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Congratulations, Graduates! 

Courageous RI Professional Development Program

This supportive online professional learning community helped participants develop educational strategies to reduce the fear and hate that lead to violence.

The Media Education Lab offered a fully-online professional development program for middle school, high school, and college educators. Participants came from across Rhode Island, the USA, and the world!

In the Fall of 2023, 54 middle school, high school, or college educators participated in a 10-hour online PD program consisting of 6 one-hour online programs plus independent reading, viewing, writing, and other work. They developed a final assignment to implement with learners in their own schools, libraries, and communities.

Emily Bush 

Vanderbilt University


Josh Walker

Coalinga Middle School


Katie Beer  

Hope HS


Christine Oskar-Poisson

Columbia College


Arianna Grassia

Hastings-on-Hudson UFSD

Hitender Rao

Reporter, Hindustan Times

Jim Wells

School District of Philadelphia PSTV

Martha Kuhlman

Bryant University

Robin James

University of Rhode Island

Luisa Murillo

Progreso Latino

Chuck Morgan

Community College of RI

Ramona Bessinger 

Classical HS


Sandy McGee 

University of Rhode Island

Christine Carpentier

Joseph L. McCourt Middle School

Kerry Murphy

Johnston High School


Kelly Lee

Paul Cuffee Upper School


Thais Motta

Graduate Student, Salzburg University 

Paul Cook

Indiana University 

Tara Ronda

Stockton University / Princeton University


Yomely Moreno

Nowell Academy


Kamilah A’Vant

University of Rhode Island

Shelley Wolfe

School District of Philadelphia PSTV

Chloe Hansen 

Alfred University 

Carlos Cruz

Beacon Charter High School for the Arts

Stefani Anderson

Woonsocket High School

Kristin Hayes-Leite

Narragansett High School


Mary Kate Lonergan 

Fayetteville-Manlius Middle School

Kate Ray

Cranston High School West

Steffanie Padilla

Photography Museum, University of California Riverside


Kelly Joseph

Moses Brown

Lori Kiley-Garcia

East Providence High School 


Melissa Gillespie

Portsmouth High School


Katharine Amaral

Jenks Middle School

Rosemary Colao

South Kingstown High School 

Nicole Galipeau

Kickemuit Middle School, Bristol Warren

Wendy Gustavel

Rocky Hill Country Day School


Brianna Cardillo

Johnston Senior High School


Olywyn McCabe

Classical HS


Janine Wilkins

Park University 

Heather Barry

Greystone School and Roger Williams University


Laura Hosley

Narragansett Pier Middle School


Kerry Caparco 

Paul Cuffee Upper School


Amber Sams

Saucon Valley High School 


Elaine Costa-Bernardino

Rocky Hill School


Cris Damasceno

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Miriam Badger

Birchwood and Ricci Middle Schools

Shawn Domgaard

Washington State University 

Kristin Killilea

Middlebridge School

Lucia Delaroca

Rhode Island College

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Renee Hobbs

Professor, University of Rhode Island

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John Palella

Lecturer in Education,

Brown University

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Kent Lenci

Author, Learning to Depolarize

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Ben Thevenin

Associate Professor, Brigham Young University

Key Elements of the Program

Expert Guidance

Courageous RI brings together leading experts in the fields of media literacy and civic engagement. For everyone, we offer program outlines, coaching, and guidance on how to host lively Courageous Conversations discussion programs. You will receive practical strategies to counter the hate that leads to violence. Our team of professionals is committed to supporting you throughout the program, ensuring that you have the necessary knowledge and resources to make a meaningful impact.

Collaborative Learning

By joining Courageous RI, you become part of a vibrant network of educators and librarians who share a common goal: combating disinformation and promoting media literacy and active listening. Through collaborative learning, you will exchange ideas and share challenges and success stories. Collectively, we will develop innovative approaches to cultivate Courageous Conversations.

Customized Options and Resources

We understand that every educational setting is unique and that people have different priorities and needs. That's why Courageous RI provides customizable learning opportunities. For middle school, high school, and college educators, we offer a learning community along with teaching resources. For students, we host a media contest to unleash creativity and amplify the power of youth voice.

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Why It Matters

Counter Disinformation

In Courageous RI, you are empowered to become a frontline defender against disinformation, hoaxes, propaganda, and the culture of outrage. You will learn how to help people make more responsible choices of information, entertainment, and persuasion.


Improve Media Literacy Skills

In the digital age, media literacy is no longer an option but a necessity. You will gain insights into media biases and learn about how the media ecosystem monetizes anger and hate.

Reduce Violence Through Civic Education and Engagement

By developing the knowledge, habits of mind, and critical thinking that leads people away from polarization and hate, you will contribute to positive change in your community.

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