HNGR Faculty and Staff

Laura S. Meitzner Yoder, Ph.D.

Professor of Human Needs & Global Resources and Environmental Science

Laura YoderDr. Yoder's research focuses on human-environment interactions in remote villages and urban centers of Southeast Asia and Latin America. She has sought to understand rural people’s realities by working alongside smallholder farmers and forest dwellers, and to communicate their priorities to national and international policymakers. Most of her work has been in situations of conflict, disaster, chronic poverty, or political marginalization. From people in these contexts, she has seen hope, joy, and how much there is to learn in unexpected places. Her ongoing work in Timor-Leste examines the interactions between customary and state authorities regarding land and forest management.

In Asia and in North America, she enjoys guiding students and faculty through intercultural learning and research in field contexts. Serving at a state university with the Mennonite Central Committee in West Papua, Indonesia, she advised Indonesian students and worked with the local church and other organizations to secure land and forest access for rainforest dwellers. Responding to the December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia, she taught at the local state university and led a social research methods training program for hundreds of Acehnese professionals. This initiative contributed to social healing after the dual tragedies of the tsunami and the decades of civil strife in the province.

Since 2008, Laura has taught about sustainability and field research on rural and international development, in Thailand, Bhutan, Indiana, and elsewhere. She is keenly interested in the socio-political, legal, and faith dimensions of environmental issues worldwide. Her interests include languages, writing, tropical fruits, histories of botanical exploration and colonial governance, walking in forest shade, swimming, and asking questions.

James Huff Jr., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of HNGR and Anthropology, Associate Director of HNGR

Jamie HuffJames (Jamie) G. Huff Jr. received his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from American University (Washington, DC) in 2004, and worked as Associate Professor of Anthropology at Vanguard University (2002-2014) prior to his faculty appointment to the Human Needs and Global Resources Program at Wheaton College. His scholarly interests focus on international and rural community development, religion in Latin America, faith-rooted social movements and non-government organizations (NGOs), and comprehensive community initiatives. He also has an interest in the pedagogy of study abroad programs and cross-cultural learning. His writing examines the changing religious landscapes of contemporary Latin America, with a particular focus on the social and economic changes generated by the rapid growth of Pentecostal-charismatic forms of Christianity across the region. For the past decade he has regularly conducted ethnographic fieldwork in El Salvador where he has documented the involvement of Pentecostal churches in community-based development projects. As an applied anthropologist, Dr. Huff has worked with various NGOs and community-based organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs to alleviate poverty and strengthen human well-being and community resiliency. Since 2008 he has worked collaboratively with the staff of a Christian non-profit organization (ENLACE) to implement evaluation studies that assess the impact of local development initiatives on the social, economic and physical well-being of rural communities across El Salvador.

Laurel Schone, M.A.

Student Support Coordinator

Laurel SchoneLaurel Schone has an M.A. in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling from Wheaton College and most recently worked as a counselor at a nonprofit counseling agency in Chicago. Laurel brings significant international experience to the position, having lived and worked in a global context for almost a decade, working with trafficked women in Nepal, and helping individuals and families navigate the ups and downs of cross-cultural adjustment.

She has a passion for walking alongside people living and learning in international environments, and enjoys a good cup of coffee, being in the mountains, and seeing people thrive.

Corrie Johnson, M.A.

Partnership and Placement Manager

Corrie JohnsonAs a HNGR Alumna ('95), Corrie attributes much of the long-term trajectory in her life after Wheaton to the impactful learning gained through the program. Because of this, she is passionate about supporting students as they learn how to come alongside global communities to strengthen a grassroots process of social change. 

She brings to the HNGR program many years of experience with community-based organizations in California, in addition to her professional focus on International Education (M.A., School for International Training). From her research surrounding global service learning, she sees HNGR as a model program among higher education institutions who collaborate with international community partners to address societal issues and nurture soulful and sustainable transformation.

Corrie and her husband, Jamie, along with their two kids, Micah and Abby are grateful to call Wheaton home, and love to spend time outside, especially now that they are in a place where there are four seasons to be enjoyed.

Laura Atkinson

Office Coordinator

Laura AtkinsonLaura grew up in Wheaton and graduated from Wheaton College in 1996 with a degree in Sociology. Her work experience includes a variety of “helping roles” ranging from Social Services at a nursing home; a teacher’s aid in preschool; a director of children’s ministry; and most recently before HNGR, working as Office Coordinator in the Athletics department on Wheaton’s campus. 

Laura and her husband Tim have lived in Wheaton since 1996 and have three children. Outside of school, the kids enjoy a variety of sports, friends and youth group. Laura is excited to be serving in the HNGR department where she can use her passion to help others. She enjoys developing relationships with the HNGR students as well as the many partners, faculty, parents, and others associated with the program.

Nina Mantalaba

HNGR Communications Specialist

Nina MantalabaNina Mantalaba was a HNGR intern in 2019, interning in Quezon City, Philippines. There, she learned about holistic transformation through storytelling and sharing art. She graduated from Wheaton in 2020 with a degree in Anthropology and Psychology.

Nina is passionate about listening to, learning from, and amplifying others’ voices. She enjoys conducting interviews and curating others’ stories into different pieces of media. She believes that by listening to others' stories, one can connect, empathize, and relate with others around the globe.

Other than a well-crafted interview, she enjoys connecting with students, visiting museums, and creating art with others.

HNGR Supporting Faculty

HNGR is supported by the following advisory committee members. Many other Wheaton College faculty mentor, advise, and visit HNGR students in the field. 

Kathryn Alexander, Assistant Professor in Politics and International Relations

Jim Beitler, Associate Professor of English

Enoch Hill, Associate Professor of Economics

Scott Ickes, Associate Professor of Biological and Health Sciences

Christine Jeske, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Jake Johnson, Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy and MFT Clinical Training Coordinator

Keith Johnson, Professor of Theology

Hanmee Kim, Assistant Professor of History

Christine Kepner, Associate Professor of Spanish

Cherith Lundin, Associate Professor of Art

Amy Reynolds, Associate Professor of Sociology

Vanya Tepavcevic, Associate Professor of Biological and Health Sciences