SPARK’s leadership team exists to create the scaffolding for Sexualization Protest: Action, Resistance, Knowledge. We are a growing list of thought leaders, progressive organizations, media experts, and policy makers committed to creating the enabling conditions for healthy sexuality by pushing back on media sexualization of girls and young women. To find out more about how SPARK ignited, click here.
Dana Edell, PhD. Executive Director, SPARK Dana is an activist-scholar-artist and has been the executive director of SPARK since May 2011. From 2002-2012, she was co-founder/executive director of viBe Theater Experience. Since 1998, Dana has produced and co-directed more than 60 plays, 7 CDs of original music, 8 music videos and 3 radio episodes all written and performed by girls. She has over 15 years of experience as a teacher and leader in arts and advocacy programs with teenage girls. Before moving to New York City, she co-founded and directed Inside/Out Performing Arts, a theater-making program for girls affected by the juvenile justice system in San Francisco and worked for three years as a theater artist-in-residence in NYC public elementary and middle schools.She has spoken as an expert on girls’ issues on ABC’s 20/20, Al Jazeera, Fox News, Fox & Friends, BBC and NPR. Dana teaches education, qualitative research methods, and theater and social change courses at New York University and the City University of New York. She has a BA with honors in Classics/Ancient Greek from Brown University, an MFA in Theater Directing from Columbia University and a PhD in Educational Theater from NYU.
Melissa Campbell, SPARK Program Coordinator, got her start in feminist activism with About-Face, a non-profit dedicated to helping girls understand and reject harmful media messages that negatively affect their self-esteem. Since then, she’s managed and edited blogs, organized protests, led media literacy workshops, spoken on panels about activism and the Internet, designed and delivered workshops on healthy relationships on and off line, and lots of other cool things that make her feel real good about her life. She joined SPARK in 2010 and is a SPARKteam alum; you can read her SPARK blogs here. Melissa graduated from The New School in May 2011 and jokes about going to grad school to study trauma in YA literature and/or the relationships between boybands, capitalism, and teen sexuality. (She is not actually joking and invites information about any potential opportunities or suggestions you may have.)
Amy Castro Baker, MSW is the Director of Research & Development for SPARK and a Doctoral Candidate in Social Welfare at the CUNY Graduate Center. Beginning as a Research Associate with the ASAP Initiative, Amy has been involved with SPARK since 2010. She has more than 10 years of social work experience with women and girls in low-income neighborhoods, schools and housing services. In 2011 she won a highly competitive funding award from the CUNY Graduate Center for her research on women’s experiences with risky lending markets. Prior to SPARK and her PhD work, she also founded the ”Parents As Leaders” leadership development program in West Philadelphia, worked with Women’s Campaign International in Namibia, and served as a social work research fellow at the Homeless Health Initiative of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Amy currently teaches policy, research and critical theory courses in the MSW program at New York University and Hunter College. She holds a BSW from Cairn University, an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Philosophy in Social Welfare from the CUNY Graduate Center. An avid outdoor athlete, Amy can often be found training for ultramarathons and triathlons in her home state of Pennsylvania.
Christin Bowman, SPARK Research Blogger, is a twenthy-something doctoral student in social-personality psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY (CIty University of New York) and the SPARK Research Blogger. Bowman received her M.S. in Teaching from Pace University and her B.S. in Biopsychology and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Michigan. As part of the Teach for America program, Bowman spent two years teaching underprivileged high school students in the Bronx, where after assessing her students’ needs to understand sexuality and sexual health better, she developed and implemented a comprehensive sexual education curriculum.
Jamia Wilson is a feminist media activist, organizer, and storyteller. Jamia is currently Vice President of Programs at the Women’s Media Center where she works on amplifying women’s voices and changing the conversation in the media. She trains women and girls so they are media-ready and media-savvy, exposes sexism in the media, and directs the WMC’s social media strategy. Before joining the Women’s Media Center team, Jamia worked for Young People For the American Way, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Federation of America where she managed their youth outreach program Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood.
After working with coalition partners and campus organizations to help bring thousands of students to the historic March for Women’s Lives, Jamia was honored as one of the “Real Hot 100” by the Younger Women’s Taskforce. After growing up as an expatriate in Saudi Arabia, Jamia Wilson graduated from American University in 2002. Jamia received her M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought at NYU, where she focused on research and writing inspired by critical race theory. Her words and works have been featured in GOOD Magazine, CBS News, Alternet, GRIT TV, The Today Show, Fox.com, and more.
Julie Burton is the President of The Women’s Media Center. The Women’s Media Center, founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem, has the goal of making women visible and powerful in media. The Women’s Media Center is beginning to create a level playing field for women and girls in media through our monitoring, training, original content, and activism. Julie served as the youngest Chief Executive Officer of a national pro-choice political action committee, Voters For Choice, where she helped elect and train hundreds of pro-choice candidates at the Federal and State levels. She co-founded and was the founding executive director of Choice USA, a national organization focused on developing the next generation of activists and leaders, expanding voter registration, and countering right wing efforts to limit women’s reproductive freedom. Julie also created the Women’s Council of People For the American Way and developed and ran Project Kid Smart to promote policies and political efforts for voluntary preschool education for all American children. Her international work has included climate change work for US Climate Action Network at the G-20 and for the Bank Information Center. Early in her career, she worked with pioneering legal and policy activists at the National Women’s Law Center.
Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D. is a community activist, professor, and SPARK co-founder. She is co-author, with Carol Gilligan, of Meeting at the Crossroads: Women’s Psychology and Girl’s Development, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year that helped spark an international debate the lives of girls and redefined our understanding of female development. Lyn has written four other books in which she investigates the relationship between girls’ anger and social class, examines the cultural phenomenon of “girlfighting,” and critiques the messages that media and marketers direct at both girls and boys. Her most recent work focuses on scaffolding girls’ resistance and activism. She co-founded Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a nonprofit that educates about and supports girls as social change agents, and in collaboration with HGHW’s Girls Advisory Board, created Powered By Girl (PBG), a media activism website for teen girls. Lyn received her doctorate from Harvard University in Human Development and Psychology and was a founding member of the Harvard Project on Women’s Psychology and Girl’s Development. She is Professor of Education at Colby College in Maine. She’s super proud that her daughter, Maya, is a SPARKTeam blogger.
Megan Williams is the president of Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a national, research-based non-profit empowering girls with knowledge, critical thinking skills, and a platform to drive social change. During her time with Hardy Girls, Megan has created the Girls Advisory Board – an adult-youth partnership model designed to give girls leadership experience and an equal voice in programming decisions for Hardy Girls, launched the Training Institute – a national initiative for adults who want to learn to integrate Hardy Girls’ strength-based approach to working with girls into their work, and transformed Hardy Girls from a volunteer-run, Maine-based organization into a national brand, widely respected for its girl-powered social change approach.
Megan was included on Mainebiz‘s 2009 Next List – a group of ten emerging leaders recognized for shaping the future of Maine’s economy, MaineToday Media’s 2011 40 Under 40 List a list of Maine’s most accomplished young leaders, recognized for their commitment to leadership, professional excellence and their communities, and in 2010 was recognized with the first ever Open Door Award from the Frances Perkins Center, an award given to a woman under 30 who has demonstrated exceptional leadership. Additionally, under her leadership, Hardy Girls was awarded the 2010 Governor’s Award for Nonprofit Excellence for achieving significant results by combining ingenuity with sound management practices and principles.