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Ami Carpenter: Advocate, Changemaker and Professor

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

For Professor Ami Carpenter conflict resolution is more than her job, it’s her ethos. Each semester, Ami stands in front of groups of students and teaches about the nuances of resolution. It’s a topic that is not typically taught — in schools or in families — and Ami’s family was no different.

“I grew up in a family where there was a lot of conflict and in many ways, I think that lead me down this path. Growing up, I was never good at conflict. I would shy away from it, as most of us do, because I didn’t know any better…most people are drawn to this field because of something they’ve experienced in their life, and I was no exception,” Ami explains. 

Even though Ami spends a lot of her time teaching in the classroom and even classifies it as her “favorite” part of the job, she also helps compile groundbreaking research in her field. This past year, in collaboration with Dr. Jamie Gates from Point Loma Nazarene University and the National Institute of Justice, Ami worked on a study called Measuring the Nature and Extent of Gang Involvement in Sex Trafficking in San Diego.

The research focused narrowly on one of the most understudied aspects of human trafficking in the United States: the relationship of street gangs as facilitators of sex trafficking. They gathered and analyzed data from hundreds of current and former gang affiliated individuals, schools, law enforcement agencies, and victim service providers. In all, data was collected from 1,205 individuals, making it one of the largest, most comprehensive human trafficking case studies in the United States to date and it ultimately resulted in a government grant to help fix the lack of resources for survivors in San Diego County.

The changes that come about as a result of her research are especially important to Ami. “I don’t want my research to end up as a book on a shelf. I want it to be able to help create positive change.”


— Taylor Milam

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies


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