Current Students


 Melissa AhoMelissa Aho is currently a librarian and works at the University of Minnesota.  For over ten years, she has been teaching online for a few different colleges and universities.  A lifelong learner, Melissa has a variety of Certificates, Diplomas, Associates, and Bachelor's degrees.  She has a MS in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, MLIS in Library and Information Science from Dominican University, and a MA in Art History from the University of St. Thomas.  Melissa has participated on archaeological excavations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Belize, worked in a library in Honduras, researched mosque architecture in Guyana and the United States, taken salsa lessons in Cuba, and spent various amounts of time in 16 countries.  She has published articles, book chapters, over 100 book reviews, and co-author of the book "The Machiavellian Librarian:  Winning allies, combating budget cuts, and influencing stakeholders," which was published in 2013.  Her research interests include aviation, female aviators, globalization, and social media.  In her free time she is working on her private pilot's license and is a member of the Ninety-Nines-the International Organization of Women Pilots and The Explorers Club, MN12.
 Susan AlanizSusan Alaniz lives in the Fort Walton Beach, Florida local area as a recently retired US Air Force officer after nearly 22 years of service.  Alaniz served as a communications systems officer and as a political-military strategist.  Her master's degree is in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma and her undergraduate degree is a bachelor of science in Human Factors Engineering from the US Air Force Academy.  Susan also earned a minor in French.  Her research interest area is nation/state-building and the use of the military in non-traditional roles.  Alaniz has lived or worked in 14 different countries and hopes to experience many more.
 Mohammed AshrafMohammad Ashraf was born in Afghanistan and currently lives in New York. He works for the government of Afghanistan as agricultural development advisor since 2003. His major responsibilities include coordinating the assistance of the donor agencies, evaluating the training and capacity building requirements of the Ministry of Agriculture, and evaluating proposals to ensure consistency with the Ministry priority and Master plan. He completed his BS in agricultural business and MS in agricultural technology from the University of Central Missouri. He also has a Bachelor of Arts in computer science (software engineering) from the University of Guelph, Canada. His research interest area is the role of agriculture in economic development of Afghanistan.

Paul Brown works for the National Park Service and is currently the Chief of Natural Resources at Isle Royale National Park. For 6-8 months of the year, he lives and works on Isle Royale, a remote island in the middle of Lake Superior that is 99% federally designated to Wilderness.  His responsibilities include wilderness management, natural sciences data collection and analysis, research permitting, supervision of the natural resources staff, and serving as a member of the park management team.  In addition, he has collateral duties as an instructor in diving, boating, safety awareness, and First Aid/CPR.  He is an NPS diver, wilderness EMT, and structural and wildland firefighter.  When not on "the island", he resides in Houghton, MI, a small town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, which regularly receives more than 25 feet of snow a year.  A marine biologist by training, his research interests center around transnational boundary issues, especially the movement of natural resources (air, water, fish and wildlife) across international lines.  Paul and his family have lived in numerous countries abroad.

 Angela BryanAngela Bryan is an Information Systems instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College currently residing in Biloxi.  As a career educator, Angela also has experience in curriculum development for Information Systems at the secondary and post-secondary levels and will do skill training with secondary teachers in Mississippi during the summer of 2009.  She has a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.S. in Technology Education from USM.  As a member of the Security Studies team, Angela’s areas of interest cover cybersecurity and cyberterrorism issues, international law as it relates to cybersecurity, and China.
 Anthony CaitoAnthony Caito serves as Assistant Professor of Political Science and Director of the Leadership & Political Engagement Program and Debate Program in the Department of History & Government at Corban University in Salem, Oregon. He previously served as an adjunct instructor in Politics and Manager of the Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research in the School of Science, Engineering and Health at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania where he coordinated faculty, staff, and students in developing innovative technological solutions to international development barriers. His B.A. is in Aviation and Religion from Moody Aviation and Cornerstone University  and his M.A. is in Intercultural Studies from Biola University. His professional focus in the 2000's centered on supporting Global South nonprofit leaders with appropriate technology, research, and geographic information systems (GIS) instruction. He has served as a temporary advisor to the United Nations UNAIDS and has produced and published a range of maps and research software resources. His international development research focus combines socio-cultural conflict and capacity challenges of indigenous faith-based civil society organizations (CSOs) and has researched and written recently on Nigeria and Turkey.

John Christie-Searles was born and raised in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago. He attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology (SB), The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advance International Studies (MA), and University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School (MBA), and the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (MID). After a corporate executive career spanning 12 years, two cities (San Francisco and Pittsburgh) and four companies (three on the Fortune 500 list, one being a management consultancy), Mr. Christie-Searles returned to academia as an administrator at Allegheny College. Mr. Christie-Searles has also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho and the former Zaire. He has worked for the U.S. Department of State both stateside and at the Embassy of Cape Verde. Presently, he teaches as an adjunct professor in the Departments of Political Science and Black Studies. Some courses that he has taught include Politics of Third World Development, Religion and Politics, The Black Experience, and Jazz and the Great Migration. Mr. Christie-Searles was accepted into the University of Southern Mississippi, International Development PhD Program in 2013.

 Stephanie Davison lives in Bozeman, Montana and works for the Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development coordinating international youth exchanges and developing science and technology programs for Native American youth.  Originally from Vermont, Stephanie earned her bachelor's degree in Art History from the University of Vermont and, subsequently, her master's degree in Counseling and Human Development form Montana State University.  Research interests include the application of positive youth development theory in developing countries, the political effects of youth exchanges on sending countries, and experiential learning best practices for traditionally underserved youth in the United States.
 Patrick ErvinPatrick Ervin resides in Greenville, Mississippi, with his wife Teresa and daughters, Ashley, Alexis and Allyson. He works work full time as a Community Educator for the state's fifth largest hospital. He also works part time as a writer for the Delta Democrat Times. Patrick received his bachelor of arts in Journalism/Public Relations (2002) and master of science in Community and Economic Development (2008) from Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. Patrick’s areas of interest in the USM IDV PhD program include tourism, sports and global medical policy. He is also the author of "Frank and Dishonest: Expanding on Exaggeration," (2005), a book about tall tales impressed upon him by his late grandfather. His second book, "School Spirit" is due to be published later this year.


M. Annette Evans became the Deputy to the Garrison Commander, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, in November 2015. Prior to joining USAG Bavaria, Ms. Evans served as the Project Integration Officer, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ms. Evans has deployed twice, the first time in 2010-2011 as the Program Manager, Water and Infrastructure Branch, Afghanistan Engineer District – South, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the second time in 2013-2014 as Deputy to the Joint Engineer, U.S. Forces – Afghanistan. Between her deployments, Ms. Evans served as ERDC’s Deputy to the Commander, providing leadership and policy direction to the Command Staff Division for seven laboratories in four states.  She also served as the Deputy Garrison Manager at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Adelphi, Md. Ms. Evans began her federal career in 1995 in Vicenza, Italy, where she served as the Director for Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, leading garrison deployment cycle support for the Southern European Task Force (Airborne) during three deployment cycles.  Ms. Evans also served as the Family Support Division Chief and the MWR Marketing Director for USAG Vicenza. Ms. Evans holds a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of New Mexico, a master’s in educational leadership from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. While at the War College, she received the Commandant’s Award for Distinction in Research for her strategic research project, “U.S. Military Stability Operations and Social Capital,” subsequently published as a book chapter in 2013.  Ms. Evans is currently completing her doctoral degree in International Development at the University of Southern Mississippi. Ms. Evans has been awarded multiple civilian service awards, including Installation Management Command’s Stalwart Award and the Joint Civilian Service Achievement Award.

Tony Gonzales is a current Department of Defense Legislative Fellow attached to Senator Marco Rubio in Washington, D.C.. Tony has been in the U.S. Navy for over 17 years, providing intelligence and cryptologic support during multiple deployments to the Middle East and Asia onboard US military aircraft and vessels, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and several other Operations and Campaigns. While still performing his work as an active duty Navy Senior Chief in Information Warfare, Tony has also taught U.S. History and U.S. Government at Pensacola State College as an adjunct faculty member.   Tony holds an M.A. in International Relations and Conflict Resolution from the American Military University. He joined the University of Southern Mississippi IDV PhD program in 2015 and his research interests include cyber activities as they relate to international relations, political development, and U.S. foreign policy.  He is a member of several professional organizations to include the International Studies Association (ISA), American Political Science Association (APSA), and the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA).  

 Tom GonzalezTom Gonzalez presently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and works at Fort Carson as the Command Sergeant Major of the 71st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (more commonly known as the Bomb Squad).  The Army has 2 EOD Groups worldwide and Tom's area of operations is the Western half of the United States.  Currently he is deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, as the Task Force Troy Command Sergeant Major responsible for countering the infamous improvised explosive device that the enemy has become so fond of using. His education includes a Master in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy from Norwich University, Vermont.  His undergraduate is a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. His concentration at USM is in Security with a minor concentration in Political Development and his regions of interest are in the Greater Middle East and South America.  His true topic of interest is how asymmetric warfare, tactics, and weapons affect national policy and nation building efforts.

Amber Lee Hulsey is a current student and Research Assistant of the International Development Doctoral Program at The University of Southern Mississippi.  In that role, she manages all social media platforms for the Department of Political Science, International Development and International Affairs.  Ms. Hulsey's fellowships, scholarships and grants over the last 7 years total over $82,000.  Her research interests include:  aviation, human trafficking, slavery and tourism. 

Ms. Hulsey received a Master's of Science Degree in Aerospace with a concentration in Aviation Safety and Security Management from Middle Tennessee State University.  She attended Middle Tennessee State University for her undergraduate degree and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace with a concentration in Administration and minor in Business.  Ms. Hulsey is a McNair Scholar, has presented aviation safety research in India, has a few publications and is a member of numerous organizations, to include a few:  American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), University Aviation Association (UAA), Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Women in Aviation, and the International Studies Association (ISA).  Ms. Hulsey's Gramma, Ms. Patricia Jean McCoy, taught her the power of determination and often said, "have determination and you can do anything," which is Ms. Hulsey's life motto.

 Barbara-Anne JohnsonBarbara-Anne Johnson is a college professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC where she teaches in three departments: Political Science, Criminal Justice, and Sociology. She has an AA in Criminal Justice Law; a BS in Clinical Psychology; a BA in Cultural Anthropology/Sociology, with minors in political science and theatre; an M Ed in Special Education with a Learning Disabilities Add-On; and a MA in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology.  In the IDV program her area of concentration is Political Science and Security Studies, and her minor is in Economic Development.  She has two sons and a daughter, and two grandsons.  In her "spare time" she is a screenwriter and a documentary filmmaker. Barbara-Anne has won four Telly Awards and the Hollywood F.A.M.E. Award in addition to nine awards for her political documentary, Superpower. Her website is

R. Alan King is an award winning author an noted speaker on terrorism, insurgency and counterinsurgency, strategic communications, Political Islam, cultural understanding in irregular warfare and Middle East geopolitical issues.  He is an adjunct professor at Norwich University instructing in National Security, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, Culture and Anthropology.

His work and success with Iraqi tribes has been widely profiled in the international media and he has advised Congressional leaders on issues in Iraq.  He has also served as an advisor to senior leaders in the Departments of State and Defense.  He testified before the House of Representatives, Subcommittee for National Security concerning the security situation in Iraq.  In April 2004, he served as a senior member of the ceasefire negotiations in Fallujah and then dispatched to An Najaf to coordinate a response to the uprising.

He has a distinguished military background in the U.S. Army including tours in Honduras, Panama for Operation Just Cause, Bosnia and Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He was a Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations officer and retired as a colonel.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air War College and holds master's degrees in International Relations and Management from Webster University.  He has received numerous honors and awards for his achievements and contributions in international relations, including being selected as a Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Fellow at Oklahoma State University.

His book titled, Twice Armed, an American Soldier's Battle for Hearts and Minds in Iraq was released by Zenith Press in 2006 and was awarded the 2008 William E. Colby Military Writer's Award for major contributions to intelligence operations and international affairs.

 Jennifer Kuklenski

Jennifer Kuklenski received her B.A. in International Relations from St. Cloud State University and M.A. in International Security from the University of Arizona’s School of Government and Public Policy. She is currently a part-time Instructor in the Department of Social Responsibility at Northland College and an Adjunct Instructor of social science at Gogebic Community College. Additionally, she has served as an Operations Intelligence Analyst in the Minnesota Air National Guard for more than 10 years and has supported several domestic and international operations and exercises. Jennifer’s academic background has complimented her military responsibilities well and during her most recent deployment to Southwest Asia, she taught International Political Relations for the University of Maryland University College. Though her research interests broadly include comparative politics and security studies, Jennifer is increasingly interested in the human security issues posed by economic underdevelopment. She recently was selected as a Diplomacy and Diversity Fellow for Humanity in Action and will be engaging in academic research and lectures regarding the most pressing international issues with leaders in Washington D.C., Warsaw, Poland, Berlin, Germany, and Athens, Greece during the summer of 2016. She is a member of several professional organizations, to include the International Studies Association (ISA), the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), and the International Association for Community Development (IACD).

Mandy Parham has worked with USAID for the past nine years and currently serves as a Senior Advisor to Special Projects in the Office of Acquisition and Assistance. Previously, she worked for NASA and the National Institute of Health. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from North Carolina Central University and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the New York Institute of Technology. In 2008 she converted to the Foreign Service. She has been posted in Thailand and South Africa and has had numerous temporary duty assignments to Namibia, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Egypt. She lives in Laurel, MD and has two daughters. Her research interests include civil war, ethnic cleansing, gender issues, and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 Joy S. PattonJoy S. Patton received her B.A. from Centre College in History and her M.S. in International Relations from Troy State University. She currently serves as adjunct professor of international relations in the Securities and Global Studies Department of American Public University System (APUS) and American Military University (AMU). Additionally, she is an intelligence specialist and reserve Air Force officer at Eglin Air Force Base. Major Patton is a member of the American Political Science Association (APSA), as well as the International Studies Association (ISA). When not traveling for research, she enjoys reading books on current affairs and studying the history of the Vietnam War.
 Rian K. PlaswirthA native of Gautier, Rian K. Plaswirth is currently a teacher's assistant with the University of Southern Mississippi's College of Arts and Letters where he assists with research and data analysis for Drs. Naghshpour and St. Marie. With a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern Mississippi, Rian is on the Economic Research Team and is primarily interested in Transportation Economics, Maritime Security and Multimodal Transportation.
 PatrickTurnerPatrick Turner received his Bachelor of Arts from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio. During his undergraduate education, Patrick attended American University in Washington, D.C., taking part in the Washington semester exchange program, where he participated in lectures given by recognized leaders in the fields of criminal justice and national security. Patrick received his Master's of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security Administration from Tiffin University, Tiffin, Ohio. Patrick began the International Development Program (IDV) in January of 2008. His area of focus is on how the United States can effectively manage and interact with the political and militant sides of Hezbollah organizations throughout the world.
Timea Varga received her B.A. in Communication Media and Politics, her M.S. in Communication and Media Studies and Practice, and her MBA in International Business from Lynn University. She presently serves as a full-time Instructor in Lynn University’s Dialogues core curriculum, teaching a variety of undergraduate courses including Religion and Conflict, Justice at the Margins, Self and Society, Persuasion and Propaganda, and German Language and Culture. As a Lynn faculty member, she is an active participant and facilitator of the university’s community partnership projects including its Citizenship Project, Project Nuremberg and Project Civitas, all of which encourage community to advocate for cooperation, compromise, and consensus in a wide array of issue areas ranging from humanitarian action to politics and public life. A Hungarian native fluent in six languages, Timea previously served as graduate research assistant, and later academic web coordinator and adjunct professor at Lynn University. In her role as a full-time staff member, she has filled a key function in the planning of the final 2012 U.S. presidential debate between President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney hosted by the school. Before joining the Lynn community, Timea has worked with the Hungarian Ministry of Defense and the NATO as a diplomatic communication liaison, where her responsibilities, among others, included the assistance of dignitaries Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai and NATO Deputy Secretary General Claudio Bisogniero during diplomatic correlations, and the support of Hungarian Minister of Defense Dr. Imre Szekeres and his staff in the writing, editing and translation of political speeches. Timea has also held multiple leadership roles regionally and nationally. She presently serves as president of the Florida Communication Association and is a former editorial assistant of Women’s Studies in Communication. She is a member of several professional organizations including the National Communication Association (NCA), International Studies Association (ISA) and the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), and regularly presents at scholarly conferences nationwide. Timea’s research interests broadly include comparative politics and international security, with her focus located at the intersection of political rhetoric and the role of political, social and cultural identities in conflict.

Michelle Watts has a degree in International Studies from American University in Washington, D.C., and a Master's degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona.  Her professional experience includes working at the Inter-American Foundation, teaching United States Government and History for Central Texas College, as well as Latin American Studies and International Development courses for Florida State University in the traditional classroom.  She is currently a Faculty Director for the American Public University System.

Michelle has worked with refugees in Washington D.C.: studied in Argentina, Costa Rica and Ecuador; journeyed to Nicaragua with Habitat for Humanity; worked on the US-Mexican border; lived and later conducted research in Panama, and traveled extensively in Latin America.  She wrote two encyclopedia entries for Anti-Immigration in the United States:  A Historical Encyclopedia.  Her co-authored articles include:  "Seguridad del Canal de Panama:  Una Decada Despues de la Salida de Estados Unidos" (Security of the Panama Canal:  One Decade after US Departure), published in the Air and Space Power Journal, Spanish ed., "The US and Panama: The Evolution of an Asymmetric Relationship,"  published in the Delaware Review of Latin American Studies and "Drugs, Thugs and the Diablos Rojos:  Perils and Progress in Panama" and "Game of Norms:  Panama, the International Community, and Indigenous Rights" in the Latin American Policy Journal.