Susan Wiedemann, Ph.D. is a 2020 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.


Dr. Susan Wiedemann at her Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Donna Ladkin, Committee Member, Dr.Philomena Essed, Committee Chair, Dr. Natalie Underberg-Goode, Committee Member (not shown)

Dissertation Committee

  • Philomena Essed, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Donna Ladkin, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Natalie Underberg-Goode, Ph.D., Committee Member


Leadership, Ethics, Ethical, Public Service Motivation, Military Veteran, Graves Registration, WWII, Patriotism, Liberty, Duty, Honor, Non-profit

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This qualitative research study explored the influence of life experiences and personal ethics of George Ciampa, a United States military veteran; his work in establishing American military cemeteries in Europe; and later work as a community leader committed to teaching American youth about the cost of freedom. Dimensions of ethical leadership and public service motivation served as the theoretical framework for the study. The research extended knowledge on ethical constructs within the fields of leadership studies and public administration; recorded personal experiences that were absent in military historical archives; and increased awareness of aspects of the U.S. military subculture. The research exploration was guided by an overarching question of how Ciampa reflected on his sense of public service over his lifetime. The study employed narrative life story methodology and visual research methods. Data collection was an iterative process and included segmented life story interviews and historical archival research. Findings included identification of a major theme (liberty) and three supporting sub-themes (duty, honor, and country) influencing Ciampa’s life and leadership path. A comparative analysis of the themes discovered with shared tenets of ethical leadership and public service motivation is provided. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive,, and OhioLINK ETD Center,



Susan Wiedemann, Ph.D.

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0003-0399-404X

Susan M. Wiedemann has had the privilege of a lifetime of public service supporting U.S. Service members, Veterans and their families. First, in a 22-year career in the United States Air Force in the Intelligence field and a special duty assignment as the Deputy Director of an Air Force Family Support Center. Retiring as a Chief Master Sergeant (E-9), she began a second career working for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and had the unique opportunity to hold national leadership positions within all three VA Administrations: National Cemetery, Benefits and Health. Her most significant accomplishment in VA was project lead creating the first (and only) federal training center for cemetery directors. The National Training Center continues to support the development of future leaders for VA’s National Cemetery Administration.

Susan earned a doctoral degree from Antioch University where she conducted narrative life story research on ethical leadership making extensive use of historical archival imagery and the personal perspective of a WWII Veteran’s experience in Europe, as a member of the 607th Graves Registration Unit and his later community leadership. As part of her doctoral studies, she earned a master’s degree in Leadership and Change (MA) and during military service studied Adult and Higher Education (MEd) at the University of Oklahoma.