Go to top


Jonathan Haidt

Board Chair and Co-Founder

Jonathan is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He is a social psychologist who studies morality; his current research investigates how to apply moral psychology to improve the functioning of companies, universities, and other complex social systems. He co-founded Heterodox Academy in 2015, and is also a co-founder of EthicalSystems.org, YourMorals.org, OpenMindPlatform.org and CivilPolitics.org.

Haidt is the author of three books: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (2006) and the New York Times bestseller, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012), and The Coddling of the American Mind (2018). Descriptions of his projects and lists of his publications can be found at RighteousMind.com.

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.

Musa Al-Gharbi

Director, Communications and Senior Fellow

Musa 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 studies conflict in the Middle East.

Readers can connect to his research and social media via his website, musaalgharbi.com.

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.

Laura Lalinde

Director, Operations and Special Projects

Laura, originally from Portland, Oregon via Medellin, Colombia, has a BA in International Relations and Vocal/Flute Performance from American University in Washington DC. She previously worked for the American Enterprise Institute, ultimately becoming their Assistant Director of Events. After five years at AEI and a move to New York City, she joined HxA after planning the first ever HxA Open Mind Conference.

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.

Washington Hua

Research Assistant

As a Research Assistant, Washington assists with collecting, analyzing, and summarizing data related to key Heterodox Academy projects including the Campus Expression Survey.

Washington recently graduated from NYU with an MS in Global Affairs.

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