Meet the 2017-2018 QuEST Fellows

DivyaVoter Engagement Organizer, Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund
My primary joy in life is to simply sit outside in the sun while eating good food and reading great poetry. I also consider myself a social justice warrior (a term I use un-ironically), and I hope to get a degree in community social work and/or public policy in the near future. I graduated from Haverford College in 2016, and last year I worked as a behavior therapist with kids who have developmental disabilities. Outside of work, I created a political action group, which helped me realize my love for community organizing and prompted me to apply for this position.

This coming year, I will work as the Voter Engagement Organizer at the Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund doing hands-on community organizing to combat housing inequality in Seattle. It’s such an important issue, and I’m thrilled that I get to have the opportunity to learn both the local and political perspectives on housing.

I’m looking forward to my year in the QuEST community and to working together with the Fellows to create a supportive environment, manage difficulties that arise among us, help each other through the rough times, and celebrate the good times as well.

ToetieBilingual VAWA Unit Coordinator, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, about sixty miles from the border with Mexico, and am the daughter of first-generation Dutch immigrants, so borders have been an important part of my life. At Oberlin College I studied Politics, focusing on immigration, citizenship, and history, and I became dedicated to Oberlin Students in Solidarity with Guatemala. I co-organized and led annual trips to Guatemala, where we engaged with key organizations that focus on justice, historical memory, and radical change.

In this political moment, I want to remain engaged and fighting for justice on both sides of the border and to do so intentionally. I will be working at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) as an Intake Coordinator for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Unit. I am looking forward to learning about immigration law and how to effectively support clients. This year will also help me see if law is something I am interested in pursuing as a career.

Intentional living was a big part of Oberlin for me and I am excited to continue to challenge myself in that area. I also love to cook, especially for groups of people!

MaggieGroups Program Assistant Coordinator, REACH
I grew up near Boston, Massachusetts, and attended Boston College. (I don’t have an accent but I will defend the Red Sox until death do us part.) This year I will be serving as the Groups Program Assistant Coordinator at REACH, a project of Evergreen Treatment Services, bringing my experience with folks experiencing addiction and homelessness as well as my interests in social justice and applied psychology to this work.

Apart from a semester abroad, I have always lived in the Boston area, so I am stoked to experience a new part of the country! Spiritual traditions have been huge in the development of my own perspective and values so I look forward to engaging with and learning from Quaker spirituality. I have also been lucky to find myself a part of several closely knit communities throughout my life and am excited to be part of a new one here in Seattle.

MaryBilingual General Intake Coordinator, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
I grew up in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and graduated from Bates College in Maine with a degree in Latin American Studies. Learning about other cultures and spending time in new communities is important to me. I lived in Chile as an exchange student, and during my junior year I spent several months volunteering in Peru and learning more about issues facing the Andean community of Q’eros. I have most recently focused on social justice action by teaching in a Spanish high school in Madrid through the Fulbright Program.

This year I will be serving as the General Intake Coordinator at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP). Through a course at Bates, I had the opportunity to meet migrants and families on the US-Mexico border and hear their stories, which encouraged me to work to improve the current immigration system. I think that the building of walls, literally and figuratively, causes so much harm and I am excited to be working in an environment that is driving change through advocacy and collaboration.

Dancing with friends and listening to any type of live music make me really happy, as well as bike riding and flowers. I grew up in a small town and am expanding my comfort zone to experience city life in Seattle. I am grateful for the chance to share a year of intentional spiritual, professional, and personal development with my QuEST cohort.

KerenEducation Support Assistant, Friends of the Children
I grew up in South Brooklyn in New York City and I’m a recent, first-generation graduate of Wesleyan University, where I studied English, Writing, and Social, Cultural & Critical Theory. My personal interests include writing poetry and creating zines with my queer community of friends.

This year I will be working as an Education Support Assistant for Friends of the Children, a youth development program that is breaking the cycle of poverty and violence for children facing high long-term risks. I look forward to contributing to a community-based organization that works at a local level to help children in Seattle reach their fullest potential.

Because I believe in sharing––time, information, experiences, labor, and knowledge––and in building radically honest relationships that are grounded in mutual understandings about intersectional justice, I am excited to become a part of the QuEST community. My hopes are that QuEST will facilitate a supportive environment to practice incorporating these poetic beliefs into my everyday life.

LaraOutreach Coordinator, 21 Progress
I’m from Baltimore, Maryland, and recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I majored in public relations and religious studies, and I have professional interests including coalition building, grassroots campaign development, and community organizing. Other passions including dancing, food, Carolina basketball, traveling, documentaries, and cats. In short, I love to learn, be silly, and try new things.

I’ll be serving as the Outreach Coordinator for 21 Progress, a nonprofit aimed toward creating space and opportunities for emerging leaders to forge a more just community. I’ll wear many hats including representing 21 Progress at public forums, organizing events and outreach modules, and facilitating communication with the community. I’m most excited to learn the ins and outs of nonprofit work, specifically how to serve as a responsible and empathetic advocate.

I’ve never been to Seattle or belonged to a Quaker community, so I can’t wait for the opportunity to discover new things and grow alongside my cohort of talented Fellows.