Maru Gonzalez is a doctoral student in the Social Justice Education program at UMass Amherst and a former school counselor. Her research interests include school counselor advocacy, bullying and queer youth perspectives of school climate. A native Georgian, Maru has a long history of social justice activism in the state, including volunteering as an academic mentor with homeless teens for the Children’s Restoration Network, serving as a patient care provider for hospice patients and their families at Vistacare, and co-facilitating a weekly teen forum at YouthPride. She also serves on the board of directors for Soulforce, a non-profit committed to freedom of LGBTQ people from religious and political oppression through relentless, nonviolent resistance. In addition to activism at a grass roots level, Maru delivered weekly political commentary for the CNN Newsroom with Rick Sanchez during the 2008 presidential election.  She currently works as a graduate assistant for the Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst and enjoys running, hiking, and losing in Scrabble.

Email: marugonzalez83@gmail.com .