People

Lisa Ellen Silvestri (PhD, University of Iowa) is an assistant professor of Communication Studies at Gonzaga University. She is also the author of the award-winning book Friended at the Front: Social Media in the American War Zone. Dr. Silvestri comes from a family of Veterans (great-grandfathers, grandfathers, father, and brother) who served in combat during WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result of their influence, her career aspirations have centered on improving the lives of men and women who serve. At the University of Iowa, she helped establish ICOVE, the Iowa Consortium of Veteran Excellence, offering education and employment resources for student and community Veterans.

Rebekah Wilkins-Pepiton (MEd, University of Idaho) is a community arts leader and art educator. Ms. Wilkins-Pepiton serves as an art commissioner for the City of Spokane where she works with a variety of civic and community-based organizations to increase arts access and participation across socioeconomic, cultural, and racial divides. Prior to moving to Spokane, she was executive director of St. Lawrence County Arts Council in upstate New York where she organized university, civic, and community partnerships to build bridges across educational and economic backgrounds. While serving in the US Peace Corps (China 2010-12), she developed English language curriculum for rural teachers, facilitated and led an Environmental Leadership Camp for university students, and taught communication and culture courses at Guizhou University.

Joseph Gilliland is a retired Master Sergeant of the US Marine Corps. Currently, he is an advanced undergraduate student at Gonzaga University majoring in Environmental Studies. With 23 years of service and multiple deployments behind him, MSgt. Gilliland’s voice and perspective have been invaluable to the Telling War initiative and to establishing Gonzaga University’s Student Veterans of America chapter.

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