Chris Hyslop is the Executive Director of the Montana World Affairs Council, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering global awareness and understanding in Montana’s classrooms and communities. Chris began his professional career as a high school teacher. He then served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet state in Central Asia, from 1995-1997. Following his service, he worked with humanitarian organizations and the United Nations around the world in Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Sudan, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Chechnya, the Balkans, China, Liberia, and Eritrea.
Mentoriing Interests: International, multilateral, diplomacy, humanitarian, development, United Nations, conflict resolution, peacemaking, Peace Corps, NGO
Jennifer Isern (UM Alumna)
Dr. Jennifer Isern offers 30+ years of experience in 65+ countries on financial sector development and investing. Her passion is combining financing, technical assistance, and innovation in high impact projects to improve the quality of life for people around the world. Dr. Isern is the founder and CEO of Catalyze Global Impact LLC working with strategic organizations in targeted development sectors including new technologies, financial sector, and private sector globally, with a focus on Africa and Asia. She serves on several boards and as advisor to investment funds, foundations, and associations in Europe, the USA, and globally. Prior to launching her own firm, Dr. Isern held positions with increasing levels of responsibility across the World Bank and International Finance Corporation for over 23 years, helping her teams deliver high impact results. Jennifer’s last two roles were as senior manager based in Hanoi (2016-2019) for our finance and private sector development team in East Asia and the Pacific and based in New Delhi (2009-2016) for our financial sector team in South Asia. From 1996-2009, she was one of the founding team members and lead specialist at CGAP managing our work in Africa and China. Prior to joining CGAP, Jennifer lived in Togo from 1992-1996 as regional technical advisor for economic development in West and Central Africa with CARE International, where she launched two microfinance institutions and a small business finance program in Togo plus other regional microfinance and agrifinance projects across Africa. From 1990-91, Jennifer worked with CARE in Niger to co-launch an innovative community finance program (MMD) that evolved into CARE's signature inclusive finance program globally. Dr. Isern received her doctorate in both finance and international business from Nova Southeastern University and a master’s degree in development economics from the Wilson School at Princeton University.
Morgan Taylor (UM Alumna)
Morgan Taylor has worked in international and community development for over 20 years, beginning as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan after graduating from the University of Montana with a degree in political science. She has a master’s degree in international development and global health affairs at the University of Denver. Morgan served as a public health Peace Corps Volunteer in Shymkent, Kazakhstan at the regional HIV/AIDS Center. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study the national HIV/AIDS prevention strategy in the Kyrgyz Republic where she focused on the role international donors played in helping the Kyrgyz government tackle communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS. She spent a section year as a Fulbright Fellow at UNESCO in Paris working at the HIV/AIDS Coordination Unit. Upon returning to the U.S., Morgan worked with the American Public Health Association and the World Federation of Public Health Associations focusing on global health programming and support of public health workforce in the member countries around the world. Morgan joined the U.S. Foreign Service as a public diplomacy officer and served in multiple assignments, including D.C., Brazil, and Tajikistan. She primarily focused on Central Asian political affairs, public diplomacy, countering violent extremism, and political-military affairs. Morgan left the Foreign Service in 2018 to move back to Montana with her husband, Rick, and dog, Leo, both of whom she met in Tajikistan. Morgan currently works as the Chief Policy and Communications Officer at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services in Helena.
Mentoring Interests: Development, foreign policy, political-military affairs, violent extremism, global health, donor coordination, Central Asia and former Soviet Union, public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, women’s empowerment, and public affairs
Julie Desoto received her Bachelor and Master of Political Science from the University of Montana with a focus on the Middle East and fragile contexts and is expecting a Master of Public Health from George Washington University with a focus on mental health, adolescent health, and issues in HIV. She is current the Global Health Program Manager / Technical Lead Adolescent and Mental Health Programming with World Vision. Julie is the project lead for World Vision’s Department of State-funded DREAMS Innovation Challenge in Uganda, PEPFAR-funded Faith and Community Initiative scale-up of the gender-based violence prevention model, Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) (seven countries led by Pact under the ACHIEVE PEPFAR grant), OVC case management experience in Mozambique. In addition, she currently oversees World Vision’s research on mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for adolescents in India and psychosocial aspects of menstrual health programming in Nepal. Julie also has worked extensively with adolescents in the United States, Egypt, Jordan, India, and Uganda over the past 10 years. In the Middle East, she managed programs for youth empowerment and employability and taught English as a second language to vulnerable youth in life skills and academic programs. Julie has over 10 years of experience in proposal and project management, cross-sectoral program design and implementation (including HIV community-clinical collaboration) inter-cultural relations, faith-based community mobilization, and inter-faith dialogue including a Fulbright teaching fellowship in Jordan to increase understanding between American and Arab cultures. The locations of Julie’s experiences include USA (8 years); Jordan (1 year); Egypt (2 years); Eastern Africa: Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda (5 years); Southern Africa, including South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho (3 years).
Dr. Susan Martin is the Donald G. Herzberg Professor Emerita in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She was the founder and director of Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of International Migration. She also chairs the Thematic Working Group on Environmental Change and Migration for the Knowledge Partnership in Migration and Development (KNOMAD) at the World Bank. Prior to joining Georgetown’s faculty, Dr. Martin was the Executive Director of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, which was mandated by statute to advise the President and Congress on U.S. immigration and refugee policy. She received her PhD in the History of American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Martin has authored or edited a dozen books and numerous articles and book chapters. A second updated edition of her book, A Nation of Immigrants, will be published by Cambridge University Press in April 2021. She serves on the boards of the Center for Migration Studies and Jesuit Refugee Service USA as well as the advisory councils of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, and Douglass College, Rutgers University. She is also a member of the International Organization for Migration’s Migration Research and Publishing High-Level Advisors group.
Mentoring Interest: Humanitarian work
Dr.Juha Uitto is Director of the Independent Evaluation Office of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). He has more than three decades of experience in international development and has conducted and managed numerous evaluations, especially for the GEF and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), focusing on the nexus of development and environment. He is past Executive Coordinator of the UN Evaluation Group (UNEG) and now coordinates the UNEG Working Group on Environmental and Social Impact. Throughout the 1990s, he worked at the United Nations University as coordinator of environmental research and training programs. A geographer by training, he holds a master’s degree from the University of Helsinki in his native Finland and earned his PhD from Lund University in Sweden. In parallel to a career in international organizations, Juha likes to keep the door to academia ajar. He has published widely on environment and development, natural resources management, environmental hazards, and evaluation. His recent books include Universities and the Sustainable Development Future (co-authored with Peter Koehn; 2017) and the edited volumes Evaluating Environment in International Development (2nd edition, 2021), Evaluating Climate Change Action for Sustainable Development (2017), and Sustainable Development and Disaster Risk Reduction (2016). He has held visiting positions at Rutgers University and Kyoto University, and been a short-term visitor at the University of Montana, Missoula. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland. As a member of EAC, Juha looks forward to interacting with students and faculty, contributing to an annual career-development webinar series. He hopes to link faculty and students to practitioners in the field of international development, especially at the World Bank and the United Nations, including connecting students to internship and career opportunities. He will also be happy to provide students with career mentoring.
Mentoring interests: Development evaluation, environment, climate change, climate adaptation, environmental hazards, international organizations, and environmental governance
Orrin Tiberi (IDS Alumnus)
Orrin Tiberi is an alumni of Global Health Corps, a Returned Peace Corps Ecuador Volunteer, and a former ASPPH/CDC Global Health Fellow based at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Division of Global HIV and TB. He currently works as a Monitoring & Evaluation Advisor for Mozambique's National HIV/AIDS & STI Program, supporting data visualization and use for decision making. His experience in the global health arena has reinforced the vision that health should be a right, not a privilege, and he works every day to make that a reality.
Mentoring interests: Global health, LGBT, data management, monitoring and evaluation, HIV, PEPFAR
Clara Moulton (IDS Alumna)
Clara (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Great Falls, MT where she first developed her love for wild places, open spaces, and winding trails. After receiving her B.S. in Geography and minors in International Development Studies, Mountain Studies, and Wilderness Studies from the University of Montana, she be-bopped around the country working as a Park Ranger in Zion National Park, a cranberry farmer in Wisconsin, a Montana Conservation Corps Big Sky Watershed Corps member with the Clark Fork Coalition in Missoula, MT, and a Watershed Coordinator with Big Thompson Watershed Coalition in Loveland, CO. After thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014, Clara found her way to SW Colorado where she began working with Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) as a Crew Leader, later serving as the Individual Placements Program Manager, and now as the Four Corners Director. When she's not working on creating engaging, inclusive, and sustainable programming at SCC, you can find her hiking, biking, running, or skiing throughout the beautiful landscapes of the southwest with her dog and adventure cat, advocating for social and environmental justice, or working on home improvement projects.
Kimberly Larmar (UM Alumna)
Kimberly is the Program Coordinator for the Leadership and Global Activation team, specifically serving the Leadership Incubator. Prior to joining Vital Voices, Kim worked at the ONE Campaign as a Manager for College Organizing leading advocacy campaigns with volunteers working towards ending extreme poverty. She first started her career as a service member with AmeriCorps where she worked as a Program Coordinator for Project Create, a local DC arts education nonprofit. Kim attended the University of Montana where she received a BA in Communication Studies and minors in Spanish and Women’s Studies. During her time in university, she worked as a Resident Assistant, Event Coordinator, and lived in Granada, Spain. Kim is an avid lover of podcasts, cooking competition shows, travel, and anything to do with Oprah. Kim primarily supports the Leadership Incubator, a one-year fellowship program to provide women leaders in the United States with training, network expansion, mentorship, leadership development and community to bring their bold vision for change to life.
Alexandria Preis (IDS Alumna)
Born on a small farm in northern Wyoming, I always wondered what the outside world was like and how decisions around the globe impacted ordinary people like me. I started to save as a young girl so I could afford adventures such as trekking in the Andes, living amongst monks in the Himalayas, and walking the cobblestone streets of Europe. I finally discovered my true interests during my time in the IDS program at the University of Montana when I took a life changing field course to Hong Kong. Upon visiting the city I decided I absolutely needed to return to engage in further studies of the region’s politics. After graduating in 2018 from UM, I came to Hong Kong for my master’s degree at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. I have continued to live and work in the city since, engaging in discussion and research on political issues in China and Hong Kong and discovering how these issues impact citizens across the world. Currently, I work as the Chinese Studies Programme Executive at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Mentoring interests: Work and study in Hong Kong, China Studies Master's program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, teach English in Nepal, explore Asia
Katie Connelly (UM Alumna)
Katie Connelly is the Pacuare Development Coordinator at Ecology Project International (EPI). Katie earned her bachelor degree in English Literature with a minor in the Wilderness & Civilization program from the University of Montana 2009. After many years working as a Wilderness Ranger on the Stanislaus National Forest, followed by several years working in corporate development internationally, she settled into her role at EPI where she works with students and partners to create and fund immersive educational experiences, focusing on Pacuare Reserve in Costa Rica. She's also the Leave No Trace State Advocate for Montana.
Mentoring interests: Development, admissions, experiential learning, environmental Education, non-profit, scientific research, wildlife conservation, endangered species, Latin American communities
Mary LaPorte led non-profit organizations working in the fields of community economic development, job training & education, and international development over a span of three decades. Mary was the founding Executive Director of Jane Addams Resource Corporation in Chicago, the founding Executive Director of the Center for Employment Training in Cleveland, and the Chief Operating Officer of International Partners in Mission in Cleveland. She served as a Field Instructor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, throughout her time in Cleveland. Mary earned a Master of Social Work and a Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Michigan. Mary joined the board of EcoViva Board in 2009, and has been Board Chair since 2017. EcoViva supports community led social justice movements in Central America which implement innovative solutions addressing poverty, environmental degradation and climate change. Our primary partners are based in El Salvador and Honduras. Mary has lived in Missoula since 2011. Her volunteer involvement here centers on community, environment, and international affairs. She serves on the board of the Missoula League of Women Voters and is a participating member of the Montana World Affairs Council. She and her spouse Charlie Rial have two grown sons, a daughter-in-law and a terrific granddaughter.
David Cates and his wife, Rosalie live in Missoula, and have three grown daughters, and a couple of grandchildren. As of June first, 2020, he is again the executive director of Missoula Medical Aid, a non-profit organization that provides public health and surgery services, and supports agricultural and economic development projects, in Honduras. He began with Missoula Medical Aid in 1998, and was an interpreter and team leader on more than 40 brigades to Honduras, until he stepped down from the director position in 2017. David has worked as a laborer, commercial fisherman, a para-legal, and a teacher of English, a sports reporter, a concessionaire at a classical repertory theater, a fishing guide, a taxi driver. He played professional basketball in Costa Rica and crewed on a banana ship in the Caribbean, taught writing in a Mexico City prison, lectured at the University of Guanajuato, and volunteered at a shelter for migrants in Oaxaca. David has completed travel assignments for the NY Times in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Spain. He is also a fiction writer and poet, including five novels, and a chapbook of poetry. His novels are Hunger In America, a New York Times Notable Book, X Out Of Wonderland and Freeman Walker, both Montana Book Award Honor Books, and Ben Armstrong’s Strange Trip Home and Tom Connor’s Gift, both of which won a Gold Medals for Best Fiction in the independent Book Publishers Book awards. His chapbook is “The Mysterious Location of Kyrgyzstan.” He's the winner of the 2010 Montana Arts Council’s Innovative Artist Award and his short story, “Rubber Boy,” (Glimmer Train 70) was a distinguished story in the 2010 Best American Short Stories. He’s published dozens of short stories and poems in literary magazines such as The New England Review, Willow Springs, Slice, and Glimmer Train, and his non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times Sophisticated Traveler, Outside Magazine, and other places.
Dr. Teresa Sobieszczyk earned her Ph.D. in Development Sociology from Cornell University in 2000. She formerly served as a teacher of English as a foreign language and agriculture advisor in rural Thailand with the US Peace Corps, a Presidential Management Fellow with the US Department of State, and a professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Montana. She directed the International Development Studies and Peace Corps Prep Programs at the University of Montana from 2013-16. Currently she lives in San Francisco, where she works as an asylum officer with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service. She has worked, conducted research, and volunteered extensively in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. She is especially interested in labor migration, marriage migration, reproductive decision making, and immigration issues and would be happy to discuss the Peace Corps and Presidential Management Fellowship Program with IDS/PCPP students.
Mentoring interests: Development sociology, population, marriage migration, labor migration, refugee, asylum, Southeast Asia, sustainability, fertility, human trafficking
Solomon M. Gofie is currently the chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He teaches courses on human rights, politics in Africa, contemporary global politics, transnationalim and emigration. State-society relations and human rights, migration and transnational engagement in the Horn of Africa, conflict dynamics and resolution, political communities in Africa, are his areas of research, and he has published scholarly articles and book chapters on these topics.
Mentoring interests: State-Society Relations (Political Antagonism), human rights, emigration, politics in Africa, conflict prevention & resolution, political communities in Africa, and transnational engagement in the Horn of Africa.
Alice brings with her more than 19 years of experience in international non-profits focused on refugees, disasters, environmental pollution, and good governance. She views CAI’s mission – to promote education, especially for girls and women, in some of the most remote communities of Central Asia – as a natural continuation of her previous work advocating for social justice and the empowerment of disenfranchised populations. Before joining CAI, Alice served as a senior policy advisor and program manager at Refugees International (RI), a non-governmental organization based out of Washington, DC. At RI, her work focused on improved assistance and protection for refugees and displaced people. In that role, she conducted over a dozen missions to poor and conflict-ridden countries to assess the protection, shelter, and education needs of affected communities. She also developed a novel program on the impacts of disasters, environmental degradation, and climate change on displacement of vulnerable populations. Prior to that, Alice was a staff attorney in the international program at Earthjustice in San Francisco, where she worked in collaboration with local civil society and law schools to seek redress for communities affected by pollution. She also held several positions at the American Bar Association, including as Deputy Director of ABA’s Asia Law Initiative where she oversaw programs in Cambodia, China, the Philippines, and Thailand, and as a legal liaison in ABA’s county office in Uzbekistan. Alice started her career in private practice with Dewey Ballantine. She holds a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and a B.A. in History from Princeton University.
James Burchfield served as Dean of the College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana from 2008-2015. He retired from this post in August,2015. Trained as both a forester and social scientist, he previously held positions as Director of the Bolle Center for People and Forests at the University of Montana, Director of the International Forestry Seminar Program at the University of Michigan, Policy Analyst for the U.S. Forest Service’s International Program Office, and field forester for the Forest Service in various locations in the United States. His research and teaching interests continue to revolve around methods to promote effective public engagement in decisions on public lands and protected areas. He currently leads a multi-party group of landowners, scientists, and managers in a landscape-level restoration project in western Montana.
Elon Gilbert was born in 1939 in California and completed most of his education there, culminating in obtaining a PhD in Applied Economics from Stanford in 1969. He has over 50 years of international experience associated with FAO, World Bank, USAID, private foundations and governments and NGOs. He worked on Ford Foundation supported projects in Ghana and Nigeria and then served as the Foundation’s agricultural program advisor for West and Central Africa (1969-74). During his two years as a visiting professor at the U. of Florida (1977-79) Elon became involved with Farming Systems Research related activities. This was the beginning of an ongoing involvement with agricultural research and development in Sub Saharan Africa and S/SE Asia that has featured several evaluations, impact assessments, strategic reviews and scholarly publications. He served as project director and chief of party for USAID supported projects in West Africa as a research associate at the U. of Michigan (1983-89). He was a research associate with the UK Overseas Development Institute and a visiting research fellow at the University East Anglia during the 1990s with a major focus on process monitoring of government/NGO collaboration in agricultural development in Rajasthan, India. Dr. Gilbert’s association with NGOs in India continues up to the present with a current focus on agriculture development and internal migration. In 2015/16, he served as interim Manager for a USAID/International Potato Center project promoting orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and an International Institute of Tropical Agriculture project promoting grain legumes in Malawi. He has completed several assignments have been related to the USAID supported Farmer to Farmer Volunteer program. He has participated in consultancy assignments in Indonesia, Nepal, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, Peru, El Salvador, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Israel and Papua New Guinea. His experience includes involvement with US domestic agriculture at the local level in Florida and Montana.
Adam attended the University of Montana where he majored in Political Science and minored in International Development Studies. He graduated in 2017, and then joined the US Peace Corps. He served in Botswana from July of 2018 to March 2020 with his wife, Sarah Huntting, focusing on health education, data management training, and sustainable development.
Sarah Huntting (UM Alumna)
Sarah Huntting attended University of Montana where she obtained her BA in Human Biology, BS in Microbiology, and minor in Global Public Health. She graduated in 2017, and then joined the US Peace Corps. Sarah served in Botswana from July of 2018-March 2020 with her husband, Adam Busch, doing health education, data management training, and sustainable development work. After completing her service, Sarah returned with her husband to Montana and currently works as an Environmental Health Compliance Specialist at the Missoula City-County Health Department. She will be attending medical school with the University of Washington WWAMI program fall of 2021.
Lisa developed a passion for the outdoors and conservation at a young age while exploring Montana. After experiencing a particularly impactful field-based course as part of her master’s in environmental studies at Evergreen State, she realized the far-reaching impact that these types of experiences can have on participants which led her to seek employment at Ecology Project International. Over the last 10 years she has served many roles at EPI, including Field Experience Coordinator, and had the opportunity to visit many of EPI’s program sites seeing the positive effect that the organization has on youth and communities. When not at EPI, she can be found hiking with her family, tinkering in her garden, or searching for her next “lifer” bird.