Alumni Spotlights

Sebastián Albuja, PhD, ’08
Country Analyst for Central and South America,
Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre

At the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre—the global monitor of conflict-induced displacement—Sebastián is responsible for monitoring situations of violence and armed conflict in the Americas region and their impact on forced displacement. He researches and drafts reports and policy papers focusing on trends and patterns of displacement and national and international responses. He conducts research missions to portfolio countries and networks with civil society organizations and national and international research centers. At IDMC, he has also explored the relationship between climate change and forced displacement.

Sebastián also advocates for the rights of people displaced by conflict and violence in the region. For this purpose he engages with the media, national authorities and civil society, regional human rights mechanisms in the Americas, and UN human rights mechanisms in Geneva.

Before coming to Northeastern as a Fulbright fellow, Sebastián practiced law in Ecuador, his country of origin. He is fluent in Spanish, English, and French.

Steven AntonakesSteve L. Antonakes, PhD ’98
Head of Bank Supervision, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Antonakes was appointed by President Obama to the post in November 2010. Antonakes will be responsible for monitoring how the nation’s largest banks market and sell consumer products such as credit cards, checking accounts, and home loans to ensure they do not mislead or exploit consumers.According to the Boston Globe, this new role is “one of the most powerful posts in the new consumer watchdog agency created by Congress in response to the financial crisis.” Prior to his appointment, Antonakes served as Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks.

Roderick Ireland, PhD ’98
Chief Justice, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

“Northeastern has a proud track-record of educating future leaders in public service,” said President Joseph E. Aoun. “Justice Ireland’s career exemplifies an unwavering commitment to serving others. As a member of our faculty, he strengthens our commitment to experiential learning by bringing the judicial system to life for our students.”

Ireland began his legal career in 1969 as a Neighborhood Legal Services attorney, and then was a public defender from 1971 to 1973 with the Roxbury Defenders Committee, eventually becoming executive director. From 1975 to 1977 he served as assistant secretary in the state Executive Office of Administration and Finance.
At Northeastern, Ireland has taught undergraduate and graduate courses, primarily on juvenile justice, in the School of Criminology and Justice Policy, at the School of Law and in the Law, Policy and Society Program.

“Students love him,” said Chester Britt, dean of the criminology school. “His class is the first one that fills up every semester. He’s really popular — he does a great job in the classroom, and he works them really hard.”
Britt said part of the appeal of Ireland’s class is that his students, “because of the nature of his position, get access to the juvenile court system. They get a much better, inside view of the proceedings, and that is a wonderful learning experience.”

Judge Ireland earned his JD from Columbia University Law School and a LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School. Over the course of his career, he has earned awards for judicial excellence from the Massachusetts Bar Association and Lawyers Weekly Newspaper, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and the Massachusetts Judges Conference. He is also the author of Massachusetts Juvenile Law, 2d edition, 2006.

Jennifer Balboni, PhD ’06
Assistant Professor, Curry College

Dr. Balboni is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and Co-Director of the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program. Her dissertation research examined the meaning of litigation against the Catholic Church for clergy sexual abuse survivors through an ethnographic lens. Her book, Clergy Sexual Abuse Litigation: Survivors Seeking Justice, was published in April, 2011 by Lynne Rienner Publishers.

From 1997 through 2002, she worked as a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Criminal Justice Policy and Research, Northeastern University, working on projects involving juvenile justice and hate crimes, with published work well cited in both academic and policy arenas. Additionally, she worked in direct services with delinquent and abused/neglected youth for several years, in both residential and outreach and tracking settings.

Here is a link to her book:

Mary Ellen Mastrorilli, PhD ’08
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Boston University Metropolitan College

Professor Mastrorilli’s research interests focus on female offenders, community corrections, and law and society. She holds over twenty-four years of experience in positions ranging from correction officer to prison administrator. She is the recipient of the Correctional Association of Massachusetts’ Professional Excellence Award, as well as the Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award given by the National Center for Women and Policing. Mastrorilli teaches courses in criminal justice and sociology.

Christopher Mathias, PhD ’12
Chief Academic Officer of Idaho State Board of Education

Dr. Christopher Mathias was hired in December 2013 as Chief Academic Officer by the Idaho State Board of Education. Mathias previously worked as the Policy Manager in the Office of the President at Boise State University. He has also taught undergraduate law and policy courses here at Northeastern and graduate courses at Boise State University and Vermont Law School.

Michelle MeiserMichelle Meiser, MS ’06
Director of Homeownership & Asset Manager, Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation

In her capacity at ABCD, Michelle is responsible for management of 10 affordable rental developments (509 units). Through their Homeownership Program Michelle and her staff assists low- and moderate-income home buyers in overcoming obstacles to homeownership by providing home buyer education, individual counseling, financial assistance, and access to financial and professional resources. • Michelle is also board president of the Midas Collaborative, statewide collaborative of innovative community groups working on community and individual financial stability.

Aviva Rich-SheaAviva Rich-Shea, PhD ’10

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Massasoit Community College, Research Project Manager with the Shannon Anti-Gang Initiative

Prior to pursuing her PhD in Law & Public Policy, Aviva earned her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice at Northeastern. During her PhD coursework she became interested in the concept of restorative justice, a community-based way of looking at the victims of crime that brings more accountability to the justice process and healing to the victims.of the School to Prison Pipeline Task Force, and a Fellow at Suffolk University’s Center for Restorative Justice

In her work implementing restorative justice practices in Massachusetts communities, she has seen positive and dramatic changes in the way police, community members, and the justice system communicate and relate to each other. Interactions on the street between police and community members have become more cooperative and less confrontational.

Aviva defended her dissertation, “Adolescent Youth and Social Control: The Changing Role of Public Schools,” in October 2010. Her research included visiting 26 schools and interviewing 40 police officers. She discusses the criminalization of normal childhood behavior, the breakdown of informal social controls and the consequent moving in of formal controls in the form of increased policing and government regulations. She questions our society’s apparent wholesale acceptance of armed police officers in our schools from kindergarten through college.

Her original research presented challenges of access to students, police officers, and data, but she remained committed to objectivity and academic integrity throughout the project. Her dissertation committee was chaired by Northeastern School of Criminology and Criminal Justice Professor Donna Bishop.

In her many current professional activities, including publications on gangs, Aviva continues her work to bring effective, positive results to communities struggling with the complex issues of youth development, crime and justice, and imparts her expert knowledge and experience to the next generation of researchers and practitioners.

Amanda Schwartz
Amanda Schwartz, MS ’11
Partnerships Manager, Partners in Health

Amanda was recently promoted to Partnerships Manager, working with partner organizations who can help Partners in Health to further their mission to break the cycle of poverty and disease. Partners In Health is a Boston-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing high-quality medical care and social justice to the destitute sick living in some of the world’s poorest places. Prior to her promotion, Amanda worked in development for PIH.

In 2008, Amanda founded One Youth International, a small non-profit that supports grassroots community-based initiatives abroad. She also worked for nine months in Kenya at the Mtongwe Community Initiative, a community health organization located in Mombasa, Kenya that provides home-based care for HIV and TB patients, umbrella support for microfinance projects, and peer education programming for youth.

John D. Sullivan, PhD ’00
Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Administrative Sciences
PhD, Northeastern University
AM, Harvard University
MBA, Northeastern University
BA, Regis University

Dr. Sullivan is an expert in health care policy and finance and frequently appears as a commentator in local and national media. He teaches mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, capital markets, investments, and new business ventures. He served as senior analyst for corporate development at Fresenius Medical Care, and has provided strategic consulting for various health care organizations. He has also been a guest instructor at Northeastern University.

Dawna ThomasDawna Thomas, PhD ’01
Associate Professor of Africana and Women’s and Gender Studies, Simmons College

Professor Thomas teaches classes on research methods, health and disability, and violence in the family. Her research work has focused on disability policy, economic disparities for individuals with disabilities from culturally diverse communities, community-based participatory research, race and gender disparities in health care, and disability service systems, and the development of cultural identity. Her doctoral work “Understanding Disability in the Cape Verdean Community: An Analysis of Race and Disability in Massachusetts” was the first conducted in the Cape Verdean on disability.

She is a co-founder of Common Threads a grassroots community cultural initiative dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the cultural and historical traditions of the Cape Verdean Diaspora in the United States and the transnational Cape Verdean Community. She has co-authored several publications in reference to: cultural relevancy in education, disability policy, and psychology. Currently she is working on a book Serving the Cape Verdean Community: Handbook on Cultural Understanding for Health Care Providers.

Francis WilliamsFrancis Williams, PhD ’07
Associate Professor, Plymouth State University

Francis M. Williams in addition to his LPS Ph.D. he has a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University, a M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Cambridge College, and a Masters Certificate in Computer Programming from Boston University. Dr. Williams spent over 26 years as a practitioner in the field of Criminal Justice which included stints working with juveniles in a number of different environs, security administration, 9+ years as a probation officer and as a faculty cooperative education coordinator. He teaches courses in Law Enforcement, Criminology, and Introduction to Criminal Justice. His research interests include delinquency prevention programs, online education, law enforcement strategies and race and crime. Dr. Williams’s 2008 book, Student Assistance Programs: Concepts, Methods and a Theory of Organization, was published by VDM Verlag. He has published book chapters in addition to several publications in the Encyclopedia of Law and the Sociological Review.

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