The Journal of the AGLSP




Francis J. Ambrosio is former Director of the Doctoral Program in Liberal Studies and Associate Professor at Georgetown University. He received a B.A. in Literature and Philosophy from Fordham and, after studies in Italian language and literature in Florence, Italy, he completed his doctoral degree at Fordham University in 1981, with a specialization in contemporary European Philosophy. Dr. Ambrosio’s main research interests are in the areas of hermeneutics and Deconstruction, especially the work of Hans-George Gadamer and Jacques Derrida. He is Co-Director, with Dr. Edward Maloney of CNDLS, of the Georgetown "MyDante" Project, a web based platform for readers of Dante's Divine Comedy. (

John Bechtold is a retired combat veteran and master's student at Duke University. With the help of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke, he has begun to cultivate a growing passion in using still photography and short audio documentary to tell stories—human stories that resonate with us because we see in others what is common to us all: suffering. John is currently working on a multi-media documentary project that tells the stories of how our wounded veterans are reclaiming their lives after their experience in war.

S. Marisol Asselta Castro is a current Master’s student in Duke University’s Graduate Liberal Studies Department. She has been involved in heritage interpretation for more than 20 years as a park ranger, nature center coordinator, and tribal museum educator, and has presented sessions on multicultural and indigenous interpretation in professional conferences in Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and the Americas. She is currently the Interpretation and Outreach Coordinator for Jane Goodall’s youth-oriented non-profit Roots & Shoots Latin America & Caribbean.

Tori Correll will complete her Master of Liberal Studies at Southern Methodist University in December 2016. She lives in Dallas, Texas where she works in nonprofit development. This is her first published work.

Molly Gamble is currently enrolled in the Masters of Humanities Graduate Program at Dominican University. She lives in Marin County with her husband and two children. This is her first published work.

Lori Hess-Tolbert is new to the Graduate Liberal Studies program at Southern Methodist University, where she concentrates her studies in literary nonfiction writing, one class at a time. Writing is a new adventure for Lori. Before SMU, she graduated summa cum laude from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. For much of her professional career, she has used her skills as a certified Six Sigma Quality Black Belt to help multinational corporations launch new products and improve complex processes. But Lori hopes the world forgets her professional and academic accomplishments. Instead, she wants to be remembered as a writer who artfully preserves the extraordinary stories tucked inside ordinary people. To write these stories, she says, is to cheat death.

Kristen Hoffmaster attends Loyola University Maryland and is in the process of obtaining a Masters Degree in Liberal Studies.

Diane Jay holds an Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing from Stony Brook University, Southampton, NY. She is a Children’s Lit Fellow and a Doctor of Liberal Studies student at Southern Methodist University with a concentration in Creative Writing. Her published poem, "Institutionalized Wrath," is in the new anthology, Temptation, published by Lost Tower Publications. When she isn't writing, she is drawing. The best part about working from home is spending time with her silly lovable bulldog and labradoodle.

David Jones began the Master of Liberal Studies program at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida in January 2015. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Environmental & Water Resources Engineering from Vanderbilt University, and is a registered professional engineer in Alabama and Florida. David has over 25 years of experience in environmental engineering, public health, preventive medicine and sustainability, including 21 years spent as an officer in the U.S. Army. He currently serves as an Environmental Programs Administrator with Orange County, Florida’s Environmental Protection Division. His favorite course as an undergraduate was an Introduction to Art History.

Kristina Kwacz is an adult learner pursuing a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree at SUNY Empire State College. Born to parents whose lives were altered markedly by the Second World War, Kristina’s program considers Marianne Hirsch’s theory of postmemory in her evaluation of how their traumatic story has overshadowed her life. Her studies will culminate in a final project: an exhibition combining memoir, photography, and narrative in an exploration of her identity within and beyond her family history.

John McClenahen, an award-winning writer and photographer, received his Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University in 1998. He is the author of three books of poetry, several books of photographs, and two children’s books. His photograph “Provincetown: Fog Rising 2004” was displayed in the Smithsonian Institution’s 2011 juried exhibition Artists at Work. Five of his photographs with complementary poems are in the permanent fine arts collection of St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.

Charles A. O’Connor III is an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at Georgetown University, and a graduate of Harvard College, AB cum laude in English (1964), and Georgetown University, JD (1967), MALS (1985), and DLS (2012). For over forty years he practiced environmental law in Washington DC, currently serving as senior counsel with Dentons US LLP, formerly McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP and its predecessor firms. He is the author of The Great War and the Death of God (Washington DC: New Academia Publishing, 2014), based upon his doctoral thesis.

Rhonda Schmidt is a student in MLS at Southern Methodist University. She is also a Masters-prepared RN, returning to school after many years in the workforce.

Claire Schwartz is currently enrolled in the MA in Humanities Program at Dominican University of California. After she graduated from Dominican with her BA in 2008, she worked as a flight attendant for Virgin America, where her psychology degree came in very handy. She is currently working as the Alumni Communications Manager at Dominican, and thrilled to be continuing her studies in the liberal arts. She is currently working on her thesis titled My First 30 Years: A Memoir.

Laura Stivers is Dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of Social Ethics at Dominican University of California. Laura received her Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, her M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion, and her B.A. from Saint Olaf College. She is the author of Disrupting Homelessness: Alternative Christian Approaches (Fortress, 2011); Co-author of Earth Ethics: A Case Method Approach (Orbis, 2015) and Christian Ethics: A Case Method Approach (Orbis, 2012); and Co-editor of Justice in a Global Economy: Strategies for Home, Community, and World (Westminster John Knox, 2006). Laura serves on the Board of the Society of Christian Ethics and was a past President of the Southeast Commission for the Study of Religion.

Christy Wise is an author, essayist, poet and human rights activist. She is co-author of A Mouthful of Rivets: Women at Work in World War II. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including Bayou Magazine, Concho River Review, Inscape, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Wise holds a BA in communication from Stanford University, an MA in journalism from American University and a MALS from Georgetown University with a focus on classical civilizations.

Svetlana Yefimenko is a graduate student at University of Colorado Denver, in the final semester of the Master of Humanities program. With a particular focus on philosophy of literature and aesthetic theory, Svetlana’s research wanders among the disciplines of philosophy, literature, critical theory, literary criticism, and history. When not reading or drawing, Svetlana writes poetry and short stories.