Alumni Panelists

Brittany Brathwaite

Brittany Brathwaite, MPH, MSW is a reproductive justice activist, youth worker, creative entrepreneur and community accountable scholar with a deep-seated commitment to supporting the leadership, organizing, and healing of girls of color. She has worked to create change in the lives of girls of color through sexual health and social justice education, advocacy, writing, curriculum development, and participatory action research. Brittany has worked with several local, national, and international youth organizations to achieve this vision including Sadie Nash Leadership Project, Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association, Rock the Vote, and Advocates for Youth. Brittany’s work has been recognized in The Root, Huffington Post, Blavity and Ms. Magazine.

Currently, Brittany is the Organizing and Innovation Manager at Girls for Gender Equity, where she works to achieve gender and racial justice for girls and TGNC youth of color. She recently co-authored The School Girls Deserve: Youth Driven Solutions for creating safe, holistic, and affirming New York City Public Schools research and policy report. She also consults with the Vera Institute of Justice as a youth engagement specialist and is a member of the New York City Task Force on Ending Girls’ Incarceration. Brittany is the co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at KIMBRITIVE, a social start-up unapologetically working to educate and empower communities about sexual health, reproductive justice and everything in between. in 2016, she co-founded the The Homegirl Box, a gift box inspired by the life and legacy of bold and visionary women of color. Brittany is a proud member of the NYC Chapter of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) and a writer for Echoing Ida.

Brittany holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from Syracuse University and a Master of Public Health, and a Master of Social Work from Columbia University. Brittany is proud to call Bed Stuy, Brooklyn home.

Kimberly Huggins

Kimberlys’ passion and dedication for sexual health started with the loss of a loved one to HIV in 2010. Ever since Kimberly has been committed to educating others about sexual health disparities and making safer sex choices. While earning her B.A. in Psychology at Syracuse University, she served her campus community as a peer educator by facilitating various workshops on safer sex, condom negotiation, testing, STDs, HIV and AIDS, healthy relationships and self-empowerment. While pursuing her Master of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, she worked as an Adolescent Health Educator, as an ambassador for National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and co-founded KIMBRITIVE,LLC which provides affirming, sex-positive and rights-based sex education, workshops and training for Black and Brown girls and women. Kimberly later went on to pursue a dual masters in Social Work and Education in Human Sexuality studies at Widener University. There, she worked at the Interdisciplinary Sexuality Research Collaborative at Widener University on a variety of projects including sexuality-related professional development training for medical providers and a sexuality education curriculum and technology-based application for Black men who have sex with men and their health care providers. Currently, she works at a hospital as a Social Worker for people living with HIV in Philadelphia while maintaining the operation of KIMBRITIVE, LLC.

Betsy Sherwood

Betsy Sherwood has devoted the past 12 years to working in the development and humanitarian sectors in 15 different countries. Currently, Betsy works with Save the Children leading Hurricane Irma response and recovery efforts. Prior to that she was the Country Director for CBM-Haiti, an organization focused on promoting the rights of persons with disabilities around the world. She is passionate about better understanding intersections between gender and disability and frequently works as a consultant for organizations seeking to make their humanitarian protection programs more inclusive of marginalized groups. She’s worked and consulted for groups such as UNICEF, UNHCR, the International Rescue Committee, Catholic Relief Services and the Women’s Refugee Commission to develop guidance and training materials for local humanitarian actors.

She was a first responder to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and went on to open the first Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Center in the country with support from USAID. For the past five years she has been active in responding to the Syria Crisis, with frequent trips to the region to deliver trainings for child protection and gender-based violence frontline workers.

Betsy has served as a representative and panelist at high-level advocacy events including the United Nations Convention on the Status of Women and the United Nations Conference of State Parties on the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Betsy is a member of Syracuse University’s Class of 2004 and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and rhetorical studies and political science. During her time as a student she received the Michael O. Sawyer Outstanding Student Leadership Award. Betsy holds a master’s degree in international social work from Fordham University, where she was recognized by the Graduate School of Social Service with the Ann Walsh Award for commitment to social change.

Chapin Springer

Chapin Springer is a Senior Communications Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As member of the foundation’s U.S. Policy, Advocacy, and Communications team, Chapin leads the foundation’s domestic communications campaigns, content creation, and leadership voice efforts. Prior to joining the foundation, Chapin was a vice president at the Washington, D.C.-based communications firm GMMB, where he served as the account lead for foundations, associations, Fortune 50 companies, and non-profits in education, healthcare, and wireless technology, focusing on advocacy campaigns, public opinion research, and social media strategy. He also wrote political ads during the 2012 and 2014 election cycles. Chapin is a graduate of Syracuse University and before starting his career in communications was a soap opera and stage actor in New York City. He lives in Washington D.C. with his wife and two daughters.

Sherri Williams

At the intersection of social media, social justice, reality television, mass media and how people of color use and are represented by these mediums is where you’ll find Dr. Sherri Williams, an assistant professor in race, media and communication at American University. Williams has a particular interest in how black people’s use of social media is changing social justice and the entertainment industry, especially television. She is also interested in and studies how marginalized people, especially black women, are represented in the media. National media outlets including CNNUSA TodaySmithsonian MagazineVice and the Atlanta Journal Constitution interviewed Williams for her social media expertise. She was also named one of NBC BLK’S fierce black feminists you should know.

Williams is a media studies scholar who examines the impact of media representations through a black feminist lens and their connections to power and oppression. She probes ways in which images and narratives serve to uphold traditional heteropatriarchal and classist dominant ideologies and maintain the status quo of power. Moreover, she illuminates how news and entertainment media’s stories about people of color are connected to centuries-old ideas used to justify oppression, especially women of color. Williams is also interested in the ways in which telling our stories can liberate us. Before she entered the academy she was a print journalist for a decade and traveled to unfamiliar places to deliver stories that matter. Whether she stood in the middle of a Ku Klux Klan rally in Mississippi, a hostage situation at a hotel, the rural countryside of South Africa or the streets of Cuba – Williams transported readers to new places and introduced them to interesting people. Her career as a print journalist started in 1999 at the Associated Press’ Jackson, Mississippi. bureau. She still produces stories about social justice, media representations, health disparities and issues related to the rights of women, the working class and LGBT people.

Gender, race and class all play a significant role in people’s lives and Williams recognizes that. She also writes and speaks about those issues and sometimes uses her own life experiences as examples of how forces of oppression affect people daily. From class issues within families and the unique experience of first-generation college students to the real danger of the strong black woman stereotype to the black mental health crisis, Williams strives to illuminate the human impact of marginalization.