Colleen Bellas, with experience as a secondary Spanish teacher in York, PA, a project manager and training specialist in Atlanta, GA , and an instructional technology and learning coordinator in Vancover, WA, has a combination of non-profit and corporate experiences with education as a common thread. Most recently, Colleen was also a trainer of ESL for adults and worked in International English training with the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13. Currently, Colleen is an English Language Learners teacher at Reynolds Middle School in Lancaster.
Dr. Kirsten Bookmiller is the Director of the Office of Global Education and Partnerships, Professor of Government and Political Affairs and Faculty Associate with the Center for Disaster Research and Education at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She received her BA in Foreign Service and International Politics at Penn State and her MA and PhD in Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Bookmiller teaches for the Department of Government, the interdisciplinary International Studies program and for MUs graduate program in Emergency Management. Her areas include international law, organizations, human rights and international humanitarian responses. In addition, she has lectured on the United States and international human rights law at universities in Brazil, Chile, Germany, South Africa and Spain. She is currently working on a project related to local government responders to international disasters.
Dr. Bookmiller is also responsible for managing the university’s 20 international academic partnerships and serves as an international education external reviewer and consultant.
Susan Dicklitch is Associate Dean of Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa., where she also acts as Director of the Ware Institute for Civic Engagement and Professor in the College’s Department of Government. Dr. Dicklitch has experience providing affidavit testimony in over 60 asylum applications on Cameroon and Uganda in the U.S., Scotland, and UK immigration courts. She is a prolific writer and researcher with articles published in various journals including Human Rights Review, Encyclopedia of Human Rights, and Journal of Contemporary African Studies. Dr. Dicklitch also acts as a lecturer on various African topics in development and foreign affairs.
Kate Gould Epperly, President, is a spiritual director, author and church consultant for healing and wholeness. Now in her 33rd year as an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Kate first became acquainted with the work of Lancaster’s CWS/IRP office in 2007 when Disciples United Community Church – where she was co-pastor for six years – sponsored five members of a large Bhutanese refugee family. While serving for ten years as pastor of The Palisades Community Church in Washington D.C., Kate founded and organized the District’s Northwest Annual CROP Hunger Walk and served on the Advisory Board of CWS (Greater Washington Area).
A graduate of Claremont School of Theology (Claremont, Calif.), Kate has served in both congregational and campus ministry and has always sought to integrate “prophetic hospitality” (door-step social service) with contemplative, mystical spirituality as outlined in "Tending to the Holy: The Practice of the Presence of God in Ministry" (Alban, 2009) co-authored with her partner in marriage and ministry, Bruce Epperly.
Tammy Hendrix is a licensed social worker with over twenty-five years of experience in human service program development, implementation, and monitoring. She has held case management positions in the fields of child abuse prevention, early intervention, developmental disabilities, and domestic violence. She is a local and national member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
Tammy received a B.S. in Biology from Pennsylvania State University in 1982 and a Masters in Social Work from San Francisco State University in 1990. She was a Peace Corps volunteer, serving as a forester from 1982 to 1984 in Senegal, West Africa.
Currently, Tammy is a Division Manager Regional Technical Assistance for the Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network through Family Design Resources. She is an adjunct faculty member at Harrisburg Area Community College in the human service department. She is an active member of Faith United Church of Christ and serves as a member of their consistory and social outreach committee.
Tammy resides in York, Pennsylvania with her husband, Michael Hendrix, and two daughters, Julia (22 years) and Ellen (18 years). Her family also includes a sweet West Highland Terrier, Frankie, and a sour patch cat, Miss Kitty.
Jerry Lapp and his wife, Mary Ellen, took a "short” trekking vacation to Nepal in 1999, fell in love with the people and their culture, religion and mountains, and ended up staying until 2003. After landing back in the U.S., they spent the next five years missing the country immensely and hoping to go back; serendipitously in 2008 Nepal almost literally came to them in the form of Bhutanese refugees.
Since that time, Jerry has immersed himself in the Lancaster refugee community, helping with translation, transportation, medical needs, and establishing enduring friendships. In particular, he's tried to lend a hand where the needs are most urgent. Throughout this period however, he can honestly say that he's received much more from the refugees than he could ever possibly give in return.
Joan M. Maruskin is a United Methodist minister with the Susquehanna Conference in South Central Pennsylvania. She is in extension ministry as the National Administrator of the CWS/IRP Religious Services Program, which provides spiritual care to immigration detainees of all faiths in government run immigration detention centers. She previously worked with CWS/IRP as its Washington Representative advocating for immigrants, refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers. She served as the executive director of the York County Council of Churches in York, Pa. From 1992 through 2000, she pastored Christ United Methodist Church in Yoe, Pa. During that time, she founded and was coordinator of The People of the Golden Vision, an interfaith immigrants’ rights group.
She is presently a member of the Advisory Board for CWS Lancaster, Pa., and on the Salem Square Neighborhood Association Board in York, PA. She is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, an immigration advocate, and a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary where she earned her M. Div and D. Min. in Race, Ethnicity, and the Wesleyan Perspective. She has authored a text, "Immigration and the Bible: A Guide to Radical Welcome", which will be used for the 2012 United Methodist Women’s School of Missions as well as for Bible studies and Christian education classes.
Steven C. Weaver is the Middle East Regional Coordinator for CWS for which he develops and monitors program plans and partnerships in Iraq, Palestine/Israel, Egypt and Lebanon. Through his work in the Middle East over the past five years, Mr. Weaver has collaborated with the UN, donors and other NGOs to ensure effective programming across the region.