2020 Graduate Awards Recipients

This year we awarded four different awards to graduates of  the Center for Human Sexuality Studies. The awards were the Carol Cobb-Nettleton Community Service Leadership Award, the Konstance McCaffree Community Service Leadership Award, the William R. Stayton Award for Applied Leadership in Human Sexuality, and the Distinguished Dissertation Award.

The Carol Cobb-Nettleton Community Service Leadership Award was given to Karen Washington.

Karen Washington is a graduating sex therapy track Master’s of Education student in the Human Sexuality Program at Widener University. She teaches as an adjunct professor at Adler University in Chicago, IL, where she introduced and assisted implementation of the AASECT certificate program in the Couple and Family Therapy Department. Karen is also a practicing sex therapist in Chicago, IL. A subset of her clients inspired the new research she co-authored and published in the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy.


The Konstance McCaffree Community Service Leadership Award was given to Indiana Rós Ægisdóttir.

Indiana Aegisdottir is a graduating Master’s in Education sexuality education track student.  She is the current president of Kynis, the Icelandic sexological association which was founded in 1985 and is the only current sexological association in Iceland. Through the association, since she became president, Indiana developed a website for the association, established a online group for all sexuality educators in Iceland and initiated events for those sexuality educators. In those events, Indiana seeks to add to their learning and aid them in developing more confidence and their capability to be sexuality educators as not all of them have a background or any education in the field of sexuality.

During the Covid-19 crisis, Indiana was contacted by the RÚV, the national TV station in Iceland, to have weekly sexuality education segments on live television, as all schools have shut down and are only online now. Indíana develops the segment discussion points and along with the hosts, discuss a new sexuality matter each week. Recently, Indiana started her work as a volunteer at the Red Cross in Iceland, on an outreach program designed to provide harm reduction for those who use drugs. Indiana, working with the programs supervisor, will develop a sexuality education curricula for the training of volunteers, as well as providing sexuality education during her shifts for individuals seek the assistance of the program. Finally, as schools are all closed and there are group gathering restrictions in Iceland, she can’t do her usual work, so she is developing and writing an e-book for teenagers in Iceland, as currently, there is no other book like that in Iceland that has been developed in the recent years.

Both the William R. Stayton Award for Applied Leadership in Human Sexuality and the Distinguished Dissertation awards were given to Lyndsay Mercier.

Dr. Lyndsay Mercier has been a sexual health educator with Planned Parenthood for the last 7 years, following her practicum there through Widener. She provides sex education with youth all over Philadelphia and the surrounding areas as well as coordinates two resource centers in North Philadelphia high schools where she provides students with reproductive health education, counseling, safer sex supplies, and access to healthcare services. As part of her work at Planned Parenthood, she is also a member of their Equity and Inclusion team in order to provide sex education within the communities she serves while keeping a commitment to racial justice at the forefront of her work.

Lyndsay has authored many sexual health articles over the last decade, wrote a weekly sexual health column for Northern Michigan University, presented at national sexuality-based conferences, contributed to several sexual health teaching manuals and other books, appeared on television and on the radio, edited sexuality textbook chapters, earned an award for a research presentation at Widener University, is the former Vice Chair of Widener University’s human sexuality student organization (HSEDSO), and is a member of Triota, a women and gender studies national honor society, and Gamma Eta Rho, a human sexuality national honor society. She has recently completed her doctoral research surrounding orgasm during sleep and the experiences of people assigned female at birth.

National Sex Education Standards Update

Today the Future of Sex Education (FoSE) Initiative, a partnership of Advocates for Youth, Answer, and SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, released the second edition of The National Sex Education Standards: Core Content and Skills, K–12 to support educators in providing medically accurate, trauma-informed, inclusive sex education.

The National Sex Education Standards (NSES) outline the foundational knowledge and skills students need to navigate sexual development and grow into sexually healthy adults. The updated NSES include new topics to provide increased guidance to educators on a number of issues previously unaddressed and new indicators and topic strands to better address what is age-appropriate for students. The updated NSES reflect advancements in research regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, social, racial, and reproductive justice, and the long-term consequences of stigma and discrimination. Other additions include: advances in medical technology, the emergence of digital technologies, and the growing impact of social and sexually explicit media on relationships.

It has been nearly 10 years since the first edition of the NSES was created and released. The second edition takes into account lessons learned from implementation by school districts around the U.S. and reflects recent developments, research advancements, and current thinking on the minimum, essential sexual health topics.

CHSS Merchandise on Sale!

All new CHSS merchandise for the year is now available! This year we have an old school sports jersey, a quarter zip, an ISRC baseball tee as well as enamel pins. Be sure to get your merchandise before we sell out.

Visit the CHSS Shop to get yours today!

Summer Trip to the Dominican Republic

This July, CHSS will be offering a trip to the DR with the purpose of giving students the opportunity for hands-on experience working with the youth of the Dominican Republic.
For more information, please consider taking part in the Zoom session held on February 26th at 7pm. David Hall – the trip coordinator – will be able to offer more details and answer your questions about the trip. The link to the Zoom session has been provided below!

Register for the AltSex 2020 Conference in NYC!


5th Annual AltSex NYC Conference

Friday, May 1, 2020
9am – 6pm

Midtown Manhattan
The Jerry Orbach Theater
210 W 50th St
CEs available*

We are pleased to announce that early bird tickets are now on sale for the 5th Annual AltSex NYC Conference—where clinicians, academics, and alt lifestyle community members will come together in New York City for a full day of sex-positive, alternative lifestyle affirmative, cutting edge research-based, and current practice-informed seminars and discussions presented by a stellar collection of researchers, educators, and mental health providers.   
Take a look at session details here: AltSexNYCconference.org/sessions

Check out the #AltSex2020 speaker bios here: AltSexNYCconference.org/speakers 

Visit the Facebook event page in case you want to share it with and invite friends!

Alumni Spotlight: Whitney Howzell

Dr. Whitney Howzell was featured on the Beyond Theory Podcast. Dr. Howzell works as the the Clinical Director of the Claudia Black Young Adult Center. Dr. Howzell discusses the blurred world young adults are growing up in, how that environment affects their development, and how she helps them find connection and support on the episode with host, David Condos. Watch the episode below.

OUTing the Past Festival Conference & Gathering 2020

On May 21st and May 22nd of 2020, the annual OUTing the Past Festival Conference will be held at Queen’s University Belfast. The theme for this upcoming conference is “Completing the Past: LGBT+ History and Creative Production”, and will highlight the roles that creative productivity can play in a better understanding the past.
Additionally, this conference seeks to develop a programme that:
  • Explores how creativity can be deployed and developed asa form of emerging historiographical enquiry
  • Describes how creative responses can be used to fill in the LGBT+ absences in the archive
  • Offers accounts of archives and collections a=that have hosted creative interventions to offer a queer reading of the past
  • Outlines methodologies for playwriting, poetry, spoken word, screenplays, short and long form fiction for queer engagement with the historical record of the past
  • Displays examples of how visual and applied art can explore the LGBT+ absences past
  • Provides a platform for screening (or staging) films, performances, documentaries, and other forms of media (e.g. augmented reality or virtual reality or podcasting, historical social media personas, etc).
Folx are welcome to submit abstracts for papers and panels
(provisionally, 25 and 90 minutes respectively) that explore the theme of
LGBT+ history and creativity. Innovative forms of presentation – such as performative lectures, short films, short performances, visual
arts, etc. – are encouraged.
Proposals for skill-based 90 minute workshops are also welcome, and though
preference will be given to those directly addressing the conference theme, abstracts or proposals that relate to historicising any aspect of the LGBT+ past or consider how we share knowledge of LGBT+ histories within and beyond the academy are encouraged as well.

Abstracts for papers, panels, or workshops should be submitted online at
https://www.outingthepast.com/call-for-papers by 7th January 2020.

Individual abstracts should be 150-250 words and include a short biography
with contact information for each participant. Additional information is
available via the link, but questions can be sent to the conference Programme
Coordinator at kvalente@colgate.edu.

Decisions on abstracts for papers, panels and workshops will be
communicated by the conference Advisory Panel in early 2020.

Teacher Training Program on Sexuality Education

The Sexuality, Women, & Gender Project is hosting a multi-day, fully funded Teacher Training Program on Sexuality Education at Teachers College, Columbia University in Spring 2020.
Participants will receive a core skills training on Foundations of Sex Ed along with a special focus on intentional Reproductive Identity Formation (RIF). Participants will meet other health educators from NYC schools, and vouchers will be included for additional instructional materials.
To participate in the training you must be employed by, or work with, DOE/NYC public middle or high schools in some capacity.

Council for Relationships Hosts an Open House

If you are near, or can make it to Voorhees, New Jersey, consider attending the Open House that the Council for Relationships will be hosting on November 7th. The event will run from noon to 1:30pm and will give attendees the opportunity to network with the staff therapists, learn more about what the agency does, and take part in a workshop offering one (1) free CE credit! The topic for the workshop is “Mending Brokenness: A Spiritual and Therapeutic Approach for Blended/Step Families”.

To learn more and RSVP, click here!

Workshop Series for White Leaders Working for Racial Equity & Justice

Blue Door Group Founder, Hillary Becker, in collaboration with Healing Our Work’s Julia Terry, are doing a workshop series this November. The series is broken down into three workshops. The workshops are designed for white leaders doing social justice work and the workshops focus on building a capacity for connection, constructive conflict, and healing.

The workshops will meet Friday mornings on November 1st, November 8th, and November 22nd. The workshops focus on better understanding the racial stories and messages white people receive, internalize, and enact. Through critical reflection, with compassion for the self and others, participants can begin to heal themselves so that they can be whole in the fight for racial justice.

Register and learn more about the workshop HERE.