Senior Staff

Senior Staff

Karen Ives, Editor-in-Chief

iveskarenKaren Ives is a second-year graduate student in the Intercultural and International Communication program with the School of International Service at American University. After completing her master’s degree in rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon in 2010, she worked for two years in New York City as a writer and editor at a Fortune 500 company. Karen joined the US Peace Corps in 2012 and served as a community development volunteer and teacher of English writing and grammar in western Mongolia. Her efforts to improve the health of children in the country won her the provincial Medal of Honor, the first time an award of this status had been presented to a foreigner. After completing her service, Karen enrolled at American University. During the summer of 2016, she worked as a writer and editor in the communications department for Creative Associates International, an international development organization dedicated to promoting global change. A California native, Karen is passionate about the role communication plays in sustainable, global development.

Erica Benjamin, Director of Operations
benjaminericaErica Benjamin is a second-year master’s student in the Comparative and Regional Studies program with a focus on political economic and security issues in East and Southeast Asia. She was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and received her bachelor’s degree in political science at Texas A&M University in the great state of Texas. While at American University, Erica has served on the Graduate Student Council both as a program senator as well as the chief of staff. Currently, Erica works as a policy fellow at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. When not busy studying, she enjoys writing creatively, both literary and musical pieces, and the art of tea making.

Collin Chatterley, Director of Data & Analytics
chatterleycolinCollin Chatterley is a second-year student in the Global Governance, Politics, and Security program at the School of International Service. As director of data and analytics for the Journal of International Service, Collin ensures submission data is tracked effectively and that the Journal’s tracking system is meeting the reporting needs of the entire team. His studies center primarily on Central and East Asia security issues. Collin also has a passion for understanding governance and the rule of law in current and post-conflict states. After graduating from Gonzaga University with a degree in international studies, Collin spent his three years prior to arriving at American University leading a sales and operations team at the Seattle-based home improvement startup, Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Collin hates the DC weather, but he can often be found running obscene distances around the city in his free time.

Frieda Arenos, Director of Resources & Training
arenosfriedaFrieda Arenos is a second-year graduate student in the Intercultural and International Communication program with American University’s School of International Service, where she serves as the director of resources and training for the Journal of International Service. She is also the junior legislative aide on Health, Education, Human Services, and Nutrition for US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Frieda’s research is focused on the effects of communication in post-war reconstruction efforts, with regional specializations in the Balkans, Western Africa, and Afghanistan. She has also conducted research on the intercultural relations between US leaders and US government agencies. Frieda received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Vermont. Before moving to DC, she worked for the US Commission for Refugees and Immigrants assisting new families arriving from foreign countries to the US. She also served as the director for alumni fundraising with the Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure and Mentoring (DREAM) program. In her spare time, Frieda serves as a reading mentor with the Everybody Wins reading program, and volunteers with the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing, where she assists youth in their process of grieving after the death of a loved one.

Ariel Leuthard, Director of Outreach
Ariel Leuthard is a first-year master’s student in the leuthardarielGlobal Governance, Politics and Security. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Ariel received her bachelor’s degree in international relations, economics and religious studies from the University of San Diego in December 2015. Currently, Ariel works as an intern at The Israel Project. On the weekends, she loves going to brunch and spending time at any of the District’s museums.



Valentine Gilson, Director of Peer Reviewers
gilsonvalentineValentine Gilson is a first-year master’s student in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs. She received her undergraduate degree in international relations and global studies at the University of Texas at Austin and studied abroad in Paris at SciencesPo. In addition to JIS, she works as a graduate assistant helping undergraduates improve their writing and method techniques.  Her research interests are around war and identity politics. She is very interested in what causes conflict and why it is perpetuated in a world full of human rights law and a general (verbal) moral objection to extreme hardship.


Brittney Laufer, Editorial Director

Brittney Laufer is a second year graduate student in the Global Governance, Politics, and Security program at the School of International Service. Originally from Georgia, she received a bachelor’s degree in English rhetoric and composition from Augusta University after realizing she couldn’t find job stability with a creative writing degree. But her fascination in global politics equaled her love of writing and reading, and it led her to continue her education in international relations with a focus on international security and foreign policy in East and Southeast Asia. Currently, Brittney is extremely excited to be graduating in May. In her spare time (if such a thing exists for graduate students), she enjoys writing fiction stories, exploring new places (especially food places), and hanging out with her two cats.

Kate Wathen, Creative Director
kate-jis-croppedKate Wathen is the creative director for the Journal of International Service and a part-time international development MA candidate. Outside of AU, Kate is the engagement editor for Devex, the news outlet for the global development community. Prior to joining Devex, she worked as a press officer with USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, where she managed communications for disasters occurring in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. In the past, she has managed international media relations for the Center for Global Development, worked as a national public relations specialist for Kaiser Permanente and as an associate producer for Chicago NPR affiliate WBEZ. She holds a BA in international studies and communications from Loyola University Chicago.


Interested in joining the team?
Please visit the Join the Team page to learn more and access the application.