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Professional Leadership Staff

Initiative on the Holocaust and Professional Leadership

Jennifer Ciardelli Director Jennifer Ciardelli directs the Museum’s Initiative on the Holocaust and Professional Leadership division which creates educational resources and programs for professionals charged with protecting life and liberty. The key audiences include law enforcement, the judiciary, and the military as well as select government audiences. Examining the Holocaust prompts critical thinking about professional roles and responsibilities, decision-making in complex environments, and mass atrocity prevention. Jennifer’s work also includes global outreach which engages educational stakeholders from around the world. Jennifer serves on the United States delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) where she chaired the Education Working Group in 2017. Previously, Jennifer taught high school social studies as well as workshops for graduate students. Jennifer holds degrees in history and English and a Master's degree in Education.

William F. Meinecke, Jr., PhD Historian Dr. William Meinecke is a historian for the Museum’s leadership development programs and is the author of Nazi Ideology and the Holocaust, published by the Museum in 2007. He joined the Museum’s staff in 1992 to help create the Historical Atlas of the Holocaust and a multimedia learning site for students. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, he also attended the Universities of Bonn and Berlin in Germany and received an MA and a PhD in history from the University of Maryland at College Park. His dissertation is titled “Conflicting Loyalties: The Supreme Court in Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–1945.”

Ann O’Rourke Program Manager Ann O'Rourke is a program manager for the Museum’s Initiative on the Holocaust and Professional Leadership, where she has facilitated leadership programs, built partnerships, and developed curricula and resources for both domestic and international audiences for a decade. Previously she worked in the Museum’s Division of the Senior Historian. She received a BA in history and theology from the University of Notre Dame and studied at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna on a Fulbright scholarship. Ann also holds an MA in Democracy and Governance from Georgetown University.

Bridget Weisenreder Project Coordinator Bridget Weisenreder is the project coordinator for the Civic and Defense Initiatives and Law, Justice, and Society Initiatives branches of the Initiative, where she provides administrative and programmatic support for activities across the division. Prior to joining the Professional Leadership team, Bridget worked in the refugee resettlement field and volunteered at the Museum on weekends. She received a BA in International Studies - Peace and Conflict Resolution with minors in History and French from American University.

Law and Justice Initiatives

Russell Garnett Program Coordinator Russell Garnett is a program coordinator for the Museum’s Law and Justice Initiatives, facilitating programs for local, national, and federal law enforcement agencies, both in-service and recruit. Previously he worked as a program coordinator for the Museum’s Youth and Community Initiatives, facilitating the Bringing the Lessons Home Program and the National Youth Leadership Seminar. Russell is a native of Washington, DC, and first joined the Museum as a high school student in 1997 as an intern for the Bringing the Lessons Home Program and joined the museum staff to work full-time in 2002.

Sarah Reza Program Manager Sarah Reza is manager of the Museum’s Law and Justice Initiatives, overseeing programs for law enforcement, judges and attorneys. Her work includes developing programmatic strategies, building and maintaining partnerships, expanding program outreach, and spearheading programming and resource development. She has contributed to several institution-wide projects, including evaluations, outreach, and planning. Prior to coming to the Museum, she worked at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. She received a BA in film studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an MA in museum studies from The George Washington University.

Civic and Defense Initiatives

Yael Friedman Program Coordinator Yael Friedman is a program coordinator for the Museum’s Civic and Defense Initiatives, where she develops and facilitates programs and materials for military and government audiences and supports programming with law enforcement and the judiciary. Prior to joining the Museum, she worked at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation, where she ran programs for US officers-in-training, and college and graduate students. Through a Fellowship at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, she gained a unique lens into daily life and rebuilding and healing efforts in a post-atrocity country. She received a BA in Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and a dual MA in Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Education and Jewish Studies with a concentration in Holocaust education from New York University.

John Gillespie Program Coordinator John Gillespie is a program coordinator for the Museum’s Civic and Defense Initiatives, where he develops and implements programs and materials for active-duty and international military personnel as well as government officials. Prior to joining the Museum, John worked as a teaching assistant and adjunct instructor in history at Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University. He also served as project manager on an oral history project for the Nashville Bar Association. He received bachelor’s degrees in history and english from Virginia Tech and master’s degrees in history from Middle Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt University.

Amanda Rooney Stierli Program Manager Amanda Rooney Stierli is the program manager for the Museum’s Civic and Defense Initiatives, where she is responsible for building and maintaining program partnerships, expanding program outreach, creating and facilitating programs for military and government professionals, conducting research to support program development, and developing program resources. Previously she worked for the Museum on teacher education and special programs, traveling exhibitions, and in the Center for the Prevention of Genocide. She received a BA in history with a minor in sociology from Thiel College in 2007 and two MAs, in history and in Russian and East European studies, from Florida State University in 2010.