Chaz Wampold: Alumni Spotlight

Dr. Charles “Chaz” Wampold received his M. Ed. in Human Sexuality Education in 2014 and Ph.D. in 2016. And now, he is happy to report that his dissertation has spawned an Invited Commentary, which was published online by the Archives of Sexual Behavior (ASB)! You can read it at this link:

The subject of Wampold’s dissertation, the Fraternal Birth Order Effect, has been an area of sexual orientation research since the 1930s. Interest in the topic dwindled over the decades but was revived 25 years ago by Ray Blanchard, a psychologist at the University of Toronto. Earlier this year, ASB published Blanchard’s big meta-analysis covering fraternal birth order studies during the last 25 years and then invited a few fraternal birth order mavens to publish commentaries. Happily, Chaz’s dissertation also came to the attention of the Editors at ASB, resulting in an invitation for him to publish a commentary as well. His study examined whether the fraternal birth order effect is a general predictor of same-sex attraction in men or whether it is associated with a specific erotic preference for receptive anal intercourse. Read his article to learn more!

Chaz is extremely grateful for the professors at Widener’s Center for Human Sexuality Studies who offered their support throughout this process. His dissertation committee was Dr. Dyson, Chair, Dr. Wells and Dr. Koch. For information on how Chaz started this journey, see our previous blog post at:

Michaela Finley: Current Student Spotlight

After working for the CHSS as a Graduate Assistant, Michaela Finley is now the newly hired Program Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Sexuality Research Collaboration. Michaela was born and raised in New Mexico and attended the University of New Mexico. There she was on the Board of Directors for the Agora Crisis Center, where her passion was working in suicide prevention. She recently completed a suicide awareness & prevention course designed for non-clinical people and became a certified QPR gatekeeper trainer. In addition to being the Program Coordinator, Michaela is enrolled in the online MSW/M.Ed. dual degree program in the sex therapy track. After she receives her degree she would like to set up a private practice assisting couples, families, and individuals with a variety of psychological stressors.

Dr. Jane Fleishman: Alumni Spotlight

Jane Fleishman, Ph.D. – 2016 Education Track graduate

After the elation she felt following her 2016 Widener graduation (and after removing her cap and gown), Dr. Jane Fleishman has been busy, to the say the least. Continuing to follow her passion in sexuality & aging in the LGBTQ community, she is in the process of turning her dissertation into a book. The work is titled “Coming of Age at the Time of Stonewall,” which is a memoir about sexuality, politics, and aging. She is also the author of numerous academic publications and has recently become AASECT certified.

She has also taken over a podcast called “Our Better Half” with fellow Widener alum Dr. Ashley Mader, who is also in Northampton, MA where she resides. The podcast focuses on what sexuality becomes for people over the age of 50 and attempts to dispel the common myth that sexuality becomes somehow unimportant the later in life one is. In addition to these accomplishments, Dr. Fleishman continues to consult and speak with professionals who work with aging populations.

It has been a whirlwind year for Dr. Fleishman, but she would love to connect with more Widener people doing similar work. She wrote that she feels incredibly grateful to be a part of the Widener community.

Organization: Speaking About Sex

Organization home page:

Podcast link:

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ISRC Receives Grant

Sharing this update from a Widener news release:

The Interdisciplinary Sexuality Research Collaborative (ISRC) in the Center for Human Sexuality Studies has received a grant for $350,000 from ViiV Healthcare, a global specialist HIV company dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV. The award is for the first of two years that the ISRC will develop community education and outreach programming in Baltimore and Jackson, Mississippi.

The outreach program is aligned with the national HIV/AIDS strategy. ViiV Healthcare’s ACCELERATE! program is a four-year, $10 million commitment to fund innovative projects that support the health and well-being of black gay men in the cities with the highest rate of those infected with HIV.

“HIV rates are increasing among black gay men,” said Dr. Justin Sitron, associate dean in the School of Human Service Professions, director of the ISRC and the Center for Human Sexuality Studies. “The majority of new HIV infections are among black gay men. While HIV prevention and treatment communities have worked to reduce infections among white gay men, there are systemic inequities in the healthcare and community engagement systems that create barriers for black gay men. Our program aims to train providers and support men to foster their sexual well-being.”

Through the ACCELERATE! program, ViiV will provide communities with education and resources to increase awareness of the current HIV treatment guidelines and standards of care in the United States. Currently, one in three black gay men live with HIV in the U.S. The efforts of the ISRC will be to develop sexuality education tools so that providers and community organizations are better equipped to provide services that meet the needs of the men they aim to serve.

“This is one of the world’s wicked problems,” Sitron said. “We want to help solve the problem before it gets worse by making sexuality education relevant for black gay men with enhanced content that can be delivered in person and online.”

Widener’s involvement includes a multi-tiered approach, from building partnerships this summer in both Baltimore and Jackson with community-based organizations that serve these communities. A key aspect of the project is developing an online tool that allows community members to connect with one another around health and wellness goals.

“There are many challenges around getting relevant programming to the community, which is why we need to collaborate with community-based organizations from the start,” Sitron said.

Dr. Linda Hawkins, a co-investigator on the grant and an adjunct professor in the Center for Human Sexuality Studies, has worked as a therapist for adolescents that have become HIV infected and understands how to adapt tools to specific communities. She will be working with Sitron and Javontae Williams, an applied research scientist for the ISRC, as well as additional faculty and students on the developing the programming for Baltimore and Jackson.

“We recognize the impact of an approach that empowers and engages the community,” Williams said. “We want providers to understand the stigma some black gay men face so that they can improve the health care environment and become advocates.”

At the end of the program, the ISRC hopes to have three dozen providers trained, evaluation processes in place and a dynamic online community where men can experience social support.

The Center for Human Sexuality Studies, already a leading national training center for sexuality education and sex therapy, established the ISRC to support interdisciplinary research endeavors focused on topics related to human sexuality. The ISRC is comprised of faculty, staff, and both graduate and undergraduate students, and is equipped to execute research projects of various scopes and sizes.

Cristen Kennedy: Education Track Alumni Highlight 3 of 3

Cristen Kennedy, MEd
Program Coordinator for Prevention Education, Barnard College
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

 Tell us a little about your new role:
I am the Program Coordinator for Prevention Education at Barnard College. In my role here I oversee the Being Barnard initiative that was created to address sexual and intimate partner violence prevention in a more holistic way. Working with a number of campus partners, such as the Title IX office and Student Life, the initiative produces programming that helps students engage in ongoing personal development and skill building across the areas of Intervention, Social Identities & Social Power, Violence Education, Relationships, and Wellness. In addition to working on the Being Barnard initiative, I also work with the Primary Care clinical team as a sexuality educator. I provide sexual health consultation, sexual risk management counseling after an STI diagnosis, and I train with our team to develop best practices for addressing sexual health concerns across our student population.

What is your favorite part of your new job?:

In my role with the Primary Care clinical team I am able to do one on one sexual health consultations with students, which is so important as it integrates sexuality into the wider health discussion and provides students a safe place to ask questions and receive education that they may not have gotten in their earlier schooling. The one on one sessions have a profound impact on me because it really drives home the importance of what we do as sexuality educators.

How are you using what you learned at CHSS in your new role?:
Curriculum and lesson plan writing are a large part of my day-to-day job and the education I received on how to do that effectively has been invaluable to me.

What advice would you offer to current or future Education Track Students?:
The sexuality field, though it doesn’t feel like it, is really very small. The people from this program – students and teachers – will be your colleagues as you move forward. I currently work closely with a member of my cohort (Joli) because she does similar work to me at Columbia (our sister university). That connection was partly why I got my job at Barnard. Forge meaningful relationships while you are in the program and keep in touch with folks – they can be a wonderful support system and can also open up opportunities for jobs and networking.