M.A. Students

The Master of Arts in Human Rights, developed by the Institute for Human Ecology (IHE), is designed for students who wish to study human rights from a distinctly Catholic perspective. It draws upon existing courses of several schools at The Catholic University of America. The interdisciplinary degree is awarded by the School of Arts and Sciences.

M.A. in Human Rights

Afghani Barakzai

M.A. in Human Rights

Sunshine Bayor

M.A. in Human Rights

José Freire Nunes

M.A. in Human Rights

Erica Lizza

M.A. in Human Rights

Vincent Schiffiano

M.A. in Human Rights

Veronica Smaldone

M.A. in Human Rights

Nicole Stone

M.A. in Human Rights

Megan Witt

M.A. in Human Rights

Afghani Barakzai

Afghani Barakzai is Corporate Recruiter at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. Prior to that, she held positions as Project Manager for Mobile Money Program and Senior Administrator at USAID, and Human Resource Manager at Asia Consultancy Group (ACG). She was also a Visiting Fellow in the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Afghani holds degrees from Kabul University and Georgetown University, and certificates from Arizona State University and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). She is completing the M.A. in Human Rights at Catholic University as a part-time student.

M.A. in Human Rights

Sunshine Bayor

Bayor Chantal Ngoltoingar is a finance and marketing professional with an analytical and operationally oriented approach. She held a Bachelor of Arts, currently completing her Master. Before moving to the United States, she worked more than ten years as marketing and sales manager, then one year as branch manager at the United Bank for Africa. She is from Chad, mother of a seventeen-year-old boy. She is an author and advocate anti-FGM (Female Genital Mutilation).  She published a book on (FGM) L’obscurité sous le Soleil in France, which offers a deeply personal lens on the practice and a series of recommendations about how to understand and counter it. She has founded Sunshine Girls, an NGO which works against FGM in sub-Saharan Africa and has testified about FGM in the U.S. Senate, United Nations Population Fund, The World Bank. She is collecting videos for her research project to quantify the impact of FGM on girls, families, and nations from child survivors, mothers, and traditional authorities in Chad. Bayor is passionate about ending violence against children and women. The English version of her book Darkness under the Sun is soon to be published.

M.A. in Human Rights

José Freire Nunes

José Freire Nunes holds a J.D from the University of São Paulo Law School in Brazil. He spent almost the last two years working as legal advisor for a congressman in Brazil dealing with issues pertaining to Constitutional Law. He has already attended programs organized by the Abigail Adams Institute, Phoenix Institute, Witherspoon Institute among others. Recently, he led a group of Brazilians to the In Altum program promoted by Saffron Ventures in Washington DC.He sees himself working with education and public policy in the near future aiming to help with the institutional and cultural development of his country and Latin America. He is fluent in Portuguese, English, French, and Spanish. His main hobbies include trekking, hiking, cooking, and enjoying good conversation with people from different professional and cultural backgrounds.

M.A. in Human Rights

Erica Lizza

Erica Lizza is an alumna of Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she majored in international politics and earned a certificate in religion, ethics and world affairs. After graduation, she spent three years as a paralegal at Cooper & Kirk, a law firm specializing in constitutional, regulatory, and commercial disputes and litigation. Erica is also a 2021 Civitas Dei Fellow through the Catholic University of America’s Institute of Human Ecology and was part of the 2022 cohort of The Fund for American Studies’ Public Policy Fellowship. She is an alumna of the American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Honors Program and is a member of the Third Millennial Cohort of AEI’s Leadership Network. Her academic and professional interests include the relationship between religious freedom, protection of women’s rights, and the law. After completing the M.A. in Human Rights, Erica plans to pursue a law degree.

M.A. in Human Rights

Vincent Schiffiano

Vincent Schiffiano is a 2022 Graduate of Benedictine College with bachelors degrees in Political Science and Philosophy. He is passionate about transforming culture in America and seeks to bring a classical understanding of law and culture to American politics. He hopes to pursue law school after completing his Masters and enter the field of constitutional law. During his time in school Schiffiano was involved in a number of prolife and religious freedom activities, including organizing the first ever Transforming Culture student conference. He was honored by Benedictine College with the first ever Transforming Culture in America Award.

M.A. in Human Rights

Veronica Smaldone

Veronica Smaldone graduated from Catholic University with a B.A. in History in 2020. After completing a year of service through Americorps placed with Special Olympics Maryland, Veronica is looking forward to formalizing her favorite pastime of engaging in conversations about Catholic anthropology as a part-time student in the M.A. in Human Rights program.

M.A. in Human Rights

Nicole Stone

Nicole Stone is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She completed an undergraduate degree in theology and philosophy, and since then, has worked in education, mission work, and the non-profit sector in various states and countries. She currently works part-time for the Vulnerable People Project as the operations manager. In her free time, she loves being outside, reading, cooking, and having philosophical debates with friends about how to change the world.

M.A. in Human Rights

Megan Witt

Megan Witt is from North Potomac, MD. She earned her B.S.B.A at Catholic University in International Business and a minor in Islamic World Studies. She has worked as a research assistant in the Busch school, an office assistant at Columbus school of law, and will be a Teaching Assistant this semester. Her research interests include womens’ and childrens’ rights in the developing world. After receiving her MA in human rights, Megan plans to work for a non-profit or the UN and eventually attend law school.

Apply to our Graduate Scholar program

Questions? Get in touch!

Follow us

“This Institute, I think, is a very important expression of the renaissance that’s underway at Catholic University in these recent years, and I’m delighted to be part of that.”

George Weigel