Skip to main content
HomeBoard of Directors & Staff

SSSS Board of Directors & Staff

The SSSS Board of Directors manages the affairs of The Society. In general, the Board of Directors is a policy-making body. The 11-member Board is composed of five elected officers (the Executive Committee) — President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Membership Chair — and six at-large members, one of whom is a student member. 

President 2023-2025

Justin Sitron, PhD
Widener University

Justin (he, him, él) has been a member of SSSS since 2008. During his time in SSSS, he has served on the regional and national boards, as co-chair of two national and one regional conference, and led the former mentor program for several years, which included transforming it into the existing ambassador program in collaboration with Chris White. Justin is associate professor at Widener University in the Center for Human Sexuality Studies, where he was Center Director from 2017-2020 and recently ended his time as associate dean in the College of Health and Human Service Professions. At Widener, he is director of the Interdisciplinary Sexuality Research Collaborative, a research group housed within CHSS, that envisions a world where science is guided by and promotes sexual rights for all, by building community to create and share knowledge that promotes sexual wellbeing. Justin's research and education work focus on helping human service professionals to better understand and serve those they work with when it comes to their sexual wellbeing - especially people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people from other marginalized and oppressed populations. He is a sexologist, interculturalist, educator and facilitator who has more than 20 years of experience working in schools, health care, social services, non-governmental organizations and non-profits, as well as with individual providers seeking to expand their impact and deepen their proficiency in human sexuality. Justin is a queer cisgender man who has his PhD and MEd in human sexuality from Widener University, and certifications as a specialist in sex counseling and sex education from the Sociedad Sexológica de Madrid (Spain). He has his BA in Spanish Language and Literature and BS in Education from Villanova University. Justin is fluent in English and Spanish, and is studying in American Sign Language at the intermediate level. He is currently in his first year of a two-year term as Secretary of the board of the Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research USA, following one year as secretary, fulfilling a previous person's term.

President Elect 2023-2025
President 2025-2027

Karen Beale, PhD
Maryville College

Dr. Karen Beale has been a member of SSSS since 2012 when she attended her first SSSS conference and she has attended almost every year since. She has served SSSS through various positions including the Continuing Education Committee, the Awards and Grants Committee, and the Nominations and Elections Committee. Karen is currently a Professor of Psychology at Maryville College and has been teaching and doing research at this small, private, religiously affiliated, liberal-arts college in East Tennessee for the last 17 years. This position and location (Bible belt) have given her the unique opportunity to study the connections between religion and sexuality and specifically the predictors and outcomes of sex guilt and shame. Her research is also informed by her various service positions at the college as well as in the local community, including but not limited to, being co-director of the Appalachian College Association Teaching and Learning Summer Institute, serving as President of the Board of Haven House Domestic Violence Shelter, providing consultation for sex educators in the local public schools, leading travel courses studying sexuality in the Netherlands, and teaching personalized, biographical, inclusive sex education in the community. Since obtaining her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, she has gained multiple certifications in the field of sexuality, including AASECT certification as a sex educator and she now serves on the AASECT Sex Education Certification Committee. Because she now has a deep understanding of the complicated and conflicting messages people receive in public schools, churches, and homes about sex/sexuality, she is committed to finding ways to getting scientifically based, sex/sexuality education to those who need it, in a way that they can hear it.

Treasurer 2023-2025

Sasha Canan, PhD
University of North Carolina, Wilmington

I am an assistant professor in the Public Health Program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where I coordinate the Sexuality Education and Attitudes Lab. My research work focuses on sexual assault and LGBTQ+ health using mixed-method techniques. I have been a member of SSSS for 10 years, attending every conference since 2012. I’ve been active with the organization starting as a student ambassador (1yr), then serving on the membership committee (2yrs), as well as later being a student involvement co-chair (4yrs). The latter role allowed me to serve on SSSS’ Board of Directors for two years. Most recently, I’m now serving in a mentorship role in SSSS’ mentor/mentee program that has been coordinated by Shayna Skakoon-Sparquez throughout the pandemic. After shifting institutions, I now have the time to volunteer with SSSS again in a more involved capacity as the treasurer.

Secretary 2022-2024

Christine Leistner, PhD
California State University, Chico

Dr. Christine Leistner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health and Health Services Administration at California State University, Chico. She is the coordinator for the gender and sexuality pathway in general education at the university and teaches undergraduate human sexuality courses. Her research interests include sexual and relational well-being for parents and couples in addition to understanding factors influencing youth involved in commercial sex. Dr. Leistner serves on the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission and is an active public health professional and advocate in Butte County, CA.

Membership Chair 2020-2024

Shayna Skakoon-Sparling, PhD
Ryerson University

Shayna Sparling has a PhD in Applied Social Psychology. She is currently a CIHR-funded postdoctoral research fellow with the HIV Prevention Lab at Ryerson University and is the National Team Manager for the Engage Study. Shayna also holds an Affiliate Faculty position with The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Shayna's research has primarily focused on motivated reasoning and how environmental factors (including social/contextual cues) influence sexual health decision-making and sexual negotiation - in particular, her work has explored condom negotiation and how sexual arousal impacts decision-making, risk taking, and judgement. Her newer lines of research examines the need to belong, with a focus on the roles of loneliness and social support in the health and well-being of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. Shayna serves on the editorial boards of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, The Journal of Sex Research, and the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. She is also Secretary of the Canadian Sex Research Forum.

Member-At-Large 2023-2025

Heather Tillewein, PhD, CHES
Austin Peay State University

Dr. Heather Tillewein is an Assistant Professor in Public Health at Austin Peay State University. She also serves on the Executive Committee as Communication's Chair for the LGBTQ Health Caucus for the American Public Health Association. She recently was appointed, by the President and Executive Director of APHA, to serve on the Committee on Women’s Rights for APHA. Dr. Tillewein serves on the Continuing Education Committee, Co-Chair for the Scientific Program, and SIG Leader for Queer Sexualities/ Trans* Experience/ Identity for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Recently, Dr. Tillewein was appointed to serve on as Co-Chair for the SSSS Scientific Program. She collaborates on several research projects with the Kinsey Institute, SIU School of Medicine, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and others. Dr. Tillewein's research focuses on sexuality, gender identity, sexual health, LGBTQIA+ health, and reproductive health. 

Member-At-Large 2022-2024

Karen John, PhD, MS, BS

My name is Dr. Karen John. I am a native New Yorker, born in the Bronx with a deepened sense of family whose roots run deeply across this continent, touching down in the Caribbean, and extending to the shores of Africa, an existence I have yet to explore. Acceptance was modeled for me early on by my great and grandparents despite their clouded journey of non-acceptance. Regardless, my ancestors instilled their beliefs of equality and openness giving me the voice that I now use today. Thus, from a shy and reserved, little girl emerged a voice of humanism. Having been an active second year member of The Society, I began my membership as a student. Upon graduating, I renewed my membership as a professional. Shortly thereafter, I became active members of both the JEDI Committee and most recently the Race/Ethnicity Special Interest Group (SIG). I am an educator, developmental psychology researcher, and humanitarian. My work alongside of education continues to focus on contextualizing the consequences of marginalization and the resulting disparities. My most recent research was rooted within the LGBTQA+ communities with its primary focus being the lesbian population with resiliency and intimacy being primary to my study. Further interests include race, gender, and sexuality in terms of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion and how that is reflected in society by means of policies and politics. My humanitarian efforts extend beyond the classroom and into the realm of social media in the form of a podcast which discusses such policies and politics as it relates to the past, the present, and the impending consequences of not addressing the latter to create both a humane and inclusive future. The idea being our duty as humans, is to therefore leave this world in a better state than which we found it. It is my intension to do my part to create a portion of the blueprint necessary for achieving this not just for me because I may not experience it, but for all those who come after me.

Member-At-Large 2022-2024

Dennis Li, PhD, MPH
Northwestern University

As an assistant professor at the Northwestern University Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing whose work focuses on translational science and health equity for historically marginalized populations, I have passions and skills that strongly align with the values of SSSS and can contribute to furthering the organization’s mission and goals. I first attended the annual meeting in 2011 on the recommendation of my advisor, a SSSS Past President. Though my career trajectory has taken me back and forth to related fields and organizations in public health, digital health, implementation science, and others, sexuality research has always been an underlying theme of my research. As a graduate student, I worked to reduce teen pregnancy through data-driven advocacy, policy change, and dissemination of evidenced-based sexual health education. In my later training, I focused on adolescent and young sexual minority men, largely around HIV prevention through digital interventions but also topics like community building, sex seeking, and sexual functioning. This interest in adolescent sexual health carries through today, having co-chaired the Adolescent and Young Adult Health Committee in the American Public Health Association MCH Section for over 10 years. Now, my research focuses on the implementation of digital sexual health interventions, with the goal of reducing both the research-to-practice gap and disparities in sexual health outcomes. Another part of my work is to provide technical assistance on implementation science methods to HIV researchers around the US. This experience is a unique strength I would bring to the SSSS Board, as I am well-versed in working with diverse teams; translating, organizing, and aligning complex concepts; thinking about system-level strategies and outcomes; and supporting stakeholders in meeting their objectives. I am enthusiastic to serve SSSS, and I believe my diverse professional background can help broaden the field of sexuality science.

Member-At-Large 2021-2024

Megan K. Maas, PhD, MPH
Michigan State University

Megan Maas, PhD, is an assistant professor in Human Development & Family Studies at Michigan State University. She received her PhD in 2016 from The Pennsylvania State University where she was trained as a developmental psychologist and prevention scientist. Her award-winning research, recognized by the American Psychological Association and funded by the National Institutes of Health, focuses primarily on adolescent sexual development. Specifically, she investigates how experiences of social media, sexting, and online pornography play a bi-directional role in the development of attitudes and behavior related to sexuality and gender. Born and raised in California, Megan earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento. Before pursuing her doctoral work, Megan worked as a certified sexual health educator for a variety of settings including Planned Parenthood. She has been training teachers, social workers, and school counselors on pornography use among teens for the last 10 years resulting in 43 invited talks and keynote addresses. Now, she sits on her local sex education advisory board to direct her district’s curriculum and works closely with the Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH) to integrate sexual media literacy into existing sex education curricula across the state of Michigan. Her goal is to prevent sexual harassment and violence through education that deconstructs harmful cultural norms and promotes mutually pleasurable and respectful sexual experiences. She also enjoys teaching Human Sexuality, Adolescence, and Women’s and Gender Studies and serves as a consulting editor for the Journal of Sex Research. Her passion for research has led to 40 conference presentations and 24 publications. In addition to publishing in academic journals, she also writes for and publishes her work in mass media outlets such as HuffPost, CNN, and Salon.

Member-At-Large 2023-2025

Leo Wilton, PhD, MPH
State University of New York at Binghamton

Leo is a Professor in the Department of Human Development at the State University of New York at Binghamton. His research interests include health disparities and inequities (HIV prevention and care); Black psychological development and mental health; critical community-based participatory research; and mixed- and multi-methods research. His scholarly research on the HIV epidemic focuses on the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality as situated in macro- and micro-level inequalities in African and African Diaspora communities. His scholarly research program explores how intersectional inequalities provide a praxis framework for developing culturally-congruent HIV prevention interventions for communities of color. He has served as Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-Investigator on several National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research studies. He teaches courses on the Psychology of Racism, Black Child and Adolescent Development, Black Families, Black Sexualities, and research methods. For The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, he serves on the Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Committee

Member-At-Large 2023-2025
Senior Student Representative 2023-2025

Megan Korovich, MA
Rowan University, Clinical Psychology PhD Program

Megan is a rising third-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Rowan University, receiving training with an emphasis on health psychology. She received her master’s degree in forensic psychology from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2020. Her combined interests of forensics and health psychology have influenced her research on sexual violence victimization and prevention. She is interested in promoting knowledge that decreases risk and encourages healthier sexual relationships and behaviors. Her published work involved analyzing perceptions of criminal attributions for sex trafficking victims and understanding characteristics of in-flight sexual assaults. Megan has been a member of SSSS since 2021 and has attended annual research conference for the past two years, presenting on topics of sexual ambivalence and its influence on consent indicators, and how ambivalence may differ due to one’s sexual orientation. She looks forward to the opportunity to become a more involved member of SSSS in the future. During her master’s program she served on the executive board of the Master’s Student Research Group. Her duties included planning and implementing the annual psychology research conference, organizing research and professional development talks between faculty and students, and implementing clinical training workshops for the program. She helped as a liaison between the students and faculty; acting as an advocate for student needs, pursuing positive growth in extracurricular activities and encouraging participation from students in her program. Currently, Megan leads the ASSeRT lab at Rowan University as lab coordinator. She oversees research productivity, managing a lab of over 25 research personnel comprised of undergraduates, post-bacs, and doctoral students.

Lisa Cunningham

Membership/Conference Coordinator

Lisa Cunningham, BA

Copyright © 2020 The Society For the Scientific Study of Sexuality, INC.