Let's Talk It's Time

Beyond the Shadow of September

Let's Talk It's Time

Let's Talk It's Time

The CCP911 Project co-hosting the Skydiving Accuracy Competition during Battle of the Bay by Land, Sea, and Air

The CCP911 Project in Jerusalem, Israel by Katie Jenkins

One of the major influences of the 9/11 events in my life is having the courage to see and learn about the world from a different view...

One of my most favorite conversations in the CCP911 Project is with U.S. Army Veteran Joshua Monroe, who served 8 years in the U.S. Army Special Operations. Mr. Monroe's message for his fellow veterans and members of different communities in our country particuarly the young generations is moving and truly inspiring!

The CCP911 Project in Jerusalem, Israel by Katie Jenkins

Let's talk it's time America! A complicated conversation with Katie Jenkins

Complicated conversations with Katie Jenkins (about politics, education, immigration, foreign affairs, pop culture, aviation, canning, etc.) Please download and share! Also available on iTunes and Google Play Music!

Let's Talk It's Time America

My Podcast:Let's Talk It's Time America! Conversations about the most pressing issues affecting communities across America and the world. Episode 1 is about the 2016 Election with special guest, Pam Cartee, Montgomery County Clerk, Missouri. Please download and share! Also available on iTunes and Google Play Music!

My name is Merjjena B. Hemp, but friends and family call me Merj. I have a passion for engaging and connecting with people from different cultures. My ongoing community engagement project, Complicated Conversations in the Post-9/11 Era, engaging different communities in hard conversations about our lives that have significantly changed after 9/11, as well as the most pressing issues the world is facing today. The videos of our conversations can be viewed on I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to go back to school and pursue a degree that enables me to communicate and engage people globally. I am greatly indebted to the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program, a federal program designed to prepare undergraduate first-generation and underrepresented students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.

"I came to the U.S. with very little education. Today, I am a doctor..." Introduction to complicated conversations in the post-9/11 era

My conversation with Yasmine Benchaabane (University of Missouri Journalism Student) Education in the 21st century: A complicated conversation in the post-9/11 era

My conversation with Dr. Gregory Holliday, Ph.D., University of Missouri. A Veteran empowering veterans and other communities: A complicated conversation in the post-9/11 era.

My conversation with Jonathan Butler a few weeks before declaring hunger strike at Mizzou (Concerned Student 1950), Let's talk it's time at Mizzou: Complicated conversations at the University of Missouri.

My conversation with Yasmin Younis, Arab American Youth: A complicated conversation in the post-9/11 era.

My conversation with Hanan, Somali Woman in America: A complicated conversation in the post-9/11 era.

New playlist on my YouTube Channel, SKYDIVING. I skydive not just for fun but because I also believe that we should never stop exploring new things and learning new skills. Skydiving is an important tool that the CCP911 Project uses to engage people as well as bring communities together as what the Jump for the Vets (#jump4thevets) has been doing and continue to do in support of the mem and women who sacrificed so much for our country.

If I don't take risks, I'll never get anywhere!

Training Tandem at Skydive Flying V Ranch, Williamsburg, MO (10,500 ft.)

My first accelerated freefall jump (AFF), an experience and a memory of a lifetime.

Why I love Public Speaking

I am an experienced public speaking instructor and coach/presenter for workshops, conferences, and meetings. My speaking engagements and workshops range from college students, non-profit organizations, military communities, to corporations.
  • business and professional communication (through community and story-building workshops that aim to resolve conflict in the workplace)
  • military member/spouse empowerment and support
  • PTSD management (non-medical stress and anxiety management using the art of public speaking)
  • cross-cultural training and support (training, coaching, and facilitating the connection between Arab Muslims and the local community)
  • improving crisis communication
  • global community engagement


World Day of Prayer 2017

"Redeemer Lutheran Church in Sun City Center, Florida was responsible for leading the 2017 World Day of Prayer on March 3rd. The program featured the Philippine Islands. I believe it was divine intervention that I met Dr. Merjjena Hemp at a huge orange grove where she agreed to be our speaker. In addition to her speech she was such a valuable resource in planning the entire event. She attended planning meetings and helped our committee by making suggestions about life in the Philippines. Her speech was wonderful during the worship ceremony. She spoke of injustice throughout the world. She shared many of the struggles she endured during her teen years as an abused runaway in Manila during the Marcos Regime. She emphasized the importance of equality education for girls. By obtaining her doctorate in education she has fulfilled her many goals. One of her dreams is to support veterans of all military services. Married to a career serviceman has taught her of their many needs. One way she does this is to jump out of airplanes." Mariam Sorby, World Day of Prayer Committee Chair Redeemer Lutheran Church, Sun City Center, Florida

University of Missouri Athletics, Women for Women (Annual Meeting, October 5, 2015)

University of Missouri-International Center (September 18, 2014). Noel P. Gist Seminar Series

“When Dr. Hemp spoke to our group, her story really touched our guests. Everyone was on their feet and eager to talk to her and to invite her as a guest speaker for their own events.” Nadege Uwase, Co-host of Noel P. Gist Seminar, University of Missouri

National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) St. Peter's Gymnasium Jefferson City, Missouri (October 11, 2014). Bridging Cultures-Making History For 427 Years attended by 150+ guests at St. Peter's Gymnasium in Jefferson City, Missouri

A plea to free Andrew

“Dr. Merjjena B. Hemp was exciting to watch and has this aura about her that gets people excited about what she is fighting for. She is not afraid to be who she is in front of a mixed audience and her enthusiasm is contagious, making her a wonderful fit for a keynote speaker. She was able to engage her audience with the aid of a slide show presentation and by walking around she was able to not just talk to one person, but capture the attention of everyone in the room.” YuMin Ye, Author

“Dr. Hemp did a good job. Her speech made everyone proud being a Filipino or Filipina. She has strengthened our relationship with each and every Filipino. Thank you Doctor. God bless and love you always.” Fr. James Calasara, Maj. U.S. Army (Ret), Catholic Priest, and Author

Mizzou-FASA University of Missouri (October 20, 2014). The Tone of Social Justice: Drawing Lessons from the People Power at Edsa

A touching reaction from Mizzou FASA member

"Dr. Hemp came to speak on behalf of the Filipino American Student Association at Mizzou. Although I am not Filipino, Dr. Hemp's words were truly inspiring and extremely motivational. She really pushed the idea of initiating these "difficult discussions." All of us, ranging from Filipino to White, Arab to Black, have experienced some sort of event in our lives that require having these discussions. Actually... they would be extremely beneficial to ourselves, our peers, and everyone around us. Not only that, Dr. Hemp was a fantastic, funny, and extremely passionate speaker. Every word she spoke truly resonated with all of us. I truly hope she comes back again to educate more students on this campus because she has something to say that every single one of us needs to hear.” Yasmin Younis, Freshman, member of Missouri Student Association's Social Justice Committee and Muslim Student Organization

Complicated Conversations in the post-9/11 Era- Videos are available on

  • Introduction to complicated conversations in the post-9/11 era (1 video, Dec. 2014)
  • Yemen: A complicated conversation in the post-9/11 era (1 video, Jan. 2015)
  • Iraq: A complicated conversation in the post-9/11 era (1 video, Jan. 2015)
  • Arab-American youth: A complicated conversation in the post-9/11 era (4 videos, Feb. 2015)
  • The millennials: A complicated conversation in the post-9/11 era (4 videos, Feb. 2015)
  • Somali woman in America: A complicated conversation in the post-9/11 era (3 videos, Mar. 2015)
  • Educators in the 21st century: A complicated conversation in the post-9/11 era (4 videos, April 2015!)
  • Life after the fall of Baghdad(A documentary currently filming)): A complicated conversation in the post-9/11 era
  • Rebuilding the World: Let's Talk (with Jason Smallheer, co-producer, videos now on YouTube, July 2015)
  • In Rebuilding the World: Let's Talk, Jason and I discuss different issues (e.g., terrorism, the veterans, guns rights, presidential candidates, etc.) unscripted and unrehearsed. We just speak our minds and we would like you to join us!

Women's Leadership Conference-University of Missouri (March 12, 2016)

During the Women’s Leadership Conference at Mizzou, I shared my research (Dissertation) on Complicated Conversations Post-9/11: Experiences of Arab Muslim Women in Higher Education and Other Communities

Women's Leadership Conference-University of Missouri (March 12,2016)

Improving Crisis Communication: Preparing the Public for Major Crises

Predictors of Attitude Towards Crisis Preparedness in Studying Methods of Improving Crisis Communication

Beyond the Shadow of 3000 Pairs of Shoes Book Talk and CCP911 Project Presentations

University of Missouri Cultural Center-Social Justice Committee (February 7, 2015)

Women's Leadership Conference-University of Missouri (March 14, 2015)

Women's Leadership Conference-University of Missouri (March 14,2015)

Women's Leadership Conference with the Global State of Women Panel at the University of Missouri, in Columbia, MO (March 14, 2015). It is a wonderful experience to have the opportunity to participate in conversations about the pressing issues women are facing on a global level, the state of women leaders globally, and feminism in a cross-cultural context. It was a pleasure to be in the company of great women like (from the left) Teddi Moorman, MU-Student, Cadet Third Class Raptor Squadron, 440th Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps​ Cadet Wing, Dr. Tola Olu Pearce, Professor of Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies at MU, Smita Aggarwal, Master of Public Affairs student at the Truman School of Public Affairs and Noor Azizan-Gardner, Assistant Deputy Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer at Mizzou

Live Broadcast

Complicated Conversations in the Post-9/11 Era: Engaging the Global Community in Hard Conversations About Important Issues the World is Facing Today-Live Broadcast through Hangout On Air by Google (March 31, 2015)

"I love your focus on utilizing emerging 21st century tools to connect and engage students in new ways. I also admire how you are really going out of your comfort zone with these presentations. ​I'd love to continue hearing about your next presentation or project (maybe some collaboration with SJC in the future)." Greer Wetherington, University of Missouri Social Justice Committee chairwoman

Writing my memoir was not easy. It took every ounce of strength and courage to re-live my experiences as a thin, ugly, and unwanted runaway from a little village with no running water or electricity. I shared my experiences living on the streets of Manila, marriage and military life in the U.S., as well as the path to a Ph.D. To be able to dig deep and let my writing flourish, I have to remind myself that my experiences are not as violent or brutal as those of many women and children in other parts of the world or military family members who live in pain and grief daily. I draw my strength, courage, enthusiasm, and commitment from them. I owe them immensely.


Beyond the Shadow of 3000 Pairs of Shoes: A Story of Hopelessness, Persistence and Survival (Paperback and e-Book July 2014)

Beyond the Shadow of September: Complicated Conversations in the Post-9/11 Era (Book Manuscript In Progress, Documentary with the same title scheduled to film in the Spring of 2018)

Beyond the Shadow of September

I have three years teaching experience in a Communication Studies classroom, centering on various forms of communication such as Public Speaking, Organizational Communication, Persuasion, Interpersonal Communication, and Political Communication. As a graduate assistant in my Ph.D. program, the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at New Mexico State University, I taught as a substitute for Pedagogy of TESOL, Second Language Acquisition, and Language Literacy & Culture. My research interests include Multicultural Education, Pedagogy & Technology, Culture & National Security, and Global Engagement. My latest academic research is about engaging Arab Muslim women in complicated conversations about our lives in the post-9/11 era.

NMSU College of Education Dean's Doctoral Tea

New Mexico State University: Transforming Lives Through Discovery- College of Education Doctoral Tea Impromptu Speech, May 9, 2014

Academic Research

Hemp, M.B. (2014). An exploration of Arab Muslim women's perspectives: A case study of experiences in higher education and communities in the post-9/11 era. Dissertation.