I am a professor of International Studies at Hawaiʻi Pacific University in Honolulu. I joined the faculty at HPU in 2017 and teach courses in Political Science, International Studies, and the MA program in Diplomacy and Military Studies. I serve as the chair for the international studies major and act as thesis advisor to numerous wonderful MA students. In 2021, I created the new interdisciplinary minor in Human Rights.
Research, teaching, and community engagement are my passions. In 2021, I was named a Fulbright Nehru scholar to carry out research on inter-religious peace-building in the southern Indian state of Kerala. In 2021, I was also selected as HPU's Teacher of the Year which was very exciting considering the challenges related to Covid and the necessary adaptation to online, hybrid, and socially distanced/masked in-person classes. In 2022, I received the golden apple honor of Scholar of the year for HPU.
My research focuses on nationalism/populism, peace, and security with a regional specialization in South Asia. I have a broad interest in human security, particularly as it relates to climate, religious nationalism, development, and gender. My research and teaching background have helped me secure external funding from CAORC-Inya Institute (Bangladesh/Myanmar), the NEH (Sri Lanka) and International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. In 2019 I was selected as ICNC teaching fellow and developed a new graduate and undergraduate course on civil resistance.
In addition to my research and teaching I serve as the Model UN co-advisor for HPU as well as the Fulbright, Marshall, and CLS advisor for the university. I am currently serving as faculty senator for the College of Liberal Arts.
I love learning languages and am actively studying Malayalam (നമസ്കാരം), Chinese (你好), and Hindi (नमस्ते). I believe learning the language is an important part of being a regional specialist. I also speak Spanish. Because I am a resident of Hawaiʻi I have also taken two years of ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i.
On a personal level, I enjoy arts and nature. I am a lifelong dancer and my first job was teaching dance. For the past two years I have also been learning Odissi classical dance from Akari Ueoka (www.akaridance.com), which has given me a deeper appreciation for the Indian classical arts. I also am an avid birder and rescue and rehabilitate injured birds and hope to expand upon this in the future by having a small aviary, with the ultimate goal of converting my home into an animal sanctuary and garden with native plants.
Beyond my academic work I serve on the Board of Directors for the Gandhi Institute for International Peace to help promote peace initiatives in the community. I also actively help Afghans at risk, particularly human rights activists, by filing for their humanitarian parole and sending them financial assistance. I have raised over $25,000 and filed applications for more than 30 people. If you would like to help my efforts please see details here: