Ben Kirshner is a Professor of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder and Faculty Director of CU Engage: Center for Community-Based Learning and Research. His experiences working with young people at a community center in San Francisco’s Mission District motivated him to study educational equity and design social justice learning environments. In his current work with CU Engage Ben seeks to develop and sustain university-community research partnerships that address persistent public challenges and promote education justice. In his research Ben collaboratively designs and studies learning environments that support youth leadership, activism, and civic participation. Projects include design-based research in action civics classrooms, critical participatory action research, and ethnographies of community-based youth organizing groups. His 2015 book, Youth Activism in an Era of Education Inequality, received the social policy award for best authored book from the Society of Research on Adolescence. Ben has also published in refereed journals that include Journal of the Learning Sciences, Journal of Research on Adolescence, Applied Developmental Science, and Cognition and Instruction. He is Editor for the Information Age Press Series on Adolescence and Education.
Traci Bayless grew up in rural small towns along the Ohio River in Adams and Brown Counties. She graduated from Manchester High School in 1994 and would later go on to obtain her Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Cincinnati. In addition, she also graduated with a certificate in Diversity Studies. Currently, Traci is a candidate for her Master of Education at the University of Cincinnati in 2019. Traci sits as the current Chair of GLSEN Greater Cincinnati. GLSEN is a national nonprofit organization that works with K-12 schools to create safe and inclusive opportunities for ALL students. She is a certified Professional Development Trainer and a seasoned Cultural Competency Facilitator, credited in Motivational Interviewing and Trauma Informed Care. Traci is also employed at Lighthouse Youth & Family Services with their LGBTQ youth homelessness prevention initiative Safe & Supported as a case manager for young adults experiencing short-term homelessness or housing instability. Traci has been married to her wife Stephanie for 7 years and they live together in Cincinnati with their two teenage daughters.
Michael Haines is a private consultant. He was the former Director of the National Social Norms Resource Center and a Senior Research Fellow at the Social Science Research Institute at Northern Illinois University. Mr. Haines and his staff implemented the first successful use of the Social Norms Approach. The program at NIU consistently reduced heavy alcohol use and related injuries over a ten-year period. It was chosen as an Exemplary Program by the U.S. Office of Education, recommended as a national model by the New York Times, featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education and USA Today. Mr. Haines testified about his program’s success before a U.S. Congressional Hearing conducted by the Speaker of the House. Michael Haines is frequently quoted in the national press and is a respected speaker at professional meetings throughout the North America and Europe. He recently conducted trainings for health departments in Utah and Colorado, the CDC, and Georgia DBH&DD. As well as, projects in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, and Belgium. Currently, he is a consultant to the state of Maine, the National Social Norm Institute, and programs in Georgia, Illinois, and Colorado. Mr. Haines is a Fellow of the American College Health Association and Co-chaired the development of National College Health Assessment and is recipient of their Hitchcock Award. Michael was honored with the Northern Illinois University Presidential Award for Excellence and the Outstanding Service Award for National Drug Abuse Prevention from the U.S. Department of Education.