Francesca Romana Armini, '10
Francesca completed her studies in Law at the Torvergata University of Rome in 2009 with a concentration in International Public Law. She served as a law practitioner within Nunziante Magrone International Law Firm in Rome and as an intern at UNIDO Italy. UNIDO seeks to facilitate industrial cooperation between developing and developed countries. Francesca recently obtained a Degree in Spanish Law which allows her to practice in Spain. Francesca has studied French, Spanish, and Arabic. She is currently working in the Finance and Audit Department at Johnson & Johnson Medical of Rome.
Jacques Bertrand, '08
Jacques Bertrand has a background in journalism and political science. He has worked for newspapers, radio and television. He also published his own magazine, promoting aid and business links between Canada and French speaking countries of Africa. He worked with Development and Peace, a Canadian NGO, before joining Caritas Internationalis, in Rome, as Head of its Global Issues Department. He is currently Executive Director of HelpAge Canada, an organization dedicated to older persons in Canada and around the world. One of its programs focuses on the impact of conflicts on older persons. For years one of Jacques’ primary interests has been human development, and he pays special attention to how it is currently being threatened and eroded by the rapid expansion of organized crime everywhere.
Michele Burlot, '12
Michele Burlot has worked in the field of international humanitarian assistance for over a decade, holding positions at the U.S. Agency for International Development, Lutheran World Relief, Doctors Without Borders, and CARE. She has a BA, magna cum laude, in English with a minor in International Studies from St. John's University, a Certificate in Nonprofit Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and a Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Oxford Seminars. A native New Yorker, Michele has travelled to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe with her work; and currently resides in Budapest, Hungary. Michele's thesis concentration was, "Decreasing Violence Against People with Albinism in Tanzania through Community-Based Awareness-Raising and De-Stigmatization Programs."
Maria Ciochina, '10
Maria Ciochina is from Chisinau, Moldova, where she studied Journalism and Communication Sciences at the State University of Moldova. Maria has a background in media and has interned at various radio and TV stations. Serving as a correspondent from Chisinau for ANAT Romania headquarters, her work has contributed to popularizing international tourism in Romania. She has also worked as an interview editor for All Moldova where she collaborated with many political and business leaders. In March 2008 Maria worked at the Romanian Ministry of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in the Department of Tourism Marketing and Promotion. In addition, she is the founder of atiTUdinE, an NGO based in Chişinău that seeks to promote the integration of the EU and the Moldavian youth through culture, the arts and tourism. Maria has worked for Caritas of Rome, the Fondazione Idente di Studi e Ricerca, and is presently on the board of directors at the Romanian Travel Press Club-FIJET. She currently holds the position of assistant to the director at the Rielo Institute for Integral Development where she is working on a project for refugees in North Africa.
Alison Corbacio, '12
Alison Corbacio grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York State. She graduated magna cum laude from New York University with a Bachelor's of Music and a minor in studio art. Alison moved to Florence, Italy after graduation to pursue her study of the Italian language and her exploration of Italian art and culture. Upon return to the US, she held a job as a paralegal at a boutique law firm in downtown Manhattan.
Through her yoga practice, Alison cultivated an interest in social activism and human rights as well as a desire to give back to the country whose spiritual practices enriched her so profoundly: India. She views the M.A. in Global Development and Social Justice as the foundation upon which to build a career focused on authentic human development, international cooperation and global health. Alison has a wide range of interests relating to global development, including water access and water security, the politics of food, agricultural sustainability, and holistic health care. Taking advantage of the mobility of the online M.A. program, Alison learned basic Hindi and traveled to India in 2012 to deepen her research about local water access issues. Alison's thesis was entitled, "Quenching the Thirst of India’s Children: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Participatory Water Resource Management and its Impact on Children’s Health in Rural South Goa."
Njoroge Kamau, '12
Njoroge Kamau is a Technical Advisor in Health at Plan International Inc. Kenya. His duties include reviewing health projects and giving technical input before and during implementation. His focus is also in capacity building of health workers and community members on community based health interventions such as PD-Hearth, Community Led Total Sanitation, Community Based Disease Surveillance, and Primary Health Care. His background is in Public Health and Health Systems Management with a focus on communicable disease control and prevention and disease surveillance in the Eastern Africa Region.
Jenai Mapp-Watson, '12
Jenai Mapp-Watson, born in Barbados, holds a B.S. in Actuarial Science at St. John's University with a minor in Government and Politics. Jenai believes that, “The M.A. in Global Development and Social Justice has proven to be a catalyst in the attempt to move from idea to reality as relating to development projects.” She states, “With the high caliber of instruction, the richness of experience and diversity within our cohort and the support of all faculty and staff, I expect to gain a greater understanding of what it means to be a practical, conscientious citizen of the world.”
Having completed the first year, she is currently preparing for an internship with AJM Enterprises in Barbados; a leading Point-Of-Sale technology service provider. Jenai plans to create a mutual fund comprised of small businesses to further the advancement of the youth and promote cultural preservation. This fund will be treated as a prototype to be implemented in other Caribbean territories, beginning with Jamaica. Last, Jenai plans to create an intensive internship program in information technology for students ages 14-24. Jenai's thesis was entitled, "The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Advancement of Education and Youth Development in the Caribbean Case Studies: Jamaica and Barbados."
Cara McMahon, '09
Cara McMahon, from San Diego, California, is the founder of Solidarity Awareness. She is a freelance consultant and educator on issues of global poverty, diversity and inclusion as well as faith based connections to social justice. Her organization seeks to promote authentic dialogue regarding the needs of people who suffer due to economic or social obstacles. For the past 10 years, Cara has been involved in justice and solidarity education by facilitating dialogues with diverse groups of individuals. She has worked inside classrooms, at both the high school and university levels, and also for community and church groups both domestic and international. Through her organization, she consults universities and international development aid organizations, helping them to develop and refine their approaches to education. Cara holds a B.A. in Sociology and a B.A. in Theological and Religious Studies. She also holds Master’s degrees in both Pastoral Care and Counseling as well as a Master’s in Global Development from St. John’s University. Her research is on the impact of international trade on impoverished communities with particular emphasis on fair trade coffee farmers in Southern Mexico.
Natia Mestvirishvili, ‘12
Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, Natia has a background in psychology and social research. Before enrolling in the M.A. in Global Development and Social Justice at St. John’s University, Natia had worked at World Vision Georgia researching street children in Western Georgia. Her work at World Vision supported her thesis for the M.A. entitled, “Exploring Moral Identities of Street Children through Narrative: Stories from Georgia.” Natia currently holds a position of Regional Research Associate at the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC). Her duties include contributing to CRRC’s regional research projects, coordinating conferences, and international and regional fellowship programs. As an OSI/AFP (Open Society Institute/Academic Fellowship Program) fellow, Natia also teaches several courses in psychology and research methods at Tbilisi State University.
Parvez Mohsin, '12
Parvez Mohsin serves as the Director of St. John's University's Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery. He has a BFA and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and is also an adjunct professor at St. John's University teaching Art Theory and Practices. Mohsin has undertaken many curatorial projects alongside renowned scholars that have garnered national and international acclaim. Additionally, he serves as a visual advisor for St. John's University School of Law’s Carey Center which focuses on conflict resolution through art. Notable exhibitions include: Images from the Atomic Front, Marshall Arisman's-Power Animals, Commissioned Non-Commissioned, From the Inside Out: Feminist Art Then & Now, Darker Shades of Red: Official Soviet Propaganda from the Cold War, Vietnamese Modernism, These are Seven Million Bodies: A Photo Documentary Exhibition on Genocide, The Big Five of Latin American Design, Malleable Medium: Collaborative Masterpieces of Rembrandt, Matisse, Gauguin and Picasso amongst others.
Alyssa G. Monturi, '12
Alyssa G. Monturi is the Assistant to the Director in the Center for Global Development at St. John’s University, where she completed her undergraduate studies in French and Italian. She has volunteered for GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Services), Greenhope Services for Women, HOOP (Helping Overcome Obstacles Peru), and as an undergraduate traveled to Ecuador with a nonprofit organization, 4Frates, to teach English. Alyssa has assisted the Director of the Center for Global Development in the coordination of the following conferences: Overview of the Millennium Villages Project from the Earth Institute, At Risk: A Symposium on Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery, Face to Face Aids Project, The Real Afghan Diaries: Afghan Orphanage Talk with Ian Pounds, and I am not for Sale: Human Trafficking Symposium. Among Alyssa's research interests are women's rights, gender theory, feminist theory, and female reproductive health. Her M.A. thesis was entitled, "A Framework for Approaching Female Reproductive Health in Rural Afghanistan."
Sarah Mundell, '12
Born in Indiana, in the United States, Sarah Mundell holds a B.A. in English with a minor in Journalism at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She spent two years studying in Italy at an international center of the Focolare Movement, and previously worked for the U.S. edition of the movement's magazing Living City. She currently lives in Argentina with the Focolare where she is immersed in a cross-cultural experience which continually widens her vision of how Catholic Social Teaching can contribute to development and social justice. For the past year, she has served as a translator and website administrator for the multi-lingual translating team of the Economy of Communion Project. She contributes to the project's use of IT to increase dialogue among entrepreneurs, scholars, students, and others who seek human-centered solutions to today's economic challenges. Sarah hopes to continue to use her studies and life experience for the service of the human person and towards building reciprocal relationships on all levels. Sarah's thesis was on, "Access to Education in the DR: Community Protagonism as a Sustainable and Person-Centered Model at Café con Leche School in Herrera, Santo Domingo."
Daniela Nita-Gaba, '12
Daniela Nita-Gaba graduated from the University of Bucharest with a double major in Social Work and Psychology and two minors in Social Policy in Public Administration and Clinical Psychology. Throughout the period of her undergraduate study she held various short-term positions in public relations and human resources, until she decided to widen her academic experience with in-depth studies in the field of social work and social development. She recently graduated from a Master’s of Arts in At-Risk Groups and Support Social Services from the University of Bucharest, during which time she collaborated with the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) on the implementation of the BSS study on injecting drug users from the area of Bucharest, Romania. She also worked as a volunteer for several NGO’s in Romania and the US. Daniela's thesis topic for the M.A. in Global Development was "HIV/AIDS Prevention among Injecting Drug Users in Romania."
Daniela believes in the power of social activism and in the synergy between theory and practice, science and art, academic progress and social justice. She describes the M.A. program in Global Development and Social Justice at St. John’s University as a foundational element to achieve her goals. Her experience with the program so far has led her to broaden her vision of a better world and enrich her studies with a global perspective. She is currently preparing for doctoral studies in the field of substance abuse and drug trafficking, with a focus on transnational organized crime and HIV/AIDS prevention among injecting drug users. Her other research interests are mental health, migration and cooperation for development.
Alina Rodríguez -Velasco, '12
Alina Rodríguez-Velasco, born in Manta, Ecuador, currently works at the WTO (World Trade Organization) inGeneva, Switzerland in its Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation. Her focus is in academic cooperation and project management in developing countries. After finishing high school, Alina spent a year in Jericho, Vermont in the United States as an exchange student and later, returned to Ecuador where she completed her B.A. in Applied Languages to Business with a concentration in International Affairs at thePontifical Catholic University. During this time, Alina worked as an intern at the Embassy of Italy in Quito, and later worked for its Cultural Center. She travelled to Bertinoro, Italy to study management at the Centro Universitario di Bertinoro and later enrolled at FLACSO (Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences) to pursue a year long specialization in International Relations.
Alina received an M.A. in Cooperation and Development at the European School of Advanced Studies for Cooperation and Development jointly with the Universita' degli Studi di Pavia where she wrote her thesis on "Trade as alternative goal of development cooperation: the Euro-Latin American partnership in times of economic downturn: a view from the organized civil society.” After completing a six month internship at ALOP (Latin American Network of development organizations) in Brussels, Belgium, Alina enrolled at St. John'sUniversity, where she is currently pursuing the M.A. in Global Development and Social Justice. Alina is an avid runner and she also enjoys water sports, pilates, and playing the violin.
Melissa Snow, '12
Melissa Snow is the Director of the Anti-Trafficking Program for TurnAround, Inc., a non-profit organization providing advocacy and restoration for survivors of sex trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault. This critical program works with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, as well as local and state law enforcement to provide emergency response and ongoing care for survivors to regain their freedom. Additionally, Melissa currently operates as the Chair of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, Victim Services Committee. This coalition engages social service providers and community members from across the state of Maryland to establish a network of care for survivors of human trafficking.
Melissa is the former Director of Programs for Shared Hope International, a non-profit organization providing rescue and restoration to sex trafficking victims. In this role Melissa was responsible for the management, development, and evaluation of nine sex trafficking prevention and restoration projects internationally and in the United States. Recognizing the dearth of awareness on this issue, Melissa designed and developed training materials for first responders and has used those materials to train over 5,000 first responders.
Melissa is a Registered Yoga Teacher and in May 2010 she started the Shanti Warrior Yoga Project, this program empowers survivors of sex trafficking by offering the tool of yoga for holistic healing. This program aims to address trauma stored in the body allowing survivors to fully reclaim and reconnect with their lives. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, wakeboarding, rock climbing and riding her bike. Melissa's thesis was entitled, "From the Brothel to the Block to Backpage: Mapping the History of Sex Trafficking in Baltimore, Maryland to Inform A Strategy for Successful Response."