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Our Team

  • Erin Carr

    Research Project Manager

    “Learning and growth in my life has always been preceded by new challenges or ideas, as difficult or unwelcome as some of them were at first. Heterodoxy is important to me, because learning is important to me.”

    Erin is a nonprofit professional with a passion for supporting the work of mission-driven organizations in shaping the future. Previously, Erin spent more than five years working in grant-making at organizations including Brooklyn Arts Council, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and Creative Capital. She also worked in education and public programs at the Museum of the Moving Image and the Brooklyn Museum. While attending New York University, she worked as a Resident Assistant in NYU’s comprehensive residential life programs, where she developed interactive events expose students to different perspectives. With this background, she is excited to engage in conversations around campus expression and viewpoint diversity at HxA. Erin has a BA in Art History and a MA in Museum Studies with a focus on education, community engagement, and nonprofit management – both from NYU.

  • A headshot of Michael Dinsmore

    Michael Dinsmore

    Donor Relations Manager

    “Every new idea starts out as a minority viewpoint. By approaching minority viewpoints with humility and charity, we can improve our understanding of the world and ensure that we identify important and groundbreaking ideas when they appear.”

    Michael comes to Heterodox Academy with a background in donor relations and fundraising for education-related organizations. He holds a BA in Economics and an MA in Religion from the University of Chicago, 2018 winner of HxA’s Institutional Excellence Award. In his professional and academic backgrounds, he has seen firsthand the potential for teaching and research to improve lives and change society for the better, as well as the necessary conditions for it to do so.

  • A headshot of Shira Harary

    Shira Harary

    Operations Manager

    “At the heart of it, I see constructive disagreement as a way to frame active listening. When we employ active listening, our relationships grow stronger and our minds grow bigger.”

    Shira always finds herself in awe of organizational mechanics, which is why she is excited to be in a position that helps keep HxA’s gears turning each day. With experience in both public and private sectors, Shira has honed skills such as organizational management, professional development, and relationship-building. Her previous work includes school admissions and operations, hospital administration, media production, and youth summer camps. While these environments may seem wildly different, Shira made space in each to encourage heterodox thinking and conversation with coworkers, students, clients, and campers. Shira brings a unique perspective to Heterodox Academy with Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and Educational Studies from Brandeis University, as well as a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Social Enterprise Administration from Columbia University. She also holds a certificate in Human Services Management from the Network for Social Work Administration.

  • Amna Khalid Headshot

    Amna Khalid

    John Stuart Mill Faculty Fellow

    “The willingness to see and engage with different perspectives lies at the heart of learning, intellectual growth and fostering empathy. Without heterodoxy there is no hope for bridging differences and communicating across divides.”

    Amna is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. She specializes in modern South Asian history and the history of medicine. 

    Born in Pakistan, Amna completed her Bachelors Degree at Lahore University of Management Sciences. She went on to earn an M.Phil. in Development Studies and a D.Phil. in History from Oxford University.

    Amna’s research explores the connections between Hindu pilgrimages and the spread of epidemics in British India. She has authored several book chapters on the history of public health in nineteenth-century India. 

    Growing up under a series of military dictatorships, Amna has a strong interest in issues relating to censorship, academic freedom, open inquiry and free expression. Her essays and commentaries on these same issues have appeared in outlets such as the Conversation, Inside Higher Ed and the New Republic. 

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  • Daniel Koas

    Event Planner

    “Heterodoxy is about embracing our natural curiosity and respectfully encouraging others to embrace theirs. I believe that everything should be analyzed and interrogated; some ideas may turn out to be wrong, but others may be right. How can we be real learners if we don’t question, constructively disagree, and discover?”

    Daniel comes to Heterodox Academy with a background in community engagement and event planning. Prior to joining the HxA team, Daniel was the New York regional director of a Jewish communal organization where he planned and executed conventions, summer camps, trips, and leadership trainings. He also spent a year living and working in Izmir, Turkey as part of a community development fellowship. He holds a BA in American Studies and History from Brandeis University.

  • Manon Loustaunau

    Interim Executive Director

    “Heterodox thinking (as opposed to orthodox thinking) can improve every aspect of our lives — from our personal relationships, to how we spend our leisure time, to how we approach professional challenges. I want to help others benefit from experiencing new perspectives as much as I have benefited from it!”

    Manon comes to Heterodox Academy with a background in non-profit administration, community engagement, and design. Prior to joining Team HxA, she managed operations at The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design in Richmond, Virginia, a museum focused on uniting communities through education. She holds a BFA in Fashion Design from Virginia Commonwealth University.

  • A headshot of Zach Rausch

    Zach Rausch

    Communications Associate

    “I believe in the mission of Heterodox Academy because I believe in the idea of institutionalized disconfirmation. As individuals, we are deeply flawed and our worldview is colored by our biases. But when we consider our point of view as just one among many and create environments where we can engage with others perspectives, we can challenge the limits of our thinking and end up accomplishing, I believe, quite extraordinary things.”

    Zach is a graduate student and teaching assistant at the State University of New Paltz, New York studying Experimental Psychology, with a focus in social, moral, and evolutionary psychology. He has his BA in Sociology and Religious Studies, and comes from an applied mental-health background, having worked in various psychiatric residential facilities, as well as in Wilderness Therapy. 

  • Christine Richards

    Director of Membership

    “I was inspired to join the HxA team because of the values promoted by the organization – humility, open-mindedness, curiosity, respect for all viewpoints, authenticity. I believe all people can benefit from the cultivation of these values – especially students within the academy – which makes working at HxA so rewarding!”

    Christine joins Heterodox Academy with nearly 10 years of experience in non-profit membership and development. Most recently, she spent five years with the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, where she managed a membership program of 7,000 members. She has a BA in Art History from Florida State University.

  • Cynthia Schweighart

    Executive Assistant

    “In today’s polarized world, Heterodox Academy is a much-needed breath of fresh air, reminding us that we all need to consider and value differing viewpoints. This is especially true on college campuses, where our future leaders are being prepared for the working world. Diversity of thought, the courage to express different opinions, and the willingness to listen to them, are more important now than ever before.”

    Cynthia comes to Heterodox Academy with over 14 years of experience in Administrative Operations.  She is a seasoned C-Level Executive Assistant with a diverse background in the private sector, having supported Executives at a variety of enterprises, ranging from a startup IT company, to a prominent university in California, to a government contractor specializing in helping Marines transition to civilian life.  Cynthia is a native Spanish speaker and a graduate of San Diego State University.

  • Headshot of Fatima Sowid

    Fatima Sowid

    Communications Coordinator

    “Engaging civilly with diverse perspectives is critical to growth in all fields of study and aspects of life. I believe Heterodox Academy has created a forum for such engagement and has fostered an ever-growing community of individuals who are eager to actively listen to others and have their own views challenged for the enlightenment of all.”

    Fatima comes to Heterodox Academy with a background in teaching effective engagement through careful analysis of the socio-cultural factors affecting interactions. She spent eight years as a senior training and development specialist for the Department of the US Army, where she specialized in cross-cultural communication and negotiation training and education for Soldiers and other military personnel. Prior to that, she taught Social Studies and English at the grade school level in Beirut, Lebanon. Fatima holds a BA in Sociology-Anthropology with a Minor in Communications from the American University of Beirut.

  • Headshot of Shelly Zhou

    Shelly Zhou


    “Heterodoxy is true diversity. Diversity of people without open, respectful, and constructive discourse about the things that differentiate them is not much more than a diverse co-existence. Only with such discourse can diverse people learn from each other’s divergent perspectives to grow as individual people and as a group.”

    Shelly joined Heterodox Academy after completing her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of Toronto. She studies social interactions among diverse groups of people, and the benefits that these interactions have for reducing prejudice (e.g., “isms” like racism and sexism).

To contact our team, please email us at

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