<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1264012490284679&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip Navigation



Monday, April 15, 2024

Why I Chose Kroc School to Become a Changemaker: Student Stories

Written by Kroc School

At the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, we empower and equip innovative changemakers to shape a more peaceful world and create just societies. Our impact shines through our current students and alumni, who are doing actionable things to create a change in our world. Continue reading to hear it from students first-hand. 


Why I Chose to Study Peace and Justice


Madison Turnin

Program: Master’s in Peace and Justice (MAPJ)

Suited for someone who is empathetic, understanding, and an activist for change, the MAPJ program teaches students how to address a wide range of peace and social justice challenges,
including armed conflict, refugee and forced displacement issues, human rights abuses and environmental injustices.

Madison Turnin is a first year MAPJ student who was focused on finding a program that combined both theory and practice and where she could work in the community. She knew that was something Kroc uniquely offers.

“Practicum allows us to go out into the community and learn from them—whether it be here in San Diego or across the border to Tijuana, Mexico or across the ocean in Asia, Europe and Africa. These travel opportunities to get outside the classroom allow us to learn hands-on Grassroots work. The portfolio allows us to critically analyze and dynamically engage in theory in a way that puts us as a holistic student in peace studies who know how to bring that theory and practice together seamlessly and to emerge as a well-rounded student.”

Why I Chose to Earn a Social Innovation Degree


Jessica Schwartz


Program: Master’s in Social Innovation (MASI)

Perfect for someone who is tech-savvy, innovative, and solution-based, the number one nationally ranked social innovation program at Kroc prepares students to learn the skills necessary to develop sustainable, scalable solutions to tackle humanity’s urgent challenges, whether that leads to growing their own social impact startup or leading innovative programs in an established organization.

Jessica Schwartz is a graduate student at the Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego. She is in her final semester of pursuing her Master of Arts degree in Social Innovation (MASI). She received her undergraduate degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, with a minor in Cultural Anthropology, from the Ohio State University.   Jessica is attending the Kroc School because she is passionate about social innovation through the lens of peace and how that can be translated into the sphere of sustainable fashion.

Jessica Schwartz, MASI program’s Kroc Ambassador, shared:

"In a way, I didn't even have to choose Kroc, it was the only perfect option that existed for me as it is the only school that teaches social innovation through the lens of peace! I am passionate about learning how social innovation can create a more just world, and it is so unique and instrumental to be able to study business through the lens of social change. What I didn't know when I chose Kroc was the amazing people I have met here that have elevated not only my education, but my learning and experiences as a person.”

Why I Chose to Study Conflict Management and Resolution

Headshot_Hepps Keeney, Rowan (1)-1

Rowan Hepps-Keeney

Program: Flex Master’s in Conflict Management and Resolution (MSCMR)

The MSCMR program is a great fit for someone who is bold, collaborative, a negotiator, and sees everything from different view-points. MSCMR students learn the skills necessary to expertly navigate intra-societal conflicts at the individual, workplace, community, national and international levels. Flexible course offerings for in-person and online classes allows working professionals the opportunity to obtain their master’s from anywhere while managing their busy lives.

Hepps-Keeney is a first-year MSCMR student, and part of why they chose Kroc was because of all the different certificates that are offered. They are currently earning a restorative justice certificate as well as a trauma resilience and awareness certificate. 

“Community and the people at Kroc was something that really drew me in. I immediately felt at home. As soon as I interacted with the professors and looked at the curriculum, it was clear that what was being taught at Kroc and how it was being taught, the fact that everything was so hands-on, that there was an emphasis on skills-based teaching, and that I was going to get direct practice in this field, were all reasons that culminated for me to be at Kroc. I’m so happy to be here.”

Why I Chose to Earn A Dual Juris Doctorate Degree

Headshot Elena Finley

Elena Finely

Program: JD/MA in Law and Peace and Justice Dual Degree (JD/MAPJ)

The interdisciplinary Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Arts in Peace and Justice (MAPJ) Dual Degree is the only program in the country that combines graduate studies in peacebuilding and human rights advocacy with legal training. The JD/MAPJ program is perfect for someone who is interested in pursuing law to make an impact or change in society. Students study law and policy while gaining a deep understanding of the historical, institutional and cultural factors that drive conflict, injustice, oppression and poverty.

Elena Finely is a current JD/MAPJ student at the Kroc School. She is studying to become an international human rights lawyer.

“I chose Kroc because it is the leading Peace and Justice program in the United States, and this dual degree is the only kind in the country that combines graduate-level peace building with legal training.” 

Become a Peacemaker at Kroc School

You want to be a part of the change; to play a part in creating peace, and the world needs more changemakers like you to stand up and make a difference in our world. At the Kroc School, you can help the most pressing challenges by utilizing what you’re taught in conjunction with original thinking, moral imagination, practical skills and thoughtful research. 

Making a difference doesn’t just have to be a dream—it can be your reality. And you can get started today!

If you have any questions, we encourage you to set up a meeting with admissions

Learn more about our programs or request more information.

Kroc School

About the Author

Kroc School

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies' mission is to equip and empower innovative changemakers to shape more peaceful and just societies.

More Articles