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Our Team Members:

Dr. Linda Pershing, Professor of Women’s Studies at California State University San Marcos, is an activist researcher whose work includes peace, women’s, and folklore studies. Her research and teaching focus on feminist theory and the politics of culture. Her publications include analyses of women’s leadership in peace movements and the dynamics of race, class, sexuality, and culture in folklore and popular culture. Linda’s book, The Ribbon around the Pentagon: Peace by Piecemakers (1996)– adopted as an official publication and awarded the Elli Köngäs-Maranda Prize by the American Folklore Society—is an analysis of a 1985 fabric arts project calling for an end to the nuclear arms race during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Her research focuses on activism in the contemporary peace movement, including the work of women such as Cindy Sheehan, who started a vigil outside President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, after her son was killed in the Iraq War (“Cindy Sheehan: A Call to Maternal Activism in the Contemporary Peace Movement” in The Legacy of Sara Ruddick’s Maternal Thinking, ed. Andrea O’Reilly. Toronto: Demeter Press, scheduled for publication in 2009). Linda directs the development of this website and is working in collaboration with Colonel Ann Wright (retired) and  students at Cal State San Marcos on this project about the rape and sexual assault of girls and women by U.S. military personnel in Japan.

Colonel Ann Wright, (retired) served 13 years in active duty in the U.S. Army and 16 years in the Army Reserves. She joined the U.S. diplomatic corps in 1987 and served as Deputy Chief of Mission of U.S. Embassies in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, and Mongolia. She also served in positions at U.S. embassies in Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Grenada, and Nicaragua. She received the U.S. State Department’s Award for Heroism for her actions in evacuating 2,500 people during the civil war in Sierra Leone. She was a member of the first State Department team to go to Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2001 to reopen the U.S. Embassy, serving briefly as Deputy Chief of Mission (Deputy Ambassador).

In March 2003 she resigned from the U.S. Foreign Service in opposition to President Bush’s declaration of war on Iraq.  In her letter of resignation, she cited her disagreement with the Bush Administration’s decision to invade and occupy Iraq without the authorization of the United Nation’s Security Council. She also cited the U.S. government’s lack of effort to resolve the Israel-Palestinian situation, lack of policy on North Korea, and unnecessary government curtailment of civil liberties in the United States as aspects of her decision to resign.

Since that time, Colonel Wright has worked as a peace activist, speaking out against the occupation of Iraq, torture, and other violations of domestic and international law. She has researched, written and spoken extensively about sexual assault, the rape and murders of U.S. military women, and other costs of war on women. She is Co-author, with Susan Dixon, of Dissent, Voices of Conscience: Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq (2008, Koa Press).

Dr. Natalie Wilson is a women’s studies scholar with expertise in feminist theory, militarization, cultural analysis, and social justice activism. She teaches in the Women’s Studies Program and Literature and Writing Department at California State University San Marcos.

Two recent articles, “Mind/Body Dualism and the Un-just Gendered Logistics of Militarization” and “Putting Families Before Nations: The Embodied Activist Mothering of Cindy Sheehan and Jennifer Schumaker,” examine militarism from a feminist perspective. The first, to be published in (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women’s Experience, forthcoming from Cambridge Scholars Press in 2009, argues that militarization relies on dehumanizing certain types of bodies, namely those of women and people of color, in order to justify ceaseless war. The second, to appear in Technologies of Mothering: New Conceptions, New Deliveries, to be published by SUNY Press in 2009, examines how current activists use embodied strategies in order to resist war, sexism, homophobia and other social injustices. Natalie’s current publications can be viewed on her web site, Natalie Wilson PhD.

Natalie’s current research involves militarized violence and sexual assault. She hopes to shed light on how masculinized military culture links to the prevalence of interpersonal violence, rape, and sexual assault both of people within the military and of their civilian families/partners. Other current projects include a book-length analysis of the cultural phenomenon surrounding Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga. The book, Seduced by Twilight: The Allure and Contradictory Messages of the Popular Saga was released in Spring/Summer 2011.

Judith Downie is an Associate Librarian for Humanities and Government Documents at California State University San Marcos. She also serves as the Coordinator for the Federal Depository Library program at CSUSM. Judith’s research expertise and her willingness to share her tricks and tips with the team have been instrumental to the success of this project.

Team Members (2011 – 2012)

Lezlie Lee-French is a graduate of California State University San Marcos with a double major in History and Women’s Studies. She is pursuing graduate degrees in History at CSUSM and Library and Information Science at San Jose State Univerrsity with an emphasis on digital technology and presentation. Lezlie serves as the web wizard of this site.

Carina Balladares is an undergraduate student at California State University San Marcos. She is graduating this year with double majors in Spanish and Women’s Studies. She plans on attending graduate school next fall, aspires to earn her masters and doctorate degrees, and plans to become a women’s studies professor. She began working on this project in its early stages, after taking a Women’s Studies class that made her aware of the injustices in the world and helped her realize that the key to change is education. Along with Erinne Langlois, Carina serves as Project Coordinator for the USMVAW project for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Erinne Langlois has always wanted to help people and make a difference in the world. She is an undergraduate at California State University San Marcos, pursuing two majors in Human Development (Counseling) and Women’s Studies. After graduating in the spring 2012, she plans to attend graduate school. She hopes to earn a Masters in Social Work degree and become a clinical social worker in a non-profit organization. Her current work with the USMVAW Project includes research on Korean “comfort women,” as well as serving as Project Coordinator, along with Carina Balladares.

Paola Gutierrez is an undergraduate student at California State University San Marcos. She is graduating this spring with a History major. She plans on continuing her schooling and one day being the first of her family to earn a Ph.D. Paola wants to help women who survived sexual abuse overcome any barriers society might place in front of them. She is passionate about ending violence and oppression and bringing social justice to women everywhere. Her current work with USMVAW includes research on the impact on women who live near U.S military bases in Latin America.

Penelope Howes is an undergraduate student at California State University of San Marcos, working towards a B.A. degree in Women’s Studies. After four years of studying in the Business Program, she switched to a major in women’s studies because she wants to make a positive impact on society. Upon graduating in the spring 2012, Penelope plans to take a year off so she can explore the world through travel and volunteer work. Penelope is an activist for peace, social justice, and human rights and is looking forward to combining her activism and research as she explores ecofeminism and the effects of militarism on the environment.

Anja Jerkovic is an Undergraduate student at CSU San Marcos. She started her academic journey out of high school with the intent to earn a BA in Psychology. With more exposure to the wide world of college courses, she decided she was much more interested in the social elements related to human development. She is currently double majoring in Human Development and Women Studies, with hopes to lead a career of counseling young woman in regards to body image. She is passionate about social change and is proud to be working on a topic so close to her own life. She plans to focus mainly on her homeland of Bosnia & Herzegovina, with emphasis on the ways in which a history of rape, war, and male domination have influenced the lives of the women in Bosnia.

Jaclyn Ries is an undergraduate student in her third year at California State University San Marcos, working toward a major in Global Studies and a minor in Women’s Studies. As a result of her experiences in an introductory women’s studies class, she has decided to pursue a career that involves working in developing countries. She has previously contributed to the website information on the history of women in the United States military. This semester she plans to study military women who have experienced post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or military sexual trauma (MST) due to sexual violence.

Carly Toyer is an undergraduate Women’s Studies and Communications major at California State University San Marcos. Her interest in social justice stems from her experience as a member of AmeriCorps, in which she served as an advocate for elementary students in the housing projects of New York City. Fascinated by mass media, Carly’s work for USMVAW will explore coverage of military violence against women by journalists and media outlets. Additionally, she will focus on film and television documentaries that feature military violence against women. In addition to her academic work, Carly performs in musical productions and as a one-woman ukulele and vocal entertainment artist.

Project Alumni

Minerva Anderson is an undergraduate student at Cal State San Marcos. In addition to being a university student, she is a single mother who works full time. She recently changed her major to Women’s Studies and is learning about critical gender perspectives on society and culture. She has experience working with survivors of domestic violence. After she completes her studies, she plans to change the world by helping women who are struggling with drug abuse.

Venice M. Angel is an undergraduate student at California State University San Marcos working towards a B.A. in Human Development and certification through the International Coaching Federation. On completion of a B.A. in Human Development, Venice looks forward to receiving admitance into UCSD to complete her graduate work in Marriage and Family Therapy. Once graduate school has been completed, Venice has plans to open her own practice, directed toward women and children in need. In the Fall of 2010, Venice looks forward to providing community service at the local womens shelter or the San Diego Youth and Community Services.

Heela Askarzoi is currently a senior at California State University San Marcos. She is a double major in Sociology and Women Studies. Heela has always been passionate about women studies and equality. Being from Afghanistan and identifying as Muslim, she values equality between men and women. Heela is extremely thrilled to work with the USMVAW team to provide further awareness regarding Afghan women.

Brittany Bedoe is an undergraduate student at California State University San Marcos working towards earning her B.A. in Biology with the prerequisites for medical school and a minor in Spanish. After graduating she plans on attending medical school. Her goal is to dedicate her life to medicine and using the skills and knowledge she develops to aid others. She looks forward to working on this project and she plans on focusing her work on the United Nations and UNIFEM.

Meghan Bonine is an undergraduate student at California State University San Marcos. She is in her last year working to earn a B.A. in Political Science with a global concentration. She is interested in international relations and comparative politics, and recently started working for Children of the Nations, a non-profit international organization that works toward raising up orphaned and destitute children in Malawi, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Dominican Republic.

Patsy Borja is an undergraduate at California State University San Marcos.  As a first year student, Patsy is currently exploring many different academic fields in an effort to determine her major.  She looks forward to contributing to the project.  Her current work has focused on providing and incorporating visual media on the web site.

Chanel Bradley is an undergraduate student at California State University San Marcos working towards earning her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Visual and Performing Arts. As a new member to the project, Chanel is interested in social justice for all individuals and the ways, in which the matrix of oppressions (racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, etc.) structure society and influences one’s experiences.  She is currently researching the historical background of Okinawan matriarchy and its connections to the women’s peace movement and activism in Okinawa.  Highly creative, Chanel hopes to further incorporate her artistic talents to the project in coming semesters.

Marylin Krystal Carrillo is currently a senior at California State University San Marcos.  Busy with completing her double majors in Mass Media and Women’s Studies, Marylin still finds the time to prioritize her extracurricular work serving as the current president of the Women’s Studies Student Association, as well as the vice president of the new dance group, Salsa y Mas. Interested in helping others and building awareness about inequality and social justice, Marylin has contributed to the project by examining social networking websites for more information on violence against military women.  After graduation, she plans to continue her education by enrolling in a graduate program that will help her develop her skills in working with non-profit organizations.

Jerrica Escoto is earning a double major in Literature & Writing and Women’s Studies, with a minor in Philosophy. She is particularly interested in the oral histories and personal narratives of girls and women who have been the targets of sexual violence and assaults by U.S. military personnel, as well as the effects of U.S. militarism on Filipina women and girls. In February-March 2009, she attended the Washington, DC, conference entitled “Security without Empire: National Organizing Conference on Foreign Military Bases.” Jerrica is a performer of spoken word poetry and an active member of the San Diego spoken word community. She plans to dedicate herself to a life of activism for social change.

Ashli Eyerman is an Anthropology major, focusing on cultural and social anthropology, at California State University San Marcos.  For this project, she is researching cultural patterns in between the United States, the U.S. military, Okinawa, and Japan. After graduating, she plans on traveling and volunteering with non-profit organizations.

Clarissa Garcia is working on a double major in Liberal Studies and Sociology at California State University San Marcos. For this project, she is collecting information and photos for the website.

Currently a senior, Monica Garcia is earning a double major in Sociology and Criminal Justice at California State University San Marcos.  She is also involved in the Sociology Honors Society, Alpha Kappa Delta, and the Sociology club.  After graduation, Monica plans to further her education by continuing her studies in Sociology or Law.

Rachel James is earning a B.A. degree in Social Science, with a primary focus on Political Science, at California State University San Marcos. A graduating senior, she is also interested in Sociology and Women’s Studies. She is researching the historical context of the U.S. military presence in Okinawa and Japan. After graduating, Rachel plans to pursue a master’s degree in Social Science.

Eamon H. Kavanagh left Ireland to arrive in the U.S. in 1962, with only $12.00 in his pocket.  He joined the Marine Corps soon thereafter and served in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  In 1965/66 Eamon served three tours of military duty in Vietnam and in 1967, as a Sergeant, received an honorable discharge.  For the past 42 years, Eamon has been married to Annette O’Brien Kavanagh from Galway, Ireland.  They purchased and have lived in the same home for forty-one of those years and have raised two girls and two boys, who have graduated from college and moved on to have successful lives.  Eamon worked for many years for an international insurance firm, was appointed as a Fellow of the Life Underwriters Training Council, and retired in 1995 as a senior underwriter.  From 1995  to the present, Eamon assisted in establishing of the Kumeyaay Ipai Interpretive Center in Poway, California.  He enrolled and graduated with honors from Palomar Community College in San Marcos, California, having earned AA degrees in Archaeology, Liberal Arts, and Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Eamon is currently in his junior year at California State University San Marcos and pursuing a degree in Anthropology.

Erin Leslie is an undergraduate student at California State University San Marcos, earning a double major in Criminology/Justice Studies and Psychology. In her free time she pursues her interest in women’s studies and a general passion for helping people and animals. She plans to attend law school after graduation and use her education to protect the rights of oppressed groups and persons.

Jennifer Meneray is earning a double major in Literature and Writing and Women Studies, with a minor in Political Science. Particularly interested in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) movement she writes many articles regarding the current struggle for equal rights. Her primary focus will be on women who identify as or are perceived as homosexual within the United States military. Although the policy known as Don’t ask Don’t tell (DADT) prevents many women from coming forth with their stories, she will be presenting information that takes into account women who identify as homosexual and have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military under DADT. After graduating, she plans on joining the movement and writing articles that shed light on the injustices that affect the LGBT community. She is currently the president of the LGBTA club at Cal State University San Marcos.

Blaine H. Mogil is completing his undergraduate studies with a major in Literature and Writing and minor in Philosophy, at California State University San Marcos. He has committed the rhis life to bringing the voice of the oppressed into the public forum in order to promote the American ideal of “justice for all.” Graduate school is on the horizon , and Blaine is considering the Peace and Justice Student Program at the University of San Diego or in the Sociology Department at Cal State San Marcos. Blaine notes: “Throughout this nation and the world, the widening inequitable distribution of wealth and power must be pushed back and brought to a halt. Basic human rights should no longer be a luxury enjoyed by some but not by all. Housing, clothing, food, education, health care, and the opportunity to work and contribute to society must become the norm. Every action we take must move us in this direction, and we must battle those who move against this noble goal. It is my duty to uphold these ideals, fight for them in every quarter, and ensure that when my time is up, I have done what I could to bring the dream closer to reality. I cannot stand by in blissful ignorance while untold numbers of my human family around the world suffer needlessly. My dream is that when I lay down for my final sleep, no one else should go to sleep wanting.”

Amber Morasse is an undergraduate student at California State University San Marcos working towards a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Women’s Studies. Her passion for environmental activism and animal rights has led to her involvement in human rights issues. She looks forward to working with this project and bringing awareness to the social injustice and inequalities that affect marginalized individuals globally. As a graduating senior, Amber hopes to continue outreach for human rights groups by working as a Public Relations Specialist in the nonprofit realm. Amber serves as the Project Coordinator for

Todd Newkirk is an undergraduate student at California State University, San Marcos pursuing a B.A. In Communication Studies. Todd has been involved in social justice groups on campus advocating against race and gender inequity in higher education. Outside of Cal State, Todd coach’s a high school speech and debate program where he loves to educate and inspire students to be informed and active in the social and political world they live in. Todd’s primary interests are in environmental effects of US military presence and the effects of militarism as an ideology on US society.

Carla Pineda graduated from California State University San Marcos (2009) with a major in  Women’s Studies.  She has been active in the Kamalayan Alliance at CSUSM and the GABRIELA Network in San Diego. Carla plans on becoming an attorney and working on public policy issues. In the interim, she will continue her education in the Paralegal Program at the University of San Diego, starting in the Fall of 2009.

Mayra Pozos is an undergraduate at California State University San Marcos majoring in Criminology and Justice Studies with a minor in Sociology.  Her contributions to the project has consisted of conducting research on WWII comfort women in Japan and composing a comprehensive bibliography on the written works by Cynthia Enloe.  Graduating in Spring 2012, Mayra plans to continue her work on the project in the following semesters. 

Jasmine Perez who is earning a major in Human Development at California State University San Marcos, has conducted research and identified organizations that are working on the problems relating to the U.S. military presence in Okinawa and Japan.

Currently serving as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, Candice Poole will complete her B.A. degree in Women’s Studies in December 2009.  In August 2010, following successful completion of Officer Candidates School in Quantico, VA, she plans to accept a commission as Second Lieutenant.  Candice has witnessed first-hand what happens when male military violence against women is denied, excused, and ignored.  It is her belief that negative views of women are reinforced by an institutionalized, misogynistic military culture, which often condones male sexual and interpersonal violence against female military personnel and civilians.  As a woman and an officer, Candice’s goal is to work within the military, emphasizing education, diversification, and accountability in an effort to improve the lives of military service members and the civilians with whom they interact.

Kirsten Quinn currently attends California State University San Marcos and is working towards a degree in Literature and Writing Studies, with a concentration in Writing, and a minor in Political Science. She has been working on this project since September 2009 and has contributed by researching, editing, and analyzing information. She attended “Security without Empire: National Conference on Foreign Military Bases” at American University in February 2009. After graduation, Kirsten plans to further her education by earning an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a certificate in Publishing. She intends to use her love of writing and literature as a vehicle for social change.

Jane Sim is an undergraduate studying Literature and Writing as well as a full time employee of California State University San Marcos. Always looking for an opportunity to collaborate, she is looking forward to editing and contributing creative works for this project. Domestic and workplace violence, rape as a weapon of war, and the general misogynistic culture still lumbering within the US military are problems she feels are not only worthy, but also in need, of more voices added to their exposure.

Mariko Tae is an undergraduate student at California State University San Marcos working towards earning B.A. in Mass Media. She is from Kobe, Japan. Her focus for this project is going to be taking and translating events from Japanese Media. Mariko will also translate this website from English into Japanese, so Japanese people can read and know about the issues of military violence against women.

An undergraduate student at California State University San Marcos, Ngan Tran is currently earning a B.S. in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry.  In 2011, she plans to complete her degree.  Ngan has helped to collect information on the issues surrounding military violence against women near U.S. military bases in Japan and Okinawa.

Lori Walkington is earning an M.A. degree in Applied Sociological Practice at Cal State San Marcos, where she completed her B.A. degree in Women’s Studies in 2007. Lori helped with research about and military violence against women near U.S. military bases in Japan and Okinawa.

Syndee Wood is a recent California State University, San Marcos graduate and is currently working on earning her Master’s degree in the CSUSM Literature and Writing Studies graduate program. She is the proud mother of four children and views her work with as an important part of her parenting plan. Syndee will be contributing to the project as a writing tutor and editor.

Nancy Yee is an undergraduate at California State University San Marcos, where she is earning a B.A. degree in Women’s Studies, with a minor in Communications.  She is deeply concerned about social injustice and the rights of the marginalized and disenfranchised.  Nancy is particularly interested in the interconnections between gender, sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, and regional identities, as well as the ways in which marginalized groups, particularly women, are victimized and/or oppressed by social and legal systems.  A graduating senior in 2010, she plans to continue her education by attending law school, with an emphasis on public interest law.