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.
Paul Arntson, Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies
Patrick Eccles, Associate Director of Global Engagement Programs
Meghan Ozaroski, Assistant Director of GESI
Corey Portell, Community Partnerships Manager
Emory Erker-Lynch, Program Manager, Undergraduate Initiatives
Jessica Smith Soto, Program Assistant
Cate Miano, Atlas Corp Fellow
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.
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.
Meghan Ozaroski came to the Buffett Institute in 2009, where she spent three years focusing on communications and outreach across the University before joining the GESI team and working with Buffett's Global Engagement Programming. Meghan also founded AHEAD@NU: the Association for Higher Education Administrators’ Development, a professional development group for employees of the University. Before coming to Northwestern, she worked at the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), coordinating study abroad programs in Tanzania, Botswana, India, Japan, and Chicago. Meghan has a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Policy from Northwestern, and as an undergraduate at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she majored in Psychology and Music. She loves spending her free time exploring Chicago's neighborhoods, seeing plays at local theatre companies, and volunteering with One Million Degrees, The Community College Project.
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.
Emory joined the Buffett Institute in 2014 as an intern while working towards her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Policy from Northwestern. Before coming to Northwestern, she worked in Boston as a housing resource manager and advocate for persons experiencing homelessness. Emory has a master’s degree in Theological Ethics from Boston College, where she also worked as a graduate assistant with the Arrupe international immersion education program. She received a BA in Religious Studies and History from Santa Clara University before living and working in El Salvador for two years with the Casa de la Solidaridad study abroad program. When not working, you will often find her with her nose stuck in a novel, her hands covered with dirt in the garden, or out exploring new parks.
Jessica Smith Soto
Jessica joined the GESI team in summer 2015. She started undergrad at the Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Surperiores 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.
Cate is an Atlas Corps Fellow from Kenya serving at the Buffett Institute from 2017. While pursuing a law degree from the University of Nairobi, she sought to share her passion for books and reading with children everywhere. She therefore founded a nonprofit, Pitch a Dream, and worked with her team to cultivate a reading culture, enhance global awareness and, provide skill development training for children across rural Kenya. Following receiving her LLB from the University of Nairobi in 2015, she had a chance to engage in the Do School Connection Challenge, Berlin where she worked with a global team to create an artificial intelligence model for a German Company. Following this experience and prior to becoming an Atlas Corps Fellow, she worked in Refugee Status Determination(RSD) as well as Resettlement units within the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-Nairobi, furthering her international development experience. During her spare time Cate will be found discovering various new cuisines and attending upcoming music concerts within Chicago.
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