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Debra Mashek

Executive Director

Debra has spent two decades studying how people form relationships with each other. She earned a BS in psychology/biology in 1997 from Nebraska Wesleyan University.  She received both an MA (1999) and PhD (2002) in social/health psychology with an emphasis in quantitative methods from Stony Brook University. After completing a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at George Mason University, she moved to the Claremont Colleges, where she served 13 years as a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts at Harvey Mudd College (HMC).  She has published over 30 academic articles and chapters, and has edited two academic books. She has won multiple awards at both local and national levels for her teaching; her favorite courses to teach are Psychology of Collaboration, Intellectual Virtues, and I’m Right; You’re Wrong.

In addition to her strengths in research and teaching, Mashek has broad experience in university administration and systems change. After receiving tenure in 2011, Mashek served three years as HMC’s Associate Dean for Faculty Development. Later, at the behest of the Deans of the seven Claremont Colleges, she directed grant-funded efforts to better leverage the colleges’ collective potential on the academic front. Based on the successes of that project, Mashek was charged with launching the new Office of Consortial Academic Collaboration, which serves five undergraduate colleges and two graduate institutions.  As the principal of Cogit8 Consulting, she works with clients to cultivate the collaborative capacity of individuals, teams, and organizations. She is an experienced administrator who practices shared leadership to ensure team members are able and eager to contribute their talents and expertise to their work.

Mashek describes herself as a heterodox enthusiast who values, seeks out, and creates open inquiry and viewpoint diversity both professionally and personally.  Although she was reluctant to leave her tenured professorship at a top liberal arts school, Mashek is powerfully drawn to the mission of Heterodox Academy. The polarization on campuses leaves her worried about the very foundations of the academic enterprise.  She became the first Executive Director of Heterodox Academy in January 2018.

Sean T. Stevens

Director, Research

Sean obtained his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey – New Brunswick in 2013 and joined Heterodox Academy as Research Director in May of 2016.  His research interests include how moral convictions produce motivated reasoning within the political domain, how this motivated reasoning can distort research in the social sciences, and how it can lead to political intolerance that creates obstacles to political compromise. Sean is also a member of the Best Practices in Science Movement, and works to promote scientific integrity practices in the social sciences.

Krystyna Lopez

Director, Membership and Partnerships

Prior to joining the team, Krystyna was already an avid reader of the HxA blog due to her personal interest in fostering viewpoint diversity, mutual understanding, and constructive disagreement. After spending five years as the international rights director for a boutique literary agency, she brings her skills and experience in building relationships and advancing projects, and passion to support HxA’s mission. Krystyna holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from the College of William & Mary, and she sees education as a lifelong process, aiming to learn something new every day.

Karen Gillo

Director, Communications

Karen Gillo is the Director, Communications for HxA, joining the organization in 2019. She oversees all communications, including devising, developing, and coordinating strategic communications, marketing and digital engagement strategies, to increase awareness of Heterodox Academy, and the organization’s critical mission.

Karen is an accomplished communications, PR, and marketing leader with a strong background in brand building. She has over 15 years of experience, across a variety of fields including non-profit, corporate, and agency, previously serving in senior media relations and communications roles at The George Washington University, The National LGBTQ Task Force, PM Group, and Air France-KLM Group. She is a chief crisis communications and issues management adviser, having successfully handled large scale crises and corporate M&A. Known for creating impactful integrated communications, marketing, and thought leadership programs, Karen is focused on ensuring successful exponential growth in awareness and outreach to the media, academia and research, and key stakeholders.

Karen holds a M.A. in Media and Public Affairs from George Washington University and B.A. in Psychology from Connecticut College.

Musa al-Gharbi

Managing Editor and Senior Fellow

In addition to his work with Heterodox Academy, Musa is a sociologist at Columbia University. His work explores how knowledge is produced, transmitted, evaluated and put to use (or not) — and how thinking is shaped by the institutions and social contexts people find themselves in. He applies these lenses to a range of topics including race, inequality, social movements, extremism, policing, national security, foreign policy — and more recently — U.S. political elections.

Musa’s work has been published and/or featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Times of London, The Atlantic, New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Al-Jazeera, Chronicle of Higher Education, Times Higher Education and many other outlets. He has done interviews with CNN, Slate, Voice of America, Inside Higher Ed and beyond.

He has M.A. degrees in Sociology and Philosophy, and B.A. degrees in Near Eastern Studies and Philosophy. Prior to joining Columbia, he served as an instructor in Government & Public Service at the University of Arizona and managed an academic consortium that studied Middle East conflicts. Interested parties can connect to his research and social media via his website, musaalgharbi.com.

Nick Phillips

Research Associate

As a Research Associate, Nick helps to identify opportunities for HxA to participate in public discussions, expand our network, and deploy our expertise. He works to produce content for the HxA website and his writing is featured in national media outlets.

Nick is currently a third-year law student at the NYU School of Law.

Andy Rogers

Research Assistant

As a Research Assistant, Andy assists with the research, processing, and approving of membership applications.

Andy is a second-year Psychology MA student in the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science.

Julie Desarbo

Event Planner

Julie is pleased to join Heterodox Academy as the Conference Planner for the 2019 Annual Conference.  Over the past 20 years, she has planned and executed a diverse portfolio of special events and projects for numerous organizations in New York City, including Columbia University – Office of the President, NYU – Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development, David Stark Design & Production, Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and Morgan Stanley.  Julie has a B.A. from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

   To contact our staff, please email questions@heterodoxacademy.org