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Department of Philosophy

Special Acknowledgments

Director Dr. Negin Tahvildary

Negin Tahvildary
Dr. Negin Tahvildary has been teaching Peace & Conflict Studies and several other courses within the program since 2016.

Previously, she worked as an information officer for the United Nations Assistant Mission to Afghanistan before being offered a position with a non-profit organization in Fresno where she found her path to the university.

Tehran University (Iran) B.A. and M.A.; Azad University (Iran), B.A. (L.L.B.); Beheshti University (Iran), Ph.D.

Research Interests: Law, Peace Studies, Middle East Studies




Founder Dr. Pamela Lane-Garon

Pamela Lane Garon

Dr. Pamela Lane-Garon was the founder of Fresno State's Mediator Mentor Program.

Through Dr. Lane-Garon's leadership and vision Fresno State's Mediator Mentor program has grown into a nationally recognized and award winning program. 

Her legacy continues through the students and schools that she has assisted.






Director Christina Cassinerio

Christina Cassinerio-WilsonChristina Cassinerio-Wilson is a Special Education Teacher Coach in Fresno Unified and an experienced Conflict Resolution Educator. Mrs. Cassinerio-Wilson received her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Fresno State and obtained her Conflict Resolution Certification from the Strauss Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University.

During her graduate study at Fresno State, she served as a Mediator Mentor at Scandinavian Middle School and Mediation Teacher Coordinator at Homan Elementary. Christina is also on the CRETE (Conflict Resolution Education in Teacher Education) Training team with Dr. Lane-Garon and Karen DeVoogd. In this capacity, she presents social-emotional learning content and related activities in four-day institutes twice a year (August and January). CRETE participants have been in-service and pre-service educators, masters and doctoral level learners at the university and psychologists and social workers in the community.

Professionally, Christina has served as President of the Central Valley Chapter of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and she is past chair of the National ACR Education Section. Christina has combined her passion for the field of special education with CRE. With her dual professional interests she advocates for conflict resolution education across the lifespan—and across learner abilities.

Director Karen Devoogd

Karen DevoogdKaren DeVoogd is an experienced lecturer and faculty advisor at California State University Fresno, working with teacher candidates in the post-baccalaureate, multiple subject teaching credential program, CalStateTEACH.

She has been an instructor in this program for 15 years working with diverse student populations in Title One schools in the Central Valley of California. She taught elementary-aged and included special-needs students in Michigan and Texas, prior to coming to California. She also coordinated school based peer mediation programs and facilitated staff development in conflict resolution with curriculum integration in Michigan.

Karen earned both her Bachelor’s degree and Masters Degree from Michigan State University. Ms. DeVoogd administrates and facilitates the training of teachers, administrators, counselors and other professionals in conflict resolution skills. Karen is also trained as a community mediator in VORP protocol (Victim Offender Reconciliation Program).

She is a trainer with CRETE (Conflict Resolution Education in Teacher Education), under the guidance of Dr. Tricia Jones at Temple University. This training involves working with current and future teachers and administrators, in the application of conflict resolution theory and best practice into classroom instruction. Karen is the current Co-Chair of the Education Section of the National Association of Conflict Resolution (ACR). Karen also assists on the local ACR Central California Charter, working as board member with direct responsibilities in scholarship allocations.

Technology Support 

Henry PlacentiHenry Placenti has been an instrumental member of Fresno State's Mediator Mentor Program for years.

Henry has provided IT support for both the Mediator Mentors and CRETE programs at Fresno State.


Technology Support and Mediator/CRETE Trainer

Peter FortunaPeter Fortuna is an Alumni and Information Consultant at Fresno State.

Peter is Project Management Professional (PMP), has BS in Computer Science, MA in Education, and will be pursuing a doctorate in Education in 2020.  As part of his MA in Education Peter was a founding member for a local charter school.

For the past several years Peter has served as a Mediator Mentor and CRETE trainer and as a Mediator Mentor at Ayer Elementary School in Fresno Unified.

Peter is also a member of Rotary International and serves as the Director of Technology for North Fresno Rotary.  Peter is also a supporter of Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR).


Recognitions And Awards

William J. Kreidler Award

Pamela Lane GaronDr. Pamela Lane-Garon, professor Emerita of California State University, Fresno, educator, practitioner, and researcher has been awarded the prestigious William Kreidler Award from the National Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) for excellence in advancing education in the field of conflict resolution, alternative dispute resolution.

Dr. Lane-Garon is the founder of Mediator Mentors at Fresno State and the Valley.

William J. Kreidler Award

William J. Kreidler Award

Karen DeVoogd and Christina Cassinerio-Wilson were honored with the nationally renowned William J. Kreidler Award by the Association for Conflict Resolution for excellence in advancing education in the field of conflict resolution, alternative dispute resolution.

Karen and Christina have powered the Mediator Mentor Program and continued the tradition that Dr. Pam Lane-Garon began.