Saint Louis University

Conference Attendees

Name: Rachel Tibbetts

Prison Program Affiliation: Prison Performing Arts
Rachel has worked in arts education since 2000 as an Education Associate and Assistant Director of Education at the Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington; and Arts Partners Program Administrator and Assistant Arts Education Director at Young Audiences of St. Louis and Director of Education at Prison Performing Arts. She received her B.A. in Theatre in May 2006 from Oklahoma State University. Rachel graduated from the 2006-2007 Community Arts Training Institute at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission. Rachel is a member of the Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble, a St. Louis based professional theatre company.
Prison Program Bio: Prison Performing Arts involves incarcerated youth and adults in the performing arts to inspire intellectual curiosity and personal development. We nurture the discipline, teamwork and communication skills necessary for successful re-entry into society. We encourage members of the larger community to connect personally with program participants, and we offer continuing programs for participants who have been released.
Contact Information:; 314-289-4190; 3547 Olive Street, Ste. 250, St. Louis, MO 63103

Name: Amanda Berger
Prison Program Affiliation: Prison University Project, San Quentin Prison-Volunteer
Amanda is a volunteer with the Prison University Project as a co-instructor in a developmental english class. She is a consultant that works for a national funders collaborative that supports low income student and parent organizing groups working on school reform issues in California and five other sites. She is also a professional certified coach that works with social justice leaders and staff in non-profit organizations.
Prison Program Bio: The mission of the Prison University Project is to provide excellent higher education programs to people incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison; to create a replicable model for such programs; and to stimulate public awareness and meaningful dialogue about higher education and criminal justice in California.
Contact Information (email, office phone, campus/office address): 510-599-8188

Name: Wende Ballew
University/College Affiliation: Kennesaw State University (Part-time Instructor)
Prison Program Affiliation: Reforming Arts, Executive Director
Wende Ballew is the founder and Executive Director of Reforming Arts Incorporated. She has over 15 years of experience working with local arts, entertainment, and higher education entities and has earned both a MBA and MA in American Studies. Wende has taught theatre arts and cultural studies in Georgia prisons since 2009 and will begin teaching in Kennesaw State University's University College in Fall 2013..
Prison Program Bio: Reforming Arts was founded in 2010 by Wende Ballew, based in the arts and humanities, its classes are designed to enhance communication, language, and critical thinking skills, while increasing residents' confidence, self-efficacy, and self-regulation. At the same time, our courses provide a creative and intellectual outlet for inmates, allowing them to examine their life experiences in a productive, community-building environment. Along the way, students transform preconceived notions about themselves and the value of education. By increasing comfort with educational environments, Reforming Arts produces students who are more receptive to additional education upon release and who promote the value of education to their families and communities. This and last year are huge growth years for Reforming Arts. We received our 501c3 status in August, have acquired 30 volunteer instructors since October and received our first grant in March.
Contact Information: Executive Director; Reforming Arts, Inc. 1016 Cimarron Pkwy; Sandy Springs, GA 30350; 678-689-8263;;

Name: Leonard Green
University/College Affiliation: Washington University
Len Green is Professor of Psychology and of Economics, and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology, at Washington University. He received his undergraduate degree from CCNY and his PhD from SUNY at Stony Brook. His research is in the areas of behavioral economics, choice, and decision-making, with a focus on self-control and impulsivity. He is co-author of Economic Choice Theory: An Experimental Analysis of Animal Behavior, was Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, is a Consulting Editor for Behavior and Philosophy, and is on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes and The Psychological Record. He was President and Chair of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and is a Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Association for Psychological Science.
Contact Information:; 314-935-6534; Washington University; Department of Psychology; Campus Box 1125; St. Louis, MO 63130

Name: Danny Kohl
University/College Affiliation: Washington University
Prison Program Affiliation: We are hoping to begin one
Personal Bio: Professor Emeritus of Biology. Long time board member of Prison Performing Arts
Prison Program Bio: They are hoping to initiate a Higher Ed in Prison Project in the near future. They have substantial faculty and student support for this initiative and positive responses from a number of administrators
Contact Information:, Professor Emeritus, Biology, Washington University; St. Louis, MO 63130; 314-809-2134

Name: Annie Dwyer
University/College Affiliation: University of Washington
Prison Program Affiliation: University Beyond Bars / Freedom Education Project Puget Sound
Personal Bio: A.D. is a graduate student in English at the University of Washington. She has taught inside Washington State Reformatory through University Beyond Bars and serves on UBB's Education Advisory Council. She has also collaborated on several initiatives supported by Transformative Education Beyond Bars, a UW Simpson Center for the Humanities grant, including collaboratively developing a pilot college prep curriculum, co-organizing the 2nd national higher education in prison conference, and collaboratively developing a teacher training to help instructors adapt their pedagogy to the context of the prison.
Prison Program Bio: See Gillian Harkins and Tanya Erzen entries for UBB and FEPPS
Contact Information:
University of Washington
Box 354330
Seattle, WA 98105

Name: Margaret Garb
University/College Affiliation: Washington University in St. Louis
Prison Program Affiliation: Washington University Prison Education Project
Contact Information:

Name: Joe Lockard
University/College Affiliation: English Department, Arizona State University-Tempe
Prison Program Affiliation: Prison English Program
Personal Bio: He is an associate professor of English, teaching early American and early African American literature. He directs two digital humanities initiatives - the Antislavery Literature Project, and Project Yao in cooperation with Sichuan University and Iowa State University. He writes on the US literature of slavery, Chinese-US translation, and occasionally on prison literature and teaching.
Prison Program Bio: From the ASU Prison English website - "Arizona State University espouses community engagement, an effort to reach out from its campuses in order to achieve beneficial and lasting effects. In the words of the university's vision statement, "ASU strengthens communities by contributing to community dialogue and responding to communities' needs. We provide an education that's inclusive rather than exclusive. Our students engage in the world around them." The Prison English program locates itself squarely within this work of community engagement."
Contact Information:, Department of English, Arizona State University; P.O Box 870302; Tempe, AZ 85287-0302

Name: Brady Heiner
University/College Affiliation: California State University, Fullerton
Personal Bio: Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Contact Information: Brady Heiner, Ph.D, P.O. Box 6868; Fullerton, CA 92834-6868, USA;; 657-278-2950

Name: Sue Kastensen
Prison Program Affiliation: working on creating one
Professional/Government Organization: Fair Shake Reentry Resource Center
Personal Bio: Sue is the founder and director of Fair Shake, a multi-stakeholder computer-based reentry resource center. She created the Sun Dog Hemp Body Care line in 1994 which is now incorporated into Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. She holds a degree in Individualized Learning from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. She is the founder of Fair World Project (2009) and currently serves as a writer and advisor. She is also board secretary for the Domestic Fair Trade Association. She lives in Westby, WI.
Prison Program Bio: She is working on a humanities-based program that can help an individual get certified for understanding important concepts necessary for living in community. They will offer studies in areas such as philosophy / epistemology, psychology / sociology, employ- and rent-ability, citizenship and wellness.
Contact Information: Sue Kastensen; Founder and Director | Fair Shake; 608-634-6363;

Name: Frank Martin
Prison Program Affiliation: Vocational Education Services for Older Youth
Professional/Government Organization: Oregon Youth Authority
Personal Bio: Graduate of Saint Louis University - MA Communications, Served in the United States Peace Corps - Nepal
Prison Program Bio: Frank Martin is the Education Administrator for the Oregon Youth Authority. Mr. Martin is responsible for the education services provided to youth and young adults (ages 12 to 25) who are housed in Oregon's ten youth correction facilities. One of his education initiatives is to develop partnerships between the Oregon Youth Authority, Oregon Department of Corrections, and education stakeholders for a Correctional Education E-Learning Server. The proposed Correctional Education E-Learning Server will provide students Open Courseware college programs from a variety of online education providers. The program goal is to offer secure college courses in all Oregon correctional facilities that are designed to prepare students for College-level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. Students who are able to pass specific CLEP exams will earn college credit. Mr. Martin also coordinates educational and vocational programs for students who have high school diplomas or are between 21 and 25 years old. Some of these programs include college courses, master gardening credential program, barber licensing, food production, waste water treatment, community work experience and other credentialed opportunities.
Contact Information:; OYA Education Administrator; 530 Center St NE Ste 200; Salem, OR 97301; 503-373-2351

Name: Ryan Browne
University/College Affiliation: Auburn University
Prison Program Affiliation: The Alabama Prison + Education Project; The Writers in Prisons Project
Personal Bio: Ryan J. Browne's holds an M.F.A. in poetry from The University of Alabama. While in Alabama, he taught poetry and literature classes in medium- and maximum-security prisons with the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project. This summer he will return to teaching behind bars with The Writers in Prisons Project in Madison, Wisconsin where he lives with his wife and dog.
Prison Program Bio:
The Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project:
The Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project is a program dedicated to bringing educational opportunities to prisoners in Alabama. The program believes it's important for the adult prison population to gain a quality education, and also to build a relationship with learning that will continue to grow for the rest of their lives. APAEP provides access to sustained and quality educational experiences in the arts, humanities, hard sciences, and human sciences. These learning experiences contribute to the positive development of the person. As one Warden said of our programming, I can always tell who is a participant in the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Programming because they present an air of purpose, they are challenged and driven to succeed in learning. They know education is a key for their success when they get out.
The Writers in Prisons Project:
In 2005, Ray Hsu and Marianne Erhardt, graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, started teaching a poetry writing workshop at Oakhill Correctional Institution in Oregon, Wisconsin. After co-teaching the class for two years, both graduated and moved on: Ray to a postdoctoral teaching position at the University of British Colombia, and Marian to a position with The Sun Magazine. In 2008, Laurel Bastian, a poet and teacher in Madison, restarted the class with poet J.D. Nordell. Over the past several years, Laurel and many others have continued and expanded the range and scope of the course offered. By inviting the involvement and ideas of dozens of writers, readers, and scholars in the community, and with their volunteered time and energy, the collective of the Writers in Prisons Project was born.
Contact Information:;; 719-244-2113

Name: Joe Coyle
University/College Affiliation: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Personal Bio: Joe Coyle runs a writing program at the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center in Urbana, IL. He has been a librarian at the center since 2009.
Prison Program Bio: Joe runs weekly writing workshops that focus on creative expression, resume building, and a variety of other forms of writing. The creative productions of the writers are shared digitally with a group of volunteers who provide feedback on the writers' drafts. The writers and artists are published in the biweekly publication The Beat Within. Their work has also been featured at the Midwest Zine Fest and included in national writing contests. If you are interested in providing feedback to the writers, please contact Joe.
Contact Information:; 225-733-600

Name: Becca Sorgert
University/College Affiliation: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Prison Program Affiliation: Education Justice Project
Personal Bio: Becca Sorgert is a prison librarian with the Education Justice Project and a jail librarian and poetry teacher with C-U Books to Prisoners. Becca is graduating this spring with her Masters of Library and Information Science. Her experience in prison librarianship can be found at
Prison Program Bio: The mission of the Education Justice project is to build a model college-in-prison program that demonstrates the positive impacts of higher education upon incarcerated people, their families, the communities from which they come, and society as a whole.
Contact Information: Becca Sorgert;

Name: Emily Patka
University/College Affiliation: Siena College
Prison Program Affiliation: Mt. McGregor College Initiative
Personal Bio: Emily is an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer through the Siena College VISTA Fellows program. Her service site is the Mt. McGregor College Initiative, a college program at Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility. She graduated from Binghamton University in 2012 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Spanish, and was involved in various social justice initiatives in her time there. She has been passionate about prison justice issues for many years and firmly believes in the transformative power of educational programs for incarcerated people.
Prison Program Bio: The Mt. McGregor College Initiative has been providing free, credit-bearing Siena College courses to the men of Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in Upstate New York, since Spring 2010. Faculty members and graduate students from Siena College and other institutions of higher education teach courses on a volunteer basis. Since the program's inception, volunteers have taught more than 20 courses in a variety of subject areas, such a Marketing, Precalculus, Social Work, and Political Science, amongst others. With a College Access Challenge Grant from the Higher Education Services Corporation, MMCI plans to start providing college preparatory programming for incarcerated men who are interested in but do not yet qualify academically for college programming.
Contact Information:; 518-782-6836; Office of Academic Affairs, Siena College, 515 Loudon Rd. Loudonville, NY 12211

Name: Melissa Crabbe, MPP, Assistant Director, Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program
University/College Affiliation: Inside-Out Center, Temple University
Prison Program Affiliation: Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program
Professional/Government Organization: Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program
Personal Bio: Melissa Crabbe has worked to create educational and other opportunities for incarcerated individuals since 1998. She has been with Inside-Out since 2003, where her focus has been on program development, instructor training, and alumni leadership development.
Prison Program Bio: With more than 100 participating schools and prisons, 12,000 alumni and 350+ instructors in the US and Canada, the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program brings inside and outside individuals together to build a community of people dedicated to increasing post-secondary education behind bars.
Contact Information:; 541-554-1593; 370 Ellie Lane, Eugene, OR 97401

Name: Samantha Franks
University/College Affiliation: The Evergreen State College, Olympia Washington
Prison Program Affiliation: Green Hill Training School (maximum security youth facility)
Personal Bio: She has been working with Gateways for Incarcerated Youth for the past five years. I graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2008 and began working with Gateways for Incarcerated Youth, and have yet to get her fill. As a formerly incarcerated person, she always thought that she would go back into the institutions to create change, maybe as a counselor or therapist; then she found Gateways, and have become a advocate for education. To give the tools of empowerment, critical thinking, support for higher goals and a deeper understanding of the world around is a radical undertaking and the best way to create change in others and ourselves around us. A large part of her reason for coming to St. Louis is to find a graduate school and continue her education so one day she can support Gateways in becoming a national program.
Prison Program Bio:
The College Program: Offers incarcerated participants the opportunity to work with teachers and students from The Evergreen State College. Evergreen faculty and students travel to juvenile correctional facilities to work as co-learners with Green Hill students on a weekly basis during fall, winter, spring and summer quarters. Students read and discuss a common college level text, write response papers, and engage in a positive peer relationship.
The Academic Mentoring Program: Offers participants one-on-one and small group peer mentoring and tutoring. It is a youth-driven and goal oriented program that pairs volunteers from Evergreen with young men at Green Hill. The Academic Mentoring program is a bi weekly mentoring program at the Green Hill School. The first hour is dedicated to a large group workshop geared towards educational, professional and personal success. During the second hour Evergreen students and Green Hill youth engage in one on one or small group mentoring based around the exploration of academic, vocational, creative and identity related pursuits.
Contact Information:; 361-561-7155

(Additional Contact Information)
Ellen Shortt-Sanchez

Name: Andrew McKenna
University/College Affiliation: Loyola University Chicago
Prison Program Affiliation: Stateville Correctional Facility, IL
Personal Bio: He is professor of French at Loyola University Chicago. He has published many articles on French and American literature and philosophy and a book on René Girard and Jacques Derrida, Violence and Difference. His departmental web page ( contains a list of his research interests and recent publications. He has also regularly taught writing-intensive (i.e., composition) courses at his university. His interest in teaching literature and writing in prison dates from very long ago and he is now working on it as his full time volunteer retirement plan.
Prison Program Bio: For one year he shadowed a friend in his course on poetry at Stateville Correctional Facility, whom he met by chance while fruitlessly researching prison teaching opportunities in Illinois. Since Oct. 2012, he has been teaching a writing course in the personal essay there (IL), based primarily on readings in African- American literature (Malcolm X, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and other relevant European writers). It is, for him at least, an exciting and challenging experience; challenging because of the myriad constraints on time and teaching materials in a maximum security institution.
Contact Information: Andrew McKenna, Department of Modern Languages, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL 60626, 773-508-2869,

Name: Roberta Bennett
University/College Affiliation: PhD Student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Prison Program Affiliation: Community supported of EJP. Also volunteered at the Urbana Juvenile Detention Center teaching gardening and art, but ended her time there in January.
Contact Information: Roberta Bennett;

Name: Tiffany Puckett 
University/College Affiliation: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Prison Program Affiliation: Education Justice Project
Personal Bio: Tiffany Puckett is a Ph.D. student in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is interested in education law, school finance, policy development, implementation and compliance. Prior to graduate studies, Tiffany was an attorney for DC Public Schools and Baltimore City Public Schools. She has a B.S in Political Science from Northern Illinois University and a J.D. and Ed.M. in Education Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Tiffany currently works with the Family and Community Engagement committee for the Education Justice Project.
Contact Information:, Tiffany Puckett, Doctoral Student Education Policy, Organization and Leadership; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Name: Barbara Baumgartner
University/College Affiliation: Washington University in St. Louis
Personal Bio: She teaches in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis.
Prison Program Bio: She is part of a group of faculty at Washington University who are in the process of starting a new prison program.
Contact Information:; 314-935-4213; One Brookings Drive, Campus Box 1078, St. Louis, MO 63130

Name: Mary Weir
Prison Program Affiliation: IF Project
Personal Bio: Mary graduated from Wesleyan University in 2011. She moved to Seattle, WA in early 2012 and works for United Way of King County as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Mary is currently involved in launching a new reentry program of the IF Project for women who are interested in pursing education after release.
Prison Program Bio: The IF Project holds workshops for youth involved in the criminal justice system. These workshops are run by men and women who have spent time in prison. The IF Project is expanding to include a reentry mentoring program for women who want to pursue education.
Contact Information:

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