Hershawna Frison

Hershawna Frison is the Senior Program Associate for the Aspen Institute’s Weave: The Social Fabric Project where she oversees the program’s research efforts and content design pertaining to the relationship between community building, interpersonal connections, relational signaling, and social trust. She brings technical expertise as an equity researcher, educator, storyteller, and most importantly, an advocate. Hershawna also serves as Co-Chair for the Aspen Institute’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council helping to create vital learning spaces for the Institute in support of its commitment to equitably valuing the contributions and perspectives of all people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. Prior to her role at the Institute, she served as Senior Education Analyst at Education First, leading research efforts for projects supporting organizations in reimagining student learning experiences through strategic policy and practices. Over the span of her work, she has enjoyed partnering with entities such as the US Department of Education, National Geographic, and Jazz at Lincoln Center to write online content and resource libraries. Her research efforts have also resulted in her partnering with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Fred Rogers Center. However, her advocacy and community-based efforts are at the core of everything that she does and was sparked during her time as Public Policy Associate with Trying Together where she led the SW Pennsylvania region during the launch of a statewide Pre-K for PA coalition. This initiative is still actively helping to highlight research regarding the cognitive/social benefits of high-quality early learning experiences while building strong connections between Pittsburgh elected officials, local families, and members of the childcare community. In 2020, she was asked by Teaching With Film | Journeys in Film to co-author what they felt would be one of their most impactful pieces of content, a curriculum guide for high school students and adults based on social justice themes explored in the film “Just Mercy”. Regardless of the topic, Hershawna always appreciates the value of storytelling and creating unique learning opportunities for students, adults, and families to reflect on their prior experiences and wonders.