Dr. Alissa R. Ackerman is a “pracademic” and “survivor scholar” in that she incorporates her academic training, practitioner, and personal experiences with sexual violence into her public speaking. Alissa is the co-founder and owner of Ampersands Restorative Justice and is a Criminal Justice professor at California State University, Fullerton. Alissa has dedicated her career to understanding everything she can about sexual offending, the impacts of sexual victimization, and restorative options for those impacted by sexual harm. For most of that career, she remained silent about the fact that she was a rape survivor, herself. In 2014, that all changed when she went public with her story and began merging her personal story with her professional expertise in public speaking engagements around the world.
As part of her healing work, Alissa’s trauma therapist encouraged her to “try something outside the lines” and because of this, Alissa inadvertently learned that she was an artist. She now incorporates art into her restorative justice practices, her classrooms, her public talks, and as a hobby. Alissa speaks on topics related to sexual violence, healing from trauma, sex crimes policy and practice, and restorative justice and sexual harm. She connects with large audiences and makes them feel like intimate settings and has experience with smaller presentations and talks, as well. Alissa is an internationally sought after speaker, having given over seventy-five national and international talks in topics related to sexual violence, including a TEDx Talk in 2018.