Meet Our Alumni

QuEST has more than 20 years of alumni located all over the country working on creating a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world while following their own unique gifts.  We stay in touch via the QuEST facebook page and an email list.

Below are profiles of a few former QuEST Fellows (or interns as some of them were called).

Laurie Torres
Laurie Torres (2013-14)
I live in the Central District of Seattle. I am a project associate at Forterra, an environmental non-profit organization by day and a community organizer with GABRIELA Seattle and the Young Leaders in the Green Economy by night. Moving to Seattle and taking on a year of service and simplicity redefined how I saw adulthood and my place in the world. By giving me a home to thrive in, an amazing cohort who taught me so much, and a placement that armed me with the skills to analyze and address systematic and institutional oppression, QuEST put me on the path to realize my potential and passion for social justice. Since my fellowship, I have had the honor to work with trafficked Filipina teachers in Washington D.C. and present a workshop on Money and Movement Building at the GABRIELA USA National All Leaders training. My experiences from QuEST gave me the confidence and determination to pursue a PhD in Social Work with a focus on international movements and policy development.
AJ Johnson
AJ Johnson (2012-13)
I am currently working as a legal advocate at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project—where I also served as a QuEST Fellow! During my year of QuEST I worked in the General Intake department conducting intake interviews, screening potential clients for our services as well as various forms of immigration relief. I now work in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Unit helping victims of domestic violence and violent crimes that qualify for immigration relief. QuEST was a wonderful post-grad transition from college to work life. QuEST provided me with crucial professional experience as well as a supportive community and warm house environment. I loved my housemates and still remain great friends with many of them. As a transplant, QuEST was also an awesome way to become oriented with Seattle. I feel very privileged to still be involved with QuEST as a committee member as well as continuing at my worksite from my year of service.
Eli Burnham
Eli Burnham(2011-12)
I’m currently working as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and living at the Seattle Catholic Worker, which I helped found following my QuEST year. SCW is a radical Christian intentional community based in Skyway, and we run an all-volunteer drop-in center in the Rainier Valley. We also publish a quarterly newspaper, The Inbreaking, participate in a weekly peace vigil at the Federal Building, and hold a bi-monthly creative sharing event. My QuEST year was my first (wonderful!) taste of social justice-oriented intentional community, which led directly to the life I’m living now. I couldn’t be more thankful for the experience that QuEST afforded me, and for the fantastic people that I had the privilege to live with for a year.
Larissa Keeler
Larissa Keeler (2010-2011)
I was encouraged to do the QuEST program by two dear friends.  As I drove up from Monterey, California, to Seattle, I had no idea how much the QuEST year would influence my life.  I did my service at Providence Hospice of Seattle.  Serving the hospice patients at Providence was a type of work that I would have never thought to try.  I ended up absolutely loving it and growing tremendously.  I loved connecting with patients and knowing that I was actually making a difference in their lives.  One evening, after work, I was running along the Burke-Gilman trail in the rain.  I had the flash of insight that the core of who I am is made to be a hospice chaplain.  From then on, I decided to go to seminary to get a Masters of Divinity.  Currently, I am doing a year-long residency program at California Pacific Medical Center as a full time chaplain. QuEST was integral in the discovery of this challenging, yet incredibly meaningful work of being a chaplain.
Riana Hensel
Riana Hensel(2008-2009)
Hi! My name is Riana Hensel. I am originally from Oakland, California and am currently living in Berkeley. In my spare time I can be found hiking, cooking, reading children’s literature and tending to my succulent garden. I have been teaching since my first year teaching during QuEST, then Middle and High School, and now Kindergarten. I just finished my Master’s in Early Childhood Education and my California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. My year doing QuEST provided me not only with the first year in my teaching career, but also an incredible experience to live my values in a concerted way. The interns I lived with during QuEST were an incredible support that year and many are lifelong friends I can’t even imagine not knowing! I grew a lot in my relationship with University Friends Meeting during my QuEST year as well, serving on many committees and attending Meeting for Worship frequently.
Megan Bott
Megan Bott(2000-2001)
I grew up in Boise, Idaho, and was lucky enough to return to the Northwest for QuEST after heading to college in New England. I spent my volunteer year working as an information & referral counselor at the Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC) main shelter. I developed a love for working with homeless people living with mental illness and chemical dependency, and pursued this through continued work with DESC in their housing programs, Bailey-Boushay House, and my current position as the psychiatric social worker at Virginia Mason Hospital. QuEST allowed me to gain crucial job experience and offered a community based in simplicity and focused on social change. It has also fostered lifelong friendships with fellow interns. I have lived in Seattle for 15 years and can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love to read, cook, and tromp around Seattle, and spend an inordinate amount of time taking pictures of my cat.
Lauren Sayoc
Lauren Sayoc (1998-1999)
During QuEST, I worked at Transitional Resources as a Rehabilitation Counselor. The QuEST experience facilitated my relocating across the country by providing a very inspiring community—in the Quaker house, University Friends meeting (Carolyn Stevens and Judy Brown to name a couple), and in my volunteer site. The work and living in community challenged me, as well as broadened the world of social justice and compassion in action for me, showing me many ways how one/I can better engage, navigate, and communicate in my immediate environment as well as greater community. I’m currently an Occupational Therapist, and my passions include connecting authentically with people, dark beer, expansive and long views, and feeling both in/significant in nature.
Pam Johnson
Pam Johnson(1992-1993)
In 1992 I was an intern in the first year of QuEST. I worked at People for Puget Sound, and ended up staying there for 12 years!  I now do contract work for non-profit advocacy organizations, am raising 2 fantastic kids, and this year am PTA President at Leschi Elementary—where the kids of 5 former QuEST interns attend school! Being a QuEST intern impacted my life in a couple of important ways. It allowed me to have a full year after college to really think about what steps were next for my life.  It led me into the world of advocacy, which has kept me happily employed in both for-pay and volunteer work.  And it really cemented a choice of living simply, which has stayed with me to this day.