About Me

I am a junior Strategic and Corporate Communication major with a minor in Law, Justice, and Social Control. I am almost done with the requirements for my SCC major, which has taught me various elements of marketing, message design, and the art of persuasion. I have always been interested in non-profits and humanitarian organizations since my mom was the executive director of a non-profit for 15 years. Last spring, I interned at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing low-income families and families who have experienced tragedy the opportunity to get an education or provide resources to live a fuller life. Through that experience I realized how much passion I have about non-profit organizations. Throughout this trip (my first time out of the country!) I plan to become immersed in another culture and learn about the culture and traditions of Costa Rica. I also plan to understand any social or economic issues that Costa Rica faces, and learn how to apply that to my future goals. Since I plan on entering the non-profit world one day, I think this trip will be beneficial to getting hands-on experience with organizations that specialize in this field. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to immerse myself in a culture different from my own that relates to my major and minor.

About Dr LaBelle

Hi Everyone!

My name is Dr. Sara LaBelle, and I am one of the two faculty members from Chapman University leading this (amazing, inspiring, perspective-altering) interdisciplinary travel course to Costa Rica! This is the second year for Peace Communication, and I am SO looking forward to getting to know this year’s group of students and sharing all of the experiences that are coming over the next couple of weeks. As you can see by my picture below, one of my favorite parts of our trip will be returning to Land of the Strays – an NGO in the mountains of Alajuela where ~700 stray dogs are free to roam (and taken care of very well, entirely on donations!).

When I am not taking students to Costa Rica to learn about sustainability, human rights, environmental protection, and social justice, I teach graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Communication as an Assistant Professor. Specifically, you’ll find me teaching students in our Strategic and Corporate Communication major (research methods, introduction to SCC, and message design) and our M.S. in Health and Strategic Communication. As a researcher, I research two main areas of communication: (a) the implementation and evaluation of communication campaigns, and (b) the teaching-learning process as it affects/is affected by communication in the college classroom.
This trip is so incredibly special to me as both a teacher and a researcher. As a teacher, it is so rewarding to get to know my students beyond the classroom — it reinvigorates my teaching and reminds me of WHY I love this job. As a researcher, Costa Rica is an unbelievable place to see message design at work. The demilitarization of this country in 1948 meant increased funding for environmental, health, and education initiatives – and the resulting perspective that has trickled down into local communities is astounding to me. I am looking forward to our students keeping you updated on all of the work that is being done here in Costa Rica to protect the environment, reduce waste, and overall improve quality of life for Costa Ricans (Ticos).
Thanks for joining us for Peace Communication 2018 – we look forward to sharing our experiences with you! You can also follow us with our Instagram and Twitter hashtags, #peacecom2018.

Pura Vida,


About Me – Naidine Conde

Hi everyone my name is Naidine Conde!

Some cool stuff to know about me:
•I am a Public Relations and Advertising major, with a minor in Visual Journalism
•I am a first generation student from Miami, Florida
•I am Cuban and Haitian
•I graduated from high school with an Associates Degree so I will be graduating early from Chapman.

When I was deciding what I would be doing this interterm I never thought I’d have the opportunity to visit the beautiful country of Costa Rica. After taking an international relations course last spring I had a found new interest in international relations and peace communications. I have previously worked for non-profit organizations and I’m interested to see how Costa Rica goes about their non-profits. I am even more excited to see the role public relations, marketing and advertising plays in these organizations.

Being a daughter of immigrants and coming from a culturally diverse city I am looking forward to learn more about the rich Costa Rican culture and excited to explore the country. That being said, I think my biggest challenge in Costa Rica would probably be getting acquainted with my surroundings. The lack of cell phone service and familiarity will be an obstacle, but nonetheless I can’t wait to immerse myself in a new environment.

About Me: Meghan McNamara

Hi! I’m Meghan McNamara,

I’m a junior at Chapman and I’m studying Strategic and Corporate Communication. I love social marketing because it focuses on social change but can also be applied to many other areas. Ultimately I think I’d like to work for a non-profit, so I am excited to compare the for profit and non-profit organizations we see. I was drawn to this course because while I’ve take many communication classes before, I’ve never taken a peace communication course before and I wanted to apply what I’ve learned in a new setting.

I hope this course helps make me a better global citizen and I am excited to learn from a new culture. I’m also looking forward to seeing how the organizations we are studying function and grow in different environments. Since Costa Rica is such a beautiful and sustainable country I can’t wait to learn from them, to ultimately help make the world a cleaner place in my career later!

A few fun facts about me: I love horses and have been riding for almost 15 years. I live in Laguna Niguel, but I’m an active part of the equestrian community in San Juan Capistrano. I grew up with dogs, but I just adopted my first dog from the shelter this summer and I’ve been working on her training (it’s been a challenge, but super rewarding!). I love working with animals and I can’t wait to visit the Land of the Strays!

See you in Costa Rica!

Introduction Post

My name is Mollie Webber and I’m a junior at Chapman University with a major in Integrated Educational Studies and a double minor in Leadership Studies and Sociology. I am a very proud dog mom to my American Eskimo pup Skylar and have recently picked up the traveling bug. At Chapman I work at the Fish Interfaith Center on campus as a student office assistant, I’m involved with the Disciples on Campus, I’m the VP of Social Media for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and a member of the Attallah College Undergraduate Leadership Council.

Prior to this trip I took Introduction to Peace Studies in my freshman year and was brought into a world that I had no idea about. Having gone on mission trips, volunteered, and fundraised growing up, helping people had been a big part of my life. Through that experience I realized I’m meant to help people in my life and want to work with nonprofits in some way in my future along with working as an occupational therapist. It wasn’t until entering college when I realized there is so much more than just putting in time or donations and that there is so much more going on in the rest of the world as well.

Growing up with four siblings made any kind of travel just about impossible, so this is my first time leaving the country! I feel that this will be my greatest challenge on this trip, but also a chance for personal growth. Being on my own and taking big steps are so new to me and with the confidence I have already gained I only seeing it getting stronger through this trip. I am really hoping to gain an understanding of nonprofits in Costa Rica and be able to bring back what I learn home for my future work with any nonprofits I get involved with. After this trip I hope to bring my experiences and new knowledge to my last three semesters as an education major and tie peace studies together with it.

There are so many people out there who are in my corner and made me going on this trip possible, so many thank you’s to everyone and I can’t wait to show you all I learn and experience!

Introduction Post

Hi everyone,

My is Wilson Gracial Parnell. I am a 4 + 1 MAIS student and will(hopefully) be finishing up my program this Spring. I’m from Claremont which is about an hour north of Chapman.

I graduated last year with a B.A. in Psychology and a double minor in Leadership and Business Administration. My interests revolve around people and learning how they work.

I love to travel and this trip is allowing me to continue that passion. I’ve never been to Costa Rica before and am excited to learn about the culture and the people. For me, that’s the most important part of traveling. I want to learn and appreciate the different aspects of their culture and take that with me as I go forward.

This gets at to why I decided to pursue a Masters in International Studies. I wanted to learn more about people at the international level. On this trip, I hope to continue this learning and advance my thesis.

About Maya Vahid! :)

Hi everyone! My name is Maya Vahid and I’m currently a Senior majoring in Communication Studies, and I also just started the 4 + 1 Health and Strategic Communication Program at Chapman University. When I heard about the travel course that takes students to Costa Rica to learn about peace studies I was immediately intrigued. I have never taken a class related to peace but I am excited to see what this course will offer! I have taken copious amounts of Communication Studies courses, but I’m new to learning about peace studies. Therefore, I am hoping that this interterm course will expand my knowledge on how to take the first step in developing peace, societal sustainability, and overcoming poverty.

Growing up I was given the opportunity to travel to many different countries, which has sparked my love for traveling. I can’t wait to explore Costa Rica and learn about the rich culture there, as well as everything else the country has to offer!

I am extremely excited to see what this travel course has to offer and I am so grateful we have the opportunity to work so closely with organizations, institutions, and the people in Costa Rica.

About Me – Julianne Roller

Hi! My name is Julianne Roller and I am a senior Peace Studies major at Chapman University. During my time at Chapman I have taken different Peace Studies classes, which have inspired me to learn about the world by exploring it. I am passionate about human rights and I am interested in working in less developed countries with hopes of making the world a better and more peaceful place.

The reason I have become passionate about this work is through my experience volunteering in Tanzania a few years ago. During this experience, I visited a few different villages in poverty, including visiting schools, orphanages, and spending time with people there in their homes, learning what their lives are like. Seeing poverty in less developed countries is a very life changing experience and has made me very passionate about working to combat these issues in some way. I did this work when I was younger, and while I had an interest and passion in what I was doing, I did not yet have the academic background to really think through issues of poverty in a realistic way. I hope to apply what I have learned over these years at Chapman, and become more aware of what is really going on in the world.

I have always had a strong interest in travel, Costa Rica will be the 21st country I have visited. I have hopes to visit as many places as I can in my life, and I’m excited to experience a new country and culture in the coming weeks.

About Me: Tanya Leon


My name is Tanya Leon and I am currently an undergraduate at Chapman University. I am majoring in Political Science and Peace Studies with a minor in Integrated Educational Studies. At Chapman University I work in the Cross-Cultural Center and am involved with various on-campus student organizations. I am currently the chair of M.E.Ch.A – Moviemiento Estudantil Chicanx de Aztlan, an organization dedicated to the preservation of chicanx/latinx culture and carving a space for it in higher education. Over the years I have been a part of many projects, including planning and creating the first annual Dia de los muertos celebration on campus, doing research for an on-campus museum exhibit associated with the Getty – Emigdio Vasquez: Chicana/o Identity in Orange County, bringing diverse bands on campus, cultivating workshops on restorative justice, and much more. I am also a first generation student, a music-lover, animal and plant-lover, and travel enthusiast!

I am one of the lucky students that loved their major(s) right from the beginning. Growing up as a first generation brown womxn I have been acutely aware of the injustices in this world. However, I have also had the wonderful privilege of being surrounded by an incredibly supportive community of family, teachers, healers, and organizers for my entire life-whom I might add, made this trip possible. Chapman and academia have given me access to places and resources that I believe can eventually help me give back to the very people that helped me get here. One of my main motivations to come on this travel course however, is to learn from other organizations that are also grounded in community. Aside from the attractive lure of abundant wild life and tropical weather, I am interested in learning from organizations abroad and how they work within their governments and communities. At home, I volunteer with many community-focused organizations and I believe there is always something more to learn from people and cultures all over the world. Furthermore, I have never taken a communications course and I am excited to develop a broader understanding of what the discipline has to offer. Throughout this course, I am hoping to be able to learn more about sustainability, overcoming poverty, and successful communication strategies.

Fortunately, I am fluent in Spanish and am comfortable without my phone, so those will not be obstacles for me throughout the trip. I anticipate that the most difficult part of the trip will be to humble myself and to be receptive to other ways of learning and organizing. Additionally, I also imagine that the humidity and excess of bugs might also be an issue. But, alas, I will survive!

Ultimately, I am beyond excited and grateful to be able to learn in Costa Rica. Can’t wait!

About me

Hi everyone!

My name is Jasmine Gharavi and I’m a Strategic & Corporate Communication major from Los Angeles. So far at Chapman, I have taken some really interesting communication classes but now I want to learn how I can use this education in the real world and on a global scale. I thought this trip would be a perfect opportunity to get hands on experience with social marketing and peace communication while also immersing myself in a whole new culture. I have always been passionate about traveling, and I think it is one of the best ways to learn and grow. In this trip, I want to explore the different ways I can use communication to help others and make a difference. I have never been to Costa Rica so I am extremely excited to explore a new country and see all the beautiful nature and wildlife there. I want to use my SCC major to hopefully help others and make the world a better place, so I am really excited to see how these organizations are trying to achieve their goals. More specifically, I want to learn about how they are managed and what the public relations or marketing role would entail within the organization. I hope to gain new perspective and insight that I can hopefully carry with me into my future communication classes and career.

I think one challenging aspect of the trip might be that I do not know that much Spanish, but hopefully I can learn some while I’m here!