Brandon Blache-Cohen, Ex Officio | Amizade | Executive Director
Jeremy Campbell, PhD | Roger Williams University | Assistant Professor | Campbell first joined Amizade as a volunteer in Santarém Brazil, while studying anthropology as an undergraduate at Davidson College. He was so deeply affected by the people and landscapes of the Amazon region that he returned to live and conduct long term research in the area. While completing his PhD at the University of California-Santa Cruz, Campbell returned to Santarém to study colonization, environmental politics, and social inequalities in Amazonia, one of Brazil’s most rapidly changing regions. Now a professor of anthropology at Roger Williams University, he continues to conduct research in Brazil and throughout Latin America. An advocate for global service learning, Campbell regularly teaches courses in conjunction with Amizade’s community partners in Brazil for U.S-based students. He hopes to continue to develop two-way exchange programs to facilitate learning opportunities for Latin American students as part of Amizade’s fair trade learning initiatives.
Joseph Croskey, PhD | Clarion University | Assistant Professor | Joseph Croskey holds a Masters in Education from The George Washington University in Washington D.C. and completed his undergraduate work in Systems Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. He is currently working on his PhD in Administration and Leadership at IUP. He serves as a faculty member for the Department of Academic Enrichment and Academic Counselor for Upward Bound at Clarion University. He consults with organizations on diversity & cultural competency issues. He enjoys traveling and experiencing the diverse conditions people live in. He has lived in 9 states & 5 countries. He has visited 49 states and over 30 countries. He has sailed around the world, jumped out of perfectly good airplanes and run 26.2 miles for fun. Extensively involved in community outreach by serving on various community organization boards including his church. He was recently (10/10/10) married to his lovely bride Kathleen, has three wonderful children- two daughters and a son and the best dog ever.
Barbara Evans, EdD | CCAC | Associate Dean | Dr. Barbara Evans is an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Community College of Allegheny County. She is also the One College, One Community/Big Read Project Director that is designed to promote literacy, reading and open dialogue with the Pittsburgh community. Prior to joining CCAC, Dr. Evans served as the Chair of the Teacher Education Department at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) in Baltimore, MD. While at CCBC, Dr. Evans also served as the Project Director for a Maryland Higher Education Commission Improving Teaching Quality grant. She has also worked as an Assistant Dean at the University of Pittsburgh’ Graduate School of Public Health and as the Project Director for the Partners in Education Consortium grant. In both roles, the goal was to expose students of color to the field of public health and other health sciences. Dr. Evans has worked at several other universities in a variety of administrative roles and as a consultant for the University of the Virgin Islands. She has received several awards including the New Pittsburgh Courier’s 50 Women of Excellence, CCAC’s Vanguard Diversity Award and the Going the Extra Mile award. Dr. Evans, who is a former Pittsburgh Public School English teacher, holds Doctor of Education and Master of Arts in Teaching degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.
Monica Frolander-Ulf, PhD | University of Pittsburgh | Associate Professor, Retired | Dr. Frölander-Ulf is a dual citizen of Finland and the United States. She taught anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown campus (UPJ) for over 37 years until her retirement in 2009. Her teaching and research interests include global political economy, gender studies, cooperative development, and indigenous peoples’ movements. Dr. Frölander-Ulf has led Study Abroad trips to Jamaica and, in conjunction with Amizade, taught several service-learning courses in Jamaica and the Navajo Nation. She has published articles and/or presented papers about women in Finland, service-learning, student co-teachers, and the Jamaican sugar workers’ cooperatives, and co-authored a book, A New Earth. The Jamaican Sugar Workers’ Cooperatives 1975-1981 (with Frank Lindenfeld). The latter research project resulted in a long-term friendship with members of the Association of Clubs, the organization that is now Amizade‘s partner in Jamaica. As part of her interest in bringing the academic world to the community, Dr. Frölander-Ulf has taught anthropology courses in two local prisons for over 20 years. At UPJ, she was a member of the International Studies’ Advisory Committee and served as co-chair of the Curriculum Committee of the President’s Task Force on Global Education. In the Fall Semester of 2011, Dr. Frölander-Ulf taught anthropology for the Institute for Shipboard Education and University of Virginia in their joint Semester-at-Sea program and she is scheduled to do so again in the spring of 2013.
Eric Hartman, PhD | Providence College | Adjunct Assistant Professor | Eric Hartman is Visiting Assistant Professor of Global Studies at Providence College. As a writer, educator, and nonprofit executive director, he has worked for many years to advance efforts that are “rooted in the reality we have, but visionary in terms of imagining then creating a better tomorrow that more robustly recognizes all people equally.” His publications on global service-learning, global citizenship, and fair trade learning have spanned edited volumes, peer-reviewed journals in service-learning and international development, and popular and trade magazines such as International Educator. He is currently completing Building a Better World: The Pedagogy and Practice of Global Service-Learning (Stylus, 2013) with Kiely, Friedrichs, and Boettcher, through which he serves as Editor of The Building a Better World Forum for Global Service-Learning. As Executive Director of Amizade Global Service-Learning (2007-10), he advanced university-community engagement in more than a dozen communities around the world, supporting women’s rights in Tanzania, literacy development in Pennsylvania, tutoring and cultural sharing in The Navajo Nation, and increasing educational opportunities in Bolivia. As a professor, he has developed and led scores of academic service-learning courses in the US and abroad, in departments of Political Science, International Studies, Public Administration, History, Education, and Global Studies. He was selected as the recipient of: the Cabot Dissertation Award for Commitment to a Just Society, The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs 4 Under 40 Impact Prize, and as a representative of the United States in the State Department-Funded Water Here & There International Fellows Exchange Program with China.
Medina Jackson, MSW | Office of Child Development, University of Pittsburgh | Community Outreach Coordinator | Medina Jackson is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Pathways to Kindergarten Success, for the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development. Her role enables her to build relationships and partnerships to create linkages between families, schools, and communities to prepare children for the transition to kindergarten. Her prior work includes youth program management, afterschool, summer and arts related (spoken word and Hip Hop) programming, mentoring, case management and social justice endeavors. Originally from Berkeley, California, she moved to Pittsburgh in 2001 to earn her Master’s degree in Social Work (Community Organization and Social Administration concentration) from the University of Pittsburgh, which she acquired in 2003. Upon graduation, she participated in an Amizade Global Service-Learning Project in Jamaica studying the impact of globalization, an eye opening experience allowing her to parallel and find commonality in the strengths and challenges of youth and families in the United States with those internationally. She later received her Family Development Credential in 2006.
Chad Martin, JD & MS, Chair | KPMG | Consultant | Chad chose to focus his career on the social sector because of his involvement with Amizade. The first stage was as a service-learning student in Bolivia then Belfast. Next he worked as an intern in the office, before briefly joining the staff full-time and leading summer break trips to Montana as a graduate student. Finally, his involvement with the organization came full circle when he joined the board in 2008. Chad is from Pittsburgh and currently lives in New York with his wife and two toddlers. He works as a tax and management consultant in the International Development Assistance Services group at KPMG, LLP. His current role is to perform pre-grant evaluations, grant expenditure evaluations, and a variety of consulting services for large Foundations, Non-profits, and Multinational Aid Organizations. Prior to joining KPMG, Chad worked for a boutique consulting firm based in Toronto, ON that focused on social sector innovation and strategy.
Cody Morris Paris, PhD | Middlesex University Dubai | Senior Lecturer | Cody Morris Paris is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Coordinator for Social Science programmes at Middlesex University Dubai. He has taught classes in a wide range of topical areas including: Tourism, Social Science, Sustainability, Community Development, Entrepreneurship, International Development, and International Politics. He completed his PhD in Community Resource Development at Arizona State University. He also holds a MS in Tourism and a Bachelors of Interdisciplinary Studies in International Geography and International Studies with minors in Cultural Anthropology and Tourism from Arizona State University. Additionally, Cody is currently a Senior Research Fellow at University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Cody has won numerous awards for his research, and published widely in peer reviewed journals. The primary interest areas for his research include: Geopolitics and Tourism, Technology and Tourism, Sustainable Community Development, Mobilities, and Experiential Learning.
Cody has a healthy addiction to travel, and has traveled to more than 100 countries for pleasure, study, volunteering, and work. During his undergraduate studies at Arizona State University, he studied abroad five times, including a very formative fall on Semester at Sea. As a graduate student and Faculty Associate at ASU, he had the opportunity to help develop and lead summer and winter study abroad programs to the Caribbean, Australia, Fiji, Dubai, and Europe. Recently, after joining Middlesex University Dubai, he has brought students from Dubai to Ghana on a faculty-led Amizade program.
Melissa Swauger, PhD | Indiana University of Pennsylvania | Assistant Professor Dr. Melissa Swauger is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her teaching and research interests include global service learning, inequalities in education and work, qualitative research methods, and engaging audiences outside of universities in sociological research and activism. She has published articles and/or presented papers about service learning, human trafficking, ethics in qualitative research, and Girls’/Women’s Studies.
Patricia Vile | Volunteer Expeditions | Founder | Patti has a Masters in Urban Policy and Planning with a healthcare emphasis. She was a teacher, consulted for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, built private medical practices, and worked as the VP of a third-party administrator for 21 years while designing nationally implemented self-insured health plans.
Patti has always been drawn to volunteer work. She took a three-year hiatus from healthcare to help settle Soviet refugees in Chicago, creating networks and business opportunities for people from all walks of life. She served as president of Art Encounter, a non-profit organization that brings art to seniors and underserved Chicago schoolchildren. She was the president of the Glencoe Public Library Board of Trustees. In 2005 and 2006, Patti volunteered with village agencies in Uganda and El Salvador. In 2011, continuing with her passion for volunteer work, Patti joined the Board of Directors of the Geographic Society of Chicago and became involved in Jewish/Muslim interfaith activities.
In 2007, Patti created Volunteer Expeditions after planning her temple’s trip to New Orleans and realizing the effect of the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina. By her retirement in 2013, she has sent almost 50 groups (making for over 1,300 volunteers) to New Orleans. Patti looks forward to many more years of new opportunities, new friendships, and volunteering in her retirement.
Dan Weiss, PhD, Founder | Clínica Carmen Lucia | Project Director | Daniel began Amizade in 1994 to provide opportunities for individuals and groups to be able to take part in educational, environmental, health, welfare, and other service projects around the world.
He holds a PhD. in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota. He worked full time with Amizade until 2001 when he became executive director of Amazon Africa Aid, an organization he helped co-found that was dedicated to supporting the work of the Fundação Esperança, a nonprofit health and education organization. In 2008, he moved to Vila Velha, Brazil, to work for the PCLB Foundation establishing a health clinic in an impoversihed region of that city.
Weiss has taught service learning courses in international development for Amizade, including our semester course in Brazil. He is also involved in strengthening the Amizade Auschwitz program. Over the years, Weiss has been very active in other causes including serving as the president of the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor North (MI) and helping found Abraços, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting youth at risk in Rio de Janeiro. Weiss has been honored by the US State Department, Arab Gulf Fund of the United Nations, Firestone Company, Volvo USA, the Points of Light Foundation, and Giraffe Project. He currently lives in Vila Velha, Brazil with his wife Geli, Amizade’s former Brazil Site Director.
Ryan Wolfrum, MBA, Treasurer | Cisco Systems | Sr. Business Development Manager | Originally from Denver, Colorado, Ryan has worked in the technology and IT industry for the past 20 years. He has a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a MBA from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Ryan has experience working for Fortune 500 as well as startup technology companies, and has held various positions in engineering, finance, sales operations, and business development.
Ryan discovered Amizade in 2005 when he was looking for an international experience with a domestic price. He participated in a volunteer group program in the Navajo Nation and found the experience to be the most rewarding two weeks of his life. He has since traveled with Amizade to Bolivia in 2009, and Ghana in 2011.