Skip to main content
Expand AU Menu

International Peace and Conflict Resolution | SIS

Alumni Success Stories

Priti Patel (IPCR '06)

Priti Patel, IPCR Alumna 2006

Priti Patel bridges the gap between health and peacebuilding by increasing human security through the distribution of basic health services to vulnerable populations.

Priti has worked in international public health for over seven years. She is currently a Senior Procurement and Capacity Building Officer at Population Services International (PSI). PSI is a global health network of more than 60 local organizations dedicated to improving the health of people in the developing world by focusing on serious challenges like HIV and AIDS, a lack of family planning, barriers to maternal health, and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.

She has worked on a multi-million dollar malaria project from The Global Fund, procuring and distributing Long Lasting Insecticide treated Bed Nets (LLINs) to various Ministries of Health and local NGOs. Under this project she worked on large scale mass distribution of over 15 million LLINs for the Ministry of Health and Finance in Uganda.

Priti currently supports Family Planning and HIV Prevention and Treatment Programs in Latin America, while using her cross cultural communication skills to provide Capacity Building to various country platforms and colleagues. She attributes her success in working with various ministries, NGOs, and donors to her negotiation and conflict resolution skills. Her work has taken her to Switzerland, Uganda, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.

Karen Castro (IPCR '16)

Karen Castro IPCR 2016 Alumna standing next to flag

Just a few months after receiving her Master's in IPCR, Karen Castro, IPCR '16, was offered a job as a United States Diplomat! With a passion for social justice, particularly pertaining to immigration issues, she is pursuing her dreams. Karen is also an alumna of the U.S. State Department Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Program.

Concentrating in U.S. Foreign Policy, Karen excelled in her studies at American University. She hopes to continue to represent her country domestically and overseas. Prior to her time with IPCR, Karen worked as an Immigration Caseworker at the U.S. House of Representatives and as a Legislative Aide at the Ohio House of Representatives.

Sean McDonald (IPCR '09)

Sean McDonald shirt and tie

Sean McDonald provides innovative solutions to the world's crises. He is the CEO of FrontlineSMS, an award winning technology company, focused on using mobile technologies to improve the ways that people reach the things they need most. Under Sean's leadership, Frontline has been deployed more than 300,000 times in 199 countries, helping tens of thousands of organizations reach tens of millions of people with information and services. Frontline has been used to organize disaster response in the Philippines, support peacebuilding in South Sudan, and improve land titling in India.

Sean is also an active advocate for user rights in digital spaces, recently authoring "Ebola: A Big Data Disaster," published by the Center for Internet and Society. Sean is an advisor to UNDP, the Center for Internet & Society, TechChange,, and ECPAT International, and an affiliate with Harvard's Berkman Center.

Julia Chalphin (IPCR '16)

Julia Chalphin yellow shirt next to bony with red cap

Julia Chalphin is a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) who works as a Program Analyst with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Earlier this year, Julia was a Government Affairs and External Relations Intern at the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. During her time at American University, Julia also worked for the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs as a Legislative Intern. She also participated in the 'Water, Cooperation and Peace in the Middle East' Practicum in Israel and the West Bank. With volunteer experience in the Philippines and South Africa, Julia is dedicated to making the world a better place.

Sarah Barnett (IPCR '16)

Sarah Barnett with Apple laptop

Sarah Barnett applies her expertise in emergency and peace education as the Curriculum Developer for Safer Schools Labs, an organization started in the Harvard Innovation Lab. Safer Schools Labs helps schools prevent, respond to, and resolve sexual and relationship violence by creating vision and strategy for healthy student identity development. Since June, Sarah has developed workshops and trainings for students, teachers, and administrators focusing on emotional intelligence, interpersonal conflict management, post-crisis response, prevention strategies, and policy-building, as well as contributing to business development efforts. Sarah has also been invited to speak in Havana, Cuba on managing cross-cultural interpersonal conflict.

Robert Lord (IPCR '16)

Robert Lord sitting with blue sweater

Robert Lord has worked with Chemonics International since June 2015. Chemonics is an international development consulting firm that partners with USAID to promote social and economic change around the world. 

As a Senior Project Management Associate, Robert works with Chemonics' Afghanistan portfolio, which includes projects focused on agricultural value chain development, government capacity-building and legal reform, gender inclusion and more. Based in Washington DC, with frequent travel to Kabul and Herat, he specifically works on a project that promotes financial access across Afghanistan. 

In addition to project management support, Robert also contributes to business development efforts and technical research focused on countering violent extremism and conflict management in countries around the globe.

During his time at American University, Robert's research largely focused on public international law and the prevention of mass atrocities. He was the recipient of the Lerche Grant, which he used to examine ethnic conflict and genocide prevention in Burma/Myanmar. 

Aly Lyons (IPCR '12)

Aly Lyons planting tree with man in uniform behind her

Aly Lyons is a Senior Manager at PartnersGlobal (formerly Partners for Democratic Change) where she manages a diverse project portfolio focused regionally on Francophone West Africa and thematically on governance and security issues. PartnersGlobal is an international conflict resolution and peacebuilding NGO that promotes the inclusion of civil society voices in policy and security discussions to create more accountable and sustainable democratic societies that are responsive to those it is intended to protect.

Sarah Ahmed (IPCR '05)

Sarah Ahmed gold earrings blue scarf

For more than a decade, Sarah Ahmed has combined her love of travel with conflict resolution skills to foster meaningful and sustainable change to improve lives in a number of countries in the Middle East and South Asia. Sarah’s work has taken her to wonderful and interesting places with rich cultures and histories, including Iraq, Jordan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey (Syria focused) and Tunisia (Libya focused). With Chemonics International, an international development consulting firm, she works primarily in transitioning countries, either during or in the immediate aftermath of conflict. As a Deputy Chief of Party for USAID-funded projects on Afghanistan and Syria, and now Chief of Party for a Libya project, Sarah works on initiatives that support civic engagement, good governance practices, and creating opportunities for participatory and representative national and local governance.

Katie Gresham (IPCR '10)

Katie Gresham red shirt

Katie Gresham began her career working on international development issues from Washington D.C. and London, but soon became eager to apply her expertise to issues closer to home. Working first for a nonprofit focused on homelessness and now within criminal justice, Katie has combined her education in conflict resolution with her interest in digital and strategic communications to find creative ways to encourage national discussions about critical social problems and possible solutions. Currently, Katie is a communications contractor working with the National Institute of Justice, the research and development agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. In this role, Katie works with social and physical scientists to disseminate evidence-based research on complex criminal justice challenges and inform decision-making on issues, including the relationship between law enforcement and the community, backlogs of untested sexual assault evidence and victimization of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.