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.
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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.
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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.
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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.