MEI Staff & Board Members


MEI was co-founded in July 2013 by Dr. Jessica A. Schwartz (N.Y.U. 2012), Assistant Prof. of Musicology at UCLA, and Dr. April L. Brown (U.A. 2006), Professor of History at NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas. Both are specialists in interdisciplinary higher education. Dr. Schwartz spent two years in the RMI conducting fieldwork and has been working with community members in northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri since 2010. Dr. Brown has been a vocal advocate of international education for over two decades. She established the global themed semester initiative at NWACC as Honors Program Director (2008-2014) and has been involved in study abroad as a student, advisor, and instructor. As humanities scholars, both promote awareness of Marshallese history and culture.


MEI was created to blend scholarly research with practical outreach efforts to create awareness on a national stage, while also making a real difference in the lives of individual Marshallese.

MEI Officers, Staff, & Advisors

  • April L. Brown, Ph.D., Executive Director
  • Jessica A. Schwartz, Ph.D., Cultural Programs Advisor
  • Kristina Stege, International Relations Liaison
  • Ruby Lewis, Assistant
  • Terry Takamaru, Translator, Advisory Board
  • Nixon Jibas, Advisory Board
  • Adelbert & Neisen Laukon, Advisory Board
  • Anita Iban, Advisory Board
  • Carlnis Jerry, Advisory Board


  • April L. Brown, Ph.D., President
  • Jessica A. Schwartz, Ph.D., Vice President
  • Faith Laukon Jibas, Secretary
  • Linda Richardson, Treasurer
  • Mick Broderick, Ph.D. (Murdoch University)
  • Consul-General Carmen Chong-Gum (Arkansas Consulate, Ex-Officio Member)


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