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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Steven Blalock

Events and Program Associate 
301E Mershon Center
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B.A., International Studies, Wittenberg University

Job Duties
Erin is responsible for events planning and coordination at the Mershon Center. She is the person to see to schedule a speaker or event. She conducts event management, compiles information about speakers, updates events on the website, and is responsible for A/V technology at events. Erin is also responsible for the grants application process, including the faculty and student research grants and the undergraduate study abroad scholarship. Finally, she supervises the Mershon Center's student work force and provides support to Mershon Center Director Christopher Gelpi.

Professional Experience
Erin joined the Mershon Center in September 2018 as events and program associate. Upon graduating, Erin served in Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Minneapolis, where she worked as the communications and development assistant at Global Health Ministries, a non-profit organization that sends medical supplies to partner countries around the world. After that, she worked at Ohio Dominican University as an international student recruiter, immigration coordinator, and study abroad advisor. While in undergrad, Erin studied abroad in Lutherstadt-Wittenberg, Germany, where she studied German and U.S. media portrayal of immigrants and taught English at a local elementary and middle school.

Esther Gottlieb Senior Advisor for International Affairs
Adjunct Associate Professor, Education
129 Mershon Center and 140 Enarson Classroom Building
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M.A., University of Akron, Geography (1972)
M.A., Case Western Reserve University, Counseling and Student Development (1976)
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, International and Comparative Education (1987)

Esther Gottlieb is an international education specialist involved in implementing and evaluating education plans. At Ohio State she has worked with faculty from across campus on Clusters of Interdisciplinary Research on International Themes and with education outreach and program evaluation for the area study centers. Her experience with teacher education reform and training educators has spanned from the Kibbutzim College of Education in Tel Aviv to the Ohio Global Institute, a multi-university, multi-organization collaborative that trains educators in internationalizing across the curriculum.

Gottlieb teaches comparative school systems, globalization and education, and education for development.  Recently she has been involved in policy research on double university degrees, evaluating students' global competencies, and internationalizing the student learning experience, in the Colleges of Engineering, Social Work, and Public Health at Ohio State. She is currently collaborating on the creation of the Peace Education and Training Repository (PETR).

Her research centers on the discursive practices of education and on the analysis of reforms and polices. Among her publications are Identity Conflicts: Can Violence be Regulated? (ed. with J. Craig Jenkins, Routledge, 2007); Education and Social Change in Korea, with Don Adams; "Making Education World-Class: 'ThinkGlobalOhio,'" in Prospects (2012); "Are We Postmodern Yet? Historical and Theoretical Explorations in Comparative Education," in International Companion to Education (Routledge, 2000); "Appalachian Self-Fashioning: Regional identities and Cultural Models," in Discourse; "Global Rhetoric, Local Policy: Teacher Training Reform in Israeli Education," in Educational Policy; and "The Discursive Construction of Knowledge: The Case of Radical Education Discourse," in Quantitative Studies in Education.

Faculty Links
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
High-resolution photo
Mershon Center: Two Mershon affiliates receive reciprocal exchange awards (2017)
Mershon Center: Business peace collaborative wins USIP grant (2013)

Mershon Project
Hydropolitics: Water Scarcity and Security, with Bryan Mark (2015-16)
Peace Education and Training Repository, with John Carlarne (2013-14)
Cultural Circulations, with Amy Shuman (2005)
Deprivation, Violence and Identities, with J. Craig Jenkins (2003-04)


Public Relations Coordinator
301A Mershon Center
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B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, English and Classics
M.A., University of Wisconsin, History
M.A., Indiana University, Journalism and Mass Communications

Job Duties
Cathy oversees the communications strategy and program for the Mershon Center. She is responsible for all publications, including the quarterly print newsletter, weekly electronic newsletter, annual report, and brochures and posters. She is also responsible for the Mershon Center's media relations, including helping to place faculty in the media and tracking media hits. Cathy also manages Furniss Book Award nominations, scheduling and advertising. Finally, she oversees content on the Mershon Center web site, including updates about faculty research, media placement, biographies, and any multi-media content.

Professional Experience
Cathy has almost 20 years of experience in journalism and communications. Before coming to the Mershon Center, she was communications specialist at CareSource Management Group, a Medicaid managed care services company that operates health care plans in three states, where she managed media relations and communications for the health care plan in Michigan.

Previously, she worked as managing editor at State Government News magazine at the Council of State Governments, a multi-branch organization that alerts state officials to emerging social, economic and political trends, offers innovative responses to rapidly changing conditions, and advocates multi-state problem solving.

She also worked for several years at newspapers including the Dayton Daily News and Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky, where she was nation and world news editor and started the newspaper's science page.

She is currently working part time on a dual degree in public administration and environment and natural resources at The Ohio State University.

Kyle MccrayFiscal Coordinator
301B Mershon Center
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B.B.A., Business Administration, Ohio University

Job Duties
Kyle is responsible for the Mershon Center’s financial accounting.  He keeps the budget up to date and ensures correct processing of Mershon’s fiscal paperwork.  Kyle is also the equipment coordinator for faculty and staff at Mershon.  If you need new copy codes or instruction about your options for mailing packages or letters, Kyle is the person to see.  Additionally, Kyle manages the student workers at Mershon.

Kyle is the point person for the disbursement of Mershon scholarship and grant funds.  He is the center’s Human Resources liaison with the Office of International Affairs as well as the Information Technology liaison with the Office of Information Technology at Ohio State.
Kyle also serves as the Mershon Center building coordinator.

Professional Experience
Kyle McCray joined Mershon Center in November of 2006.  He graduated from Ohio University-Athens in 2005 with majors in Finance, Business Economics, Business Law, and Real Estate. While in college, Kyle studied abroad for a summer in Tartu, Estonia, developing a new business/marketing strategy for an Estonian hotel.  He also has spent time traveling in the United Kingdom, Baltic region, Germany, Denmark, and Netherlands.

After graduation, Kyle began working at The Ohio State University Medical Center for the Progressive Care Unit.  He helped manage the budget forecasts, tracking, and variance reports as well as monitoring the unit’s purchases.  Kyle also oriented new employees and maintained the employee database and scheduling/timekeeping records. 

Teri Murphy

Peace Studies Coordinator
220C Mershon Center
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Ph.D., Social Psychology, University of Cape Town

Teri Murphy is the Coordinator for Peace Studies at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies. She has been actively engaged in conflict intervention and peacebuilding in several international contexts for the past 25 years. Her primary research interests focus on the intersection between peace, human security, and development.

As a scholar-practitioner, Teri’s applied research takes place in conflict-affected settings including Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Turkey/Syria, and the MENA region. Her particular focus is on developing culturally adaptive and complexity sensitive policies and practices for relief, stabilization, development, and transitional processes. She has written several policy briefs related to Turkey’s mediative influence and aid approach in the region.

Her most current co-authored publication offers comparative considerations for Syria’s transition towards durable peace.

Job Duties
Under the direction of the Chair of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, Teri works with interested students, community members and staff of the Mershon Center to promote the study and practice of peace building among undergraduate students at The Ohio State University and the broader central Ohio community.

Her duties include developing, planning, executing and supervising peace-related programming and educational activities, including conferences and speaker panels; cultivating, expanding and sustaining collaborative partnerships with community organizations; and supervising peace-related student groups and activities. These activities will develop a bridge between the academic research fostered at the Mershon Center and the central Ohio community, both inside and outside Ohio State, that is interested in the promotion of peace at the local, national, and international levels.

Additionally, Teri will teach three undergraduate courses annually in the International Studies Program’s Peace Studies minor program.

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
High-resolution photo


  • "Transformation Through Justice for Syria" (Istanbul Policy Center Brief, 2017)
  • "Simulation Games in Teaching International Relations: Insights from a Multi-Day, Multi-Stage, Multi-Issue Simulation on Cyprus" (International Studies Perspectives, 2014)
  • "Turkey’s International Development Framework Case Study: Somalia" (Istanbul Policy Center Brief, 2014)
  • "Gender Mainstreaming: Turkey’s Policies and Practices in Peacebuilding Initiatives" (Istanbul Policy Center Brief, 2013)
  • "War, Trauma and Reality: Afghan Women’s Plight in Turkey" (Istanbul Policy Center Brief, 2013)
  • "Synthesis Report of the Baseline Study on Civilian Capacity: A CIVCAP Joint Research Project," contributor (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, 2012)
  • "Turkey’s Civilian Capacity in Post Conflict Reconstruction" (Istanbul Policy Center Brief, 2012)