You are here

Program Committee


Mariotta Gary-Smith,  MPH, CSE – Conference Co-chair

Mariotta Gary-Smith is a native of Portland, OR and a third generation social justice activist. Her experiences growing up in the Pacific Northwest gave her a unique perspective and led her to pursue her educational career and interest in sexology, public health and human behavior starting in high school. She served on several youth councils, including Planned Parenthood Teen Council and NARAL Pro-choice America National Board Youth Representative. Mariotta decided to head south and completed her undergraduate and graduate work in Atlanta, GA (Agnes Scott College ’95 and Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University ‘08). In 2008, she was one of five nationally selected scholars for the 2008-2009 inaugural class of the Center of Excellence for Sexual Health (CESH) Scholars Program at Morehouse School of Medicine.

Smith has over 15 years of experience working with diverse/multi-cultural communities and organizations on reproductive/sexual health and justice, health education and harm reduction. She continues to advocate for and provide safe spaces for open discussion/collaboration, as well as presenting at professional conferences (AASECT and SSSS), conducting trainings and workshops that educate women and girls of color about sexual health, sexuality, safer behavior practices and sexual health advocacy.

Currently, Mariotta is the AASHEP (African American Sexual Health Equity Health Program) Health Educator in the STD/HIV Program for the Multnomah County Health Department, in Portland, OR.

Jayleen Galarza, PhD, LCSW, MEd, CST – Conference Co-chair

Dr. Jayleen Galarza is an Assistant Professor within the Social Work Department at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, PA. She also identifies as a clinical social worker who specializes in sexuality social justice issues. She is a licensed clinical social worker in Pennsylvania as well as a certified sex therapist through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). She is also an appointed member of the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Council on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression. She completed her PhD in Human Sexuality at Widener University with a focus on exploring the intersections of queer, Latina identities and experiences. Dr. Galarza's service and research interests include: intersectionality, Latina sexuality, sexual/gender identities and experiences, empowerment, sexuality social justice, narrative therapy, and feminist therapy.

Cindy Lee Alves, MEd – Social Media/Marketing Chair

Cindy Lee is a sexuality educator and consultant who is pursuing her PhD in Sexuality Studies at Widener University, where she also attained her MEd.   Cindy Lee obtained a BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies, minoring in Human Sexuality & Gender Development. She has also volunteered for Planned Parenthood and tailored her resident assistant and sorority programming toward her love of sex positivity, pleasure and inclusion. Her previous work includes facilitating evidence-based curricula with New York State Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) funded programs; teaching college courses in NY, NJ and PA; engaging audiences of online radio stations and online/print magazines and providing workshops on a myriad of sexuality topics. Her current research focuses on the intersection of race and sexuality, with particular interests in racial justice and professional development.  Cindy Lee's commitment to the field of human sexuality includes: Executive Board Member of the award-winning Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WoCSHN), Social Media/Marketing Chair for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) Annual Conference Program Planning Committee and Advisory Board Member for The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (CSPH).

Jarret Allende, MHA, CHES – Volunteer Chair

Jarret Allende is a community health educator in New Jersey. For the last few years, he has worked directly with youth in public and private schools, community-based organizations and faith-based organizations. His experience includes working with students with intellectual disabilities providing comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education. Jarret holds a BS in Community Health from New Jersey City University and a Master’s of Health Administration with a concentration in Education from the University of Phoenix.

Richelle Frabotta, MSEd, CSE, CSES – Moderator Chair

Richelle Frabotta has been a professional sexuality educator since 1992, an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator since 1996, and AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator Supervisor since 2014. Richelle has taught, trained, and consulted about numerous and varied topics of sex/ual/ity to schools, organizations, faith communities ...anywhere she is invited... for thousands of people. Richelle currently serves as Director of Education Services for Southern Ohio Sexuality Education and Consultation Services (SOSECS) and is a full-time doctoral student in the Educational Leadership Department at Miami University (Oxford, OH). Richelle values her long-time committed relationship with AASECT and currently serves as Public Relations, Media, and Advocacy Steering Committee Chair on the Board of Directors as well as other volunteer roles throughout the last 22 years. Richelle has a profound respect for diversity of all kinds, believes strongly in prevention education, endeavors to empower people to make healthy choices for sexual expression and recognizes the power of mentoring relationships with those who want to be in the sexuality field. Teaching sex/ual/ity is Richelle’s passion. She loves her work and can think of nothing else she’d rather do than talk about sex and get paid for it.

Prem K. Pahwa, LCSW, CST – Continuing Education Chair

Prem K. Pahwa, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, in Private Practice in Chicago. He is full time Faculty in the graduate Counseling / Clinical Mental Health program at DePaul University in Chicago.  Prem is the Assistant Director and Core Faculty for the University of Michigan Sexual Health Certificate Program.