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  • Jessica Pettitt - (Official Website)

    Referred to as the "Margaret Cho" of Diversity Trainers, Jessica Pettitt blends politics, humor, identity, and local flair with big city passion and energy through direct, individualized, and interactive conversations.

    Her workshops, seminars, and keynotes don't just leave participants invigorated but inspired and motivated to follow through with action to create change.

    Having traveled and lived in a variety of communities and environments all over the world, while also engaging with education as student, teacher, administrator, and active community member, Jessica uses her take on life to lead participants through a safe but confrontational process of examination, self reflection, and open dialog that is as challenging as it is rewarding.

    Presenters: James Weissbein and Rayden Sorock.

    James Weissbein is a second year Sociology and Gender Studies student at SUNY Purchase. He works closely with GenderPAC to better his campus for gender variant studies. Currently, he is president and founder of the campus club TransAction and bases his activism in gender blind housing and bathroom projects and policy reforms.

    Rayden Sorock is his co-founder and president.

    Presenters: David Norton and Jeffrey Chang.

    David Norton, Co-Founder & Executive Director of the National Student Genderblind Campaign, is a senior at Guilford College. With an interdisciplinary approach to social change. David is majoring in Sociology, Political Science and Gender Studies. Aside from genderblind.org, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is a top priority. Serving as the Communications Coordinator of the Student Global AIDS Campaign, David is deeply passionate about the ongoing effort to secure the resources and policy necessary to win the struggle. When not multitasking or worrying excessively, David enjoys sipping tea while contemplating post-structuralist theory.

    Jeffrey Chang, Co-Founder & Associate Director of The National Student Genderblind Campaign, is a junior at Clark University where he is majoring in Government & International Relations with a concentration in Urban Development & Social Change. He is the co-founder and associate director of The National Student Genderblind Campaign, a national organization that educates, advocates and organizes for gender neutral and queer friendly college policies. Through Genderblind, he has been featured on NPR, The Christian Science Monitor, Fox News, and Inside Higher Ed., among others. Jeffrey is a longtime active member of Amnesty International and a 2006 recipient of the Segal AmeriCorps Scholarship for Service.

    Presenter: Nora Yates

    Nora Yates organizes volunteers all around New York State to engage their legislators on critical pieces of LGBT legislation. She has been with the Empire State Pride Agenda for four years and is based in the office.

    Presenter: Alex Hanson and Lynne Radle.

    Alex Hanson is a Project Coordinator of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) UAlbany chapter. As a professional organizer, she works directly with UAlbany students to teach effective organizing and advocacy skills. She graduated from McGill University in 2006 with a BA in Humanistic Studies and was actively involved on her campus as a student.

    Lynne Marie Radle leads the Environmental Protection Campaign for UAlbany's chapter of the New York Public Interest Research Group, and will be creating a Public Transportation campaign through NYPIRG next year. She also sits on the statewide Board of Directors for NYPIRG. Lynne is the President of the UAlbany Students for Sustainability, Secretary of the Treasury for the UAlbany College Democrats, Intern Director for WCDB 90.9, and a Student Association Senator. She is a sophomore at the University intending to major in Sustainability and Peace Studies.

    Presenter: Hal S. Eisenberg L.M.S.W.

    Hal Eisenberg is the founder and Executive Director of a non profit agency called Windows of Opportunity, Inc. Ė The Barbara Harmon Institute.With a strong knowledge in creating innovative programs for over 11 years, Hal has been credited with implementing and coordinating events, raising over half a million dollars for various charities, and most recently authoring a youth development training manual.Hal Eisenberg holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Adelphi University and is a Licensed Master Social Worker in New York State.

    Presenters: Russell Ferri and Ron Kurtz.

    Russell Ferri is a graduate student at NYU, studying for his PhD in Law and Society. He is a volunteer with SoulForce NYC and will be participating in the 2008 Equality Ride.

    Ron Kurtz is a freelance writer and published author. He is a volunteer with SoulForce NYC.

    Presenters: Jennifer Roman and PFLAG.

    Jennifer Roman is a senior political science honors student at the University at Albany. She is a peer educator and the president of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program. She currently acts as a Resource Trainer for Middle Earth, teaching peers how to operate the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Hotline.

    Patricia Panepinto is the founder and past president of PFLAG-Capital Region NY Chapter (PFLAG-CRNY). She will earn a BS in Human and Community Services from Empire State College this summer, and plans to pursue an MSW at UAlbany, School of Social Welfare, this Fall. She is currently employed there as Staff Assistant to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and Student Services.

    Presenters: Courtney D'Alliard and Reese Kelly

    Courtney D'Allaird has been involved with GLBT activism and education since coming out as a lesbian in 1999. He is the New York State Ambassador of Campus Q, Division of Campus Pride and is currently pursuing a joint B.A/M.A in Sociology at The University at Albany. On campus he serves as the Equity & Diversity Liaison for Middle Earth. He has spoken on panels, at High Schools, and College Campuses such as, Shelter From the Storm, about his challenging High School experience. Recently coming out as Transgendered (female to male) in 2005, has found a new passion in advocating for trans education and inclusion.

    Reese Kelly is a queer femme trans man academic. He is currently teaching courses for the sociology department at the University at Albany and working on his dissertation that is focused on trans topics. He has given numerous presentations for organizations and institutions on what it means to be trans and on how to teach trans topics in the classroom.

    Presenter: Tyler Varese

    Tyler Varese is a junior at SUNY Albany, he is a Political Science and Sociology double major. He came out as a gay man his freshman year at Harborfields High School and founded that institutionís Gay Straight Alliance in his senior year. As founding president, Tyler worked to bring students together around LGBT issues and left a legacy behind for future students. Tyler has continued to show leadership in the LGBT movement by becoming president of the University at Albanyís Pride Alliance in the spring of 2007, a position that he currently holds to this day. Throughout Tylerís education at SUNY he has continually sought out classes relating to queer studies and has worked to promote tolerance and diversity at the University and in the community.

    Presenter: Stephanie M. Marnin

    Stephanie M. Marnin is an associate at Outten & Golden LLP Connecticut office, where she represents employees in litigation and negotiation in all areas of employment law.

    Stephanie is a member of the firmís Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Workplace Rights Practice Group, the Disability and Family Responsibility Practice Group, and the Executives and Professionals Group.

    Before joining Outten & Golden LLP, Ms. Marnin was the Director of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Resources for the University of Connecticut. She has written extensively about LGBT matters and authored a radio documentary, ďA Year in the Life: Albanyís Gay Rights,Ē aired on Talking History.

    Ms. Marnin received her B.A. from the University at Albany, SUNY in Womenís Studies and Sociology and her M.A. in Liberal Studies. She earned her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She is admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York and is the Co-Chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and its New York and Connecticut affiliates, as well as the American Bar Association and the Connecticut State Bar Association.

    Presenter: Riley Folds

    Riley B. Folds is the Founder and Executive Director of OUT for Work (OFW), the national nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, preparing, and empowering Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender college students, and their Allies for the transition from academia to the workplace. OFWís flagship project is organizing the only national multi-industry career conference for LGBTA college students.

    Colin J. Donnaruma

    Colin J. Donnaruma is a local attorney, activist, and doctoral student. He graduated from Albany Law School, magna cum laude, with an honors concentration in constitutional law and civil rights. Colin is a member of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) Board of Directors and serves on the legal committee of the Capital Region Chapter of the NYCLU. He also volunteers as a legal observer for the National Lawyers Guild to protect the rights of political activists, particularly students and youth, at political protests.

    Corey Johnson

    Corey Johnson is the Eastern Media Field Strategist at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Corey started at GLAAD as their Young Adult Media Strategist and now oversees the Eastern Region, which includes 14 states from Virginia to Maine, including Washington, DC. Before joining GLAAD, Corey worked in the political and press departments for a variety of Democratic Candidates in New York City and New York State.

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