Meet the 2016-2017 QuEST Fellows

Ariel
ArielCommunity Support Coordinator at St Martin's on Westlake
My name is Ariel Pearson and I was born and raised in Dillon, SC, which is close to the North Carolina boarder. I’m a recent graduate of Swarthmore College in PA, where I majored in biology and educational studies. I like discussing anthropology, social issues, and less serious issues such as books, movies, and T.V. I’m also a novice capoerista and I look forward to practicing it in the city. I love Southern cooking, but I’m interested in learning how to cook vegetarian. I’m working at St. Martin’s on Westlake, which provides permanent housing to formerly homeless men. I’m excited because I’m interested in learning more about homelessness in Seattle and I believe that this organization seems like a great and practical service.
Ashleen
AshleenBilingual General Intake Coordinator, NWIRP
I am from Edmonds, Washington and recently returned to the Pacific Northwest after five years away. Although I am readjusting to the constant drizzle and greyness of Seattle, I feel very content to be back home and excited to start putting down roots in this community. After High School, I moved to Maine to study at a small liberal arts school called Bates College. I majored in Political Science and Environmental Studies, and was involved in on-campus environmental and political activism. During my time in college, I discovered my passions for working closely with people and living in tight-knit communities. Even more than my academic experiences, I felt like my relationships with peers and community members helped me develop my identity, interests, and sources of joy.
My junior year of school, I had the opportunity to study and work for six months in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This experience helped me to better understand the effects of U.S. imperialism in Latin America, and what my role can be in helping to end it. I spent last year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Yucatan, Mexico, where I became particularly interested in migration patterns and U.S. immigration reform. I am very excited to be spending this year working as an Intake Coordinator at NWIRP, an organization driven by a commitment to fight global injustices on a local level. I can’t wait to see what growth and adventure this year will bring!
Gabriela
GabrielaBilingual VAWA Unit Intake Coordinator, NWIRP
I’m Gabi, I was born and raised in Venezuela, and have spent much time in Houston and Ohio. I was able to attend college in a lovely small Ohio town, and after a year of teaching joined QuEST and moved to Seattle. Throughout all my coming and going, I make sure to take my loved ones with me, and the teachings of those that I have crossed paths with.

I studied Geology and Environmental Studies – as you can imagine, I love spending time outside and outdoor activities. However, geology is about spending time with people, listening and collaborating. One of my passions is seeing how people interact with their environment and the long story of that relationship. I also love story telling both as an art and as a way of healing, and I try to incorporate that practice into my life. I also aim to do my best in working for a transition into a more just and healthy world for all. To me, all of these interests are intrinsically connected, and QuEST is the perfect opportunity to expand on all of them.

In this new stage of my life, I will be working with the North West Immigrant Rights Project in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) unit. I will be working as an Intake Coordinator, meaning that I will be the ‘front line’ in contacting clients, scheduling their meetings with the lawyers, and gathering their stories and documents for their cases.

I feel deeply grateful to both the QuEST and the NWIRP staff for giving me a lovely, warm welcome to the Emerald City! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for us.

Hope
HopeGroups Program Assistant Coordinator, REACH
My name is Hope, and I grew up in Northern/Central California though I recently lived in Brooklyn, NY for two years. My father has lived in Germany for the majority of my life, so I have spent a considerable amount of time there as well. I went to a Quaker-started university- LIU Global, formerly Friend’s World College. Through that I had the opportunity to study and travel in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Nepal, Turkey, England, and South Africa, examining global issues from local perspectives.

I have spent my adult life looking at issues of mass incarceration and racial justice, and have spent time working to end those forms of oppression within drug policy as well as the foster care system. I am excited to bring those experiences to REACH, where I am working with homeless adults who struggle with addiction issues. REACH meets people where they are in their particular journey, not requiring sobriety to receive help. This application of harm reduction is something I believe needs to be used in many struggles, and so I could not be more grateful to be able to utilize this.

I am so glad to be in Seattle at this moment, both personally and career-wise. And I am glad to have the support of the Quaker community behind me and my fellow QuEST fellows during this year.

Jesse
JesseEducation Support Assistant, Friends of the Children
My name is Jesse, and I just graduated from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. I studied Managing for Sustainability (BSBA), with a focus on community and economic development, and I played varsity soccer there as well. I am originally from the Seattle area (raised in Issaquah), so I knew I wanted to return after college. I love spending time outdoors, and I am an avid hiker and backpacker. My placement is the Education Support Assistant at Friends of the Children in south Seattle, and so far I am loving it. After my year with Quest, I hope to continue this type of work, either staying in this area or spending some time abroad. I spent a semester in Central America, so I am hoping to find ways to continue improving my Spanish, along with my basic understanding of American Sign Language.
Sara
SaraVoter Engagement Coordinator, Housing Action Fund
I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, also known as Amish Country; however, I’m not Amish (contrary to popular belief), but am Quaker. There are many pros to being Quaker- a social justice mindset, a focus on questioning religion and our very existence, self-guided spiritual journeys, and being surrounded by quirky, peaceful people. But, there are some cons to Quakerism- it takes literally forever to make decisions and reach a consensus, everyone thinks you time-traveled from 17th century England, you eat a lot of Quaker Oats, and self-guided spiritual journeys.

I went to Goucher College (Baltimore, Maryland) where I majored in political science and minored in art history. When I am not binge-watching Netflix or drinking coffee, I can be found playing ultimate frisbee, listening to music, exploring, and taking trips to various thrift stores. Living in an intentional community filled with like-minded people is a privilege that makes life a lot more enjoyable. I look forward to the adventures, joys, and possible hardships that will come with living in Seattle. QuEST’s mission is a unique one and I can’t wait to share it with everyone I come across.

I am working at the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance where I will be helping to draw attention to the homelessness affordable housing problems in Washington. Growing up, I learned a lot about the inequalities of the world and how to talk about them, but now, I get to learn how to actually fight for justice and change. I am excited to learn more about community organizing and hope I can learn lots of new things from my wonderful co-workers. This site is something I feel passionate about, but is something that we should all be passionate about because a house is more than just a structure or a privilege; it is a safe, comfortable space of which all humans have the right to enjoy.