Featured Speakers for IWD 2014

  • Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014
  • Time: 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
  • Location: Price Center Ballroom West Ballroom A

Carol PaddenDR. CAROL PADDEN, INTERIM VICE CHANCELLOR EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION is Professor of Communication at University of California, San Diego, and an affiliate member of the Center for Research in Language. Her main areas of research are sign language structure, culture and community and evolution of language. She is co-author with Tom Humphries of Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture (Harvard University Press, 1988), Inside Deaf Culture (Harvard University Press, 2005) and two sign language textbooks. Her dissertation on interaction of morphology and syntax in American Sign Language was named an Outstanding Dissertation in Linguistics (Garland Press, 1988). She has been the recipient of various awards including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a UCSD Chancellor's Associates Outstanding Faculty award and a Laurent Clerc Cultural Award for distinguished contributions to the field of deafness. Her research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Education and the Spencer Foundation.

JEANINE NIYONZIMA-AROIAN and JULIE MARNER co-founded Burundi Friends International, an organization that helps fight poverty in Burundi, Africa by providing Education, Healthcare and Self-sustaining Enterprise opportunities to the Burundi people.

Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian

Jeanine has undergraduate degrees in International Business and Marketing from the University of Nebraska and an Executive MBA from J.L. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. She currently has her own Consulting, Engineering, and Deployment business in Wireless Telecom, J.N. Partners Inc., based in San Diego. Driven by her dream to help her native country, Burundi, Jeanine founded BFI in 2007.

Julie MarnerJulie has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado and a M.A. in Practical Theology from the University of San Diego. Julie also studied music in college for several years, focusing on organ and percussion performance. After moving to San Diego in 1996, she was a K-8 Music Teacher and piano instructor. Currently, she works as Director of Liturgical Music at UCSD’s Catholic Community and St. John the Evangelist Church in Encinitas. She has assisted many volunteer organizations, focusing on the homeless, the imprisoned, and the mentally ill. Most recently, Julie traveled to the Himalayas to teach English on behalf of the Jamyang Foundation, and she spent four months in Bujumbura, Burundi teaching English at Light University. While she envisions providing an after-school music program to all teens in Bujumbura, she also envisions raising a gazillion dollars for Burundi; therefore, she is in charge of fundraising and plans to continue annual visits to Burundi.


Alyssa is a Communications major with a minor in Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She began writing and performing spoken word at the age of fourteen with With Our Words Inc., a non-profit organization that works to enhance the relationship between language, writing, and performance for underrepresented student populations in her hometown Stockton, California. Alyssa has continued to work with the organization, representing Stockton in the Brave New Voices international youth poetry slam in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and returned as a youth mentor, workshop facilitator, and coach in 2013.  Alyssa continues to write and balance full-time course work in hopes of producing a chapbook of her writings within the next year.

Read a copy of her incredible spoken word piece, "Teachable Moments".