Many individuals across the globe work to make GESI possible. Learn more about the staff at Northwestern who work directly with students, parents, and partners throughout the GESI program. 

Meet the staff 

 

Diego Arispe-Bazán

Assistant Professor of Instruction

Diego Arispe-Bazán received his PhD from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. A linguistic and cultural anthropologist, his research centers on the production and circulation of history via linguistic and discursive strategies in interaction. More specifically, his focus is on the schism in how Spanish and Peruvian citizens valorize the colonial past, and how differences in dialectal forms reaffirm ideas about national belonging based on ideologies surrounding colonization. His ethnographic research in both countries investigates the global effects of economic crisis in the “developed” world. Furthermore, his ethnographic and semiotic approach allows for a fine-grained approach to understanding the composition of categories of race and class in Latin America as intertwined processes both synchronic and diachronic. Diego is one of the organizers of the Thinking Andean Studies conference series and a co-producer of the American Anthropological Association’s flagship podcast, "Anthropological Airwaves."

Contact Diego:
Phone: 847-467-2770
Email: diego.arispe-bazan@northwestern.edu

Paul Arntson

Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies

Paul Arntson teaches Doing Development: The theory and practice of community engagement. Arntson is an Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies, serves on the faculty of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD), and is on the steering committee of the Center for Civic Engagement, an organization he helped found. Arntson was the founding director of the Northwestern Undergraduate Leadership Program, and started the Northwestern Public Interest Program, which places graduating seniors in public interest fellowships each year. Arntson’s current research attempts to understand how labeled and marginalized people can be integrated into society as contributing and productive citizens. He has conducted research and training programs in British, Australian, and American primary care contexts, with self help groups, and with neighborhood associations in order to improve citizens’ decision making competencies concerning their health and the well-being of their communities. Besides teaching in GESI, he hosts the year long capstone course for the Certificate in Civic Engagement where students in small groups partner with local community-based organizations to help enhance their capacities to improve their communities.

Contact Paul
Phone: 847.491.5838
Email: p-arntson@northwestern.edu

Office Address:
1800 Sherman, Suite 1-200, Room 1-204
Evanston, IL 60208

Patrick Eccles

Associate Director of Global Engagement Programs

Patrick Eccles joined the staff of the Buffett Institute as Assistant Director during the fall quarter of 2012. Prior to joining the global engagement programs at Northwestern, Patrick spent seven years working to expand and deepen experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students while coordinating local, domestic and international immersion experiences at Loyola University Chicago. Patrick earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern, majoring in political science with minors in international and environmental studies. During his college years, Patrick spent a year volunteering on a reforestation project and assisting with various community development efforts in the western highlands of Guatemala. He earned his Master’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University of Chicago. In his Master’s thesis and fieldwork, Patrick pursued overlapping research interests in trade, human rights and the environment through a critique and comparison of fair trade arrangements in coffee production as a sustainable development approach in Guatemala and Mexico. He speaks fluent Spanish.

Contact Patrick
Phone: 847.467.0844
Email: patrick.eccles@northwestern.edu

Office Address:
1800 Sherman, Suite 1-200, Room 111
Evanston, IL 60208

Ha Nguyen

Atlas Corps Fellow

Ha Nguyen is an Atlas Corps Fellow from Vietnam and started serving at the Buffett Institute from May 2018. Ha earned a Bachelor’s degree in Language Education from Vietnam National University (VNU), Hanoi. Before coming to Buffett, Ha worked as a Program Manager at Student Exchange Vietnam where she spent four years focusing on promoting internationalization of Vietnam’s higher education and workforce via academic and professional exchanges. Previously, Ha served as an event organizer for the U.S Embassy in Vietnam’s Conference on boosting the number of U.S students studying abroad in Vietnam. She also volunteered as an English Instructor training English to board members of public schools within the province of Thanh Hoa, Vietnam and to a wide range of VNU’s non-English major students. Ha is passionate about promoting global understanding and cultural diversity through international education. In her free time, she enjoys doing yoga or going on a bike ride.

Contact Ha:
Email: ha.nguyen@northwestern.edu

Office Address:
1800 Sherman, Suite 1-200
Evanston, IL 60208

Corey Portell

Community Partnerships Manager 

Corey came to the Buffett Institute in 2013 from Stephens College, a women’s college in Missouri, where she worked in admissions with domestic and international students. She received a BA in international studies, political science, and religious studies from Loyola University Chicago, where she focused much of her co-curricular efforts on harm prevention, women’s rights, and social justice issues both in the United States and abroad. Corey also studied abroad at the University of Ghana, where she took classes in West African development history and worked with a local self-help NGO collaborating on personal development classes for young adults. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking or running by the lake, and traveling the US & abroad.

Contact Corey
Phone: 847.467.2689
Email: corey.portell@northwestern.edu

Office Address:
1800 Sherman, Suite 1-200
Evanston, IL 60208

Jessica Smith Soto

Program Coordinator

Jessica joined the GESI team in summer 2015. She started undergrad at the Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), Campus Queretaro, Mexico. She later transferred to Grand Valley State University to receive her B.A in International Relations with a minor in Latin American Studies. Through Grand Valley, Jessica was a recipient of the Studies in Transatlantic International Relations (STAIR) scholarship, studying in Hungary and Poland. Post graduation, Jessica worked in Bogota, Colombia. She speaks native English and Spanish, and very poor Polish. Jessica’s interests include but are not limited to: amazing latin music, improv comedy, cooking, traveling, yoga, & finding the best chocolate on the planet.

Contact Jessica
Phone: 847.467.5759
Email: jessica.smith@northwestern.edu

Office Address:
1800 Sherman, Suite 1-200
Evanston, IL 60208