Our Staff

Dr. James V. Riker is Director of the Beyond the Classroom Program. He brings a wide array of professional experience from academia, local government, and the nonprofit and civil society sector on civic engagement, democratic governance, food security, sustainable development and leadership issues at the local, national and global levels. He has led multi-stakeholder consultation processes involving civil society leaders, scholars, and policy-makers, and served as a consultant to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Ford Foundation, New Rules for Global Finance Coalition, Citizens for Global Solutions, the Asian Pacific Development Centre (APDC, Malaysia) and the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC, the Philippines).

Dr. Riker is the author of Promising Visions and Strategies to Advancing Global Democracy (FIM, 2005), is co-editor of Restructuring World Politics: Transnational Social Movements, Networks, and Norms (University of Minnesota Press, 2002); and Government-NGO Relations in Asia: Prospects and Challenges for People-Centered Development (MacMillan, 1995); and editor of A Program to End Hunger (Bread for the World Institute, 2000). He previously served as co-founder and chair of the Global Development Section of The International Studies Association (ISA) and was a Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia. He presently serves as an advisory board member for the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID), the leading development and human rights network in Indonesia; is a board member for FIM: Forum for Democratic Global Governance, an international NGO think-tank based in Montréal, Quebec, Canada; is a the chair of the board of Citizens for Global Solutions’ Education Fund in Washington, D.C.; and is a Fellow and serves on the Steering Committee of the World Federalist Institute (WFI) of Citizens for Global Solutions.

He received his B.A. degree in Environmental Policy from Pomona College, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Government from Cornell University.


A picture of Melissa Del RiosMelissa Del Rios is the Assistant Director for Beyond the Classroom. Melissa supports the recruitment and admissions process, housing process, program events, outreach, and teaches UNIV326: Internship and Experiential Learning Seminar. She has worked at the University of Maryland for three years, and also serves as program coordinator with the Carillon Communities Living Learning Program. Prior to joining the University of Maryland, Melissa worked with VSA, an affiliate of the Kennedy Center, where she managed international classroom programs that utilized arts and education to increase access and inclusion, especially for students with disabilities. Melissa previously worked in program management with the Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington, D.C. to promote access and success in post-secondary education. Melissa is committed to advancing social justice, especially in the areas of education and immigration policy both here in the U.S. and Latin America. She brings experience working on disability, education policy, minority-serving institutions, and student engagement issues. Melissa received her B.A. in Sociology and Hispanic Caribbean/Latino Studies from Rutgers University and a Master in Public Policy (M.P.P.) focused on education policy from American University.