Dr. Nino Rodriguez received his Doctor of Philosophy in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership with a concentration in the social and cultural studies of education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Motivated by the belief that the trends associated with Black males in America (e.g. education, incarceration, mental health, etc.) are a product of their socialization (guided by Western European ideals around manhood that ignore the systemic oppression imposed upon the Black male body) within America's social institutions, Nino focuses his scholar-practitioner efforts on liberating Black males of maladaptive notions of what it means to be a Black man in America. At the center of Nino's work are adolescent Black males (ages 13 to 18), due to his desire to amplify their voices to ensure that their views and experiences will no longer be ignored during the development of “well-intentioned” initiatives created to “serve them” at the community, state, and national levels. Currently, Nino serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Excellence and Advancement Foundation – an Austin based non-profit organization dedicated to transforming how communities combat the school to prison pipeline – where he works with adolescent youth of color to develop their critical consciousness via experiential learning opportunities to empower them to resist the master narratives imposed upon them.