Dr. Connie Bonillas: Alumni Spotlight

Dr. Connie Bonillas, a 2005 Ph.D. Education Track graduate, has recently received the Illustrious Award for Higher Education from the Institute for Latino Studies. This event documented and highlighted the contributions of Tri-State Area Latinx to the advancement of the United States of America. We congratulate her on receiving this prestigious award!

Dr. Bonillas is an Associate Professor of Health and the Health Program Coordinator at Kean University, in Union, NJ.  Her college textbook, Sexual Health in a Diverse World, will debut its 3rd edition sometime in 2018.

Dr. Bonillas has been a faculty member in Kean’s Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Health since 2003. In 2012, she published the first edition of her sexuality textbook In 2011, she and Dr. Elisha Nixon co-authored the second edition of the health education college textbook, Listen Up! Student Voices on Critical Issues and Values in Real Life. 

In 2011 she also secured a 5-year $875,000 state grant to reduce teen pregnancy and a 3-year $465,000 federal grant to decrease the risk of gestational diabetes in Hispanic pregnant women.




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: http://rdcu.be/xF9h.

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:http://www.widenersexualitystudies.org/alumni-spotlight/chaz-wampold-alumni-spotlight/

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: www.janefleishman.com

Podcast link: http://www.ourbetterhalf.net

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.

Joli Ienuso: Education Track Alumni Highlight 2 of 3

Joli Ienuso, MEd,
Violence Prevention Educator, 
Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center, Columbia University
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Tell us a little about your new role:

My title is Violence Prevention Educator (VPE). I work for Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center (SVR for short) at Columbia University. My position is grant funded by the Enough is Enough grant via the Department of Health of New York State. SVR provides advocacy, prevention, and outreach for all affiliate schools of Columbia University. As the VPE I am tasked with performing all three, which is a unique position for SVR. This means I provide direct services to Columbia University students as a certified rape crisis counselor via the 24-hour/year round HelpLine; sexual violence prevention training programs in the areas of bystander intervention, healthy relationships, communication, intersectionality, microagressions, and more; and perform student and community facing outreach. A major component of my position, fueled by the requirements of the Enough is Enough grant, is to foster partnerships with administrators of other colleges and universities in New York City and host training of trainer (ToT) workshop series’ in order to prepare Title IX Coordinators and other designated administrators in the dynamics of sexual violence, and how to comply with federal and state legislation.

As part of my position, I am also a member of the OutSmart NYC Collective and Curriculum Committee. OutSmart consists of nightlife staff, community-based organizations, and higher education representatives who have come together to develop and implement a training program to promote sexual violence prevention in nightlife spaces– especially those surrounding college campuses. I am also the co-chair of the Manhattan Sexual Assault Task Force (MSATF) College Campus Subcommittee, a group of law enforcement officials, college/university administrators, and community-based organization representatives who come together to discuss and problem-solve issues involving campus sexual violence.

What is your favorite part of your new job?:
My favorite part about being the Violence Prevention Educator is every opportunity I have to teach. If I had to name a favorite population, I think my ToT’s would “take the cake.” Throughout my time in the MEd program at Widener I fell in love with education, so being able to begin conversations that evoke education theory with a room full of administrative peers is particularly rewarding.

How are you using what you learned at CHSS in your new role?:

I use what I learned in the program every day. I have a small library of books at my desk that I reference every day. It truly is all about #RationaleRationaleRationale, knowing your audience, and molding programming to meet people where they are. My workshops for graduate students at Teacher’s College are different than those for graduate students at the Medical Center, which are different than those for first-years, international students, and so on. I go back to those basic tenants all the time, and I keep the books that house them close!

What advice would you offer to current or future Education Track Students?:

If I can impart one piece of advice it is to be your own best advocate by developing good habits sooner rather than later. Read every word of the syllabus, get started on that assignment early (and save it often), use all the resources available to you (there is so much information on the CHSS Campus Cruiser page), ask informed questions, network often, assume everyone you meet in the program (including professors) will be future co-workers and that . may determine the impression you intend to leave, identify your learning edges and push them, respond to emails quickly, and of course, learn what it means for you to take care of yourself and make that a priority. All of these things which you can begin to do (or fine-tune) as a graduate student directly translate to being in a traditional workforce– especially if you are interested in working for or with higher education.

Jennifer Hinds: Education Track Alumni Highlight

One of the most common questions we get from potential applicants is “What are Education Track graduates doing with their degrees? What types of jobs are they getting?”  We reached out to three of our 2016 graduates to tell us a bit more about their post-graduation jobs, and to find out how the CHSS Education Track helped prepare them for their new roles.  Here is the first of a series of three responses. ___________________________________________________________________________

Jennifer Hinds, MEd

Curriculum Manager, A Woman’s Place

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Tell us a little about your new job:

I am the Curriculum Manager at A Woman’s Place (AWP), the domestic violence organization inBucks County, PA. I work for the Prevention Project at AWP that does education, outreach, and training throughout the county. We talk to children in elementary schools and other community settings about healthy friendships, self-worth, communication, and boundaries. We discuss teen dating violence and healthy relationships in middle and high school. We train medical professionals on how to screen for domestic violence in healthcare settings. We talk to various other groups of adults throughout the community about domestic violence: what it looks like, the warning signs, how to help someone, how to help yourself, and the services that we provide at AWP.

What is your favorite part of your new job?: 

My favorite part of my new job is the range of responsibilities and roles I take on. While my main role is to create, manage, and edit our curricula for our various programs, I also get to educate and train people of all ages, engage in community outreach, partner with other non-profits, put on conferences and a camp, as well as supervising our educators from our Prevention Project.

How are you using what you learned at CHSS in your new role?:

The rigorous training in lesson planning and curriculum writing at CHSS is what made it possible for me to obtain my position at AWP.  Knowing how to effectively craft a lesson plan and incorporate it into a whole curriculum based on solid goals and objectives isn’t something I would have been able to do before the CHSS program. Also, being culturally competent and bringing that into our curriculum is changing the direction of our prevention efforts at AWP.

What advice would you offer to current or future Education Track Students?:

  1. Enjoy those weekend classes because there are few other places where you will have experiences like that.
  2. Find a topic(s) in sexuality you are interested in and focus on that throughout the program so you have some sort of specialty in your expertise.
  3. Don’t procrastinate! Curriculum writing takes a lot of time and effort and doing it last minute will not produce quality work, which won’t help you in the end.

Rosara Torrisi: Alumni Spotlight

The last, but not least :), of our awardees to be honored in this series on graduate awards is Dr. Rosara Torrisi.

The William R. Stayton Award for Applied Leadership in Human Sexuality is granted to a graduating doctoral student from the Center for Human Sexuality Studies who has demonstrated significant leadership in the field of Human Sexuality as a student, a scholar and/or a practitioner.

This year’s awardee was Rosara Torrisi.

Having set out to become a sex therapist at the age of 16, Rosara earned a BA at Barnard College where she worked in their sexuality lab and at the Kinsey Institute, prior to receiving her MSSW from Columbia University. While pursuing her MEd and PhD here at Widener, she assisted in standardizing a suicidality assessment, and was recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for her work on autism and ADHD. For three years, Rosara led the Student Special Interest Group for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, and was a member of the 2016 Scientific Review Committee for the annual conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Rosara founded the Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy where she has mentored Widener students, and now employs our graduates. In 2015 and 2017 she was named the Best Sex Therapist on Long Island. Having focused her dissertation research on the sexual functioning of lesbian survivors of breast cancer, she now serves on the council for a national breast cancer support organization. Rosara lives on Long Island where she volunteers to teach the “Our Whole Lives” sex education curriculum at her local Unitarian Universalist congregation.

Chaz Wampold: Alumni Spotlight

The Distinguished Dissertation Award recognizes original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline. Both methodological and substantive quality are judged. The award is given each year to a CHSS doctoral student who has successfully defended their dissertation in the preceding 12 months.


At the May 18 Graduate Awards Ceremony the award went to Charles (Chaz) Wampold for his dissertation, Early/Late, Top/Bottom: Fraternal Birth Order and Anal-Erotic Roles of Men who have Sex with Men.

Having read widely on the topic of sexuality for many years while working as an attorney, Charles discovered the Widener program, applied, and received his M. Ed. in Sexuality Education in 2014. He had previously received his B.A. in Anthropology from Rice University and his J.D. from New York University School of Law. Charles’ main areas of research interest are long-term romantic love and the biological correlates of erotic role preferences of men who have sex with men, a topic about which his dissertation research has made a significant contribution. He presented his findings in May at the World Association for Sexual Health in Prague. Charles lives in Princeton, New Jersey. From 25 years, he was a Partner in the law firm of Drinker, Biddle & Reath, where he specialized in estate planning and trust & estate litigation. Charles enjoys travel, being with his spouse, and bragging about their three talented daughters.


This correlational study examined whether a phenomenon known as the fraternal birth order effect (FBOE) is a general predictor of same-sex attraction in men or whether it is associated with a specific erotic preference for receptive anal intercourse.  FBOE describes the phenomenon that homosexual men, as well as androphilic male-to-female (mtf) transsexuals, tend to have a greater number of older brothers than do cisgender heterosexual men. FBOE is widely believed to be a phenomenon that is a marker for an innate, biological predisposition for androphilia in chromosomal males. The correlation between number of older brothers and androphilic mtf transsexuality is much stronger than the correlation between number of older brothers and male homosexual identity. Given that androphilic mtf transsexuals are highly likely to exhibit a preference for receptive intercourse, the existing data in FBOE literature is not inconsistent with the hypothesis that FBOE is a more potent predictor of a male’s erotic role orientation than of a man’s sexual orientation. Further, studies have demonstrated a link between boyhood gender nonconformity and an adult preference for receptive intercourse.

This study sought to examine whether FBOE is equally applicable to men who have sex with men (MSM) who engage mostly in penetrative anal intercourse (Tops), MSM who engage mostly in receptive anal intercourse (Bottoms), and MSM who engage in penetrative and receptive intercourse in approximately equal proportions (Versatiles). Going in to the study, it was hypothesized that Bottoms have a greater number of older brothers than do other MSM. In other words, FBOE is not a predictor of sexual orientation per se; rather, it is a predictor of anal-erotic role orientation (AERO).  This hypothesis was tested surveying a sample of 243 MSM who engage in anal intercourse. As hypothesized, when AERO is measured by objective behavioral frequency, Bottoms, on average, had a significantly greater number of older brothers than did Tops or Versatiles. However, this difference was less robust (p being between .05 and .15 on most relevant statistical tests) when AERO was determined by a measure of subjective preference, rather than an objective/behavioral measure.

The research provides support for the proposition that the propensity to engage in receptive intercourse (volvivity), or the propensity to engage in penetrative intercourse (inrumptivity), may be shaped by prenatal factors. If these characteristics are innate, then perhaps for some men the biological foundation of gay identity is not so much an atypical erotic attraction to masculine forms as it is an atypical preference for volvive behaviors.  An individual’s sexual object orientation and erotic role orientation can be plotted against two axes: the androphilic/gynephilic axis and the volvive/inrumptive axis. The androphilic/gynephilic axis equates with the popular notion of sexual orientation—androphilic males being gay and gynephilic males being heterosexual. It is possible that a person’s positions along each of these two axes are fixed at birth but it is also possible that an individual’s position on one axis is fixed at birth, and that his position on the other axis is not, but the fixed characteristic influences the postnatal development of the variable characteristic. This study provides evidence that the fraternal birth order effect is a phenomenon that relates directly to a male’s prenatal placement on the volvive/inrumptive axis.  Thus, the conclusion of most fraternal birth order studies—that the fraternal birth order effect relates to prenatal placement on the androphilic/gynephilic axis—needs to be re-examined.



Ericka Hart: Alumni Spotlight

Community Service Leadership Awards are granted to outstanding M.Ed. graduates from the Center for Human Sexuality Studies (CHSS) who have demonstrated significant leadership to the CHSS community and/or through civic engagement with the wider community, related to sexuality programming, research, service, or policy contributions.

Two such awards made annually, for a student in the Sexuality Education track and a student in the Sex Therapy track. We will feature each in a new post.


The award given for the M.Ed. Education track at the recent Graduate Awards Ceremony is for Ericka Hart. Congratulations Ericka!

As a kinky, poly, cancer-warrior, activist, sexuality educator and performer, Ericka Hart has taught sexuality education for six years to audiences ranging from elementary-aged youth to adults across New York City, including teaching at Columbia University. She recently began working as the Director for Education and Youth Programs for the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, advocating for and serving LGBTQ youth in schools. Her dedication to sexuality education was catalyzed by her service as a Peace Corps HIV/AIDs volunteer in Ethiopia. Diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer in 2014 at the age of 28, she realized that neither her identity as a queer black woman, nor her sex life as a survivor, was acknowledged in her treatment. Since this time, Ericka has become a national possibility model for women of color living with and surviving breast cancer, helping raise awareness around the importance of sexual health-related cancer screenings and insurance coverage. She has engaged in several national campaigns to help challenge systemic patriarchy and anti-black standards of beauty. Ericka’s inspirational story has been featured in national publications, and she is now on a national speaking tour. Ericka lives in Brooklyn, NY with her partner/manager in an apartment full of plants, one of which is named Whitney Houston.