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Curriculum Vitae

Experience & Expertise

In addition to receiving a college education, Mr. Stephens has certifications and licenses in over 20 programs and has also worked throughout his prison term in various roles.

 

EDUCATION

various locations, 2015-current

  • 2017 - Bard College, Associate's Degree

  • 2019 - Bard College, Bachelor's Degree

  • 2020 - New York Theological Seminary, Master's Degree (Professional Studies/Leadership -- a cross between Liberal Arts and Divinity)

  • Current - Columbia University Business School: 18-week certificate program; upon completion, will earn three business-related certificates

  • Future - Mr. Stephens will pursue a law degree upon release from prison and studies for the LSAT in his limited spare time. 

Facilitator, Anti-Bullying Campaign

Fishkill Correctional Facility, 2019

As a part of a group of BPI (Bard Prison Initiative) and NYTS (New York Theological Seminary) alums, Mr. Stephens was designated to develop and facilitate "Anti-Bullying".  He gathered relevant literature and videos and created a syllabus for an eight-week program with participants meeting once per week. He also created a smaller-scaled version of that curriculum that could be completed in a three-day workshop and a one-day workshop.

Tutor/Facilitator, Network Program

Fishkill Correctional Facility, 2019

This program “assist[s] inmates in learning cooperative work and leadership skills, while demonstrating responsible behaviors.” Network Program, N.Y.S. Dep’t of Corrections & Comm. Supervision, available at http://www.doccs.ny.gov/ProgramServices/transitional.html#np (last visited Oct. 11, 2019). The focus of this program is to help inmates successfully reenter the community upon release.  Towards that end, Mr. Stephens co-facilitated two "Community Preparation" workshops, helped other inmates compile their parole packages and prepare for their hearings, and tutored other inmates in GED math.

Assistant Coordinator, PACE (Prisoners for AIDS Counseling and Education)

Eastern New York Correctional Facility, 2016 - 2019

Responsibilities: assist PACE Coordinator in setting and executing agenda; train new clerks and new facilitators; organize World AIDS Day events.

Clerk, Bard College

Eastern New York Correctional Facility, 2015-2019

Responsibilities: organize and maintain library; disseminate books and supplies; orientate new students into the program.

Tutor/Writing and Math Fellow, Bard College

Eastern New York Correctional Facility, 2015-2019

Responsibilities: tutor students in mathematics (ranging from algebra to calculus), writing, and science (biology, microbiology, and genetics); conduct workshops for first year students.

Coordinator, PACE (Prisoners for AIDS Counseling and Education) 

Shawangunk Correctional Facility, 2010-2013

Responsibilities: provide AIDS education to prison population; organize World AIDS Day events, oversee training of new facilitators; develop and expand services to the newly established Sex Offenders Program (SOP); prepare and approve lesson plans; set agendas for weekly meetings; organize special events; coordinate with staff advisor, DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Programs), and sponsoring agencies, i.e. Osborne Association and ARCS (AIDS Related Community Services) to fulfill the mission of PACE.

Administrative Clerk, Osborne Association

Shawangunk Correctional Facility, 2008-2013

Responsibilities: Solicit participation for Parenting, Healthy Relationships, Healthy Marriage, Breaking Barriers, and Breaking Barriers Training for Trainers programs; prepare callouts for each program; maintain records of current participants and waiting lists; act as liaison between Osborne representatives and the Deputy Superintendent of Programs (DSP).

Caregiver, Osborne Association

Shawangunk  Correctional Facility, 2008-2013

Responsibilities: facilitate positive interactions and activities between prisoners and their children then within the Osborne Children's Center.

Breaking Barriers Facilitator, Osborne Association

Shawangunk Correctional Facility, 2008-2013

Responsibilities: coordinate Breaking Barriers workshops to assist incarcerated men through cognitive therapy model.

President, Caribbean African Unity (CAU) Organization 

Shawangunk Correctional Facility, 2001-2013

Responsibilities: set agenda for organization; head weekly meetings; authorize and appoint heads of committees; develop and facilitate programs, including developing an "Effective Communication" workshop based off of the Great Courses DVD series of the same name, and maintain ABE and GED preparation workshops that tutored all sections of the GED 2-3 times per week; authorized all expenditures; coordinate with Deputy Superintendent of Programs (DSP) to ensure operation of the organization consistent with DOCS mandates.

Vice President, Caribbean African Unity (CAU) Organization 

Shawangunk Correctional Facility, 1999-2001

Responsibilities: assist the President in executing agenda; oversee fundraising and collection of dues; preside over meetings in the President's absence.

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Additional Interests

Mr. Stephens has a number of additional interests that he has pursued while in prison—and would like to continue to pursue once released.

 

Languages

Spanish: read, write, and speak fluently.

Debate

Mr. Stephens is an active member of the Bard Debate Union debate team that has won numerous debates against prestigious colleges and universities, including Harvard, Morehouse, West Point, and the University of Pennsylvania (2015-current). As Clerk and Captain of the Debate Team, Mr. Stephens developed debate workshops with Coach David Register to conduct when classes were not in session to develop new debaters and maintain the skills of experienced debaters.  He has recruited and coached new members at Eastern New York Correctional Facility and was also able to continue participating in the public debate program at Fishkill Correctional Facility.  This program allows those who have already graduated still to engage in debates.  Mr. Stephens also took the initiative and created a five-week debate workshop to help cultivate debate skills in students new to debate and has also helped introduce debate to the prisoners at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Mr. Stephens hopes to coach a debate team post-incarceration.

Hobbies

  • United States Chess Federation member (2003-current)

  • Exodus Study Group (2015-current)

Publications

"The Ugly Butterfly" essay published by Resilience Multimedia "Think Outside the Cell" series (2010)

Volunteer Work

  • "Hope Lives for Lifers" Mentoring Programs (2017)

  • "Voices of Transformation" program (2019): visit GED classes to encourage men to further their education

  • Voices from Within (2019-current): "The Voices From Within Project is a comprehensive multimedia and education initiative that uniquely addresses the epidemic of gun violence directly through the voices of inmates living with the consequences of their choices, and the victims left in their wake." See http://voicesfromwithin.org (last visited Apr. 08, 2020)

Community Service Awards

  • Caribbean African Unity Organization, Certificate of Recognition (2011)

  • Latinos en Progreso Organization, Certificate of Appreciation (2007, 2008 & 2009): Mr. Stephens developed the curriculum for a Chess club and also a 16-week Public Speaking course.

  • Certificate of Achievement in post-secondary education (2007)

  • Outstanding Service as Teacher's Aide (2006)

  • Certificate of Appreciation as Teacher's Aide (2006)

Other Interests

  • Genetics/biotechnology 

  • Public Health (HIV/AIDS prevention and education)

  • Criminal Justice reform (wants to see improved coordination between prison administrators and incarcerated people, particularly in the generation of new programs)

  • Conflict resolution strategies (interest in cultivating empathy through communication as a way of resolving conflicts before they reach a critical juncture.)

Licenses and Certificates

  • Criminal Justice Initiative HIV/AIDS trainings, Hudson Valley Community Services (HVCS), PACE, 2017 & 2018

  • Domestic Violence, AIDS Related Community Services, PACE, 2012

  • Department of Labor certificate as HIV/AIDS counselor’s aid, 2010

  • US Chess Federation Expert chess rating (2085), 2011

  • LGBTQ Training, Osborne Association, 2009

  • HIV/AIDS Facilitator Certificate, AIDS Related Community Services, PACE, 2009

  • Tobacco Peer Education/Cessation Training, Osborne Association, 2009

  • Domestic Violence Training, Osborne Association 2009

  • New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute 2-Day training, PACE, 2008

  • New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute 4-Day training, PACE, 2007

  • HIV/AIDS Peer Educator Training, AIDS Related Community Services, PACE, 2007

  • Prisoners for AIDS Counseling and Education Hepatitis C Certificate, PACE, 2006

  • Inmate Program Associate (IPA) 360 hours, NYDOCS, 2006

  • Prisoners for AIDS Counseling and Education Basic Certificate, PACE, 2006

  • Inmate Program Associate (IPA) 360 hours, NYDOCS, 2005

  • Inmate Program Associate (IPA) Training, NYDOCS, 2005

  • Legal Research Certificate, NYDOCS, 2002

  • Narcotics Anonymous Certificate, NYDOCS, 2001

  • Parenting Certificate, Osborne Association, 2000

  • Frontline (Alternative to Violence) Certificate, NYDOCS, 2000

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