Dr. Hannel’s passion for social justice led him to Union Institute & University’s Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, and later to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees. He earned his Ph.D. in 2014, majoring in both Humanities & Culture and Public Policy & Social Change and was the recipient of the Marvin B. Sussman Dissertation Award. He also holds a B.S. in History from Excelsior College and an M.A. in Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He will complete his law degree specializing in Indigenous Peoples Law this summer.

Dr. Hannel writes and speaks extensively about Native American and veterans’ issues exposing discrimination and inequality. For example, in his recent article, “Centuries Old Practice of Removing Indian Children from Their Homes Continues,” published in Indian Country Today on March 2, 2017, Dr. Hannel discusses the continuing practice of separating Indian children from their families without due process and in violation of the U.S. Constitution, federal law, and human rights. He also authored Reinterpreting a Native American Identity: Examining the Lumbee through the Peoplehood Model in 2015 (Rowman & Littlefield).

Dr. Hannel retired from the United States Marine Corps and later served as a congressional military liaison (2007-2011). Here he worked closely with other staff members in the development of two programs, both receiving the Liberty Bell Award in recognition of outstanding service in keeping with the spirit of the U.S. Constitution. Dr. Hannel was also the Staff Director and lead investigator for the Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations in the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee from 2011 – 2016. In his latter role, he uncovered numerous scandals in the Department of Veterans Affairs that received extensive media coverage. While in Congress, Dr. Hannel also contributed to the amicus curiae brief presented to the Supreme Court of the United States regarding Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States, spoke at length with the UK Defense Minister on veterans’ issues, and as part of the House Democracy Partnership, a Speaker-appointed commission to strengthen democracies in sixteen partner countries, addressed a delegation of twenty Members of Parliament from Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Peru, and Timor-Leste in a seminar on congressional oversight. In September 2016, Dr. Hannel again discussed the role and function of congressional oversight with the Secretary General of the Sri Lankan Parliament.

Dr. Hannel believes leaders are made, not born. Under his mantra, “Work to positively impact one life and you can change the world,” he continues his never-ending effort to address social issues and improve at least one life