Meet the Team
Since 2006, Stacy L. Schaffer has worked to combat human trafficking through education. She launched 31:8 Project in 2015 and continues to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. No one person can do everything but everyone can do something, she hopes that others will join 31:8 Project on their journey to help end modern day slavery starting right here in North Dakota.
Dr. Chad E. Litton completed a BA in Anthropology and Political Science from the University of Minnesota, Morris (1992), a MA in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University (1994), and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (2002). He completed his dissertation on the topic of Negotiating Religious Identity at Borden State College. Dr. Litton is a Professor of Criminal Justice and Program Director for Criminal Justice. His primary areas of research include community engagement, identity development, human diversity, justice, and comparative religion. Chad’s commitment to combating trafficking comes from a near lifelong call to end human suffering. He believes that all humans should the right to be free and make choices that do not harm others. A collective sense of humane justice will make the world a better place for those who come after us.
Amy Hollar is an assistant professor of communication at the University of Mary. As an undergraduate, Amy received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in English. During her time at the University of Mary she has been awarded several distinguished honors, including the University of Mary Senior of the Year award. She has a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Communication. Amy has also taught communication courses at Marquette University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She joined the University of Mary communication department as a faculty member in 2006. Her primary areas of teaching include business communication, public relations, public speaking and advertising. Servant leadership is the cornerstone to Amy’s educational and teaching philosophy so she remains an active member in both the Bismarck-Mandan and University of Mary communities. She is currently the Chair of the University of Mary Board of Student Publications and is a member of the University of Mary Professional Development Committee. She is also an active Junior Achievement of Bismarck-Mandan volunteer. Amy Hollar became involved in 31:8 Project first as a volunteer in 2017, and was so moved by the organization’s mission and values she applied to serve as a board member later that year. “Servant leadership is the cornerstone of my educational and personal philosophy, so I was immediately drawn to 31:8 Project’s commitment to serving in the needs of others. The organization takes everything I’m passionate about and encompasses it into one mission that I believe in whole-heartedly.”
Dr. Karel Sovak is an associate professor at the University of Mary. His teaching and facilitation includes courses in management, marketing, entrepreneurship and leadership. In addition, his work includes strategic planning, feasibility and competitive analysis, and board governance with both for and not-for-profit organizations. Karel is also a freelance writer for a number of publications and regional magazines, and is a board member of the Bis-Man Transit, and 31:8 Project. Karel completed his doctoral work in Applied Management and Decision Sciences, specializing in Organizational Change and Leadership with Walden University. He is married, with five children and three grandchildren.
Carole A. Barrett has centered her life’s work on teaching, particularly those in vulnerable communities. After graduating from Seton Hill, Carole earned her master’s in English and then a Ph.D. in teaching and learning. Carole taught at the St. Francis Indian School and the University of South Dakota. She served as a placement officer for the United Tribes Technical College and as college coordinator for the Indians Into Medicine Program prior to obtaining her position as professor of American Indian studies and student support services academic coordinator at the University of Mary in 1982. Carole has received the distinction of serving as a Fulbright Scholar during the 2012-2013 academic year. In addition to authoring or participating in numerous publications, book reviews and documentary films on the topic of social justice - particularly as it applies to native Americans - Carole has also served as the chair of the North Dakota Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Debbie Buechler currently works as an Office Assistant at Aim Physical Therapy. Her love for helping people has kept her in the medical field from Chiropractic care to Physical Therapy care. She is also a cancer advocate, having a father on his third bout of cancer, her mom with non invasive breast cancer and a very close friend, a breast cancer survivor, along with many other friends and family. She also loves the outdoors and spending time in her yard tending her flower gardens. Debbie has a passion for helping others whether it be two or four legs. She tries to see the best in people. Her motto is, “ Be the better person”. Debbie is family oriented and believes that family and friends always come first. She is married, has two adult daughters, one son-in law and three grandchildren. Her grandchildren are her drive to make the world a better and safer place.
Thea Jorgensen is an experienced fitness professional who offers high quality training to include knowledgeable programming, educated nutritional guidance, and a fun and welcoming environment for her clients. She is also a member of the National Guard and actively involved in the community.
Kaelee Knoell is a social media and development design specialist with the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. In this role she creates social content and informative design pieces to leverage audiences interested in North Dakota’s #1 Tourist Destination. She also recently graduated from the University of Mary where she completed a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. It was during her time at the university that her interest in 31:8 Project’s mission impacted her life. She was given the opportunity to work with and learn about the reality of modern day slavery and how it tarnishes the basic human rights we are all entitled to. “To volunteer on a board with leaders each rooted in a unique skill set working towards a common cause drives my motivation to be an advocate and educator in combating human trafficking while inspiring compassion for human life.”
Murray Sagsveen (non-board) has represented nonprofit organizations for more than thirty years. Currently, he is on the boards of directors of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, Luther Seminary, and the North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations. Recently, he was the chief of staff for the chancellor in the North Dakota University System. Previously, he has served as the State Flood Coordinator (1997 Red River flood and 2011 Souris River flood), the State Health Officer for the North Dakota Department of Health, and a senior judge advocate in the Army National Guard.