Tracey Marie DeFrancesco graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University with a BA in International Studies (International and Intercultural Communication concentration). As an undergraduate, Tracey interned at CNN and worked for the network at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.
Tracey earned a Master's Degree in Public Policy (MPP) from the UCLA School of Public Affairs, with a Counterterrorism and National Security concentration. Her coursework focused on counterterrorism policy, models of deterrence for nuclear terrorism, and decision under uncertainty. She was a teaching assistant for courses in policy analysis, imperfect rationality, and crime control policy.
Tracey has worked as a policy analyst and consultant, and as a disaster analyst in the field of emergency preparedness. She is a Contributing Writer for Tennis View Magazine, having written several articles including "Doping in Tennis: Exploring the Debate on Performance-Enhancing Drugs" (Aug./Sep. 2011), which featured references to Sports and Drugs ProCon.org.
In addition to her research duties, Tracey is also primarily responsible for maintaining ProCon.org's social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
Tracey joined ProCon.org on June 25, 2007 as a researcher and was promoted to Senior Researcher in Feb. 2011. Tracey has been serving as Associate Editor since Feb. 14, 2014.
Jeffrey D. Hendricks is a two-time graduate from California State University at Long Beach. As an undergraduate Jeffrey majored in Modern United States History and was recognized on the President's Honor list. During his graduate level studies, Jeffrey maintained a 4.0 GPA while earning his Master of Arts in United States History. His main areas of historical interest are the cultural and intellectual aspects of Environmental history, Native American history, and the history of social and environmental justice movements in the United States.
His Masters Thesis, "Constructing the Panopticon: Perceptions of Wilderness, Methods of Domination and the Colonization of Native America," was published in December, 2006, and it deals with how perceptions of wilderness influenced the colonization of North America. Other topics he has researched include the effects of colonization on the Tohono O'odham Nation of Southern Arizona, witchcraft persecutions in the Colonial US, and the Weather Underground - an anti-war organization active during the Vietnam War period.
Jeffrey has worked with many organizations including the Save Ward Valley Coalition, Los Angeles and Long Beach Food Not Bombs, the O'odham Solidarity Project, and others.
Jeffrey joined ProCon.org on June 25, 2007, and he was promoted to Senior Researcher in Jan. 2012.
Steven Jacobson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts with a BA in Film and Video Production. While there, he served as a Student Researcher on Creative Filmmaking from the Inside Out: Five Keys to the Art of Making Inspired Movies and Television, a faculty-authored textbook published in 2003. Before transferring to USC, he began his undergraduate studies as a First Class Honors student at the University of Melbourne, Australia, with a focus on Film History and Critical Theory, Philosophy, and English Literature.
Steven has worked in the Los Angeles feature film industry for several years, contributing to a number of major motion pictures. On Fox Searchlight’s biopic Kinsey (2004), he was a Researcher and Editorial Consultant on the film’s accompanying book, Kinsey: Public and Private, and the official website. As Second Unit Director on the DreamWorks/Paramount musical Dreamgirls (2006), Steven completed the film’s many montage sequences. He also undertook period dialect research, edited the film’s novelization, and contributed to the hardcover tribute volume.
Steven’s first feature film as director, the ballet-themed Center Stage: Turn It Up, was released worldwide in 2009 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Prior to its DVD release, the film premiered on the Oxygen Network in the United States and received a theatrical release in Australia, Steven’s home country.
Steven also produced and narrated four videos in our "Critical Thinking Video Series" as well as our "Intro to ProCon.org" video.
Natalie R. Leppard graduated from Meredith College with a BA in English and earned a Master's Degree in English from North Carolina State University, with a focus on American Literature. While completing the MA, she taught an Honor's Colloquium focused on community service and wrote the thesis, "'The joy of meaning and design wrenched out of chaos': The Modernismpostmodernism Continuum of James Joyce's Ulysses and Don DeLillo's The Names."
Natalie earned a PhD in English from the University of South Carolina, focusing on Twentieth Century American Literature. Her dissertation, "Finding a Pen in a Pile of Grenades: Postmodern American Literature, a Spectacular Definition of Terrorism, and the Response to 9/11," was completed in August 2007 and explores terrorism in post-1985 literature as pre- and post-9/11 while creating a definition of terrorism based on spectacle. During her graduate studies, Natalie was a First Year English Instructor and taught literature courses on controversial topics. She also co-chaired the American Literature Colloquium.
Natalie worked as an English Professor for Kaplan University. She published articles in The Explicator and the "Terror and Textuality" edition of Exit 9.
Emily Scheines graduated cum laude from Cornell University with a BA in History and completed an honors thesis entitled "Seminole Trailblazing; The Cultural Effects of the First Native American Casino." While at Cornell, Emily also served as Editor-in-Chief of The Quad, a campus-wide literary magazine.
Upon graduation, she joined Teach for America and taught high school social studies for two years in Hartford, Connecticut. She was then recruited by Achievement First Amistad Academy High School, a prestigious charter urban college preparatory school in New Haven, Connecticut. There she served for two years as chair of the 10th grade and AP US History teacher.
Her firsthand experience with educational inequity led her to pursue a Master's Degree in Public Policy at UCLA as a Meyer and Renee Luskin Fellow. Her concentrations included education policy, program evaluation, and social welfare. Upon graduation, she earned awards for outstanding academic achievement, best teaching assistant, and thesis project most in service of social justice.
Emily has also completed the Education Pioneers fellowship, conducted political research for the California Charter Schools Association, and performed policy analysis for the Santa Ynez band of Chumash Indians.
*Usually one person leads the research process on an issue website, and it is common for several researchers to contribute by adding biographies, questions, pro and con responses, resources, etc. The researcher in charge of the website is acknowledged as being in charge of the website, and any researcher who contributed over 250 hours or 33% of an issue website (whichever is less) is acknowledged as a contributing researcher.