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Peace Studies at Manchester University | Plowshares | Indianapolis Peace Institute | Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace
  Volume 37   2010


Alumni Updates

Wilbur Mullen (‘52) was one of the first three Peace Studies graduates under Dr. Gladdys Muir at Manchester University. He was recently named the 2010 Outstanding Senior Citizen of Darke County by the Community Action Partnership at the Lighthouse Christian Center in Greenville, Ohio.

Philip West (‘60) teaches at the University of Montana, covering courses on Modern Japanese and Modern Chinese histories, with units as well on Korea and Vietnam. He integrates into these courses the dominance of the experience of war in modern East Asian histories and literature that promotes the healing of the wounds of war.  He sees these themes as a direct outgrowth of his work as a student in the Peace Studies program. He has visited China nearly thirty times (with one and half years of teaching and administration at Nanjing University) and Japan nearly as often (twice in the Fulbright program). He went to Japan as a sea-going cowboy for Heifer Project, delivering heifers to Japanese farmers who had returned from years as POW's in Siberia after the war. He says, “The passion to do what I can to heal the wounds of war stems from my experience as a conscientious objector serving in Warsaw, Poland as an English Lecturer at the University of Warsaw. These two years were with Brethren Volunteer Service, after graduating from Manchester and before beginning graduate study.”

Robert Johansen (‘62) is Professor of Political Science and Director of Doctoral Studies in Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies, University Notre Dame. This degree combines solid methodological training in one of five disciplines–History, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, or Theology–with interdisciplinary inquiry and knowledge of Peace Studies. He says, “Ethical and multicultural issues are discussed throughout, as Gladys Muir would have encouraged.”

Don Michaelsen (‘67) retired in January 2009 from Top Driver, a driver training school/business. Recently he worked as an enumerator for U.S. Census in the nearby communities of Berea and Olmsted Falls, Ohio. He has completed his seventh year as a substitute teacher at local school districts, grades 2 to 12. For the last eleven years during summer months, he has been a docent at the SS William G. Mather Museum, which was a Great Lakes iron ore-carrying vessel. Don serves as chairperson of Berea UCC congregation's seven-member pastoral search team, a new and challenging experience. He supports a number of environmental and human rights groups. He subscribes to The Nation, CounterPunch, the Washington Spectator, American Heritage, American History, and the Christian Century and receives e-newsletters from investigative report Greg Palast, Democracy Now!, UN Wire, MoveOn.org, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and Amnesty International.  Don uses information from these excellent sources to be a persistent citizen advocate on issues of social justice, civil liberties, election reform to expand democracy, the freeing of political prisoners, and preserving our environment. Every four years he does volunteer work for progressive candidates for governor, the U.S. Senate, or the presidency.

Cynthia Metzger Mason (’70) is in her tenth year with the genealogy program of the Meyersdale Public Library. The program contributes significant materials to the Somerset County website of the USGenWeb archives: forty years of local obituaries, a Civil War project with information about 6,000 Somerset County residents involved in some way with the war, the complete county-wide Works Progress Administration cemetery transcriptions from the 1930s, and a cemetery location project that documented over 600 cemeteries in the county. The program won a state award from the Preservation Pennsylvania organization for the latter project. Cynthia became a grandma this year with the birth of Sara-Rhiannon Eileen Dull, her daughter and son-in-law's first child.

Rob Curry (’76) is Executive Director of the Cleveland Housing Network, which builds and renovates affordable housing in Cleveland and helps low-income families buy homes and find employment.

Jean McCutchan (’74) received both a masters and a doctorate degree in psychology. She is in private practice now after eighteen years with a small private agency. (Jean has multiple sclerosis and was having trouble driving home at the end of the day.) She feels that her Peace Studies major helped her with the conflict resolution area of my job as a psychologist with children and families.

Melanie Duguid-May (’76) continues as John Price Crozer Professor of Theology at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. In March her book Jerusalem Testament: Palestinian Christians Speak, 1988-2008 was published by Wm. B. Eerdmans. Melanie was student editor of the Bulletin at Manchester, with Nadine (Dena) Pence.

Ronn Frantz (‘83) recently left his work in property management and business development for Reba Place Fellowship, in Chicago, after a decade. In July, he became Executive Director of Good News Partners, a Christian ministry dedicated to "end homelessness and hopelessness with all God brings to us" in the North of Howard neighborhood of Chicago.

Roy Peters (‘84) is a self-employed piano technician in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is married to Debra Zunkel, who studied Peace Studies at Manchester as well. Deb completed a business degree this spring at Wilmington College and works at the Art Academy of Cincinnati as an assistant to the president. Roy and Deb’s eldest daughter, Emily, graduated from Clark Montessori High School this spring and will be attending the University of Cincinnati, studying to become a math teacher. Their youngest daughter, Rachel, plays violin avidly and attends the School for the Creative and Performing Arts. To view Roy’s website click here.

Eric Glick Rieman (’85) is a composer and improvising performer, specializing in work for prepared Rhodes electric piano. He has been working on compositions made with animals or about animal experience, an area he calls Biosonicism. He lives in Berkeley, California where he raises his two young boys, Zealin (7) and Arrow (3). He also teaches piano lessons. To view more information on his work, click here.

Jill Masten-Byers (‘89) is a school counselor at Alexander Central High School in Taylorsville, North Carolina. She earned her MA in School Counseling and post-graduate certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy from Appalachian State University in 2001 and completed her Licensure in School Administration in 2009. Jill serves on the board of directors for the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, and in her extra time she teaches swimming lessons and enjoys hiking.

Kelli Yaussy (’91) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been employed for four years as a School Social Worker for Community Consolidated School District 59 in Elk Grove Village, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). She works in two different elementary schools within the district. She lives in Chicago on the northwest side.

Shawn Kirchner (‘92) works with the Los Angeles Master Chorale as a singer, pianist, and composer, with performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. He has been a choral singer on a number of recent feature films. Shawn has been commissioned to write the theme song for the 2010 Church of the Brethren National Youth Conference, as well as the theme song for the International Day of Pray for Peace by On Earth Peace. He continues as the pianist, organist, and composer at La Verne Church of the Brethren.

Matt Guynn (’95) serves in two roles with On Earth Peace, the peace and reconciliation agency of the Church of the Brethren: program director and program coordinator for nonviolence organizing. His major current initiative is to get faith and community groups to participate in the International Day of Prayer for Peace (September 21). Matt started working with On Earth Peace during a summer internship while at Manchester University, later joining its board and then its staff. Since he was a student at Manchester, Matt has been involved with Training for Change, through which he leads training of trainers workshops in "direct education for direct action," for activists from around the world. This spring, he published a theological reflection on On Earth Peace's organizing work, titled "Theopoetics & Social Change," in CrossCurrents, a journal of religion and intellectual life. Matt is licensed to the ministry in the Church of the Brethren. He rests and dreams in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Sarah Kinsel, his cat, Paraclete, and his growing garden.

Heidi Gross (’03, Peace Studies Intern 2004-2006) works at Northwestern University as site coordinator for Jumpstart, a nonprofit organization that brings volunteer college students into preschools in low-income neighborhoods to mentor children.

Natalie Schmidt (‘03) Rivera works at Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa as a Legal Assistant working primarily in immigration as well as criminal, family, and juvenile law. In addition to her regular job duties, she enjoys assisting the attorneys in some of their community outreach and advocacy efforts, including informational sessions for the Spanish-speaking community, raid response, and campaigning for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Allison Bryan (‘05) works in Beijing, China at the Tsinghua International School. For the 2009-2010 school year, she was the head of the 4th grade. For the 2010-2011 school year, she will be writing the curriculum for and teaching an Introduction to Peace Studies course and Beginning and Intermediate Spanish in the high school. During the summer, Allison plans to work in Switzerland at Village Camps, an English language camp in the Swiss Alps.

Laura Dell (’09) works with Brethren Volunteer Service in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was placed with the Cincinnati Church of the Brethren and is serving there as Co-Director of Children's Programming. She directed the establishment of the St. James Children's Garden, a community garden funded in part by the Renewing the Earth and It’s People (REAP) Fund and the Cincinnati Civic Garden Center. Laura also volunteers weekly with Lighthouse Youth Services in the Work Appreciation for Youth program and at Easter Seals Work Resource Center in the Building Abilities Program.

Adam Stokes (’09) has been working with a number of U.S. Census operations for the past year. In June he and his wife Cori Miner (’10) entered Brethren Volunteer Service and will be serving in Northern Ireland.

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