Stephen Fairbanks joined the music education faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018 as a strings specialist. His research focuses upon the ethical dilemmas which can emerge when classical music is promoted as a catalyst for social justice. He infuses his research with insights gained from several years working as a high school music teacher, and he ultimately aims to unite researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in addressing some of the vast disparities that students encounter in educational opportunity. Prior to his move to academia, Stephen directed school orchestras and taught strings classes in Park City, Utah and El Centro, California. During his doctoral studies, he served as a conductor and co-director of the University of Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a member of the cello and double bass sections of the City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra. Stephen holds degrees from Brigham Young University and the University of Cambridge.