Megan Mack

Connections Producer

Megan Mack the producer of Connections with Evan Dawson and Unleashed: The Pet Show. 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

Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about:

  • If Rochester could be home to Amazon's second headquarters;
  • The Iran nuclear deal, with Ambassador Thomas Pickering; 
  • The Attica prison uprising;
  • Poverty, with actress Andie MacDowell.

2016 marked the first time a U.S. surgeon general released a report addressing substance use disorders and health problems related to those disorders. According to the report, one in seven Americans will develop a substance abuse disorder at some point in their lives, but only one in ten will receive treatment. While a number of issues factor into the decision not to seek help – inaccessibility of treatment centers, personal beliefs about treatment, and more – the stigma attached to substance abuse continues to be a primary concern. In fact, the report called for a cultural change in understanding addiction: “addiction is a brain disease, not a character flaw.”

East House is highlighting the efforts of people affected by mental illness and substance use disorders to live healthy lives. It’s the theme of East House’s annual Hope and Recovery Luncheon, and award-winning actress Andie MacDowell is the keynote speaker. She’ll discuss her mother’s struggle with alcoholism and how it impacted her childhood.

This hour, we hear from MacDowell and then talk about recovery options in our area with our in-studio guests:

  • Chuck Montante, senior clinician at Westfall Associates, and board vice chair for East House
  • Elizabeth Kingsley Curran, director of admissions for East House
  • James Gage, community member living in recover from addiction

No one will ever change their mind, right? Is there any point in debating friends about politics or heavy subjects when the disagree?

University of Rochester philosopher Richard Feldman says we can engage in better public discourse. He joins us in studio to discuss how.

First hour: How to engage in better public discourse

Second hour: Actress Andie MacDowell, and finding hope for people struggling with addiction

We’re joined by Dr. Rick Kittles. He’s the co-founder of African-Ancestry, the largest African lineage DNA database in the world. His work has been used to track the ancestry of people featured on PBS’ “Finding Your Roots.”

Dr. Kittles is in Rochester as a guest of the Jordan Health Foundation, but first, he joins us on Connections to discuss his work.

The Memorial Art Gallery is exploring new ways to create provocative portraits of subjects, and in its current exhibition, it’s using video. The MAG is partnering with renowned video artist Charles Atlas on a video installation called “Here she is...v1,” featuring iconic drag performer Lady Bunny.

We discuss the exhibit and talk about the impact of the moving image. Our guests:

  • Charles Atlas, film and video artist
  • Jonathan Binstock, director of the Memorial Art Gallery
  • John Hanhardt, consulting senior curator of media arts at the Memorial Art Gallery
  • Douglas Crimp, professor of art history at the University of Rochester


First hour: Exploring the power of the moving image

Second hour: Dr. Rick Kittles, co-founder of African Ancestry

What is all this buzz about "clean meat?" The idea is to eat meat that is grown in a lab, from stem cells -- no animal slaughter; no animal confinement; no carbon footprint associated with animal-based agriculture.

Memphis Meats showed off a meatball made from cultured meat, and they have Bill Gates and Richard Branson investing millions. So if this is the future of meat, why are so many people pushing back? Our guests explain:

Heather Ann Thompson won the Pulitzer Prize for her book, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy. Thompson uncovered stories, documents, and information that the state kept suppressed for decades.

We talk to her about the years she spent researching the true stories of what happened at Attica -- before, during, and after the uprising.

Four years ago in the Democratic primary for Rochester mayor, Lovely Warren was the underdog. The polls showed it. They were wrong.

Four years after that upset and her subsequent victory in the general election, Democratic voters again put their trust in Warren as she easily beat challengers James Sheppard and Rachel Barnhart in Tuesday’s mayoral primary.

Warren won with about 62 percent of the vote, to just under 22 percent for Sheppard and just under 16 percent for Barnhart.