Peacebuilding is the creation and nurturing of constructive relationships across ethnic, religious, class, and racial boundaries. Peacebuilders seek to resolve social inequities and transform structural conditions that generate deadly conflict.
— Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

At the Kroc Institute, we focus on a holistic approach to peace studies that includes, not only an emphasis on peace scholarship, but peacebuilding practice as well. As a scholar-practitioner in Malawi, I facilitated workshops, meetings, and classes for groups on a range of topics. The focus of each activity is to provide participants with better tools, tricks, and tips for living better, healthier, safer, more peaceful lives. In this way, mitigating various forms of violence can start with the individual and move outward to impact entire communities. 

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Malawi Matters | Workshops & Teaching

Since 2016 I have been volunteering with the NGO Malawi Matters, which is an international non-profit based in Malawi that provides education and train-the-trainer style courses utilizing creative methods like dance, drama, music, art, and poetry to teach lessons on HIV/AIDS and women's empowerment. I worked with the MM team to design a number of workshops and trainings including a workshop on how to apply for grants and a half-day training on coping with conflict and managing stress in daily life. In the training I utilized everything from laugh therapy to meditation to breathing exercises to better equip participants with tools for managing stress in a more healthy way. Another class I offered outlined some of the recent changes made to laws in Malawi that impact human rights. We worked in teams to explore ways of safely and effectively transmitting information about new laws to our communities.


Malawi Matters | Survey Project

In Summer 2016, I worked with the MM team to design and implement a survey to determine the effectiveness of their current "Equipping Women | Empowering Girls" curriculum. We did pre- and post-intervention surveys with over 800 women in 20+ sites moderated by MM volunteers. Between surveys 1 and 2, the MM teams conducted trainings in their areas. Our goal is to determine in what areas the training is improving education on issues like women's rights, gender norms, and perceptions of the importance of education. During my year in Malawi I also completed over 20 focus groups with women in the areas that participted in the surveys. I recently returned from Malawi with the round 2 surveys and will begin coding this summer. 


Grants & Fellowships Consulting

In addition to performing typical departmental service as a teaching and research assistant, serving on graduate-level committees, and assisting with Kroc academic events, I am also a dedicated consultant for grants and fellowships advising. At the University of Louisville I worked for two years as the full-time Assistant to the Director of the Office of National and International Scholarship Opportunities where I worked with undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in their pursuit of competitive university, national, and international awards. Since arriving at Notre Dame in 2014, I have continued in this work at the Graduate School as a Grants & Fellowships Consultant. This is work that I would love to continue to do in the future.   

I had the pleasure to work with Emily Maiden over three separate application and interview processes: for a Fulbright Scholarship in 2014, to become an English teaching assistant in Madrid, Spain in 2015, and for a position in my medical school’s Health and Social Justice Scholars program in 2016. During our meetings, she helped me refine my essays and personal statements through her thoughtful, targeted questions. Emily demonstrates genuine interest in her students in order to build a more productive, encouraging partnership with those she mentors. Each time we met, she would ask about any projects in which I was involved, and she would listen enthusiastically. Overall, Emily is passionate about helping others develop their strengths and careers; I am grateful for Emily’s continued mentorship over the years.
— Matthew Smith, Medical Student, University of Louisville