Seriously Funny

Dr. Stern is a dynamic, compelling speaker who combines her academic research with her experience in both victim advocacy and stand-up comedy. Her audiences have included prosecutors, law enforcement, campus leadership, and military leadership. She is also able to tailor her presentations to meet the needs and the culture of each audience.

About Dr. Gail Stern

Dr. Gail Stern is the co-founder of Catharsis Productions, co-author of the non-stranger rape prevention program Sex Signals, and author of the programs, Beat the Blame Game, and Teaching Rape as a Moral Issue. She has been a SME for the White House and each branch of the Armed Forces on issues related to sexual violence prevention.

A large part of Dr. Stern’s expertise strays from traditional prevention education. She began performing stand-up and improvisational comedy at the age of fifteen, and continued performing throughout her college and professional career. In the early 90s, she was asked to utilize this skill when training over 800 Chicago Police sergeants on “cultural sensitivity.” She discovered quickly that the strategic use of humor enabled her to connect with her audience, not only in building rapport, but also in enabling them to hear challenging information. This experience fueled the rest of her academic career, and she focused her studies and research on using humor to reduce emotional and cognitive resistance to challenging issues.

Dr. Stern is also the creator of the sexual assault prevention programs, Beat the Blame Game; Sexual Violence Prevention as a Moral Issue; The Canary in the Mineshaft: What Rape Jokes Signal About Our Culture; and, Fight Fire With Funny: Using Humor to Reframe Rape as a Moral Issue. Dr. Stern served as the director of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Campus Advocacy Network from 1991-1998, providing crisis counseling and court advocacy to victims of violent crime.

The Takeaway

Dr. Stern is a subject matter expert, educator and a curriculum developer with nearly 25 years of experience in violence prevention education and advocacy. Her accomplishments include:


PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison and M.Ed in Educational Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago


Creator/Co-creator of the USAF Bystander Intervention Curriculum; the USNA SHAPE Peer Education Curriculum and Training Program; Naval Station Great Lakes Leadership Program


SME on sexual violence prevention to the White House, US Army, US Navy, and National Guard


Keynote speaker at EVAWI,SCOPE, Dartmouth Conference on Sexual Assault in Higher Education, and many others

Pairs Well with these Programs