Dr. Heather Richards: Student Spotlight

Dr. Heather Richards is currently the owner and operator of the Sexual & Health Wellness Studio located in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, where she sees clients, facilitates workshops/trainings and is a Condom/Lube distributor for the Philadelphia Department of Health. Dr. Heather is a monthly guest on WDAS FM Philly’s Facebook Live with Patty Jackson, where she provides her expertise on all things sexuality related. She has been a guest on the Power 99 FM’s morning show twice, providing relationship and sex education to the tri-state area’s Iheart radio listeners. She is also a board member for the Barry University School of Social Work and is often requested as a panel member and/or speaker at various events.

Her goal and mission as a sexologist is her desire to “help facilitate, self acceptance, healthy sexual communication, carefree, safe, fun and consensual sexual expression, an enhanced knowledge of sexual health, improved sexual self esteem, self awareness, and an enhanced ability to love & accept ourselves, each other & the world.”

To learn more about Dr. Heather’s work and services visit www.sexdrheather.com

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.

Rachel Gibson Letter to CHSS Community

Rachel Gibson has been working in South Africa on several projects.  She wanted us to post a letter that she had sent us to share with the CHSS community.
Hi All, 
So as you know I’ve been involved in several projects while here in SA.  One of the biggest initiatives is getting condoms available to learners in schools in the Gugulethu township.  We’ve had a lot of push-back from the community, for reasons that are very similar to those in the U.S. as well as others. Part of my work has been networking and giving presentations to community members about the benefits of a Condom Availability Program. Anyway, we have been working with an organization in Khayelitsha (one of the largest townships in Cape Town), that has a similar program to create a documentary that will help show how important and effective the program has been.  I wanted to share a part of the documentary that we have created with you all, so you can see better what I’ve been doing.  I have so much to share when I return!  I also wanted to thank all of you for being so supportive in my endeavors, and doing something outside of the box for my practicum placement.  I can’t believe its coming to an end soon…..
Here is the link:
I know the language of the documentary is not always completely how we would like it, I still cringe at the phrase ‘fall pregnant’.  But in trying to remain culturally competent there are many compromises I’ve had to make.
See you all back in the states soon…Rachael

Ruby Gertz: Student Spotlight

In 2015, Ruby Gertz rode a bicycle across the country from San Francisco to Boston talking about periods! This experience is what drove her to join CHSS and pursue her MEd in Human Sexuality Education.

This year, starting April 1, six female cyclists embarked on bike tours across the United States and Mexico. The cyclists took separate routes and converged in Atlanta, Georgia to the attend the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Conference on June 23. Ruby started her trip from New York City on May 14.

The project is called Sustainable Cycles: it’s a pun about bicycles and menstrual cycles. Ruby and her team are focusing on raising awareness about alternative menstrual products like menstrual cups and cloth pads. Unlike conventional pads and tampons, these products do not contain any harmful chemicals or generate excess waste. They are better for your body, the environment, and your wallet!

Ruby and the other riders hosted workshops and started person-to-person conversations along three routes to the conference. Ruby is proud to be able to use what she’s learned here at CHSS to inform her talks and workshops. All the riders were eager to share samples of different products and answer questions and share stories about menstruation and women’s health in general!

At the moment, the future of access to healthcare is under threat, and Sustainable Cycles wants to give people who menstruate the opportunity to learn about their bodies and embrace the menstrual cycle as a sign of vitality.

Since 2011, “spokeswomen” have ridden more than 16,000 miles in over 30 US states and hosted dozens of workshops. Now they need your support more than ever to make this 2017 tour the biggest yet!

They have launched a fundraiser campaign to cover the cost of the trip: https://www.gofundme.com/sustainable-cycles

Ilyssa Boseski: Student Spotlight

Continuing in our series featuring winners of Graduate Student Awards in May. Ilyssa’s is a student spotlight because she is still with us a student, currently pursuing her Ph.D.

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. 

The Community Service Leadership Award (M.Ed. Sex Therapy track) goes to Ilyssa Boseski, whose focus on veterans’ sexual health was inspired by her father’s challenges as a veteran who died from HIV/AIDS incurred from a blood transfusion. During her time at Widener, Ilyssa has worked as an assistant to Sexuality Archives librarian Molly Wolf, and provided leadership for the annual Careers in Sexuality Conference. She also served this year as Vice Chair of the Human Sexuality Education Student Organization  (HSEDSO), and is a member of multiple honor societies. In addition to providing client therapy at the Coatesville Veteran’s Administration facility, Ilyssa has lead training workshops for their staff about the effects of combat trauma on sexual health, and built a library for them on sexuality and disability. She also worked on collaborative ventures with local Veteran Treatment Courts. Illysa’s presentations on military sexual health at national conferences have added to her growing reputation with other professionals. She is contributing to a documentary “Making Love After Making War: Supporting Intimate Relationships for Wounded Warriors and Their Families,” and has submitted over a dozen entries for an upcoming Encyclopedia of Sex and Sexuality. Ilyssa lives in Aston, and thanks her partner and parents for all their support.