At On Earth Peace, we celebrate the contributions of past and present fellows and interns. Their ambitions and projects have a tangible, lasting impact on our organization’s progress toward our mission. These alumni inspire others with their work, encouraging their peers to pursue peace work as well. One such example of this is our vast number of interns and fellow alumni from Bridgewater College in Virginia, encouraged by OEP’s work in the area and peers who have contributed to OEP’s goals. These alumni have helped to grow the OEP community in Bridgewater, VA and continue to foster peace around the world. We call on readers to celebrate the accomplishments of these alumni and discover the impact OEP had on their careers.
Annabell Knapp joined On Earth Peace as a student at Bridgewater College, working on her B.A. in Global Studies, History, and Political Science. When asked what inspired her to work with OEP, Knapp stated, “I liked the idea of intervening in a nonviolent way in different political movements, specifically in Palestine.” In Knapp’s studies, she learned about decolonial feminism and how violent revolutions often resulted in more violence rather than peace. She then decided to implement this knowledge at OEP as the Palestine Justice Organizer. As an intern, Knapp led legislative advocacy initiatives and webinars to guide OEP’s constituency in pressuring their representatives to demonstrate their support for Palestine. Upon completion of her internship, Knapp became the Kingian Nonviolence Fellow and launched the 1,000 Brethren Project to train 1,000 Brethren in Kingian Nonviolence. Knapp has returned to OEP this year as a volunteer, aiding the organization in its effort to respond to the violence in Gaza.
Knapp has since achieved her MA in Political Development in the Global South and is currently working towards her PhD in Politics from Goldsmiths, University of London, where she also works as an Associate Lecturer. Through her work at OEP, Knapp decided to focus her research on nonviolence in relation to development in the global South. Her time at OEP inspired her journey in higher education, as she witnessed fellow interns and fellows pursuing higher education themselves. She also encouraged her peers at Bridgewater and Goldsmith to pursue peace work and nonviolence at OEP. In the future, she plans to continue her career in decolonization and nonviolence through higher education.
Kyana Chéry was a junior Global Studies and French major at Bridgewater College when she learned about OEP. While comprising data from European Union migration for her Research Methods class, Chéry was encouraged by Knapp to apply to become the Migrant Justice Organizer at OEP, marking the beginning of Chéry’s work in nonviolence. As a Migrant Justice Organizer, Chéry created information campaigns on Facebook and worked with Women’s Justice Organizer, Hannah Bentley to create a Book Club focused on women’s rights and refugee rights.
Chéry’s time with On Earth Peace left a lasting impression on her career goals. “[This internship] really put into perspective what I could do outside of just studying,” Chéry remarked. The internship gave her insight into social media activism and how to confront important global issues. Currently, Chéry volunteers in Hampton, VA at a Refugee Relief organization and works as a barista in Virginia Beach. In terms of future plans, “it’s just a matter of what I want to do first,” Chéry stated. She plans to pursue her Master’s degree and become a diplomat or foreign officer in the future but also would like to explore other avenues like writing and humanitarian work.
Priscilla Weddle graduated from Bridgewater College in 2019 with a BA in Global Studies and a concentration in Politics and Public Policy before joining OEP in 2020 as the Children’s Peace Formation Organizer. She learned about OEP from a friend at Bridgewater who encouraged her to apply. “I have a background in social justice work, specifically with food insecurity and homelessness, so OEP seemed like it would be a great fit,” Weddle remarked. As the Children’s Peace Formation Organizer, Weddle created the Read Aloud Program which provided parents with peace and justice homeschooling resources. She also created a blog series about diversity and equity in children’s books and a webinar series on how to raise race-conscious kids.
Weddle’s experience with OEP helped determine her career focus. “I have always known that I wanted to work in the nonprofit sector, but OEP showed me that I was capable of creating and managing programs and helped me further develop my organizational skills,” Weddle stated. Since completing her internship, Weddle has received her MA in Public Administration from Old Dominion University and currently works as the You Go Girl Program Coordinator at Envision Lead Grow, a nonprofit in Norfolk, VA, where she works with middle school girls in underserved communities to develop leadership skills and find mentors.
Grace Kellar learned about OEP from Knapp, a close friend, having grown up together and even playing on the same soccer team in elementary school. Kellar achieved her BA in English and Professional Writing and her MA in Digital Media Strategy at Bridgewater College. There, alongside Knapp, Kellar developed a passion for global advocacy in Model United Nations, inspiring her to become the Social Media Organizer at On Earth Peace. During her internship, Kellar developed a clear social media strategy to collect analytics and ensure 508 compliance, making social media content accessible to individuals with disabilities. “I’m still seeing the impact of 508 on things like Instagram, with alt text being made available for the images,” she stated.
Her time at OEP aided Kellar in growing her skills and career and helping her to build her resume and achieve her Master’s degree. OEP also gave Kellar the tools to channel her anger toward global injustices, focusing on spreading awareness. Today, Kellar is using her experience and education as a web content strategist for a government consulting firm.
At OEP, we are developing leaders for justice and peace, and our interns and fellows are integral to this mission. These alumni had a significant impact on the growth of OEP and created programs and strategies that continue to play an important role in the organization and its goals. Furthermore, these alumni gained professional development opportunities and a lasting understanding of nonviolence and peacemaking. Today, they continue to implement nonviolence in their work, even after their internship, creating a global community of peace. These internships are made possible by our donors, ensuring access to professional learning experiences and a future of nonviolence and peace work.