The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization. CAIR's mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CAIR-WA Story

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties organization, with regional offices nationwide. CAIR’s mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding

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Meet our Interns

Laurel Newnham, Media Research


Emily Kutzler, Media Research


Noor AlSaleh, Civil Rights Intern

Noor AlSaleh is a Civil Rights Intern at CAIR-WA.

Noor was born and raised in Kuwait City, Kuwait. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Studies. Her research focuses on why and how citizenship is used as a tool for political governance and control in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, from the colonial pre-oil era up until modern times. She studied Government and Hebrew at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and received her MA in International Politics at New York University.

Alumni

Danish Bashar

Danish Bashar, Event Planning Intern

Yomna Anan, Office Assistant Intern

Aisha Al-Amin

Aisha Al-Amin, Media Research Analysis Intern

Faara Misbah

Faara Misbah, Office Management Intern

Khalid Bulale

Khalid Bulale, Media Research Analysis Intern

Lauren Finke

Lauren Finke, Civil Rights Intern

Moumin Gani

Moumin Gani, Media Research Analysis Intern

Nassor Salum

Nassor Salum, Civil Rights Intern

Sydney Victor

Sydney Victor, Civil Rights Intern

Raz Qadir

Raz Qadir, Graphic Design

Perry Wright

Perry Wright, Public Relations

Cantikha Alyssa

Cantikha Alyssa, Government Affairs

Gabrielle Morris

Gabrielle Morris, Civil Rights

Gabrielle Morris is a Civil Rights Intern at CAIR-Washington.

She is currently a junior at the University of Washington with a double major in Communications and Creative Writing.

Gabrielle has always had a passion for people and helping them in any ways she can. She is actively involved in her community, volunteering for homeless shelters around the area.

Throughout her time at the University of Washington she has lead discussions and given speeches about cultural diversity and not having a “single story”.

She currently works at UW Medical Center in addition to interning at CAIR-WA. Her future goals are to work for non-profits that solicit justice for human trafficking and human rights.

Anna Long

Anna Long, Civil Rights Intern

Anna Long is a Civil Rights intern at CAIR-Washington.

She is a senior History and Honors French double major and Medieval Studies minor at Seattle University, and a recipient of the university's Trustee Scholarship.

Anna spent her first two years at Seattle University enrolled in the University Honors Program, where she studied the rise of western civilization. Upon her completion of the Honors Program, she studied abroad in both France and Morocco.

Her time abroad piqued her interest in the intersection of eastern and western cultures. She is currently working on her senior thesis, exploring the lives of Moroccan women throughout the country's decolonization.

Anna was a member of Seattle University's debate team for two years, works for the campus publication on social justice issues, and has lead immersion trips for new Seattle University students.

She also volunteers for CISV International, an organization devoted to spreading global friendship through peace and understanding.

In her spare time, she enjoys wandering through one of Seattle's many neighborhoods or making a nice meal for her friends.

Jamila Hussein

Samantha Kemplen, Graphic Design

Samantha Kemplen is a Graphic Design Intern at CAIR-WA. She graduated in 2013 from University of Alaska-Anchorage with a Bachelor of Arts. Her degree emphasized in Graphic Design and minored in Psychology.

Samantha was born and raised in Alaska where she used her design skills to help out her neighborhood’s Community Council.

Growing up in Alaska provided her with a unique childhood. Throughout the years she helped her father build a log cabin in Denali, a beautiful National Park in the interior of Alaska. Her favorite outdoor activity is to take the family’s all-terrain vehicles up to Sutton, Where she loves to explore the overgrown trails and see who can get the muddiest during the rainy season.

Most of her time is spent with family or friends. She enjoys traveling and taking road trips. She is passionate about art, design, and history and is always excited to spend a day at a gallery or museum. During more relaxing evenings she prefers to curl up in a few blankets and watch a movie or play a video game.

Jamila Hussein

Jamila Hussein, Civil Rights

Jamila Hussein is a Civil Rights Intern at CAIR Washington. She studied Religious Studies and Classics at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

While attending Macalester, Jamila had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Jordan where she studied Arabic and cultural studies.

Her time at Macalester was spent honing her concentration in Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization and growing passionate about social justice and civil rights. In addition to taking classes, Jamila regularly volunteered and learned about food justice, housing affordability, and other social justice issues.

Jamila enjoys listening to music, cooking, going for walks, and keeping herself informed.

Her future goals include working with a nonprofit organization that advocates for social justice.

Stella Kim

Stella Kim, Civil Rights

Stella Kim is a Civil Rights Intern at CAIR – Washington. She is a senior at the University of Washington with a double major in Sociology and Asia Studies, and a minor in International Studies.

Prior to starting the internship with CAIR-WA, Stella spent most of her time over the past two years as an AmeriCorps JumpStart member, teaching underprivileged students in a mission to increase the high school graduation rate among low income families.

Stella's passion for the Middle East started ever since sophomore year in her AP World class where she learned about Muslims for the first time. The culture and the arts from Middle East fascinates her.  

Stella believes in civil rights. She is pursuing a career in law & justice and planned to go to law school after graduating college.  

Stella traveled to South Korea and Japan and also plans to travel to Greece.

In her free time, she enjoys cooking, listening to music and reading books.

Monica Parry

Monica Parry, Communications

Monica Parry is a Communications Intern at CAIR-WA and graduated in June 2013 from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and Political Science. 

During her time at Seattle University, her interest in the Middle East led to her studying abroad in Morocco in 2012 where she learned Arabic, and did other coursework on Islamic Society and Politics.

In her free time, Monica likes to read, learn languages, and follow current events.  She believes firmly in the fundamental equality of persons and mutual respect between the communities that make up this country and is excited to contribute to CAIR’s work with the American Muslim community.

Suzanne Gaber

Suzanne Gaber, Communications

Suzanne Gaber is a Communications Intern at CAIR-WA, with a focus on Journalism.

Suzanne is a rising sophomore at American University in Washington D.C, majoring in International Relations and Journalism, and a 2012 graduate of Mercer Island High School.

Suzanne has chosen the Middle East as her regional concentration within her degree, and aspires to work as a foreign correspondent based in the Middle East.

Suzanne's passion for the Middle East and Islam comes from her Egyptian Heritage. As a first generation Egyptian-American she was afforded the opportunity to spend the summer after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution in the famous Tahrir Square.

In high school Suzanne received the Stanley Ann Dunham Award for her work as a journalist and philanthropist in Cairo, following the 2011 revolution. Additionally, an Op-Ed she wrote based on her experience in Cairo was published in The Seattle Times.

Since attending college, Suzanne spends most of her time working for the student-run newspaper at American University, The Eagle, as a News Assistant and Staff Writer. This experience has allowed her to interview politicians and television personalities such as David Axelrod and Rachel Maddow.

Shugart Sam

Sam Shugart, Communications

Sam Shugart is a Communications Intern at CAIR-WA. He is an incoming junior at Lewis and Clark College where he is studying International Affairs.

Sam enjoys reading a variety of International Relations news sites and blogs as well as studying developmental aid and community building. In the summer of 2012 he participated in Northwestern University s Global Engagement Studies Institute. The program is a developmental aid training course, after which he spent 2 months working in Jinja, Uganda with the Ugandan Health Ministry.

At Lewis and Clark, Sam is the co-President of the Model United Nations Club and helps run the Lewis & Clark Politics Club. After graduation he hopes to find a job that allows him to pursue his love for International Relations. He is very interested in community organizing, civil rights and economic development.

Sam enjoys studying Japanese, cooking, reading and running. He also volunteers with community organizations, including Rebuilding Together Seattle.

Francis Wilson

Francis Wilson, Communications

Francis Wilson is a Communications Intern at CAIR-WA. He was awarded a Mary Gates Scholarship from the University of Washington where he will pursue a double major in International Relations and Applied Statistics in the Honors Program.

When he graduates, he hopes to use mathematical models to help interpret economic and political trends around the world, especially in the ‘Middle East-North Africa’ region.

In high school, Francis served as Editor-in-Chief of Lakeside’s newspaper, the Tatler and as Co-Captain of the Knowledge Bowl Team.  He spent two summers in Morocco; first, he worked on local community service projects with Lakeside High School’s Global Service Learning program, and in the following year, he studied Modern Standard Arabic in Rabat as a recipient of the State Department’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship.

In his free time, Francis enjoys hanging out with friends, playing lacrosse, and finding the spiciest foods possible.  He is always looking for new stories to write about.

Shelby Bautista

Shelby Bautista, Office Management

Shelby Bautista is an Office Management Intern at CAIR-WA. She is a rising senior at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA where she is studying Mathematics, and Middle Eastern and Religious Studies.

Shelby is the President of Western’s chapter of Project Nur, a student-led initiative that is a branch of the American Islamic Congress. The club advocates for social justice, the eradication of prejudice, and a better understanding of Islam and the Middle East.

In her free time, Shelby enjoys singing, dancing, reading, and while at school, volunteering at her church in the children’s program, Redeemer Kids.

Olivia Johnson

Olivia Johnson, Communications

Olivia is a Communications Intern at CAIR-WA and a senior Honors Sociology major at Seattle University. As a member of the University Honors program, she studied the rise of the West, but has recently taken an interest in Middle Eastern history and studies, especially after studying Arabic and Islam in Morocco in 2012.

She has enjoyed writing for the Seattle University newspaper for four years, and loves following the latest happenings in the world, especially when it is from the comforts of a warm and welcoming coffee shop with a cup of tea.

Alaina Schultz

Alaina Schultz, Office Management

Alaina Schultz is an Office Management Intern at CAIR-WA. She also works as an English teacher and Program Assistant with the nonprofit organization iLEAP in addition to volunteering with the Domestic Violence Unit of the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

She has a background in office management, vessel traffic control, and customer service with the Port of Friday Harbor. She graduated cum laude from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies in June, 2012. She was the recipient of the Arrupe Scholarship and also a merit scholarship from the San Juan Island Community Foundation. She studied abroad in Meknes, Morocco from August 2010 to May 2011 with the International Study Abroad program and participated in Seattle University's Interfaith Dialogue Group, theater program, and a service project with Americorps.

Alaina's passion for social justice lies in her maternal family's history of social change, civil rights activism, and women's rights with the YWCA. Her specific interest in the Arab-Islamic world was sparked after the events of 9/11 and the ensuing prejudice against Muslims. She hopes to further develop her skills in the nonprofit sector and dedicate herself to social issues she cares deeply about.

Erin Pena

Erin Pena, Government Affairs

Erin Pena is a Government Affairs Intern at CAIR-WA. In this role she is responsible for designing a comprehensive Community Safety and Response Kit, planning portions of Muslim Lobby Day, and assisting with tasks related to CAIR-WA's Community Action Groups.

Erin is currently a senior at the University of Washington (UW), where she will receive a Bachelor's Degree in Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace & Security in March, 2013. At the UW, she has been a recipient of an Alice Wanamaker Scholarship and a Kimura Scholarship and she has been on the Dean's List every quarter. Previously she was a student for two years at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC studying Socio-Cultural Anthropology.

Erin is involved in the Dream Project at the UW, helping low-income high school students to apply for college or other vocational training. Before entering college, she was heavily involved in the Girl Scouts, especially in teaching younger girls. After graduation, Erin plans on joining the Peace Corps and then pursuing a graduate degree and a career in the United States Foreign Service.

In the free time that remains to her, Erin is a sculptural bead artist and a Taekwon Do practitioner. She enjoys literature, learning languages and listening to rock music. She has been known to eat excessive amounts of sushi.

Emily Marriott

Emily Marriott, Event Planning

Emily Marriott is an Event Planning Intern at CAIR-WA where she helps plan all manner of events from the annual Muslim Lobby Day to youth leadership events. She recently graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts Degree.

Emily is also interning remotely with Transitions Global, a non-profit organization that works to integrate sex trafficking victims back into society. She intends to use her experience from both internships to start a career in event planning.

In her free time Emily enjoys reading, traveling and photography. She has a strong belief in equality between all ethnicities and religions and is excited to be a part of CAIR's impact.

Jessy Hampton

Jessy Hampton, Communications

Jessy Hampton is a Communications Intern at CAIR-WA. She is a senior at Seattle Pacific University, where she studies Global Development and Sociology.

Jessy loves studying Middle Eastern politics and actively searches for opportunities to travel to that region of the world. In the fall of 2011 she studied Arabic, Islam, and politics in Israel-Palestine and Turkey, and spent the summer of 2012 studying Arabic in Tunisia.

Jessy also tries to stay involved in her university community, and she is the president of the SPU Israel-Palestine Club on campus. After graduation, she hopes to move to the Middle East and work for a non-governmental organization.

In her free time, Jessy enjoys cooking, baking, and trying to do the New York Times crossword every day.

Shadie Hijazi

Shadie Hijazi

Thea Marriott

Thea Marriott, Civil Rights

Thea Marriott is a Civil Rights Intern at CAIR-WA. She is responsible for case intake and documentation, as well as assisting the Civil Rights Coordinator with casework and investigation.

Having just spent her junior year abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Thea is now returning to the University of Washington in Seattle for her senior year. She is working toward finishing her degree in International Relations, Human Rights and Comparative Islamic Studies, and hopes to study International Human Rights Law in the future.

Thea has previously served as a Page at the Washington State Senate and was a 2009 recipient of the Washington State Scholars Program scholarship for the 10th legislative district. In high school she attended the National Student Leadership Conference Law and Advocacy Program in Washington, D.C. and was the delegate from her home town of Camano Island at the American Legion Auxiliary Evergreen Girls State Conference. She is an active member of her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, for which she has served as the Activities Coordinator, Junior Panhellenic Representative, and Associated Students of UW (ASUW) senator.

In her free time Thea’s interests include traveling, reading, hiking, camping and card games. As a life-long athlete she also enjoys both playing and watching sports, especially volleyball, soccer and tennis. Her family and friends are her greatest source of strength, and her favorite quote is: “I don’t where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” (David Bowie)

Samah Imtiaz

Samah Imtiaz, Strategic Partnership

Samah Imtiaz is the Strategic Partnership Intern at CAIR-WA.

She is currently a second year master student at Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. She is also currently in the middle of deciding which one of her career goals to pursue first upon graduation.

Having majored in Computer Engineering for her undergrad, Samah is very curious about the collaboration of engineering regions with philanthropic spaces and hopes to be involved in such efforts when she graduates, among many other things.

She is very involved with the Muslim Student Association at the University of Washington (MSA-UW) and a co-founder of two new student associations on campus, the University of Washington Social Enterprise Association (UWSEA) & University of Washington Arabs (UWA).

As a Strategic Partnership Intern, Samah works to build and strengthen relationships between CAIR-WA and its current partner organizations as well as potential partners, and stays actively involved in the local civil rights arena.

In her free time, Samah makes sure she never has a boring moment. Her interests range from eating ice cream and playing video games with friends to volunteering at various philanthropic events and reading books on epic historical figures of various nations. She also enjoys going on swings quite a lot.

Lucille Jan

Lucille Jan, Office Management

Lucille Jan is an Office Management Intern at CAIR-WA. She is currently a senior at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and is pursuing a degree in International Relations with a regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa.

As a student at Juanita High School in Kirkland, Washington, she joined the honor society and volunteered at "Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center" and the King County Library System. In college she has become an active member of Chinese Student Organization, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and a traditional Chinese dance troupe.

She loves learning new and different languages and has so far studied Spanish, Modern Standard Arabic, and Mandarin. Last summer she spent six weeks studying abroad in Meknes, Morocco where she took classes in Arabic as well as Moroccan dialect.

After graduation, Lucille hopes to engage in research for a foreign policy oriented think tank or government agency. She would also like to spend at least a year working abroad in either the Middle East or Asia.

In her free time Lucille enjoys reading, playing the piano, and spending time with friends and family.

Ricky William Spruel

Ricky William Spruel, Government Affairs

Ricky William Spruel is a Government Affairs Intern at CAIR-WA. Ricky is a small business owner, and provides fire protection services to restaurants in Western Washington. He has also done human rights related work for the Catholic Church through the University of Washington.

Ricky graduated from the University of Washington in the spring of 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics with a minor in Human Rights. His education also includes the following: an Associates of Arts in Political Science from Highline Community College; courses in Sociology at Evergreen State University; and an Information Technology Certificate from Walla Walla Community College.

Ricky enjoys writing on philosophical/political issues, both past and contemporary. He also writes poetry as a hobby and has published a collection of original poetry titled, “Hodan.” Ricky takes a particular interest in policy and law, and follows state and federal civil cases.

Danny Smith

Danny Smith, Government Affairs

Danny Smith is a full-time Summer Government Affairs Intern at CAIR-WA. He received a BA in political science from Brigham Young University in August, 2011. He is currently a graduate student at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington, pursuing a Masters in Public Affairs degree.

Danny’s main area of study is US foreign policy, specifically toward the Middle East. He hopes to work for the US State Department as a diplomat. He spent two years on a service and proselytizing mission for the LDS church in Samoa from 2006-2008. He also spent two months on a study abroad in China in 2011 studying at the Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.

He is married and has two sons. He loves learning languages, experiencing new cultures, and eating foreign foods. He will play any sport except basketball.

Nicole Kandi

Nicole Kandi, Graphic Design

Nicole Kandi is a Graphic Design Intern at CAIR-WA. She graduated from Seattle University with honors in June, 2011 with degrees in Humanities and Fine Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design.

She volunteers her time with the Iraqi Student Project and the Seattle International Film Festival.

Nicole eats, breathes, and lives graphic design. She is considering getting her master’s degree in graphic design. Her dream school is the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

When she’s not designing for CAIR-WA or pursuing freelance projects, Nicole enjoys reading design blogs, cooking, painting, spending time with family, and playing Scattergories.

Anna Hatch

Anna Hatch, Event Planning

Anna Hatch is an Event Planning Intern at CAIR-WA. She recently graduated from Bishop Blanchet High School and will attend the University of Chicago starting in Fall, 2012. 

In high school, she participated in the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a voluntary organization, the OneWorld Now! Arabic language and global leadership program, and the month-long Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program. 

She is a National Merit Commended Student, a Washington State Scholar nominee, and a recipient of the Max Block Award given by the Seattle office of the American Jewish Committee. 

In her free time, Anna enjoys reading, drawing, watching movies, and hanging out with friends. She has a strong interest in civil rights, American-Islamic relations, and serving the local community, and is very excited to be interning with CAIR!

Jodi Meyer

Jodi Meyer, Graphic Design

Jodi Meyer is a Graphic Design Intern at CAIR-WA. Jodi is a Washington State native who received a BA in Marketing Communications from Brigham Young University.

She recently decided to make a career change and went back to school to receive her Graphic Design Certificate from Bellevue College. She hopes to marry her love of design with 11 years of experience in Project Management and Marketing Coordination.

Since the Spring of 2012, Jodi has completed design work for four non-profit organizations.

When not designing, Jodi is the Marketing and Publicity Manager for her champion women’s a capella show choir in Bellevue, WA.

Marwa Almusawi

Marwa Almusawi, Government Affairs

Marwa Almusawi is a government affairs intern at CAIR-WA. She collaborates with CAIR-WA’s Community Action organizing team to educate, mobilize and empower Washington’s Muslim community. She works to promote strategic, long term civic engagement by local Muslim communities.

Marwa earned a B.A. in political science with a concentration on international relations from Western Washington University in June 2011. She intends to further her education and pursue her interests in international relations through a M.A in diplomacy. She aspires to pursue a career in foreign policy and international relations, particularly in diplomacy. She hopes to become a diplomat working for a Middle Eastern Embassy.

Aside from her academic interests, Marwa enjoys reading, cooking, traveling abroad and spending time with her fiance and her family!

Emily Gonzales

Emily Gonzales

Emily is a sophomore at the University of Washington, pursuing a degree in International Studies with a focus on the Middle East and a minor in Persian.

Previously, she worked with the International Rescue Committee as an intern for their incoming refugee program. She also recently finished working as the social external chair for Alpha Gamma Delta. Currently, she is pursuing a direct exchange program which would allow her to spend one year in Istanbul, Turkey studying Persian and Middle Eastern politics.

As a Strategic Partnership Intern at CAIR-WA, Emily creates and maintains coalitions with other organizations. She researches possible partners, builds relationships, and attends partners’ events.

Upon graduating, she plans to become involved with diplomatic embassy work in the Middle East.

Her interests include backpacking/traveling, camping, running, reading any and all non-fiction historical stories, music, and spending time with people that make her laugh.

Zack Freeman

Zack Freeman, Communications

Born and raised on Queen Anne, Zack Freeman dabbled in East Coast life while studying international affairs and economics at Northeastern University in Boston.

While pursuing his degree, Zack developed an affinity for international issues, focusing his studies on both Latin America and the Middle East. He took advantage of Northeastern’s experiential education opportunities through study abroad programs in Chile and Costa Rica and an internship at the International Institute of New England, a refugee resettlement agency. While at the Institute, Zack witnessed the plight of Muslim refugees feeling the turmoil in the Middle East. This experience led him to his current position at CAIR, where he is the Communications Intern. He graduated in August 2011 with high honors.

As the Communications Intern, Zack is in charge of CAIR’s report on how Islam and Muslims are portrayed in the Seattle Times. Since arriving at CAIR in November, he has picked up where past interns left off reviewing each day’s paper and entering relevant articles in the database. He hopes to have the final report completed in early February.

In addition to his academic and professional interests, Zack enjoys reading, playing sports and exploring the world. He is an avid Seattle sports fan, which leaves him perpetually disheartened but continually optimistic.

Anum Ahmed

Anum Ahmed, Civil Rights

Anum Ahmed is the new Civil Rights Intern at CAIR-WA. She is currently a sophomore at the University of Washington in Seattle and intends on double majoring in Sociology and Law, Societies and Justice.

She is involved in many things at the UW including the Pakistani Students Association, Relay for Life and the biggest cultural show in the northwest, Desi Dhamaka. She wants to go to a tier one law school and hopes to become a corporate or patent lawyer.

Cathy Keen Merchant

Cathy Keene Merchant, Government Affairs

Cathy Keene Merchant is the Government Affairs intern at CAIR-WA, where she helps develop relationships between local Muslim community members and their government leaders in order to encourage better cross-communication.

Before beginning this position, she worked as the Managing Director of the Compassionate Listening Project, a Seattle-based non-profit that teaches conflict resolution skills in the US and abroad and facilitates dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. For the past three years, Cathy has traveled with this group to Israel and the West Bank in order to gather life stories from people whose lives have been impacted by the conflict and to encourage them to meet and work with one another. She is currently in the process of writing a book based on these experiences, which she hopes will help educate others about the “dual narratives” of the conflict.

Cathy graduated from St. John’s College in 2006 with a B.A. in the Great Books Program. There she worked as the editor of the student newspaper and received the Scholarship for Young Leaders. After graduation, she enrolled in an Arabic intensive program at Rutgers University and New York University in 2008. She is now working on her master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Washington and studying Hebrew.

In her free-time, Cathy loves traveling abroad, hiking with her husband, playing board games with friends, and reading everything she can get her hands on

Sara Veltkamp

Sara Veltkamp, Operations

Sara Veltkamp is an Operations Intern at CAIR-WA, where she works on major event planning and assists with office management tasks. She has recently returned to Seattle from Damascus, Syria after 3 years of living abroad.

While overseas, she earned an MA with distinction in Development Studies from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

She also spent two years living and working in Damascus, Syria, where she developed her Arabic language skills and volunteered for local Syrian non-governmental organizations, before leaving the country in May 2011 due to political unrest. Prior to living abroad, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington in Seattle, earning a BA in linguistics, having studied Arabic, Thai, and American Sign Language.

While Sara studied “Development” she believes that using the common terminology “developed” and “developing” nations is a poor means of classifying countries. Despite the US’s economic status, it is still in need of various forms of social development. Sara is particularly interested in eliminating discrimination against minorities. Given her experience in the Middle East, she is also dedicated to changing negative perceptions of Islam in America, which is why she became interested in working with CAIR-WA.

In addition to her academic and social interests, she loves all things outdoors, including hiking, rock-climbing, and snowboarding, and she is an avid reader who is always looking for good book recommendations.

Mark Fox

Mark Fox, Government Affairs

Mark Fox has been an Intern with the Government Affairs department at CAIR-WA since March 2011. He is currently a senior working on his bachelor’ss degree in Political Science at Seattle University (SU) where he was accepted as a President’ss Scholar.

Mark is active in campus service as a volunteer through the Center for Service and Community Engagement, and he works for Jumpstart, a division of AmeriCorps, as a preschool aid.

He is a Korematsu Undergraduate Fellow at SU, a program sponsored by the Korematsu Center of Seattle University School of Law that is involved in social justice and anti-discrimination education.

As a Fellow, he worked on awarding Honorary Degrees to Seattle University students whose educations were stolen during the Japanese-American incarceration.

Mark also works with activists and community members to better engage Washington’ss Muslim community and hopes to see a stronger and more visible Muslim presence in local affairs and politics. Mark joined CAIR-WA to help combat paranoia and because he was disappointed with the ways in which Islam and the Muslim community have been politically targeted.

Upon graduation, he would like to continue his work with advocacy groups and pursue social justice. In his free time, Mark enjoys reading, hiking, bicycling, eating pizza, studying astronomy and Supreme Court oral arguments, and being lazy on the weekends. His family lives in southern California, which he left for the Pacific Northwest when he could no longer stand the incredibly warm and generally perfect weather.

Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy is currently a senior at the University of Washington. He is pursuing a Bachelor’ss degree in Political Science and Communication, a certificate in International Security, and a minor in Law, Societies and Justice (LSJ).

He has focused his studies mainly on U.S.-Middle Eastern relations and international law and conflict issues. At the University of Washington, he has earned the annual Dean’ss List recognition for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years. Tim became interested in the Council on American-Islamic relations through a prior internship at the Common Language Project, an internationally-focused journalism organization. Upon graduation from UW, Tim plans on further pursuing his interests in law and politics by attending law school.

Eric Allen

Eric Allen, Graphic Design

Eric Allen is 20 years old and a Senior at Western Washington University.

He attended High School at The Northwest School in Seattle, which is known for tolerance and "Courtesy and Common Sense", values which are very important to Eric. He is currently studying Graphic Design and will soon receive a BA in the Graphic Arts.

After graduation, he would like to have a career designing for a big name company or firm. His hobbies include playing Guitar, writing music, Snowboarding, Bicycling, and Cars.

Samir Junejo

Samir Junejo, Civil Rights

Samir Junejo is a Civil Rights Intern at CAIR-WA. He recently concluded his junior year as a student at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Washington.

At WSU he is pursuing a degree in Political Science and a minor in Film Studies. He was born in Seattle from Pakistani parents, giving him a good grasp on both traditional and modern Islamic culture.

In 2009 he attended the Deen Intensive Foundation’ss Rihla program, a month-long Islamic retreat in Washington D.C. taught by esteemed American scholars such as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir. He joined CAIR-WA because many of his ambitions are identical to the goals of CAIR-WA.

Some of these goals include improving the image of Muslims in popular culture, increasing civic engagement in the American Muslim community, and making it easier for Muslim youth to obtain careers in the media and arts.

During the school year Samir writes columns and film reviews for The Daily Evergreen, the on-campus newspaper for WSU. His hobbies include reading fiction and non-fiction, listening and creating music, and actively digesting and dissecting all things cinema.

BrittaLisa Gess

BrittaLisa Gess, Civil Rights

BrittaLisa Gess is originally from Minnesota and graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2008 with a B.A. in Sociology and Islamic Studies.

Since graduating, she has taken on various projects organizing with local grassroots organizations, including Sabeel - Puget Sound, Los Poetas del Monton, Middle East Peace Builders, and East African Community Services.

She served as the Civil Rights Intern with the Washington chapter of CAIR from August 2010 to February 2011, and currently volunteers as a legal assistant with the King County Bar Association's Housing Justice Project. Additionally, she works part-time as an office assistant with Cutter & Buck.

Gess plans to begin law school in the fall with the intention of practicing public interest law serving immigrant and refugee populations. Her interests include travel, geopolitics, writing, and ph?

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Annie Kucklick, Civil Rights

Annie Kucklick is currently a senior at Seattle University. She is pursuing a degree in Political Science and International Economic Development and is a graduate from the University Honors Program.

She is actively involved in research on Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, as well as international human rights issues. Annie grew up on Orcas Island, Washington and spent the majority of last year in Spain, studying culture and economic development. Upon graduating, Annie is interested in gaining experience in the conflict resolution field.

Dana Yoo

Dana Yoo, Communications

Dana Yoo was born in South Korea, has been studying in the United States since the age of 13. Since moving to Seattle in 2008, Dana has been enrolled in University of Washington, studying Political Science as a major and Human Rights and Law as minors.

Dana has volunteered as an intake specialist at the Legal Action Center in King County and gained much interest in civil rights law. As the Communications Intern at CAIR, Dana is gaining a great deal of interest in human rights issues around the world. After graduating from UW, Dana wishes to pursue a more comprehensive study of law, specifically in the area of human rights. Dana hopes to find a more true passion in law and human rights through professional and academic experiences before deciding to go to a law school.

Christina Neilon

Christina Neilon, Communications

Christina Neilon is currently a senior at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is pursuing a degree in Political Science with an International Security Certificate and a minor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization.

She has focused her research on the Near East and comparative Islamic Studies. Christina has previously volunteered at the Seattle Municipal Court and on the Relay For Life North Whidbey Youth Committee. Christina became interested in the Council of American-Islamic Relations through the Carlson Leadership Center at UW in hopes of reaching a better understanding of her local Muslim community. Upon graduating, Christina would like to pursue a career in foreign policy and international relations.