Our Team

Heather Corinna: Founder and Co-Director (they/them)illustration of Heather Corinna (2018) by Isabella Rotman

Heather is an activist, writer, artist, teacher and community organizer. Heather has been widely recognized as a pioneer of queer⁠ , women's and young adult sexuality information and education online, having brought inclusive, feminist, original and comprehensive sexuality content to the web and beyond since 1997. Heather is the author of S.E.X: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties (DaCapo Press, 2007, 2017), now in its second edition, Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up (Oni Press, 2019), with Isabella Rotman, for older middle readers and younger teens, and What Fresh Hell Is This? Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities and You -- A Guide (Hachette, 2021). Heather is also the founding and current sexuality chair at Our Bodies, Ourselves Today.

Heather has been a sexuality, contraception⁠ and abortion⁠ educator and counselor for the Cedar River Clinics/Feminist Women's Health Center, and the director of the CONNECT teen outreach and education program in Seattle which served transient/homeless youth, reproductive health patients, high school and college students and others. Heather is a previous member of the editorial board for the American Journal of Sexuality Education and the Board of Directors for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, a writer and contributing editor for the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Heather has won numerous awards, including The Champions of Sexual Literacy Award for Grassroots Activism from the National Sexuality Resource Center/SFSU in 2007; in 2009 the winner of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Western Region's Public Service Award and the Our Bodies, Ourselves' Women's Health Heroes Award. In 2012, the Joan Helmich Educator of the Year award, and in 2013, The Woodhull Foundation's Vicki Award, for affirming sexual⁠ freedom as a fundamental human right. In 2015, Heather received the Steinem-Waters Award, given to a movement leader over 30 who has exhibited a consistent investment in developing young people in the field of reproductive justice, as well as the Golden Brick Award, recognizing their significant contributions to the field of sexuality education in the Untied States. They were also a lead plaintiff in the ACLU vs. Gonzales case, arguing against the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which could have removed young adults⁠ ' access to needed sexuality information, and Heather's work with Scarleteen -- and the import of our service -- helped secure an important win for the case.

Their work at Scarleteen and in sexuality education and activism has hailed acclaim or attention from numerous publications, including The New York Times, the Utne Reader, the City Pages, Alternet, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Industry Standard, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, The Chicago Tribune's RedEye, The Chicago Reader, The Nation, Feministing, The Minnesota Women's Press, The Boston Phoenix, Ms. Magazine, Bust, Bitch, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Oxygen Network, Yahoo!, Lavender Magazine, and more. Heather has been quoted in many articles and books about sexuality, appeared on radio shows, and has lectured and given workshops and trainings at many youth and adult conferences, colleges, schools, clinics, bookstores and other community gatherings.

Their essays, fiction, poetry and artwork have appeared in their own publications as well as in publications like Teen VogueThe Guardian (UK), RH Reality Check (now Rewire) Issues Magazine, PIF Magazine, Maxi Magazine, Women's Studies; An inter-disciplinary journal; in the anthologies Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, Viscera, The Adventures of Food, Aqua Erotica, Zaftig: Well-Rounded Erotica, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 1 & 2, Shameless: An Intimate Erotica and Penthouse. Heather's work has been used in a number of university, school and clinic curricula.

Heather was previously an early childhood classroom educator, taught in the Montessori method (AMS), and created and ran an independent preschool from 1992 - 1996. A graduate with honors of Chicago's Academy for the Arts, where they studied music and creative writing, Heather won a National Academy of Poets award in her teens. They continued their education at Shimer College, then later studied at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center. Heather is also trained as a facilitator for Teen Talking Circles.

Heather is navigating middle age with as much grace as they can muster (not much), and currently lives in their hometown of Chicago, occupied, unceded land that belongs to the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa & Potawatomi, and other tribes. When not working themselves into an early grave, they can be found playing with their dogs, hiking, communing with nature, making music, hanging out⁠ with their partners, friends and other chosen family and crafting tasty vegetarian delights while crooning tunes from 70's AM gold.

Sam Wall: Co-Director (she/her)portrait of Sam

Sam is a sex⁠ educator, writer,LSW, and consultant. She started on her path towards Scarleteen as a LGBTQ⁠ advocate and peer educator at U.C Davis in 2009. She went on to write a sexual health column for The California Aggie and work for U.C Davis Health Education & Promotion as a sexual health educator. Sam found Scarleteen via Tumblr in 2013, and knew instantly she wanted to be a part of the organization. She joined the team as a volunteer and was thrilled to be brought on as staff in 2015. She answers message board and SMS/text questions, manages social media, writes advice columns and articles, and performs in-person sex ed for parents and young people alike. Sam holds an MSW from U.W Madison. She has experience as a rape⁠ crisis advocate/counselor and youth services facilitator. When not doing sex ed, Sam can be found playing roller derby, hiking with her spouse and wiener dog, raising carnivorous plants, writing about cryptids, or pointing out all the things wrong with modern dinosaur movies. She is a contributor to the recently published anthology Youth Sexualities: Public Feelings and Contemporary Cultural Politics. Her non-Scarleteen writing can be found at Death and The Maiden and Autostraddle. She has consulted for the California Science Center and IPPF.

Jacob Mirzaian: Co-Director (they/them)potratir of Jacob

Jacob has been a loooong time Scarleteen volunteer (since 2007!), graphic designer and advice counsellor and now Lead Developer, combining their two great passions; supporting young people and fixing technical problems.

Jacob cut their teeth in queer, disability, feminist and LGBT⁠ + student activism, during their BEng in Architectural Engineering at the University of Leeds. They have since taken various roles in youth work, teaching, sexual health outreach, healthcare communication⁠ , medical education and web design. Jacob currently works as a TA in special education during the day and spends evenings fixing bugs and preparing upgrades for Scarleteen's website. When there's time they love a good building project and long cosy naps with their cat Lilith. You can find more of their work at jarzaian.com, although circa 2021 it needs a bit of an update to include more recent work.

The Rest of Our Gobsmackingly Awesome Volunteer and Staff Team:

Scarleteen Team Camp, 2018: left to right: Eli, Alice, Heather, Ruby, Sam, Chlöe, Siân, Mo, Jacob, Al.

Andy, Central-European division of the volunteer team, found Scarleteen as a confused and curious teenager. The compassion, understanding and information they found there were so lifechanging that they never left after that and eventually their dream came true and they could become part of the team and help with making other users feel the same. They are currently studying medicine and in their free time can be found reading, tending to their plants, playing various instruments or crocheting.

Caitlin Eve was introduced to Scarleteen in middle school and has been an avid supporter and sexual health advocate ever since! They are about to graduate summa cum laude with their Bachelors of Science in Health Promotion & Education with a focus in sexual education and currently they are interning with Scarleteen in fundraising and grant writing with hopes to continue in the non-profit and fundraising field! In their free time, they enjoy over-analyzing horror movies, petting⁠ their two black cats, and reading random Wikipedia articles.

Ellie is a queer, trans, and neurodivergent undergrad student attending Columbia College Chicago as a film major. Through their academic career they discovered their interest in gender⁠ & sexuality studies, as well as fat studies. Ellie is currently on the board of a fat liberation non-profit organization in Chicago founded by clinical social workers, and hopes to bring their knowledge and passion for queer & fat liberation to Scarleteen! As someone who grew up with a lot of questions and shame surrounding their own sexuality, Ellie finds great purpose in their work at Scarleteen and hopes to continue pursuing sex education. In their spare time, you can find Ellie undoing gender and hoarding 70s vinyls.

Latha is a student from India. She learned a lot of what she knows about sex education from Scarleteen, so she is very happy to support them by working with their direct services. In her free time, she likes to read and embroider.

Nadine has been a gender and sexual justice advocate and educator for several years, and is excited to be a Scarleteen volunteer after having been an avid reader of the site as a teen herself! Originally from Egypt, She has a Masters in Gender and Sexuality from SOAS in the UK and currently works to resource and support feminist and queer grassroots activists in the Global South. She likes to spend her free time with friends, organizing, dancing and baking.

Orion Ray has been reading Scarleteen since early in her middle school career and has been invested in the website and its mission to help people since. Orion is a full time high-school student, and hopes to one day go on to a 4 year college, and eventually move on to work in the social justice⁠ field. Orion enjoys writing, painting, and hanging out with their friends in their free time- as well as reading. With Scarleteen, Orion primarily works in direct services.

Scarleteen Staff: 2016 Camp

Scarleteen Team Camp, 2016: left to right, back row: Al, Karyn, Sam, Mo, Casey; middle: s.e., Isabella, Jenn, Heather, Ashleah; front: Jacob. 

Sofia decided she wanted to be a sex educator many years ago, before being lucky enough to be a Scarleteen intern. She grew up in Costa Rica but studied Gender and Sexuality Studies at the Univeristy of Maryland. One of her main goals is to be a sex therapist one day. On her free time she likes to hang with her cats, make press-on nails, and window shop for apartments outside her budget.

Steph is a sex educator and reproductive justice activist hailing from Florida. Growing up in a state where sex education was not part of public-school curriculum, she began her own research as a teenager and has been passionate about sex ed ever since. When Steph isn’t volunteering, they can be found playing cozy video games and cuddling their cats.

Willa is a recent graduate with a Bachelors in American Studies, Literature, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies! After receiving comprehensive sexual education at a young age, she discovered a love for the life-long journey that is sexual health and education! This education became the foundation for passions such as menstrual⁠ product access, disability liberation, and queer media studies. In her free time Willa enjoys watching horror movies with her roommate, working as a barista, and laughing with her friends.

Beyond being incredibly valuable to us, our young adult volunteers also get experience of value to them by volunteering at Scarleteen. Here's what a few of them have to say about it:

Scarleteen has been my virtual home-away-from-home for the past six years and counting, throughout many physical moves and positive life changes. I came for the information -- accurate, up-to-date, all-inclusive, and sex-positive -- and stayed for the community -- warm, welcoming, and worldly. It's currently about commitment for me -- I volunteer because, as I've said before, Scarleteen completely revolutionized the way I view sex and sexuality. Now I seek to help others feel that same sense of empowerment.

I like volunteering because I just freaking love it here. More specifically, I love the community aspect of it, the feeling that if all of us volunteers managed to get together in person, we'd probably stay up all night sharing stories, having awesome conversations, and laughing. It's also nice to know that I am far from the only person who cares about the issues we address here. I also love that I learn something new. Every. Single. Day. Whether it's a new fact, a new way of explaining something that makes it easier to understand, or a new perspective on something, I learn something every time I'm here.

I've also gotten started on a pretty awesome career because volunteering here helped me figure out what I was interested in, but that's just an added bonus, really.

I'm volunteering because Scarleteen's ethos of providing feminist, queer-positive, sex-positive and inclusive sex education to youth is what I'm passionate about, what I love to study, and what I need. I don't have access to any other public space where my whole sexual, messy, queer, curious self is encouraged and supported. By volunteering, I'm able to connect with like-minded others who believe that every human being has the fundamental right to honesty, knowledge, care and pleasure. Even though this is an online service, knowing that I am part of a shared project gives me the confidence to carry these conversations and this activist work into my day-to-day life.

Other Contributors

Our director and several other members of our general staff have created our written content, but we have also benefitted from a fantastic freelance team.  You can check out a list of everyone who has written for us over the years here.

We also often ask respected supporters, friends and colleagues to look something over for a second opinion or additional information we need, or for consult with some part of the website or organization. Following is a list of some of the individuals we'd like to recognize and acknowledge for their help, advice and support over the years in this capacity:

  • Aspen Baker, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Exhale
  • Hanne Blank, Author Big, Big Love and Virgin: The Untouched History
  • Becky Cavender, Cedar River Clinics
  • Laurel Chance
  • Ronete Cohen, psychologist, The Rainbow Couch
  • Sarah Dopp, Genderfork
  • Ann Douglas, parenting expert and author, The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and The Mother of All Parenting Books
  • Dr. Jessica Fields, Associate Professor of Sociology at San Francisco State University and Senior Researcher at the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality
  • Jaclyn Friedman
  • Rev. Debra Haffner, Director, The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing
  • Dr. Marty Klein, therapist and author
  • Elizabeth Rae Larson, MS, DHS, LMHC, FAACS, Director, Seattle Institute for Sex Therapy, Education & Research
  • Dr. Logan Levkoff, Sexologist and Author
  • Dr. Ruth Neustifter, relationship⁠ coach and sexuality educator
  • Amie Newman, Managing Editor, RH Reality Check
  • Judy Norsigian, Executive Director, Our Bodies Ourselves
  • Dr. Deborah Oyer, Medical Director, Aurora Medical Services
  • Dr. Carol Queen and Robert Morgan, Center for Sex and Culture
  • Audacia Ray, Program Officer for Online Communications and Campaigns, the International Women’s Health Coalition and co-founder of Sex Work Awareness
  • Karen Rayne
  • Cory Silverberg, About.Com Sexuality Guide
  • Rev. Leela Sinha
  • s.e. smith
  • Audra Williams
  • Ben Wizner, ACLU Attorney (for identification purposes only)

Special recognition is due to Hanne Blank, who has been advising us on Scarleteen right from the start, and who played a big role with development of the site from its inception.

Other Credits

A huge shout-out to the magnificent Garrett Coakley, developer extraordinaire and dear friend, for his generous help building the first Drupal version of Scarleteen, which was a Herculean task. Shouts also out to longtime techdev team member Casey Faber, the Agile Collective, and the open source Drupal community and volunteers. The current version of Scarleteen is still fueled by the open source platform Drupal.

Illustrations of Heather, Sam and Jacob are all © Isabella Rotman