School of Peace Studies
Contact: Marisa Alioto
Phone: (619) 260-7929
Fax: (619) 849-8109
Location: KIPJ Room 113
Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
Students and Alumni
Class of 2014
Marilyn Brimo is most recently from Portland, Ore., but was born and raised in California. An alumna of Portland State University (PSU), Brimo holds bachelor’s degrees in speech communication and anthropology and her M.S. work is in speech communication. After working as a graduate teaching assistant at PSU, she started teaching communication studies in community colleges, including as an adjunct faculty member at Mt. Hood Community College for 15 years. She teaches courses in intercultural communication and public speaking, and co-created and taught an interdisciplinary peace and conflict seminar. Brimo is an avid traveler, speaks French and is learning Arabic. In the master’s program, she will concentrate on developing and expanding courses and curricula in peace education, intercultural communication and conflict, and human rights.
Christina Burhans was born and raised in San Diego and graduated from National University in 2012 with a B.A. in global studies and a minor in Arabic culture and history. She is certified as a Terrorism and Homeland Security Specialist, and is a California Peace Officer Standards and Training Master Instructor. For 18 years Burhans has been a police officer in San Diego, working to address criminal problems facing our local communities. Her most memorable experiences involve her efforts to improve community-police relations with the local Somali diaspora population. In her undergraduate project, “Establishing Trust and Partnerships among Public Safety Officers and Somali Refugees,” she used forward-thinking police strategies to develop cooperation between the police and Somali diaspora communities. Burhans is also a columnist for a local newspaper where she provides the Muslim community a forum to ask questions, share concerns or simply offer suggestions on public safety.
Jenny Calvert is a Northern California native, and graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2009 with a B.A. in religion and minors in peace and conflict studies and natural sciences. Her encounters with peace activists while on a delegation to Israel and Palestine sparked her interest in peace issues. She was a founding member of RAYSE, a campus awareness organization that supported youth empowerment through the arts in Uganda, and helped coordinate USC’s first Alternative Spring Break trip to Africa. After college, Calvert taught dance and English lessons at RAYSE’s sister organization, Amagezi Gemaanyi Youth Association, in Kampala, Uganda. She has continued her work with youth in recent years through teaching, tutoring and counseling students through the college admissions process. Calvert is interested in post-conflict peacebuilding, interreligious dialogue and public policy.
Marta Cicálková was born in the Czech Republic. In July 2013 she graduated from the University of Aberdeen (United Kingdom) with a first-class bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and international relations. As part of her undergraduate studies she spent one year at the University of New Mexico. Her dissertation discussed identity and interests of guerrilla movements in Colombia, Guatemala and Peru as being produced by the structural ideational division of the Cold War. Cicálková has repeatedly volunteered in Taizé, an ecumenical community based in France which works toward reconciliation between religions. She spent the summer of 2013 volunteering in a low-income neighborhood of Barranquilla, Colombia. In the master’s program she will pursue a detailed study of post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction in Central and South America.
Dramane Coulibaly is from Korhogo in the northern part of Cote d’Ivoire, but was born and raised in the capital of Abidjan. He taught English for 10 years and received a master’s degree in English from the University of Abidjan in 2005. In 2004, Coulibaly joined the United Nations Operation in Cote d’Ivoire, which is focused on peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and worked there for nine years. He is fluent in Dioula, French and English, and brings extensive fieldwork experience to the master’s program. He plans to return to his country to contribute to peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts.
Janie Dumbleton grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and received a B.A. in English and Religion from the University of Georgia in 2011. While studying English, she emphasized in Multicultural American Literature providing her with a greater understanding of modern cultural issues and analytical understanding of the lived experiences of marginalized or oppressed voices in literature. She studied Islam, Arabic, and Intercultural dialogue in Morocco, which ignited her passion for inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, pertaining specifically to religious-based conflict and analysis. Her interest for social justice within marginalized communities as it applies to peace and justice was further fostered during her time in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps where she served as a teacher in Harlem, New York City. The Jesuit Volunteer Corps taught her the integral pieces of education, community, and social justice within peacebuilding and conflict analysis.
Kacie Forker was born and raised on Long Island, N.Y. In 2013 she received her B.A. in interdisciplinary humanities from the University of San Diego, with an emphasis in philosophy and a minor in peace and justice studies. Forker graduated with departmental honors and from the university’s Honors Program, and during her time at USD was selected to attend Oxford University as a Blackfriars Scholar, where she studied philosophy and theology. Forker has served as USD president of Invisible Children, as a mentor and student tutor in low-income neighborhoods in San Diego, and as an intern for the New York Immigration Coalition. She completed her senior honors thesis on the reevaluation of the terms “crimes against humanity” and “acts of genocide” in international policy and law to prevent the acts and better protect victims. After she completes the master’s program, she hopes to continue her education in law school and develop international policy to better address these ongoing issues throughout the world.
Steve Garber is a native of San Diego, holds a B.A. in Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz (1980) and is the owner of a plumbing, steam and sauna business. As a result of teaching Aikido (a Japanese martial art), practicing Rinzai Zen Meditation, and reading numerous books on non-violent conflict resolution, Garber founded the Wisdom, Mediation and Dialogue (WMD) Foundation in 2008. Through this foundation, he has met and discussed with Archbishop Desmund Tutu the importance of post-conflict apologies, conducted conflict management workshops with international and domestic students, and continues to seek effective ways to reduce suffering through healing and reconciliation.
Paige Goodlett was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina and received her B.A. in Peace, War & Defense and Political Science with a minor in Italian from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2012. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she developed a heightened interest in peace-building efforts and humanitarian intervention – particularly in cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing - and wrote her Honor’s Thesis on the development of Istrian identity in Croatia. Moreover, Paige spent six months living in Bologna, Italy during her junior year studying politics, literature and Italian and travelled to a number of countries throughout Europe and North Africa. Upon graduating in the spring of 2012, Paige returned to Italy for several months to gain experience working on organic farms, and in February of 2013 she moved to Boston to pursue an internship with the Boston Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights. Through her work on women’s empowerment and security issues in South Asia, she unearthed a newfound and burning passion for advancing the field of gender, security and development. Through the Peace Studies Master’s program at USD, Paige plans to dive deeper into these issues and hopes to become an advocate for women’s rights and empowerment in developing countries, and is additionally interested in exploring how these issues intersect with sustainable development. Paige speaks Italian and Spanish and when not in the classroom can be found on her yoga mat or running on the beach.
Riana Hardin is from Encinitas, Calif. She received her bachelor’s degree in human communications, with an emphasis in peace studies and a minor in Spanish, from California State University, Monterey Bay in 2011. During her undergraduate career, Hardin worked on projects devoted to promoting alternatives to incarceration of youth. Additionally, she formed S.A.D.E. (Student Awareness for Disability Empowerment), a disability culture awareness group. After graduating, she completed a policy internship with the American Civil Liberties Union, continuing research related to alternative education and English Language Learner programs and increasing civic engagement among the next generation of policymakers. Hardin is also pursuing a certificate in fundraising and development through the University of California, San Diego, in order to increase her understanding of the financial needs of the nonprofit sector. In order to put theory to practice, she interned with the National Conflict Resolution Center’s Fund Development Department. Hardin also volunteers with Scripps Hospital in their Brain Injury Day Treatment Program, where she is conducting research related to the benefits of peer mentorship in the rehabilitation process. During her time in the master’s program, Hardin hopes to enhance her perception of transitional justice and grassroots healing mechanisms and actors in the face of mass atrocities, and will specialize in human rights and conflict analysis and resolution.
Muhammad Aslam Khan Kakar is a Fulbright scholar from the small village of Pishin, in Balochistan, Pakistan. He holds a B.A. in political science from Government College University Lahore, where he completed his studies on a fully funded federal scholarship from the Higher Education Commission. As a Global Undergraduate Exchange student through the U.S. State Department in 2011, Khan had the opportunity to study aspects of American politics at the University of Nebraska, Kearney. He is a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and the Institute for Peace and Secular Studies, aimed at defending religious freedom and security of human rights in his country. A committee member of the HRCP, Khan had the responsibility of uncovering evidence of hate literature in the Pakistani national educational curriculum. He is also the founder and president of Institute for Development, Education and Advocacy, a nonprofit organization which seeks to encourage social development in Pakistan through education and human rights advocacy. Khan is a writer, and through his short stories he explores pressing cultural, social and political issues.
Ignatius Kipchirchir is a Catholic priest from Eldoret Diocese in Kenya. He is from Nandi County, in the Rift Valley province of Kenya. He went to Mother of Apostles Seminary for his secondary education and holds a B.A. in philosophy from Catholic University of Eastern Africa and a B.A. in sacred theology from Pontifical Urbaniana University. Kipchirchir has worked with the Justice and Peace Department of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret; Peacenet-Kenya, a nongovernmental organization; and the Nandi County Peace Committee. He first became involved in peacebuilding in 2008, after the post-election violence in his country and while he was a seminarian. He worked with internally displaced persons in camps in Eldoret, promoting peace and reconciliation among different tribes. In the master’s program he will specialize in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. Kipchirchir speaks Nandi, Swahili and English.
Becca Mathias was born and raised in Nashville, Tenn., and graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2011 with a B.A. in anthropology and French and a minor in music. She spent a semester abroad in Senegal with the School for International Training, studying with local musicians and later completing an honors thesis in anthropology on the evolution of traditional West African music and its incorporation into modern forms. After graduation, her love of travel and people took her across the United States on two wheels with 4K for Cancer, a nonprofit that fundraises and inspires by organizing groups to cycle through cancer-affected communities. Mathias’ interests lie in human rights and the role of women in development.
Jean Mendieta was born and raised in Acapulco, Mexico. She holds a B.A. in business administration from Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (Iteso), in Guadalajara, Mexico. As an undergraduate she spent a semester in France at Universite Paul Valery Montpellier III. At Fundacion Leon XIII, she was responsible for the development of a fair trade project that worked with women artisans from indigenous communities in Chiapas. Mendieta has been actively involved in peacebuilding efforts in her hometown, specifically in the areas of social dialogue and education. She is part of Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad and Acapulco por la Paz. In the master’s program Mendieta will focus on peacebuilding and conflict analysis and transformation, and plans to continue her studies in public policy for peace and development. She speaks Spanish, English and French.
Lt. Cmdr. Aaron Miller is a Southern California native and completed his B.A. in religion at Vanguard University in 1996. After graduation he served as a Sheriff Special Officer with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, working in the Orange County jail system. He then returned to academia and received his master of divinity in pastoral counseling from Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology in 2001. He was ordained by the Evangelical Church Alliance and Calvary Chapel and reported for active duty with the United States Navy as a Chaplain. His assignments have included staff chaplain at Naval Station Norfolk, battalion chaplain with the 1st Marine Division (with a combat deployment to Iraq in 2005), command chaplain at Naval Hospital Guam and deputy command chaplain at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May. Chaplain Miller earned an M.A. in psychology from Northcentral University in 2011 and is a graduate of the Air Force Command and Staff College, earning a diploma in Joint Professional Military Education in 2012.
Annette Natalia Moreno is a San Diego native. She earned her B. A. in intercultural studies, with a minor in biblical studies and a teaching credential in fundamental TESOL (Teachers of English to Students of Other Languages) from Biola University, and specialized in international business at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Fluent in English and Spanish, Moreno has helped foster cross-cultural communication by working with international students in language learning. She has served as a co-director for Acting for Others, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., that works to engage underprivileged children in the production of theatrical performances. In the master’s program she will specialize in human rights advocacy and humanitarian aid.
Christina Murphy grew up in Columbus, Ohio and received her B.A. in peace studies and French from Goucher College in Baltimore, Md., in 2012. As an undergraduate student, Murphy worked with Baltimore City schoolchildren on non-violent communication skills and became involved in anti-genocide activism as a founder of Goucher’s STAND chapter. She has worked with refugee resettlement and immigrant groups in France and the United States, most recently in the Baltimore office of the International Rescue Committee. Murphy is fluent in French. In the master’s program she will focus on human rights and conflict analysis.
Andy Paul is a San Diego native and holds a B.A. in anthropology and human geography, and a certificate in peace and conflict studies, from the University of Colorado. His studies focused on contemporary migration and border-related conflict, specifically in South Asia. After interning at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice in 2011, he volunteered at the Chhahari Youth Hostel orphanage in Kathmandu, Nepal, consulted with Youth Foundation Nepal, and investigated the reintegration of Maoist combatants into Nepali society. Paul has taught ESL courses to Iraqi refugees through the International Rescue Committee in San Diego, and recently traveled to northern Jordan and Egypt, where he met with different communities impacted by conflict and social movements. He is a Leave No Trace Master Educator and instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School, where he teaches environmental education and leadership. Paul is fluent in Spanish. In the master’s program he will focus on international development.
Lindsey Rosenbaum was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2012 with a B.A. in legal studies and a minor in religious studies. After graduation, Rosenbaum joined the Miami chapter of AmeriCorps’ Public Allies program, and worked with underserved youth and families in Liberty City with the Miami Children’s Initiative, a nonprofit organization. In the master’s program she will specialize in conflict analysis and resolution.
Jourdan Sanford is from Dallas, Texas and received her bachelor’s degree in international studies, with a concentration in African studies, from Baylor University in 2012. For the past year she has been serving in AmeriCorps VISTA in Oakland, Calif., as community relations coordinator for Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada. The organization is one of the largest nonprofit providers of low-income housing in the United States. In Oakland, Sanford worked specifically with foster youth and ex-offenders. In 2011 she volunteered for two months in Gisenyi, Rwanda, with a local nongovernmental organization called Faith Victory Association, working at the Noel de Nyundo Orphanage, as well as a gender-based violence cooperative and one for women with HIV/AIDS. Sanford is fluent in French and is learning Portuguese.
Lisa Schmidt, a San Diego native, received a B.A. in sociology and a B.A. in psychology, with a minor in Spanish and Portuguese linguistic studies, from the University of Arizona. She studied abroad in Costa Rica at the Universidad Nacional and has done volunteer work in Mexico. Schmidt has participated in and hosted leadership conferences through Rotary International and various other organizations. She spent a year interning at a prosecuting county attorney’s office and helped direct a trial run for a government-funded drug rehabilitation program through Tucson’s Superior Court. In the master’s program Schmidt will specialize in human security and conflict analysis and resolution.
Jayda Shuavarnnasri was born and raised in Anaheim, Calif. In high school she was involved in various philanthropic leadership roles, which led her to a bachelor of science degree in human services from California State University, Fullerton. At CSUF she was active in Chi Sigma Phi Sorority, which promotes empowerment and education among Asian women. She also served on the executive board of the Multi-Cultural Greek Council, which maintains community involvement and cross-cultural relationships among student leaders. Shuavarnnasri has worked with several nonprofit organizations in the Orange County region, such as the after-school program THINK Together, and Olive Crest, which runs group homes for teenage youth. For the last two years she has been a volunteer for Community Service Programs, Inc., serving as a sexual assault advocate for victims of rape or sexual assault. Shuavarnnasri has studied at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, and taught English at the Isara Foundation in Thailand.
Lisa Vander lives in Carlsbad, Calif., and received her B.A. from Westmont College, specializing in sociology, anthropology and biology, and her M.Ed. in counseling in human services from the University of Idaho, where she later worked in drug counseling and child abuse prevention. She previously worked in real estate sales and property development, and launched her own company as an adult educator in investment theory. After the financial crash of 2008, she returned to school to study adult education, workforce development and policy analysis, with a specialization in creativity and innovation. After the master’s program she would like to apply the skills of conflict resolution to the development of economic public policy and to complete her Ph.D. in leadership and policy analysis.
Ali Wolters is from Vista, Calif., and graduated from the University of San Diego with a B.A. in political science and minors in sociology and peace and justice studies. Most recently, Wolters founded Troca, an organization with the mission to foster mutual exchange between communities around the world. The organization was started to assist the flood-affected community in Guijá, Mozambique, where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV). During her service as a PCV, she taught 11th and 12th grade English and co-wrote, managed and successfully implemented three U.S. Embassy-funded projects to improve educational and health opportunities for students in rural Mozambique. Prior to being a PCV, Wolters served as a financial literacy teacher at Alliance for African Assistance, teaching the basics of banking and budgeting to recently arrived refugees from more than 10 different countries. She was an intern at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice in 2008. Wolters plans to continue working with displaced communities, an interest that began with the time she spent studying and living in Uganda.