Hannah Bech is a Senior at Augsburg College studying Sociology with a minor in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies. Before her time at Augsburg College, Hannah moved from Swarthmore, PA to Minneapolis to serve one year as a literacy coach with Minnesota Reading Corps. This experience pushed her to work for social justice and study social and institutional inequality in hopes of making change. Hannah facilitates student-to-student workshops for Students for Racial Justice at Augsburg College, focusing on race, racism & white privilege in the United States. She also facilitates trainings on LGBTQIA issues and has worked in the community as a mentor at Project for Pride in Living, a K-12 tutor at the Northeast Library in Minneapolis, and as an HIV testing counselor. In her spare time, Hannah likes to explore the Minneapolis music scene, do crafts, laugh with her wonderful friends, and attempt to read for pleasure (mostly more Sociology because that is her idea of fun). After Augsburg, Hannah hopes to stay in Minneapolis for a bit because she just can’t seem to give it up yet. Eventually, she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology, have a cat, and continue activist work.
Taylor Bozich is a rising junior at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma,Washington. She is majoring in Biology and Global Studies with an emphasis in Global Development. From several experiences, she has developed over time a great passion for global health, and is very interested in the ways that policies,socioeconomic status, and other factors affect access to health care and other public services.Born in Washington State, Taylor loves being outdoors, hiking, drinking tea, and listening to folk music. More than anything in this world, Taylor wants to learn from and partner with others to help build a global community that uses diplomacy, reciprocated understanding, and love as the foundations for a humanity that values healthy communities, human lives, and peace above all else. She dreams of following in the footsteps of individuals like Dr. Paul Farmer,Ophelia Dahl, and Dr. Bill Foege, and is excited for the incredible opportunity she has this summer to deepen her understanding of what it means to build peace.
Christian Einertson is a senior from Marietta, Georgia. He is currently studying Modern Foreign Languages and Music-Voice with an emphasis in Sacred Music at Augustana University. Christian holds the Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française and has studied in the Russian Federation with the National Security Language Initiative for Youth, the United Kingdom with Augustana’s Distinguished Scholars, and Germany. Some of his favorite activities involve singing baritone in the Augustana Choir and playing string bass in the Augustana Orchestra. In addition to his busy academic schedule, Christian serves as organist at Christ Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls. After his time at Augustana, Christian hopes to attend seminary to study for a Master of Divinity in pursuit of ordination in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Alex Gray is a senior at Concordia College majoring in social studies education and political science. In the past three years, Alex has participated in student government, parliamentary debate and jazz band. He is also an assistant coach for the speech team at Moorhead High School. This fall, Alex will study in Bangalore, India as part of Concordia’s Justice, Peace and Sustainable Communities program. In the spring, he will student teach at a high school in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
Alex is thankful for the opportunity to explore peace and conflict studies as a Peace Scholar and learn from students from all over the world at the ISS. He hopes to be a social studies teacher who instills in his students a love for learning and an appreciation for other peoples, cultures and perspectives, and the Peace Scholars program will help him reach this goal.
Kofi Gunu is a rising Junior and proud to call Augustana University home. He is double-majoring in Political Science and Economics, with an emphasis in International Relations. His experiences growing up in the war-torn Northern Region of Ghana drive his commitment to creating an environment of mutual tolerance for diverse opinions and identities. He has been actively involved on campus and in the community, serving as a senator in the Augustana Student Association, interning on a U.S. Senate campaign, mentoring at the Bowden Youth Center, and working as a Peer Advisor in Bergsaker Hall. When not in the Mikkelsen Library skimming through the latest issue of TIME, you are sure to find Kofi in the Huddle trading stories and enjoying a good laugh with fellow students over a cup of coffee.
Kofi is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to study in Norway as a Peace Scholar. He hopes to proceed to Tsinghua University in China after Augustana and, ultimately, on to a career advising world leaders on more effective policies geared toward global justice and conflict resolution.
Emily Holm is a rising senior at Luther College studying religion with minors in mathematics and computer science. Though these subjects seem unrelated at surface level, Emily is passionate about these fields of study because of their shared problem-solving aspects and considers herself a problem-solver as well. She is especially interested in religious conflict-resolution, which often involves religious discrimination and the challenging nature of interfaith dialogue. These interests have led her to specific research in Islamophobia and Christian exclusivism. At Luther, Emily works in the Web-Content department and is heavily involved in College Ministries. Among her favorite activities is playing guitar and leading worship for FOCUS, Luther’s weekly student-led service. She also enjoys volunteering, working with children, and camp counseling. After her time in Norway, Emily will travel directly to Seattle, WA to intern at Kids4Peace, an interfaith summer camp for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim students. The camp seeks to foster interfaith understanding and create a worldwide environment of mutual respect, and is a perfect place for Emily to turn her new peacemaking knowledge into action. All in all, Emily is confident that this summer will forever change her worldview and lead her towards a lifetime of problem-solving and peacemaking.
Katie Kovacovich is a senior at Luther College studying social work with a concentration in environmental studies and a minor in music. She thinks of these disciplines as related and influential to each other in multiple aspects, and likes to take a holistic approach to all of her learning experiences. At Luther she is the President of Active Minds, which empowers students to change the perception of mental health. Katie is also on Student Senate and serves as the head of the Student Leadership Committee. Additionally, she is student representative on the Honors Advisory Committee, sings in the Collegiate Chorale, and dances with the student-led group, Orchesis. Outside of the Luther community she volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate where she advocates for children in abuse and neglect juvenile court cases. In her free time Katie loves to read, cook, dance, sing, and adventure in the outdoors.
In her future, Katie hopes to work with older youth from difficult backgrounds, largely inspired by her past work as a camp counselor. She also hopes to do policy work for prison system reform and issues of environmental justice. She is confident that her work with the Peace Scholar program will give her incredible insight and growth in areas of peace and community, and help her further discover ways in which this can be applied to even the smallest aspects of an individuals life. She hopes to make connections with people from all over the world, and be inspired and empowered toward life-long goals of international peace and conflict resolution.
Ellie Lapp is a rising Junior at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. She is from Kalispell, Montana and is majoring in Anthropology and Global Studies with a minor in Hispanic Studies. Ellie has studied away twice during her time at PLU, spending a month studying Dialogue and Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland and a semester studying Spanish, Anthropology, and Sustainable Development in Oaxaca, Mexico. These experiences have deepened Ellie’s interests in peace studies, especially the intersections between Anthropology, Development, gender, and peace. On campus, Ellie is involved in Student Government as the ASPLU Vice President and is an officer for the Network for Peacebuilding and Conflict Management. She is also an active member of SAPET (the Sexual Assault Peer Education Team) and volunteers with PLU’s Women’s Center. She is excited to continue to study these issues and more in Norway this summer, and is grateful for the opportunity to be a Peace Scholar. She looks forward to bringing what she learns back to PLU and integrating peacebuilding into whatever field she chooses as a career.
Matthew Lillehaugen is a rising junior at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, majoring in Political Science and Global Studies with minors in Mathematics and Physics. Matthew is passionate about peace and conflict resolution, particularly in the Middle East and South Asia, and wants to pursue a career in international relations and diplomacy after graduation.
While at Concordia, Matthew has been involved with the planning of the 2015 and 2016 Faith, Reason and World Affairs Symposia on the Rise of China and US-Middle Eastern Relations respectively. He has also been involved with the Celebration of Student Scholarship, Concordia’s institutional undergraduate research event, both as a student member of the planning committee and as a presenter. Matthew runs Cross Country and Track, and is a captain of the Cross Country team for the 2015 season.
Merve Mert is a rising junior at St Olaf College studying Political Science. Being an international student from Turkey, and finishing her second year studying in the US, Merve has come to realize the roles that different perspectives play in our lives. Her experience as an international student led her to be more receptive to human rights and minority rights issues from all around the world, and conflicts arising from them, as well as to be more intentional in approaching to understand those issues. She has always been interested in the theories regarding politics, development, and human rights but she increasingly grew interested in the applicable methods of conflict resolution. Merve takes pride in being a debater in the soul, and at the same time being able to see things outside of the conventional black-and-white framework of debate. She considers music an inseparable part of her life and tries to be involved in musical activities at St Olaf College. She is very excited for the opportunity to be in Oslo this summer, interact with alike-minded and passionate individuals who share interests in peacemaking, and engage in meaningful conversations. Upon returning to St Olaf, she hopes to share her experience in different venues on campus such as Sustained Dialogue, and help foster dialogue starting from the members of the St. Olaf community.
Casey Regnier is a rising junior at Augsburg College pursuing a major in Biopsychology with a minor in Peace and Global Studies. She is an active member of the Cedar-Riverside Health Commons in Minneapolis and provides basic medical care to support healthy individuals and communities. In addition to her time spent at their drop-in center, Casey volunteers as their swim assistant. The class she teaches consists primarily of multigenerational Somali immigrant women from her local community. Casey also takes on a range of leadership roles on campus and is employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She is interested in how healthcare can be used as a tool to resolve global conflict and promote positive peace. Recently, Casey attended an immersion in Guatemala with the Augsburg Graduate Nursing Program to study the politics of healthcare. In addition to studying in Norway this summer Casey will spend the upcoming fall semester abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico exploring the intricate roles of a global citizen. Casey is deeply thankful for her opportunities abroad and hopes to develop a holistic and realistic understanding of international healthcare.
In her free time Casey enjoys good conversation over a cup of coffee with friends, participates in triathlons, and gets a thrill out of spontaneous adventures. Upon graduation, Casey hopes to attend Physician Assistant School and continue her work in community health.
Nora Uhrich is a rising senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota where she studies psychology, religion, and Norwegian. Nora is from Bottineau, North Dakota, a small town in the central part of the state, located less than 20 miles from the Canadian border. While attending St. Olaf, she has cofounded a campus organization called Interfaith Coalition for Peace and Justice. The goal of the organization is to explore diverse religious traditions and promote dialogue that is respectful, positive, and constructive. Nora is interested in the intersection between spirituality and psychology and how people find meaning in their lives. In 2015 she had the opportunity to study religion in Palestine and Israel, which was a life-changing experience for her. Nora is particularly interested in peace psychology, which uses psychological concepts, tools, and perspectives for the construction of peace and prevention of conflict on all levels, individual to international. In her spare time, Nora enjoys meditation, yoga, and fishing. Hun gleder seg til opplevelser sine i Norge! Translated: She looks forward to her adventures in Norway!