The Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Tomesha Campbell, MA SID/COEX'19 (United States)

Tomesha Campbell
Tomesha Campbell, MA SID/COEX'19

“I’m looking for ways to create the dialogue that’s needed between groups,” says Tomesha Campbell.

The Marine Corps veteran, who has been deployed to Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, says her experiences in Botswana and Bahrain gave her insight into the development challenges many nations face.

In Botswana, for example, Campbell observed how a lack of basic resources such as water and electricity can lead to escalating conflict between nations and negatively impact the world’s most vulnerable populations. In Bahrain, the conflicts between Sunni and Shiite Muslims spurred her interest in helping disempowered communities make their voices heard without the threat of violence.

“I chose to come to Heller because of the international focus and the diversity,” Campbell says. “The connections have been the best part of my experience so far. It’s given me new perspectives of different places in the world I’ll never go. I’m taking into account different cultures and making sure I’m not being disrespectful or asserting my privilege as an American over different groups.”

As a student, Campbell has worked with a local organization to promote financial inclusion for underserved populations around the world, and hopes to focus her practicum on fostering difficult conversations between white supremacists and the rest of society. She also has a particular interest in women’s rights and empowerment, as one of few women to serve in the Marines. 

She decided to add the COEX degree to her SID degree because her experience in the military gave her a unique perspective on conflict.

“I think a lot of veterans are missing that community and humanity that they can’t always find in the civilian world,” she says. “Instead of feeling like they have to go back to the military, they could take those skills they have and apply them to a different context with different groups of people.”