is working to address a possible increase for shelter services. Advocates for children are also expressing concerns about how physical distancing could impact children who live in abusive homes. 

This hour, our guests discuss how to help victims of all ages. Our guests:

First hour: How physical distancing is affecting victims of family violence

Second hour: Discussing new guidelines for autism screenings

To our listeners,

We're working hard every day on Connections to keep you informed about the coronavirus pandemic. We want WXXI News to be your source for accurate, up-to-date, and reliable journalism during this uncertain time. Since this situation is so fluid and a weekly podcast wouldn't accurately reflect developments, we are placing Weekend Connections on a temporary hiatus. 

Please join us on Connections every weekday from noon-2 p.m. You can also listen to the program on WXXI-AM 1370 and WRUR-FM 88.5 in Rochester, WEOS 89.5 FM in Geneva, and online. We welcome your questions, comments, and feedback -- especially during this time of physical distancing. You can reach us at 1-844-295-TALK (8255) during the live show, and also anytime via email.

Thank you, as always, for your listenship. Take care!

-Megan, Evan, and Emmarae

*This hour includes an update on the coronavirus pandemic from WXXI's health reporter, Brett Dahlberg.

Author Linda Sue Park’s new novel, “Prairie Lotus,” tells the story of a half-Chinese girl and her white father as they make a home in Dakota Territory in 1880. In the story, Hanna and her father face racial prejudice as they try to adapt to their new surroundings. The book was released earlier this month to critical acclaim; some critics compare the historical fiction to “Little House on the Prairie.” 

Park won the Newbery Medal in 2002, becoming the first Korean American author to do so. She joins us this hour to talk about “Prairie Lotus,” its themes, and trends in children’s literature today. Our guest:

First hour: NPR’s coverage of a COVID-19 update from the White House

Second hour: Author Linda Sue Park on her new book, "Prairie Lotus"

*This hour includes an update on the coronavirus pandemic from WXXI's health reporter, Brett Dahlberg.

The great Dolly Parton recently said on her podcast that she is recording music intended to be released after her passing. She's in good health! But she's thinking beyond her living years.

Our guests discuss the value of doing work that will outlive all of us, whether it's related to climate change, art, culture, or something else. Let's get a little weird and existential. Our guests:

  • Jake Wojtowicz, ethics and philosophy writer, and professor of ethics at Brockport
  • Hannah Davis, visiting lecturer at RIT
  • Susan Levin, coordinator of the Rochester Women's Bike Festival