QAA Advisory Board

Queer Academics and Activism Program Advisory Board

Marci Borenstein:  Marci was the director of precollege programs at Brandeis from 2012-2018 were she was responsible for developing new initiatives and overseeing programs for high school students. Marci has many years of experience working with educators, youth and communities in the United States, Israel, and the former Soviet Union. She has a doctorate in education from New York University where her research focused on diverse immigrant families, urban schools and parent involvement.

Patrick Falk:  Patrick is a young transgender man. Currently in his junior year of high school, Patrick enjoys musical theatre and visual arts. Being transgender and MLM, LGBTQ activism is a huge part of Patrick's life, and he hopes that, through sharing his experience, he can aid in the education of other people, young or old.

Jessi Gray:  Jessi is a proud, queer, Jewish, trans woman from just outside of Boston, MA. In May 2018, she graduated from Washington University in St. Louis as Valedictorian of the Engineering School. While in St. Louis, she was involved in a number of local queer and trans organizations, as well as campus-based groups. Now back in Boston, she is serving in a variety of capacities with Boston Area Trans Support (BATS) while she pursues full-time employment. She is also an avid musician, and enjoys playing guitar, piano, and singing in her spare time.

Betty Morningstar, Ph.D, MSW:  Betty Morningstar is a clinical social worker and pastoral counselor. She has also taught clinical practice in the Social Work schools at Smith and Simmons. She served as national chair of the LGBTQ+ committee of the National Association of Social Workers. As president of the MA chapter of NASW, Dr. Morningstar advocated in the state legislature on a range of social justice issues, including transgender rights. She has lectured across the state and published papers on contemplative clinical practice, institutional racism, and LGBTQ+ issues.

Professor C.J. Pascoe:  C.J. is a sociologist who studies young people, inequality and education.  C.J’s book about sexuality and gender in high school, Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School is available from the University of California Press.  C.J.’s current research projects focus on contemporary youth cultures. C.J. is currently conducting research on the social and emotional lives of young people, GLBTQ youth, young people's new media use, and bullying.  C.J.’s recent book with Professor Tristan Bridges, Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Continuity and Change takes a fresh look at contemporary masculinities addressing varied lines of inequality: historical, racial, classed, sexual and embodied, among others.

Justin Rosen Smolen: Justin joined Keshet in 2015 as National Director of Youth Programs, a new senior position focused on creating inclusive, vibrant, and celebratory spaces for LGBTQ young people in Jewish life. Leading Keshet’s youth department in New York, Justin cultivates partnerships with national organizations to advance the participation, visibility, and safety of LGBTQ teens across movements as well as leadership-building opportunities for LGBTQ Jewish youth, including Keshet’s series of LGBTQ and Ally Teen Shabbatonim taking place throughout the country.  Previously, Justin served as Associate Director of the National Incubator for Community-Based Education Initiatives at The Jewish Education Project, where he consulted to a collaborative of 14 national and local funders developing new strategies and initiatives for teens, and as Director of Programs and Strategy at PresenTense, where he oversaw accelerator programs for social innovators in cities throughout North America.  Justin is a graduate of the dual-degree program of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and Jewish thought. An alum of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, he holds a Master of Public Administration in nonprofit management a master’s in Jewish studies from New York University. Justin lives in New York City with his husband and their two children.

Kim Westheimer:  Kim has led LGBTQ youth initiatives for the past 25 years, leveraging the power of education, advocacy and research in local, state and national governmental organizations and non-profits. Currently a consultant for Gender Spectrum, Kim launched and directed the Welcoming Schools Program at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. She co-authored with Jeff Perrotti, When the Drama Club is Not Enough, a book that chronicles lessons learned from the Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ students in Massachusetts. Her work has also been featured in publications for professional organizations such as the National Association of School Psychologists, the American School Counseling Association, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. As a teaching fellow in the Psychology Department at Harvard, Kim was awarded The Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching.  She was also an adjunct professor at Wheelock College, where she taught a class on LGBTQ youth and families. Kim is currently a board member of the American Friends of the Parents Circle, an organization that supports Palestinian and Israeli Jewish Dialogue in Israel and Palestine.