Ess Pokornowski is a senior analyst in the Libraries, Scholarly Communication, and Museums program at Ithaka S+R. She works primarily in Justice Initiatives, focusing on issues related to higher education in prisons. Her current work examines how Department of Corrections policy, postsecondary education in prison programs, and technology intersect to shape student experiences, with the aim of improving educational experiences for incarcerated students.

Ess earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and a Master’s and PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has over a decade of experience as an instructor and pedagogue, developing and teaching courses in literature, writing, and the health humanities. Her previous research has examined how power, violence, and identity intersect in culture, politics, and science.