I am available for freelance

Hi, I'mKelly Merchán

Communicator, advocate & mountain lover

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I'm a bilingual communicator and nonprofit professional based in Ithaca, New York. 

I believe that information is a powerful tool that can ignite positive change in communities around the globe. I bring together my passion for community building, conflict resolution and communication to tell stories and develop programs that make the world a more equitable place.

Name : Kelly Merchán (maiden name: Kelly Mitchell)
Email : kelmerchan[at]gmail[dot]com
Currently based : Ithaca, New York
Languages : English (native), Spanish (fluent)
Availability : freelance
Regional focus :Latin America




Communications specialist @ Cornell University, Department of Global Development

Dec 2019 - Present

At Cornell Global Development I bring impactful stories of agricultural, social and environmental development initiatives to life through short and long-form articles, web copy, newsletters, social media and more. I also support the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement in website design and maintenance, storytelling and the development of effective communication strategies. 

Writer & translator @ Freelance

Jan 2016 - Present

As a writer and editor I collaborate with clients on technical, storytelling, travel, and industry-based articles and websites. I perform both English to Spanish and Spanish to English written and verbal translations.

Program director @ Hearts of Gold Foundation (Ecuador)

April 2016 - Dec 2018

I co-founded, designed and directed Ecuador’s first capacity building program for nonprofits and united 50+ grassroots leaders to launch a nonprofit network "Pioneros de Cambio" (the changemakers). Managing the nonprofit's relationships with local partners, I led efforts in strategic planning, project design, monitoring & evaluation, curriculum design and capacity building. In a communications role, I prepared web copy, grant proposals, partnership contracts, newsletters and quarterly and annual reports in English and Spanish. 

Victim advocate & crisis worker@ Heartly House

Aug 2014 - Dec 2015

Served as first responder to Frederick Memorial Hospital for SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Exams) and crisis worker to support, empower, and educate victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault via crisis hotline and in-person services. Coordinate with legal advocates, counselors, hospital staff, law enforcement and community agencies as appropriate to ensure trauma-informed care and safety for the survivor.


MA International Peace & Conflict Resolution | American University

Sept 2013 - Dec 2015

GPA 3.9, Magna Cum Laude. 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. Independent studies on social movements and nonviolent tactics in Ecuador and Latin America. Capstone with Partners Global on multi-stakeholder dialogues for security sector reform. 

BA Anthropology, BA International Studies | Towson University

Sept 2008 - May 2012

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

Spanish language studies | Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Oct 2010 - Dec 2010

Study abroad program focused on Spanish dialogue, reading comprehension, composition and culture.


Conflict resolution

Transforming conflicts with participatory approaches and nonviolence at the center 


Providing written and oral translations from English to Spanish and Spanish to English

Writing & editing

Communicating across industries in storytelling, web copy and more

Dialogue facilitation

Opening space for meaningful and tough conversations across diverse groups

Nonprofit consultation

Offering insight on program design, management and evaluation, teambuilding, communication and more

Community building

Connecting and mobilizing individuals based on shared values, interests or concerns for the greater good.