Faculty and Staff
Tim Ehlinger, PhD
William Collins Kohler Director of Sustainable Peacebuilding
Tim is the W.C. Kohler Director and co-founder of the Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding. He received his doctoral training as an evolutionary ecologist from the Kellogg Biological Station of Michigan State University where his research has explored the complex behavioral and physiological mechanisms that contribute to the ability of populations and communities to adapt to disturbance and changing environments. With an ever-increasing focus on restoration ecology, he studies risk-response relationships between natural and anthropogenic stressors and their impacts on the integrity and resilience of social-ecological systems. His laboratory employs methodologies such as risk propagation and artificial neural networks to examine human-environmental interactions and the implications of policy interventions on ecosystem services, conflict, and environmental health. He is an associate professor of Systems Ecology in the College of Nursing and Center for Global Health Equity.
Bridget Brown, MS Coordinator
Bridget’s education has focused at the intersection of people and natural resources, with a particular emphasis on water resource planning. Prior to joining the MSP in 2012, Bridget interfaced with coastal communities in Oregon on climate change adaptation initiatives (Oregon Sea Grant) and conducted research on transboundary water conflict and cooperation for the World Bank report, Reaching Across the Waters.
As the MSP Coordinator, Bridget works closely with community partners, students, and faculty. For prospective and current students, she is the primary point of contact, mentoring students as they progress through the program and into their careers.
Joanne is an instructor in the Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding program where she teaches in Dispute Resolution, Facilitation, and Leadership Development. She has taught Negotiation to both undergraduate and graduate students at UWM, to law students at Marquette University, and to clients in the Executive Education program. Joanne serves as Lead Mediator and is a co-founder of the Eviction Mediation program in the Milwaukee County Small Claims Court and is working to develop programs earlier in the dispute process to lessen eviction filings. Joanne also provides negotiation and communication skills training for professionals in a variety of settings ranging from healthcare to higher education and from government to the private sector.
Lynne is the newest member of the MSP team. Her research focuses on documenting, analyzing and evaluating how people identify, challenge and transform injustice in their communities. Her goal is to expand knowledge of best practices for equitable and peaceful social systems. As a social scientist, she studies ways that communities and organizations can change from practices of structural or direct violence to supporting inclusive, sustainable, and nonviolent social systems. Lynne will be teaching MSP core courses in research methods, conflict, and environmental peacebuilding.
Lorenzo graduated with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. During his time at Whitewater, Lorenzo worked as one of the campus’ Sustainability assistants. This position allowed for him to bring sustainable projects and programs to the campus, while fueling his passion for sustainability and helping better the environment. His goal is to use his education to further protect the environment and the communities directly affected by climate change. He has experience with community outreach, non-profit networking, and community building through social and environmental activism.
Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Global Security. Her previous work experience includes serving overseas, focusing in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, primarily in the Asia-Pacific. She has also worked as a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and Victim Advocate and has a passion for sexual and domestic violence prevention with an emphasis on marginalized populations. Throughout her time within the MSP program she wants to focus on trauma-informed care within the context of vulnerable populations due to man-made and natural disasters. Christine is newer to the Milwaukee area and looks forward to exploring her new home and community.
Ashely graduated from Alverno College with a major in Art Therapy and minors in Spanish Language and Culture, Elective Studies with a focus on health, and Psychology. She has always had a passion for community efforts, volunteering her time between co-facilitating/facilitating art activities and English as a Second Language classes. She is also passionate about utilizing art to heal, create, and build peaceful relationships and understanding. She looks forward to learning and creating ways in which she can combine Art Therapy and Sustainable Peace efforts to support communities in Wisconsin and abroad.
Anastassia joins the MSP as an AmeriCorps Alumni, having served as a Refugee Life-Skills Coordinator with World Relief and spent time abroad in the Middle East. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies from UW-Milwaukee and an Arabic minor completed through the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship Program. Anastassia is passionate about community resilience, global health, programming and building relationships. She seeks to deepen her peacebuilding practice through the MSP, focusing on systems thinking, facilitation, evaluation, and conflict transformation. She continues the program as an MSP Fellow, working with Catholic Charities on refugee integration and community resilience initiatives.
Monika earned her Bachelor’s degree from Green Mountain College in 2014, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Sustainable Agriculture. Since graduating she has worked in urban planning, and then as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Working with survivors and hearing their incredible stories inspired a strong interest in human resiliency and complexity, and is what ultimately drew Monika towards the MSP program. In her free time, Monika enjoys reading extensively and exploring her new environment in Milwaukee, far different from her native Vermont. Monika comes to the MSP as a Fellow with Groundwork Milwaukee.
Patricia received her Bachelor’s degree from Mount Mary University in International Studies with an Environmental Studies Minor and a Peacebuilding Certificate. Because of her interest in the environment and international affairs, as an undergrad student she was invited to attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women where she was able to work on furthering her understanding of climate change, water sustainability, and how it affects the livelihoods of women and girls. Through the MSP program she is hoping to incorporate conflict transformation with water sustainability within communities to prevent future conflicts as water resource scarcities are exacerbated.
Anne received her B. S. in Human Sciences from the Florida State University in 2002. She has continued to pursue her education of functional human anatomy and bodywork with the additions of a certification in the Pilates Method in 2007 and a Wisconsin Licensed Massage Therapist in 2012. Anne has trained in yoga, dance, meditation, and circus arts. She believes that safe and healthy human touch and movement therapies are key components to healing traumas. She looks forward to exploring how self-care, bodywork, and movement modalities can inform the Peacebuilding process and influence healthier communities.
Victoria joins MSP as a youth educator from Nigeria. She is the Director of OneAfricanChild Foundation for Creative Learning, an organization fostering values of global citizenship education for children in low-income communities in Nigeria. She is also the Youth Representative to the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee, the global coordination mechanism of the SDG-4 at the UN level. Through her position, she participates in consultative meetings; calling on world leaders to increase their commitment to education and stay accountable to their promises. Victoria enjoys connecting with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.
Albert Asiimwe Kabura
Albert graduated with a bachelor of Bio-Medical Laboratory Technology from Makerere University in Uganda. He has worked as a teaching assistant for Hematology and blood transfusion science at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Kisubi. He was also volunteering as a Biology-Chemistry teacher at Lawrence Kaweesi Memorial school, a village community secondary. The love to significantly contribute to the development of the humble community he comes from drove him to yearn for knowledge in areas of sustainable development and peace building.
Jamie comes to the MSP program with a strong background in dance and other forms of movement and has come to appreciate the healing powers of moving the body. She believes that peace can begin with each individual, and that if individuals are able to find peace within their bodies and themselves, they will be more likely to move about and interact with others peacefully in their daily life. Jamie graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS in Dance in 2011 and her passion for studying movement led her to pursue both yoga and Pilates teacher training programs. She has been teaching yoga and Pilates in the Milwaukee area for the past 5 years. Jamie feels strongly about making movement more accessible to all people and is excited and honored to be working as a UWM community fellow with the Next Door Foundation as their Wellness Program Assistant. Jamie is very grateful for the continued support of her loving family and friends as she starts this next chapter with the MSP program.
Abraham Larkoh holds a BSc. and a Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. His undergraduate research focused on the effectiveness of traditional justice mechanisms in promoting justice and good governance in Sierra Leone. Abraham interned at the Republic of Sierra Leone House of Parliament, and participated in the Sierra Leone National Youth Commission and United Nations Development Program (NAYCOM/UNDP) Graduates Internship Program. He has also volunteered as a tutor, youth volunteer and gender focal point officer at the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces Education Center, Wilberforce Barracks in Freetown.
Heather’s professional background includes non-profit sector direct service mental health work as a supervisor, Certified Peer Specialist, trainer and facilitator. She is graduated Cum Laude from UW-Milwaukee with a BA in Anthropology and Certificate in Peace Studies. She has spent the last decade in multiple service related roles and will utilize the Master’s in Sustainable Peacebuilding as a platform for servant leadership with the goal of developing a more conscious and intelligent mental health workforce and system. Heather’s vision is to integrate nonviolence, healing and human rights as the foundation for a transformed system which values a holistic, community based approach to care.
Amy holds a bachelor degree from UWM in Business Administration and Marketing and is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru, 2013-2016). Her work in sustainable community economic development in Peru allowed her to gain perspective on the dynamic difficulties that much of the global population faces when dealing with poverty and social inequities. Amy is entering the MSP as a MIED Fellow (Milwaukee Idea for Economic Development) and will dedicate much of her coursework to KIVA Milwaukee as the Lead for Wisconsin, handling small business loans. She is motivated to continue her work addressing access to economic opportunities and equality for women and marginalized populations. Amy’s passions are travel, languages, cooking Peruvian food, and spending time on the beach.
Katelin joins MSP as a Milwaukee-based artist who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in Painting and Drawing, and minor in French from UW-Milwaukee. As a Korean-adoptee, she explores identity by juxtaposing her self-expression and experiences as a minority, with historic architecture and sculpture. Katelin is inspired by examples of multiculturalism and diversity in her community and works to promote conversations about equal-rights activism and its relation with art history. She believes art transcend disciplines by translating emotions, thoughts, and reactions into something that can be empathized with and expanded on.
Thomas (“TJ”) Nixon is interested in sustainable economic development in Africa, focusing on how markets may provide solutions to social and environmental problems. Most recently he spent summer 2019 doing field work on a feasibility study for an all girls’ school in Togo’s interior. Prior to joining the MSP program in 2018, TJ was with Peace Corps, in Sierra Leone, and later Togo. He was also a project coordinator for the African Education Foundation supervising the building of schools in Togo, as well as an English teacher at the American International School in Lomé, Togo. TJ earned a BA in Evolutionary Biology from Regis University, Denver, Colorado and studied resource management in Brazil and Nicaragua. He is currently an MSP fellow at Catholic Charities serving as the Refugee Community Partnerships Coordinator.
Steven recently retired from the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works Environmental Services and Sanitation Department where he worked in solid waste refuse, recycling, and inclement weather operations for 30 years. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous and American Indian Studies with an emphasis in Sovereignty, from Haskell Indian Nations University. During his undergraduate studies he interned as an eco-ambassador, where part of his job involved the conservation and restoration of the Haskell Wetlands, working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency of Kansas. He also helped restore a recycling program and assisted with the development of both a food recovery program and compost site.
Terri holds a Masters in Business Administration from Loyola University Chicago and has cultivated strategic leadership, project, and people management capabilities in various start-up, small company, and large corporate settings. The ability to take the long view and create organizations so that teams can be successful is one of Terri’s key strengths. Seeking to create common understanding is something that Terri strives for in all of her interactions both locally and abroad. She serves on the Board of Directors of Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative and Peace Learning Center of Milwaukee as well as volunteers with the International Services of the American Red Cross. Terri is excited about where the MSP program will lead her next on her journey to create positive lasting change.
Isimeli is a husband and a father to a 2 year old daughter. He earned his BA in Political Science with an emphasis in Conflict and Peace Studies from Brigham Young University in Hawaii. He co-presented a paper with his colleagues at the University of Otago in NZ titled, Law & Justice in Indigenous Conflict Resolution Methods in the Pacific: A comparative analysis of Conflict Resolution Methods in Hawaii, Samoa and Aotearoa. He has worked as peacebuilding facilitator and as an assistant project officer in the Fiji Islands for The Pacific Center for Peacebuilding, and has volunteered his time with various non-profit organizations in Fiji. He attributes his success and passion to his wife Audrey and daughter Penina.
Elizabeth graduated from the University of Stevens Point in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in dietetics. She soon after altered career paths and in 2015 joined a Catholic Religious order as a Sister in an International community for over two years, loving her studies in philosophy. These experiences and much personal reflection led her to enter her work at the Riverwest Food Pantry in 2018 with a lens of holistic, trauma-informed health and wellness development, a sense of equity and justice for every human life, and a call to listen before acting in a community. She hopes that her work at MSP will allow her to more deeply cultivate this lifestyle of sustainable peace-building and wellness with herself and in collaboration with other entities as they so desire for personal empowerment and a greater quality of life for all involved.
Jeylan hails from Ohio and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2017 with her Doctorate of Pharmacy, Master of Health Information Technology, and Business & Entrepreneurship Certificate. Opportunity brought her to Milwaukee; but coming to her faith, engaging with the community, and pursuing the MSP program have transformed the city into home. Jeylan serves on the United Nations Association-Greater Milwaukee Board as the Young Professionals Chair and volunteers as a pharmacist at various Bread of Healing free medical clinics. She joins MSP as a Project Assistant investigating the effects of racism on public health in Milwaukee. Jeylan looks forward to utilizing her prior education within the MSP program to explore how faith, service, education, engagement, and communication can be leveraged within existing institutions and systems for holistically healthier, peaceful communities.
Matthew is an alumni of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. His educational background is in Global Studies with a track focus on global sustainability. Additionally, Matthew received a second undergraduate degree in Japanese language and a minor in economics. He has experience studying abroad in Japan for an academic year, as well as fieldwork and internship experience in Canada. Given his educational background, Matthew hopes to focus his studies in the MSP program in sustainable organizational and business development. More specifically, planning and implementing long-term sustainable action plans, monitoring efficient resource use and allocation, and monitoring the progress of organizational development goals.
Nikki earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee in International Studies with a focus in International Politics and World Affairs, and a Minor in Political Science. She joins MSP as a military veteran who has worked internationally with civilian, foreign, and government officials. Nikki also spent her career studying civil affairs and intelligence analysis, primarily within the Middle East. It was her work abroad that sparked her interest in international relations and her domestic work that brought interest in conflict prevention. She would like to continue to pursue this passion further through MSP. She looks forward to applying MSP practices to ongoing international issues and expanding her skills and interests further. Nikki is excited to see where the MSP program will lead for her future career.
Jada graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in Sociology, and a minor in Civic Engagement & Responsibility. Throughout her undergraduate career, she focused her studies towards the critical analysis, and research, of social inequality and socio-cultural diversity. Upon graduation, Jada served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (Ukraine) as a Community and Youth Worker. During her service she worked with a Youth & Recreation Center to implement sustainable, youth development programming, and build community and organizational capacity. Jada’s volunteer experience increased her interests in holistic approaches to community development, and she is looking forward to expand and build on those interests in the MSP program.
In addition to core program faculty and staff, MSP has a multi-disciplinary and cross-campus collaborative Advisory Committee.
Anne Dressel, Assistant Professor, Nursing
Garry Davis, Professor and Chair, Historical Linguistics
Heidi Luft, Assistant Professor, Nursing
Jacques Du Plessis, Associate Professor, Information Studies
Dimitri Topitzes, Associate Professor, Social Work
Julie Ellis, Assistant Professor, Nursing
Linnea Laestadius, Assistant Professor, Public Health Policy and Administration
Lucy Mkandawire-Valhmu, Associate Professor, Nursing
Margret Petrie, Assistant Dean of Academics, Freshwater Sciences
Marie Sandy, Associate Professor, Education Policy and Community Studies
W. Warner Wood, Associate Professor, Anthropology