The University of Arizona


Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Executive Director, National Institute for Civil Discourse


Dr. Lukensmeyer previously served as Founder and President of AmericaSpeaks, an award-winning nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that promotes nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens and leaders through the development of innovative public policy tools and strategies. During her tenure, AmericaSpeaks has engaged more than 165,000 people and has hosted events across all 50 states and throughout the world. Dr. Lukensmeyer formerly served as Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from 1993-94 and on the National Performance Review where she steered internal management and oversaw government-wide reforms. She was the Chief of Staff to Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste from 1986-91, becoming the first woman to serve in this capacity. She earned her PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University and has completed postgraduate training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.



Ted Celeste, Director of State Programs

Former State Representative Ted Celeste is Director of State Programs. Mr. Celeste leads Next Generation, a project of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. His goal is to inspire and support state legislators who want to promote greater understanding and better decision-making. As part of a bi-partisan team, Celeste has facilitated training for the CSG Midwest Regional Conference and the Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Nebraska Legislatures. He has also presented at the CSG BILLD leadership program in Madison, and the National CSG annual meeting in Kansas City.

Celeste served in the Ohio Legislature from 2007-2012. Known for working effectively “across the aisle” whether he was in the majority or the minority, he has lived his belief in respectful dialogue. One of the only candidates for state office who insisted on running a positive campaign, he won each of his 3 races with a comfortable majority in a swing district.  He was recognized for his emphasis on civil dialogue with the John Glenn Public Policy Institute’s Outstanding Public Service Award in 2011. Celeste lives in Columbus, Ohio, is married and has two daughters and 3 grandchildren.


Eric Diters, Assistant to the Executive Director

photoEric Diters currently serves as Executive Assistant to Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer at the National Institute for Civil Discourse. Eric was a staff member at AmericaSpeaks for several years, where he served as an assistant to Dr. Lukensmeyer. His duties included managing Carolyn’s schedule and a vast range of other responsibilities, including supporting AmericaSpeaks fundraising efforts.  Eric started in grassroots organizing as a field manager with US PIRG and the Human Rights Campaign. After exploring his interest in history with a stint at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, he returned to fundraising, first interning with a fundraising consultant at the Ashmead Group and later joining Senator Mark Warner’s 2008 campaign. 

Eric grew up in upstate New York. He graduated from The George Washington University with a degree in International Affairs.

Raquel Goodrich, Director of Digital Communications

Raquel Goodrich is the Director of Digital Communications for the National Institute for Civil Discourse, having joined the Institute in May of 2013.  Raquel manages the Institute's websites and social media programs, and assists with the overall communications strategy. Raquel also works on the Creating Community Solutions Initative, part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health. Her work with CCS includes leading the Communications strategy and developing Text, Talk, Act, a text-massaging platform that leads participants through a dialogue on mental health via their cell phones. 

Raquel previously worked at the Udall Foundation's U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, where she worked to integrate collaborative technologies into conflict resolution processes and provided training to conflict resolution practitioners on the use of collaborative technology. She is experienced in meeting facilitation and conflict resolution processes.

Raquel came to the Institute to help provide online platforms where Americans can engage in civil discourse around the issues that are most important to them. Recognizing a lack of safe spaces in the online environment, she utilizes technology and best practices to encourage people to take responsibility for their democracy.
Raquel holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Maine and a Bachelor of Social Sciences from Unity College.

Johanna Lundy, Assistant Director of Development

Johanna Lundy is the Assistant Director of Development for the National Institute for Civil Discourse. Johanna provides support for a range of development activities, including stewardship, grant applications and reporting, event planning, and managing donor profiles and gifts.

Johanna has a varied background, working as a professional musician for the past decade. She is the principal horn of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, a position which she has held since 2006. Johanna is the former President of the Tucson Federation of Musicians, a position she held from 2012-2014. During her tenure, she created and planned several large-scale community projects, increased membership numbers and grew relationships both within the Federation and with many groups in town. She negotiated two collective bargaining agreements and has worked for years to bring diverse ideas and agendas to a common purpose. She continues to serve on the executive board of the TFM. In fall 2010, Johanna was named one of Tucson's 40 under 40 by the Arizona Daily Star. 

She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College in Ohio and a Master of Music from New England Conservatory in Boston.


Peter Michaels, Communications Director

Peter Michaels is the Communications Director for the National Institute for Civil Discourse. With 30-plus years of news management and programming experience, his career includes writing, producing, creating, long-form programming and management of producers, reporters and writers at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. and at NBC in New York. He holds a BA in English from St. Bernard College in Cullman, Alabama.


Timothy J. Shaffer, Manager of Special Projects

Timothy J. Shaffer, PhD is Manager of Special Projects for the National Institute for Civil Discourse and is Affiliated Faculty with the School of Government & Public Policy at the University of Arizona. He primarily supports the interdisciplinary research network exploring issues of political incivility and political dysfunction. Additionally, because of his interests in and background with deliberative democracy and higher education's civic engagement movement, he also focuses on NICD initiatives connected to higher education. 

Previously, Tim served as Director of the Center for Leadership and Engagement at Wagner College and as Research Associate at the Kettering Foundation where he engaged in research focusing on deliberative democracy and citizen-centered politics. He came to NICD to help build the research network and to support efforts that are explicitly connected to democratic and political engagement. He earned a BA from St. Bonaventure University, MA and MPA from the University of Dayton, and Ph.D. from Cornell University.


Robin Stryker, Research Director

Robin is Professor of Sociology, Affiliated Professor of Law and Affiliated Professor of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she attended Yale Law School.  She came to the UA in 2008 from the University of Minnesota.  Robin is a previous recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, has been a Visiting Professor at the EHESS (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences) in Paris, and a Jean Monnet Fellow at the Robert Schumann Center of the European University Institute, in Florence. In her almost 30 year academic career, she has won many awards for research and teaching, has received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, and regularly publishes in leading social science journals, among them the American Sociological Review and the American Journal of Sociology, Sociological Methods and Research, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, and Law & Social Inquiry.  In addition to her work on politics, media and civility for the NICD, Robin writes on theory and methods, and conducts research on organizations and institutional change, comparative social policy, law, politics and inequality, and human rights.   


Tracey Todd, Social Media Associate

Tracey Todd is the Social Media Associate for the National Institute for Civil Discourse, having joined the Institute in February 2014. He handles the Institute’s social media channels while also working to implement emerging social media platforms that assist with the overall communications strategy.  He came from Gannett Digital and USA Today where he worked in Advertising Operations and collaborated on social media initiatives. He has experience in digital communications and social media management with The Hill Newspaper and USA Today. Tracey holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Tracey came to the National Institute for Civil Discourse to help build a social media environment where Americans could connect to have civil dialogue about the issues that affect us all. Tracey utilizes social media and emergent technologies to help strengthen the quality and effectiveness of conversation in the online spaces today.


Arika Wells, Manager of Operations and Finance

Arika Wells is the Manager of Operations and Finance for the National Institute for Civil Discourse, and new to the staff as of October 2014. With more than 10 years of business and non-profit experience leading administrative operations, fiscal and event management duties, Arika brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for the work and mission of NICD. She performs all business, finance, and operations functions for current and future programs.

Born and raised in San Diego, California, Arika  holds a  Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of San Diego, and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from National University. During her undergraduate studies, Arika discovered a passion for community service and public policy. She is an active school district volunteer, and also serves as an Alumni Association Board Member for the University of San Diego.  She has received recognition from the University of San Diego for her work to support and celebrate underrepresented students on campus, as well has completed  LEAD San Diego IMPACT, a year-long leadership and civic development training program.


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