I am available for freelance

Hi, I'mKelly Merchán

Advocate, Writer & Project Manager

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I'm a bilingual nonprofit professional, communicator & consultant. 

I focus my work in three areas: community building & conflict resolution, project design & management, and writing & communications strategy. I currently work as a Communications Specialist in the Department of Global Development in Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Name : Kelly Ilene Merchán
Email : kelmerchan@gmail.com
Phone : 607-351-1883
Skype : kelly.ilene.mitchell
Interest : freelance
Currently based: Ithaca, New York


Conflict Resolution & Community Building

With a Masters in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and 3+ years working abroad, my passion lies in building a culture of peace to generate stronger, united communities and working to prevent and transform conflict.

Project Design, Management, and Evaluation

I use my skills in needs assessments, capacity building, project management, strategic planning, curriculum design, proposal writing, and more to develop impact-based activities. 

Writing and Communications Strategy

I write to inspire and inform, capturing audiences to learn something they never knew before. I develop communications strategies across multiple platforms to ensure a successful distribution of messages.




Communications Specialist @ Cornell University, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

Dec 2019- Present

Write short- and long-form content for multiple platforms; produce newsletters; maintain Drupal and WordPress content management systems; track analytics; coordinate the production and sharing of content between partners; and develop and implement outreach and marketing materials for the Department of Global Development in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement (Feed the Future).

Independent Consultant & Writer @ Freelance

Dec 2015 - Present

As a consultant for international relations and nonprofit projects, support curriculum design and facilitation services for entities such as the Strategic Capacity Group for a conference with the Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement focused on community-building solutions. Conducted strategic planning, international interviews, and data analysis to evaluate conflict resolution programs with clients such as Partners Global. Perform grant research and grant writing for nonprofits such as East Frederick Rising.

Consult in technical, storytelling, travel, and industry-based writing and editing assignments. Perform English to Spanish and Spanish to English translations. Owner/writer of Wonder My Way blog.

Check out my writing portfolio. 

Client Services Manager (Virtual)@ Law Offices of Matthew S. Johnston LLC

Apr 2018 - Present

Manage small business firm’s client relations, project management, and online portal. Write and manage blog, perform website maintenance, send newsletters, perform research, and support in legal-based procedures such as contract drafting, trademark applications, and template preparation. Support firm's administration through invoicing, scheduling, and task management. 

Program Director @ Hearts of Gold Foundation (Ecuador)

Apr 2016 - Dec 2018

Founded and directed Ecuador’s first capacity building program and formalized network for nonprofits. Managed projects, partnerships, and performed outreach with 25 nonprofits impacting 3,000 beneficiaries. Designed curriculum and program materials. Established partnerships with national and international entities, universities, local governments, online platforms, and associations. Managed all internal and external communications: copywriting, writing, graphics, and content generation for bilingual web, blog, social media, quarterly and annual reports, and public relations.

Crisis Worker & Victim Advocate@ Heartly House

Jun 2014 - Dec 2015

Supported, empowered, and educated victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault via crisis hotline and in-person services. Promoted physical and emotional wellbeing w/ emphasis on stages of healing, safety planning, and self-care. Certified to perform Danger Assessment and Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). Coordinated w/ legal advocates, counselors, and community agencies as appropriate.

Served as first responder to Frederick Memorial Hospital for Sexual Assault Forensic Exams (SAFE). Supplied crisis counseling and follow up crisis intervention to primary and secondary survivors of sexual assault. Collaborated with Law Enforcement and Forensic Nurse team to ensure quality trauma-informed care and safety for the survivor.

Shelter Services Coordinator@ Casa de Maria Amor (Ecuador)

Jun 2015 - Jul 2015

Provided emotional support for primary and secondary victims of domestic violence in trauma-informed manner. Coordinated supportive services and educational activities for youth residents. Contributed to team-building exercises for group support and ecological sustainability. Spanish speaking position.

Peace Education & Conflict Resolution Consultant @ Frederick County Mediation Center

Jan 2015 - Dec 2015

Directed program design and implementation for the organization’s charter workshops on conflict resolution and transformation. Generated community interest and promote facilitation projects. Built community networks w/ interfaith leaders, activists, and educators.

Mobilization & Advocacy Intern@ Amnesty International USA

Aug 2012 - Jun 2013

Educated, mobilized, and organized student and community groups on human rights campaigns via newsletter, social media, e-mail, phone, & person contact. Organized all volunteer responsibilities for the MidAtlantic region & performed outreach for grassroots & high profile events.


MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution | American University, School of International Service

Sep 2013 - Dec 2015

Concentration in localized peacebuilding and reconciliation with a regional focus in Latin America. Extensive research on resource-based conflicts, intergroup dialogue, nonviolent civil society mobilization, and conflict transformation. Magna Cum Laude, GPA 3.9.

BA in Anthropology & International Studies | Towson University, College of Liberal Arts

Sept 2008 - May 2012

Concentration in Latin American Studies, social movements, human rights, and resource-based conflicts. Honors Thesis in Anthropology: “Venezuela, The Bolivarian Revolution & Oil Politics and Head Delegate of Chile at the 2012 Washington Model Organization of the American States. Magna Cum Laude, GPA 3.908. 

Activities and Societies: Purrrfect Pitch A Capella Choir, Invisible Children, Anthropological Society.

Spanish Study Abroad | Complutense Universidad de Madrid

Oct 2010 - Dec 2010

Spanish immersion program focused in writing, grammar, verbal, history, and culture courses.