CJP - Center for Justice & Peacebuilding
David R. Brubaker, Director of the MBA and OLS Programs and Associate Professor of Organizational Studies. David earned a BS in Business Administration from Messiah College, an MBA from Eastern University, and a PhD from the University of Arizona, where he specialized in the study of change and conflict in religious organizations. David has trained or consulted with over 100 organizations, including in Africa, Asia, Australia, Latin America, North America, and Europe.
Since graduation from college in 1980 David served with several community development and conflict transformation organizations. These roles included Associate Director of Mennonite Conciliation Service and Assistant Director of Mennonite Central Committee’s Brazil program where he became fluent in Portuguese. David is the author of numerous articles on conflict transformation and organizational development. He is also the author of “Promise and Peril: Understanding and Managing Change and Conflict in Congregations,” published by The Alban Institute and co-author (with Ruth Hoover Zimmerman) of “The Little Book of Healthy Organizations,” published by Good Books.
Catherine Barnes has extensive experience designing and facilitating deliberative dialogue, as well as teaching and training adults in working with conflict, strategies for building peace and promoting social justice. She has worked in more than 30 countries particularly in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Caucasus and Eastern Europe. With more than twenty years working with non-governmental organizations, Catherine’s peacebuilding practice has included:
• Interactive process design and dialogue facilitation, strategic planning and collaborative learning, including large-scale conferences and more intimate deliberative dialogue processes engaging participants from across conflict divides;
• Teaching and training in peace processes, conflict transformation, dialogue, problem solving, leadership development and empowerment for social action;
• Policy research, policy dialogue and advocacy on issues connected to war-to-peace transition processes, political negotiation, statebuilding, and civil society roles in peacebuilding.
• Program and project development and proposal preparation; strategic reviews and evaluation.
FACILITATION AND PROCESS DESIGN
• Global conference at UN headquarters “From Reaction to Prevention: the Roles of Civil Society in Preventing Armed Conflict and Building Peace”—process design, preparation and facilitation of plenary and large panel sessions of conference involving more than 1,000 participants from civil society, governments, and IGOs, New York, July 2005
• European Regional Conference of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict—facilitated a consensus building process for more than 250 people to agree the European Action Agenda, Ireland, April 2004
• “Tools for Peace”—lead facilitator of this international, inter-religious peace conference, Sweden, November 2004
• “Role of the EU in the South Caucasus”, lead facilitator of conference for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• Mennonite Church USA’s “Future Church Summit”, lead designer and facilitator of a multi-phase process for church renewal leading to an interactive multi-stakeholder dialogue involving more than 700 delegates., Jan-July 2017.
Dialogue and joint-analysis
• Designed and facilitated numerous seminars for policy makers, political party representatives, civil society representatives and analysts – many involving participants from across conflict divides – to explore various issues in conflict prevention and learning from peace processes.
• Designed and facilitated a series of deliberative dialogue processes for ethnic leaders inside Myanmar/Burma leading to shared vision for future and action agendas for collaborative work.
• Facilitated a series of workshops for governmental and civil society representatives from five East European countries on key problems in majority/minority relations and wrote published reports of the outcomes.
Strategic planning and meeting facilitation
• Facilitated strategic planning processes, retreats, and meetings for: Conciliation Resources; Center for Justice and Peacebuilding; Consortium Initiative on Nagorny-Karabakh; EMU School of Graduate Studies; EMU Enrollment Department; Free Tibet Campaign; Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict; Haiti Advocacy Working Group; Saferworld; Jackson Mississippi Public Schools Restorative Justice Initiative; PLATFORM London.
TRAINING IN PEACEBUILDING, GOVERNMENT TRANSITION AND ADVOCACY
• Designed and delivered numerous bespoke training courses on peacemaking and peace processes for groups ranging from the UK government’s conflict adviser cadre, to members of armed insurgency groups, to civil society ‘insider partial’ peacemakers.
• Designed and facilitated training seminars for diplomats and UN officials on conflict resolution and negotiation skills and wrote training manual to accompany the course.
• Designed & delivered a series of trainings for three cohorts of deliberative dialogue process designers and facilitators in Myanmar/Burma to support the peace process and other socio-political change (2014-2017).
• Developed and delivered trainings and training-of-trainers courses on governance transition processes and roles of legislature for new ethnic politicians and civil society activists in Myanmar/Burma.
• Developed and delivered annual module on reconciliation and transitional justice for Responding To Conflict.
• Delivered a series of training seminars on strategies for public participation in peacemaking, including for the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs and for Sri Lankan officials and civic leaders; gave talks on this theme for various audiences in London, New York, Washington and Yerevan.
• Taught EU specialization course on conflict transformation at Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution
• Advised a group of Dutch Malukans on possible roles of diaspora communities in conflict and peacebuilding.
• Designed and facilitated a range of training seminars for minority rights activists on human rights and advocacy, including tailored courses for advocacy at both the UN Human Rights Commission and at the Council of Europe.
• Conducted a series of seminars to train teachers, students and community activists in communication, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills.
• Advised the European Union in its support for the emerging peace process in Myanmar and the concept of its funding for development of institutions to support the process, 2012.
• Served as strategic adviser to the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)–2003-2005
• Conducted a review of Conciliation Resources’ Accord program, which led to the development of a new strategic direction for the program and a detailed ‘business-plan’ for achieving it.
• Developed and implemented a three-year program for Minority Rights Group to promote minority rights and cooperation between communities in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Poland and Slovakia.
• Served as an expert adviser to the PEER project of the European Network Against Racism to develop empowerment projects for community organizations fighting discrimination throughout Europe
INDEPENDENT EVALUATION, STRATEGIC REVIEWS AND FIELD STUDIES
• Strategic Advisor and Reviewer for the Consortium Initiative on Nagorny-Karabakh – 2005-2007
• Conducted evaluation reviews of Conciliation Resources’ 5-year peacebuilding program in Georgia/Abkhazia; of International Alert’s peacebuilding program in Georgia/Abkhazia; and of Saferworld’s work in the Western Balkans
• Conducted evaluation research for CHF’s ‘Stable Society Study’ on the impact of participatory community development on conflict in Southern Serbia.
POLICY ADVOCACY AND AWARENESS RAISING
• Policy adviser for Conciliation Resources, responsible for researching and formulating its policy advocacy strategy, drafting policy analysis and materials, and delivering results on its policy change goals—from 2006-2010.
• Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict: Facilitated and drafted the development of the Global Action Agenda, prepared submissions for various UN reports, represented GPPAC at UN General Assembly Hearings in advance of the Millennium Declaration Review Summit, lobbied UN officials and government representatives on key GPPAC goals, helped to catalyze the ‘Group of Friends for Conflict Prevention’ involving almost 40 missions.
• Prepared submissions and represented Minority Rights Group International in international fora (UN, OSCE, Council of Europe) and conferences to raise awareness of specific minority rights issues.
• Experienced in consulting with senior government and inter-governmental officials, civil society leaders, community activists and researchers on a diverse range of conflict, human rights, and policy concerns.
• Provided informal consultation on dynamics of peace processes and specific conflict situations with intermediaries, policy advisors, and activists responsible for developing peacebuilding strategies.
ACADEMIC TEACHING AND COURSE DEVELOPMENT
• Eastern Mennonite University, developed and taught classes on war-to-peace transitions, peace processes, public policy, group facilitation, advanced practice skills, foundations for justice and peacebuilding, and conflict analysis for masters degree students.
• UN University of Peace: taught graduate class on conflict analysis, peace processes, negotiation and mediation.
• Europa-Universität Viadrina: developed and wrote an online master degree class on international conflict management.
• Applied Conflict Transformation Studies: advised Responding to Conflict in the development of this international distance-learning graduate program and authored core readers..
• EASTERN MENNONITE UNIVERSITY, Associate Professor Strategic Peacebuilding and Public Policy, Aug 2011-Present (ongoing)
• INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT, working for NGOs, inter-governmental organizations and governments on strategies and processes for conflict transformation and positive change, from January 2002 (ongoing)
• HOPE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY – MYANMAR, Adviser, January 2010-February 2011.
• CONCILIATION RESOURCES, Accord Programme Manager / Series Editor, May 2000–Jan 2002, London
• MINORITY RIGHTS GROUP INTERNATIONAL (MRG), Programme Co-ordinator for Europe/FSU/ Americas, Nov 1995–Oct 1998, London
• INSTITUTE OF WORLD AFFAIRS, Program Associate, Jan 1994–Oct 1995, Washington, DC
• JOHN C. NEWMAN, P.C., Legal Assistant, Oct 1992–Jan 1994, Washington, DC
• MENTAL HEALTH LAW PROJECT, Children’s SSI Campaign Assistant, Washington, DC
• SENECA COMMUNITY BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CENTER, Regional Youth Specialist and Adolescent Therapist, May 1989–Oct 1990, Lewisburg, West Virginia
• FAMILY REFUGE CENTER, Program Coordinator, June 1987–Aug 1988, Lewisburg, West Virginia
• OHIO PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP, Peace and Social Justice Coordinator, Sept 1983-June 1985
Barry Hart is a professor of Trauma, Identity and Conflict Studies in the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. Dr. Hart has conducted workshops on psychosocial trauma recovery and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Burundi and among Rwandan refugees in Tanzania. Hart has lived and worked in the Balkans where he developed and led trauma and conflict transformation programs for schools, communities and religious leaders. Barry was engaged in a three year peacebuilding institute and curriculum development project between EMU and the University of Hargeisa in Somaliland (2008-2011). He holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR), George Mason University.
Rhodes is associate professor of peacebuilding and conflict studies. She chairs the department of Applied Social Sciences and coordinates the Peacebuilding and Development undergraduate major. She teaches graduate and undergraduate peacebuilding courses including conflict analysis, peacebuilding theory and practice and the integration of these. She anchors the core MA in conflict transformation course, Foundations for Justice and Peacebuilding I.
She has taught and held various administrative positions at Eastern Mennonite University since 1988. She has led undergraduate cross cultural study seminars to Ireland and Northern Ireland, Russia, South Korea and the Navajo Nation. She served as Administrative Director of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (1996-1999).
Rhodes holds a Ph.D. from George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Her dissertation research compared conflict transformation and conflict resolution definitions and whether there are differences in practice between these two schools of thought. Additional research and teaching interests include evaluation and assessment of personal competencies in conflict transformation/resolution practice; conflict analysis, integration of conceptual and practical knowledge in peacebuilding; peacebuilding pedagogy, and cross-cultural education.
Timothy Seidel teaches courses on politics, development, and peacebuilding in the Department of Applied Social Sciences and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. He also serves as director for the Center for Interfaith Engagement (CIE), a center that promotes collaboration among scholars and practitioners to promote a more just and peaceful world through interreligious and intercultural understanding. Seidel has worked in various development and peacebuilding contexts in North America and the Middle East, including serving for several years with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), first as peace development worker in Palestine-Israel and then as director for Peace and Justice Ministries in the U.S. Seidel previously taught at American University and Lancaster Theological Seminary. He holds a PhD from the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC.
Carl Stauffer was born and raised amidst the war in Vietnam. In 1975, his family fled Vietnam and moved to the Philippines just as the Marcos regime was beginning to crumble. After completing his university education in 1985, Stauffer worked in the Criminal Justice and Substance Abuse fields. In 1988, he was ordained to the ministry and joined an urban, inter-racial church plant and community development project in the inner-city of Richmond, Virginia. In 1991, Stauffer became the first Executive Director of the Capital Area Victim-Offender Mediation Program in Richmond.
In 1994, Stauffer and his family moved to South Africa under the auspices of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a faith-based international relief and development agency. In South Africa, Stauffer worked with various transitional processes such as the Peace Accords, Community-Police Forums, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Local Community Development structures. From 2000 to 2009, Stauffer was appointed as the MCC Regional Peace Adviser for the Southern Africa region. His work has taken him to twenty African countries and ten other countries in the Caribbean, Middle East, Europe, and the Balkans.
Stauffer’s academic interests focus on narratology, transitional justice, and post-war reconstruction and reconciliation. His research concentrates on the critique of transitional justice from a restorative frame, and the application of hybrid, parallel indigenous justice systems.
Stauffer is married to Dr. Carolyn Stauffer who teaches Sociology at EMU, and is the proud father of two adult children. He enjoys worship, the Arts, nature, a good dose of humor and cruising on his motorcycle.
Johonna Turner is Assistant Professor of Restorative Justice and Peacebuilding at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. For over 15 years, she has worked as part of arts collectives, community organizing coalitions, and other social movement organizations to develop youth leadership, empower disenfranchised people, and cultivate transformational approaches to safety and justice. A thoroughly interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Turner received post-graduate training in U.S. cultural studies, women’s studies, and biblical theology/urban ministry. Her areas of scholarship, practice and teaching include restorative and transformative justice, youth leadership development and organizing, formation for peacebuilders, faith-rooted peacebuilding, and critical race feminism.
Dr. Turner is an innovative educator with experience teaching a wide range of learners in a variety of settings. As an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, she taught undergraduate courses in the departments of American Studies and African-American Studies, as well as the Burns Academy of Leadership. During her tenure with the District of Columbia Public Schools, she served as an afterschool program coordinator for 9th-12 grade students, high school special education English teacher, elementary reading interventionist, and school-wide instructional leader. She has also facilitated classes, workshops, and trainings with institutions ranging from D.C.’s Latin American Youth Center to the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church.
Professor Turner is a former Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow with the Open Society Institute. She is married to the love of her life, Julian Turner.
Widely known as “the grandfather of restorative justice,” Zehr began as a practitioner and theorist in restorative justice in the late 1970s at the foundational stage of the field. He has led hundreds of events in more than 25 countries and 35 states, including trainings and consultations on restorative justice, victim-offender conferencing, judicial reform, and other criminal justice matters. His impact has been especially significant in the United States, Brazil, Japan, Jamaica, Northern Ireland, Britain, the Ukraine, and New Zealand, a country that has restructured its juvenile justice system into a family-focused, restorative approach.
A prolific writer and editor, speaker, educator, and photojournalist, Zehr actively mentors other leaders in the field. More than 1,000 people have taken Zehr-taught courses and intensive workshops in restorative justice, many of whom lead their own restorative justice-focused organizations.
Zehr was an early advocate of making the needs of victims central to the practice of restorative justice. A core theme in his work is respect for the dignity of all peoples.
From 2008-2011 he served on the Victims Advisory Group of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. He serves on various other advisory boards.
In 2013, Zehr stepped away from active classroom teaching and became co-director, with Dr. Carl Stauffer, of the new Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice.
More complete vitae may be found on this page
J. Daryl Byler graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1988 and has 25 years of diverse peacebuilding experience.
- From 1988 to 1994 he served as a staff attorney with East Mississippi Legal Services, focusing on consumer, public benefits, housing and election law cases. During this same period he was pastor of Jubilee Mennonite Church in Meridian, Miss.
- From 1994 until 2007, Byler served as director of Mennonite Central Committee’s Washington Office, advocating on issues related to U.S. militarism and Middle East policy.
- From 2007 until 2013, he lived in Amman, Jordan, serving as a regional representative for Mennonite Central Committee. In this capacity he worked with local NGO partners in Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Israel-Palestine on a variety of humanitarian assistance, development and peacebuilding projects.
Byler was a member of Mennonite Church USA Executive Board from 2003-2007 and served as an Advisory Committee for the Academy of Educational Development’s New Voices program for many years.
Byler has been married to Cynthia Lehman Byler since 1981. They have three adult children and three grandchildren.
Jayne Seminare Docherty is a professor of leadership and public policy at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. She has also taught at George Mason University and Columbia College (South Carolina). Professor Docherty earned her Ph.D. at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University and she holds an undergraduate degree in religious studies and political science from Brown University. She also studied theology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Professor Docherty consults with organizations and communities in transition, working with them to harness the positive energy of conflict and minimize its negative effects. Her current area of focus for research, writing and practice is improving the use of negotiation in unstable situations so that the results yield durable but flexible systems for creating long-term and sustainable peace with justice. She has also conducted research – especially action research projects – for nonprofit organizations; consulted on designing, monitoring and evaluating projects and programs; worked with universities on curriculum development; and conducted trainings on conflict analysis, negotiation, and program design.
Professor Docherty is an invited participant in a three-year project to develop new approaches to negotiation training that reflect current research findings and field experiences. Details on the project can be found at Developing ‘Second Generation’ Global Negotiation Education.
From 2007-2010, she worked with The Institute for Peace and Justice Education at Lebanese American University to develop and institutionalize a summer peacebuilding training program for young leaders interested in building peace in Lebanon.
Professor Docherty is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Peace Appeal Foundation an organization that “supports peace and conflict resolution processes globally through inclusive, multi-track and multi-sector interventions designed to achieve agreed, fair and just outcomes.” She is also a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution where she served as Chair of the Research Section (2004-2007), the International Peace Research Association where she has served on the Council (2006-2008), and the International Studies Association (ISA).
Professor Docherty’s work is deeply influenced by Catholic teachings on peace and social justice. She worships at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Harrisonburg.
The daughter of a career military officer, Professor Docherty has served as a consultant with the 3D Security Initiative. She has a strong interest in forging a peace movement that takes the issue of security seriously and that includes the voices of active and retired military personnel. She was involved in the early efforts to adapt the Seminars for Trauma Awareness and Resilience program for use with communities that are welcoming soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, a project that helped lay the foundation for the Transforming the Wounds of War program.
Professor Docherty is the author of two books:
• Learning Lessons from Waco: When the Parties Bring Their Gods to the Negotiation Table (Syracuse University Press)
• The Little Book of Strategic Negotiation: Negotiating During Turbulent Times (Good Books)
Her papers on negotiating difficult conflicts in unstable settings have been published in Venturing Beyond the Classroom, The Negotiator’s Fieldbook: The Desk Reference for the Experienced Negotiator, Terrorism and Political Violence, Nova Religio, and the Marquette Law Review. Professor Docherty’s work on culture and negotiation has been incorporated into three different textbooks used in law schools around the country.
For the past fourteen years, Bill Goldberg has worked in various capacities for the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. He is currently the Director of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute. Bill holds a Masters degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University.
Chris is a multipotentialite, with a background in Behavioral Science and Education. Following her time as a public school teacher, she lived in Palestine for three years doing advocacy work through Mennonite Central Committee. She serves as a Spiritual Director and a Reiki Practitioner as a way of accompany others in the deep work of healing and being present to life. Chris is also a graduate of Lancaster Theological Seminary, where she focused on biblical studies, while gaining experience in church leadership in the Mennonite context. Chris has hung several art shows, depicting her experience of faith and the world. When she’s not working, Chris spends her time playing with her family, walking in the woods, refurbishing furniture, or talking and laughing with friends.
Katie Mansfield is the Director of the Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) program within Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.
Before joining STAR, Katie worked with Mennonite Central Committee Kenya for three years as peacebuilding coordinator. Previously she was an apprentice with John Paul Lederach at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute, researching, writing, planning and network building with initiatives in Colombia, Argentina, Thailand and Nepal and linking Kroc’s alumni network. She also worked with CDA Collaborative Learning Projects’ Listening Project and engaged in peace education work in Davao (Mindanao), Boston, and Delhi. Prior to working in peacebuilding, she worked for eight years with a major multi-national bank in New York and London.
Katie is a PhD candidate in Expressive Arts and Conflict Transformation with the European Graduate School in Switzerland. She completed her M.A. in International Peace Studies (Kroc Institute) in 2008 and her AB in History at Harvard University in 1996. She has also completed teacher trainings in yoga and healing dance.
Lindsay Martin grew up in Harrisonburg and then in Salem, Oregon, returning to Harrisonburg to attend EMU and graduating in the Class of 2005. After college, she spent two years in Mennonite Voluntary Service in San Francisco, and then attended law school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Her focus in law school was on civil rights and indigent criminal defense, and she spent a year clerking in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for a federal district judge.
In 2012 Lindsay returned to Harrisonburg to work at EMU’s Center for Justice & Peacebuilding, as Assistant to the Executive Director and Program Coordinator for the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice. In 2015 she began her current role as Associate Director of Development for the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. Lindsay visits with alumni and stakeholders across the country who are interested in the work of CJP.
As of 2017, Lindsay also relates to EMU alumni and stakeholders in her favorite region of the country, the Pacific Northwest.
Lindsay lives in Harrisonburg with her husband, Nathan Musselman, their sweet new son, Fox, and their delightful puppy, Maggie. She enjoys vegan cooking, gardening, hiking and sci fi.
Janelle Myers-Benner completed undergraduate studies in justice, peace and conflict studies, with minors in Spanish and psychology, at EMU in April 2001. She began working part-time at CJP in 1999 while finishing her B.A. degree. Prior to that she spent time in Immokalee, Florida and Santa Cruz, Bolivia serving as a volunteer.
She lives with her family on their 6 acre homestead (Tangly Woods) in Keezletown, where they are in the never-ending and very fulfilling process of designing and enacting the permaculture plan for their property. When she is not in the office, she can probably be found in one of their gardens or in the kitchen working on some food preparation/preservation project.
Christen comes to CJP after many years working in the environmental non-profit sector where she helped support collaborative, regional efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, worked on educational publications around issues of food, farming and climate issues, and honed her skills as an organizer and connector of people, ideas and information.
Christen loves spending time in her garden growing as many vegetables, herbs and flowers as possible. She also enjoys long, lingering meals with friends, being outside, and experimenting with all manner of food projects. She is excited to be collaborating with several families within the refugee community in Harrisonburg on some farming initiatives. She believes deeply in the need for a redistribution of access when it comes to land and food, and that all people have the right to land for their sustenance, healing and health.
Christen received her B.A. in International Development from UC Berkeley, where she focused on the history of the Middle East and the ways in which neo-colonialism continues to shape international aid and development policy the world over. She is excited to support the work of conflict transformation and peace-building through her role as Program Associate for Admissions with CJP.
Prior to coming to CJP, Kathy Smith spent 18 years managing the funds transfer and cash management operations for the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.
Diana Tovar is a Colombian political scientist, conflict analyst, and reflective peacebuilder practitioner. She has studied human rights, international humanitarian law, dialogical, transitional and restorative justice processes.
In 2012, she coordinated a S-CAR Field Experience project in Soacha, Colombia, where participants analyzed the transitional justice process, in particular the Victims’ Law. Then, interned with the Juvenile Probation Department in Chicago, Illinois, were she discovered how restorative justice processes, in particular circles, re-story and restore lives of adolescents. From 2013-2015, worked for UNICEF Colombia assisting the elaboration process of their new Country Program’s theory of change and resource mobilization strategies for the programmatic areas.
Currently Diana is contributing to strengthen our alumni network(s) to increase the impact of our work as CJP’s Peacebuilding Network Coordinator.
After growing up in Elkhart, Indiana, and Nairobi, Kenya, Alena was attracted to the international ethos that she found in the EMU community. She chose to attend EMU for her undergraduate degree, where she was able to spend a semester travelling and learning in the Middle East. She earned a BA in history with minors in gender studies and English in 2016.