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On October 12, Dr. Mark Edwards, a nationally recognized expert on copper corrosion and one of the whistleblowers in the Flint Water Crisis, will be speaking at the University of Saint Joseph’s Common Read program. The public is invited to attend.

The water crises in Washington DC, Flint, Denmark (SC), and Newark are unique case studies in the recent history of engineering and scientific misconduct, as they illustrate environmental crimes perpetrated by government agencies, which led to criminal indictments and lawsuits.

Aspiring to uphold the duty of scientists and engineers to hold paramount the public welfare, Dr. Marc Edwards (University Distinguished Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech) worked alongside collaborators in the public, press, and in Congress for more than 17 years to uncover some of the wrongdoing.

In Flint, after a unique collaboration exposed the problems and a federal emergency was declared, some unscrupulous reporters, academics, actors, activists, and pseudo-scientists attempted to exploit the tragedy to promote their own agendas.

Edwards will explain how these experiences shed light on the importance of truth-speaking in an age of tribalism—and the urgent need to cultivate the scientist within all of us.


The purpose of the Common Read program is to build community among students, faculty & staff and the community, helping all get to know one another and connect to the University’s mission and core values. This year’s Common Read book is “What the Eyes Don’t See” which addresses several of the Sisters of Mercy’s critical concerns, including the protecting our Earth, anti-racism and women’s rights.

All first-year students read the book as part of their courses, and all members of the USJ community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, are invited to read along and attend all program events.