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Keynote speakers and special guests

Damon Horowitz

Dr. Damon Horowitz is a philosophy professor and serial entrepreneur, working at the intersection of technology and the humanities.

He recently served as Consulting Philosopher at AltSchool, a B-corp focused on using technology to bring personalized progressive education to a broader population. Previously, he was In-House Philosopher / Director of Engineering at Google, leading a company-wide personalization initiative with a focus on data privacy issues. Prior to that, he built several startups based on his natural language processing research, including Aardvark (acquired by Google), Perspecta (acquired by Excite), Novation Biosciences (acquired by Agilent), and NewsDB (Daylife).

He has taught courses in Philosophy, AI, and Cognitive Science at Columbia, NYU, Stanford, U. Penn., and San Quentin State Prison. In addition to advisory work in industry, he has served on the Board of several arts and humanities non-profits, including CalHumanities.

Damon Horowitz

He is a popular public speaker at venues ranging from TED to AAAI to O'Reilly conferences, and his work has been featured in media ranging from the New York Times to the Chronicle of Higher Education to NPR to TechCrunch.

Horowitz earned his B.A. from Columbia, his M.S. in Artificial Intelligence from the MIT Media Lab, and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Stanford University.


Jody Lewen

Founder & Executive Director of the Prison University Project

Jody Lewen is the executive director of the Prison University Project, which operates the College Program at San Quentin. The Program provides a general education Associate of Arts degree and intensive college preparatory courses to approximately 350 people incarcerated at San Quentin. The Prison University Project also provides training and technical assistance to colleges offering higher education programs in prisons throughout California and across the United States.

Ms. Lewen's involvement with the College Program at San Quentin dates back to 1999, when she started as a volunteer instructor. Today she serves as a thought leader in the field of prison education, advocating for the values of high academic quality and inclusivity, as well as serving as a resource and advisor to policymakers, practitioners, academics, and corrections administrators at San Quentin State Prison and within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Jody Lewen

Ms. Lewen received her Bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in modern European history; her Master’s degree from the Freie Universität, Berlin in comparative literature and philosophy; and her Ph.D. in rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley.  Her publications include “Punishing Evil: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on the Spectre of Inmates in the Public Imagination” (in Evil, Truth, and Reconciliation, Rodopi, 2004) and “’So eine Gemeinheit’: On the Use of Irony in Hugo Bettauer’s Die Stadt Ohne Juden” (in Austria and Austrians: Images in World Literature. Stauffenburg Verlag, 2003).  

Ms. Lewen was the 2006 recipient of the Peter E. Haas Public Service Award from the University of California, Berkeley, and a 2015 recipient of the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award. In 2016, the Prison University Project received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. 

For more information about the Prison University Project, please visit https://prisonuniversityproject.org/.


Ben Walker

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Ben Walker received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom), where he is an honorary research fellow. He is the lead tutor and founder of The Crito Project, which provides an education in philosophy to UK prisoners.

"The Crito Project proceeds from two central premises: 1) that education is the most cost-effective and successful mode of reform available to our society. We believe this to be an uncontroversial truth that too often goes unappreciated. 2) That our universities have a duty to seek out students in unconventional settings, specifically those whose lives stand at critical junctures, and who can benefit the most from access to the rigor, reflection and growth that higher learning can bring about."

To read more about The Crito Project, visit http://www.thecritoproject.org/.

Contact Us

Wyoming Pathways from Prison

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-3427

Email: sdewey3@uwyo.edu

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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