Monica Mowery is a Zuckerman STEM postdoctoral fellow at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where she studies population genetics and ecological interactions in invasive widow spiders. Her research focuses on what makes invasive species successful, through ecological, evolutionary, and behavioral lenses. Monica grew up as an animal-loving kid in Washington DC, then went to college at Tufts University in Boston, where she discovered the joys of animal behavior research and queer community. After completing her PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto, Monica came to Israel to study spiders in the Negev Desert, where she lives with her partner. As a queer scientist and educator, she tries to be visible and to build the queer community wherever she goes. In both her science and outreach work, Monica aims to increase opportunities in STEM for everyone.
Ben Williams serves as Associate General Counsel at Facebook and is based in New York. At Facebook, part of Ben's work includes serving as Facebook New York's pro bono ambassador, coordinating and overseeing attorneys providing pro bono services to the community, with a focus on LGBTQ issues such as asylum claims and transgender name changes. Outside of Facebook, Ben is active in many activities focused on the LGBTQ community, including anti-gun violence work with Gays Against Guns, which he helped found after the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016, and work to overturn the medically and scientifically unwarranted ban on blood donations by gay and bi men.
Mariah DiPierno is an undergraduate student at Rutgers. They are majoring in Social Work and is currently interning at the Rutgers Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities. Their interest is serving and enhancing the LGBTQ community through their career as a Social Worker.
Michael Rady (he/him) is a queer educator, organizer, policy nerd, and reader. As a former third grade teacher in Newark, New Jersey, curriculum writer for elementary and middle schools across the Northeast, and education policy staffer for Senator Cory Booker, Michael knows radical transformation is needed in American education to deliver equity for all learners, especially BIPOC students and LGBTQ+ students. While leading the LGBTQ+ staff community group at his work to grow to over 500 members, march in pride parades, and transform internal policies for LGBTQ+ staff and students, Michael joined GLSEN’s Connecticut chapter to launch the Rainbow Library. Since then, the program has grown to nearly 2,000 schools and libraries in nineteen states. He sees the Rainbow Library as a tool to expand the reach of GLSEN chapters and help build coalitions for local and state policy change, especially on LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum. Michael is also enrolled in the Education Policy and Analysis program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and anticipates receiving his Ed.M in spring 2022.
Dylan Kapit (they/them/theirs) is a queer, trans, non-binary, autistic Jew. They have been an elementary special educator for 10 years and is a doctoral student whose research is centered around neurodivergent LGBTQ+ individuals and sex education for that population. He is working to support neurodivergent and otherwise disabled LGBTQ+ students. He is a part of the GLSEN National Educator Advisory Committee (EAC) and is the leader of Queer, Trans. & Intersex Educators NYC and Trans Educators Network NYC.
Ben (they/them) is a non-binary, gay, and aromantic freshman. This is their first year with the YAC, but they are excited to be a part of it. They love writing, drawing, and music. They are also passionate about environmental and LGBTQ+ activism. They also enjoy learning about cultures and languages. They hope to one day be a lawyer or psychologist.
Lana Leonard is a New Jersey grown non-binary, queer journalist, educator and organizer. They are a 3rd generation Italian-American and 1st generation college student. They have written for publications such as Out in Jersey, Thrive Global, and Asbury Park Press. Lana explicitly focus on LGBTQ+ news. They are currently working on finishing their undergraduate degree in journalism and professional writing at The College of New Jersey. They have taught in early education for two years under the Reggio Emilia philosophy where they, as teacher’s assistant, wrote curriculum and worked as a guide to children’s learning through play. With this, Lana has been affiliated with GLSEN Central New Jersey for approximately a decade and couldn’t be more excited to continue this journey.
Kristina Weiss has been the co-advisor for her middle school GSA for 5 years. She assisted in the creation of her school's GSA and works with her students to advocate for systemic change to create a more inclusive school environment. Kristina's co-presenter is a current GSA officer and has experience with running a GSA and ways in which the GSA can support students within the schools.
Swara Sanghvi is an 8th grader at Thomas Grover Middle School in the WWP district. Swara was introduced to the LGBTQ community in fifth grade, and, soon after, gained more interest. She then joined the school’s Gay Straight Alliance. Swara has always enjoyed being able to work with people and enjoys working with groups while being able to share her ideas. That is why she was also offered, and will be taking up, the president role of her school GSA. Other than that, she has been participating as an active member of the GSA for all of 6th and 7th grade. Swara also enjoys many different types of art mediums, whether it be painting, sketching, or writing. She has recently also found to have been working with and enjoying online art, and understanding how cartoon characters are made.
Domonique Noel serves as part of the team of Community Cancer Control Specialists at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. She leads HPV and LGBT health education efforts for the team including education on HPV and cancer prevention, and the co-infection of HIV and HPV. With a background in HIV counseling, sexual health education and LGBT advocacy, she also leads training on LGBT cultural competency, including LGBT terminology and providing LGBT-affirming healthcare.
Jack Forman is currently a Ph.D. student at MIT Media and Center for Bits and Atoms. With a background in materials science. Forman’s vision is to make tangible artifacts embedded seamlessly with responsive behavior, through the development of programmable materials and ways to fabricate them, to make engaging human-material interfaces that utilize the emotional power of touch. Forman sees a future where these adaptive interfaces are ubiquitous, where every material is able to accept and respond to the change that is constantly flowing through us. Previously, Forman received a M.S. from MIT and a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University, where he double majored in Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering. Forman’s previous work includes 3D printed textiles and shape-changing fibers for morphing fabrics. Forman is currently the cop resident of LGBTQ Grad @ MIT, and the recipient of the MIT 2020 LBGT Pride Award.