Our Team

Interdependence Education for Action

Mary Papazian

Mary Papazian has enjoyed a long career in higher education, as a professor of literature and an academic administrator, and currently serves as president of San Jose State University. Throughout her long career in higher education, she has been committed to ensuring equitable access to opportunity for all, as well as to supporting education’s mission to engage with the significant problems facing our community and our world. She draws her strength from the spirit of her grandparents and their generation of survivors of the Armenian genocide who, despite profound suffering, drew on their internal faith to rebuild their lives and create a foundation for the future.

Paula Rayman

Paula M. Rayman is Professor Emerita at the University of Massachusetts. She served as Chair Advisory Council of SEAChange, American Association for Advancement of Science, and Founding Director of the Radcliffe Public Policy Institute at Harvard University. She was a Fulbright Senior Scholar (2008-2014) at Queens University, Northern Ireland and University of Haifa, Israel. She is the author of Nonviolent Action and Social ChangeThe Equity EquationBeyond the Bottom Line: The Search for Dignity at Work, and numerous research and research-action publications linking economic justice, gender equity and human rights. Professor Rayman has been a lifelong activist and trainer for nonviolent movements in the United States, Northern Ireland and the Middle East. She was named a Bunting Fellow at Harvard University and was the recipient of the Martin Luther King Award from UMass Lowell.

Katja Speck

Katja Speck founded DigitalMarketExpert in 2014. Her mission is to empower value-driven organizations to achieve their goals in the digital landscape. DigitalMarketExpert successfully advises Start-ups, Enterprises and NGOs. One of Katja’s ventures is ID4me AISBL a Non-for-Profit Organization whose mission is to keep the Internet open by establishing a standard for user’s digital identity. Katja is a lecturer at Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW). She has been passionately involved in human rights and environmental projects, working with organizations like WWF, and became a ClimateRealityLeader in Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project in 2018. In 2019 Katja has received the “InspiringFifty DACH” Award. InspiringFifty is a non-profit that aims to increase diversity in tech by making female role models in tech more visible. Katja earned a degree in business administration from Munich University of Applied Sciences and spent a year at the University of Málaga.

Laura Homann

Laura Homann is a graduate student in Peace and Conflict Studies at University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is originally from Germany and earned her bachelor‘s degree in Social Work at Medical School Berlin. During her studies and afterwards, Laura worked with a broad range of clientele, from underage girls in a supervised living group to an emergency accommodation for drug-addicted, homeless people, as well as in an accommodation for refuges. In 2016, Laura spent several months in Kenya, and one year later, she became a board member of the charitable society Watoto e.V., which supports the schools of Mekaela Academies. Before COVID-19, Laura was traveling to Kenya on a regular basis. She is still active on the board.

Johanna Scholz

Johanna Scholz is a research assistant at the University of Hildesheim (Germany), supporting a language project for young refugees. She educates students in the fields of instruction, diversity, fleeing, trauma, and asylum rights while simultaneously working as a language development teacher at a primary school. She completed the dual-degree Master of Education program in elementary school education in German philology and Catholic theology as well as the Master of Arts program in “German as a second language/foreign language.” Furthermore, the volunteer program “kulturweit,” a joint initiative of the UNESCO and Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, provided her with the opportunity to complement her diverse skillset with international teaching experience by living in Windhoek (Namibia) from 2017 to 2018, working at a nursery and primary school of DHPS Windhoek in the field of language development.

Julia Cusano

Julie is a recent alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she received her Ed.M in Human Development and Psychology with a focus on Child Advocacy, as well as a certificate in Child Protection from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She has worked in a variety of educational settings, from childcare centers, to domestic violence living residences, as well in K-3 public schools. Along with her Ed.M, Julie also has her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education with a focus on Developmental Psychology. She graduated from Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts in 2018, and has taught in multiple primary grade classrooms. In the spring of 2017, she also taught preschoolers abroad in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Currently, Julie is a Kindergarten teacher in New Hampshire, working in a public school with children ages 5 and 6.

Marie Papazian

Marie Papazian is a senior at Barnard College of Columbia University, majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She is also pursuing a double minor in both East Asian Studies, with a focus on Chinese language and literature, and Visual Arts. At Barnard, Marie is an Athena Scholar with Barnard’s Athena Scholar Program for Leadership Studies. She is also a Coordinator for Artists Reaching Out, a Columbia University volunteer organization which recruits student volunteers to teach art classes to elementary school students in schools and shelters in Harlem. She was set to attend Harbin Institute of Technology for her semester abroad before the pandemic and plans to study in China upon graduating.

Stella Robertson

Stella is a junior at Brown University studying International and Public Affairs, with a focus on security and East Asia, as well as Mandarin Chinese. Stella interned at the National Bureau of Asian Research for the past three summers, providing publications and research support. In this capacity, she researched and wrote reports on such topics as Sino-Russian relations, US cyber security policy, and Cold War military strategy. She is currently the Vice President and Research Director for the Brown Institute for Policy and the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Intercollegiate US-China Journal. Born in Hong Kong and having lived in Tokyo and Seattle, Stella believes strongly in fostering cross-cultural understanding through scholarship and engagement.

Jamie Douglas

Jamie “Buster” Douglas is a U.S.-based, award-winning creative director, writer, designer, and communications strategist for progressive public advocacy causes and campaigns — including public education, climate change and environmental protection, access to affordable health care, expansion of workers’ and voters’ rights, consumer safety, and international development. Jamie owns Daylight Communications, a boutique agency specializing in strategic planning, message and brand development, research analysis, and content creation for digital, online, print, display, and video media. Previously a journalist, Jamie published profiles on a diverse collection of cultural icons, including psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, writers Michael Ondaatje and Russell Banks, biologist Paul Ehrlich, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, and talk radio pioneer Larry King. Jamie is a graduate of Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island.

Gayatri Ahuja

Gayatri is a final year student at the University of Delhi, India, and is pursuing her Bachelor’s in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. She is passionate about international affairs and policy, gender and sexuality, and is the Co-Founder of Project MicDrop; an inclusive, intersectional and intergenerational initiative which focuses on issues faced by women and gender minorities.

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The IDEA (Interdependence Education for Action) School is committed to building an interdependent society embracing economic, environmental, gender and racial justice.

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