Staff

Mitra Shavarini

Executive Director, Farsi and Spanish

Dr. Mitra K. Shavarini joined Project Citizenship in January 2021. She is a first-generation immigrant with wide-ranging expertise both domestically and internationally. More recently, as executive director of WorldTeach, she led the organization through a period of mission recalibration and fiscal stabilization. Throughout her career, Dr. Shavarini has addressed issues by building partnerships with synergistic organizations, community stakeholders, and thought leaders. Dr. Shavarini is the author of three books and several papers in peer-reviewed journals. The publication she is most proud of is a personal narrative that chronicles the events and people that brought her parents from Iran to America, and then back again: Desert Roots: Journey of an Iranian Immigrant Family.  Dr. Shavarini earned her doctorate in Administration, Planning ; Social Policy from Harvard University. She fully believes in our mission that citizenship leads to a stronger U.S. society: economically, socially, culturally and civically.

Erin Fricker

Legal Director

Erin joined Project Citizenship in August 2019 as a Staff Attorney. Erin’s interest in immigration issues began after she studied abroad in India and worked in refugee resettlement. The great-granddaughter of immigrants, Erin previously worked as an immigration attorney at a legal services organization and for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Erin graduated from the University of Notre Dame and Boston College Law School.

McKenzie Bell

Program Director, Spanish

McKenzie joined Project Citizenship in September 2020 as a Program Manager focused on community outreach, volunteer communication, and citizenship workshops. She most recently worked as a legal advocate for Rosie’s Place, a women’s shelter in Boston. Previously, she was an AmeriCorps member and then service fellow at a local community health center assisting primarily immigrant patients. Experiences studying Spanish at university, particularly volunteering in adult ESL classrooms and spending a semester in Spain, reinforced her desire to work with immigrant community members. She’s thrilled to continue learning and collaborating.

Gloria Donati

Staff Attorney, French and Italian

Gloria joined Project Citizenship in September 2020 as an AmeriCorps Legal Advocate of Massachusetts. Holding American and Italian citizenships, while also being of Ethiopian descent and having lived in several countries abroad, Gloria understands the importance of supporting immigrant communities in achieving their goals. Gloria earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Italian and French laws from the University of Bologna and the University of Nanterre, as well as a Master’s degree in law from the University of Bologna. She recently graduated with an LLM degree from Boston University School of Law.

James Richardson

Staff Attorney

James Richardson joined Project Citizenship in the Summer of 2021 as an AmeriCorps Legal Advocate of Massachusetts.  James recently graduated from Suffolk University Law School where he was certified as a student attorney and worked in Suffolk’s Housing Clinic.  It was there, that he became interested in public interest law. Prior to law school, James studied political science and history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Alyssa Bacon

Program Manager, Spanish

Alyssa joined Project Citizenship in August 2021. After receiving an M.A in International Affairs from Boston University, she spent a year serving as an AmeriCorps Fellow which inspired her passion for immigrant services. Her experiences in the field include teaching citizenship preparation courses and serving as the Communications Director of Refugees Welcome, a Boston nonprofit aimed at furnishing migrant service providers in the Bay State with networking and capacity building resources. Prior to joining the Project Citizenship team, she was the ESOL Program Coordinator at Action for Boston Community Development, helping students build confidence and skills they can bring into the workforce.

Maggie Kenney

Manager of Community Engagement, basic Arabic, Spanish, and Portuguese

Maggie joined Project Citizenship in June 2022. She recently graduated with her Master’s in Social Work (MSW) from Boston College where she focused on macro global social work and organizational justice in the workplace. Prior to beginning at Project Citizenship, Maggie spent over five years working at immigrant-serving organizations in the Greater Boston Area, including Jewish Family Service (JFS) of MetroWest and Ascentria Care Alliance. Her professional experience in the field includes refugee resettlement, citizenship assistance, and community organizing, and has led to a passion for working with diverse immigrant communities. As a social worker, Maggie is deeply passionate about removing systemic barriers, harnessing community strengths, and creating opportunities for all individuals, families, and communities to succeed and thrive. She looks forward to her new role at Project Citizenship and building partnerships and coalitions to support naturalizing immigrants.

Lissa Damus

Intake Specialist, Haitian Creole

Lissa Damus joined Project Citizenship in September 2020. She graduated at the University of Massachusetts Boston with a degree in International Relations. She is currently pursuing her master’s International Relations as well. Lissa speaks Haitian Creole, French and English. Her interest in immigration comes from the fact that she and her parents are immigrants from Haiti. She understands the importance of getting citizenship and is passionate about helping others accomplish that goal.

 

 

Owen Diana

Operations Manager, Spanish

Owen Diana joined Project Citizenship in the fall of 2018. Owen graduated from Oberlin College in 2017, majoring in Latin American Studies with a minor in Hispanic Studies. Since then, he has volunteered at numerous workshops with Project Citizenship as a Spanish translator. In addition to his volunteer work, Owen is the founder and editor of Just For Kicks, a blog about soccer around the world.

Jessye Kass

Communications Strategy Consultant

Jessye Kass joined Project Citizenship in 2021. She is focusing on communication strategy and working to use storytelling to transform the way supporters understand the work. Having 12+ years of experience helping folks from all backgrounds navigate complicated systems, she is proud to support Project Citizenship’s important work in decreasing barriers to eligible immigrants gaining citizenship. Outside of this work, she also runs her own coaching, training, and consulting business providing a range of burn out prevention, leadership, equity practice, career visioning, and strategic communications support. Previously, she was the Director of the Cambridge Women’s Center. She has also managed affordable housing programs, been a teacher in Thailand, and co-founded an NGO in Ghana. She attended Brandeis University.

Eva Ng

Grant Writer/Development Officer

Eva comes to Project Citizenship to assist in grant writing. She is very appreciative of the fantastic work Project Citizenship does, both for the client and for our society at large.  She has been working for 6 years as the Finance Director of WorldTeach, a non-profit that sent volunteer teachers to many countries around the world. Now, she helps Project Citizenship to service people from 130 countries to unite as citizens of the United States.

Madeline Kaprich

Communications Coordinator

Madeline joined Project Citizenship in September 2021 as a Communications Coordinator focused in effective communication skills, marketing strategies, and promotional campaigns. Outside of this work, she is currently pursuing her M.F.A in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She serves as the Editorial Intern for Arrowsmith Press, a Spanish and English literary publisher. Her previous job was working as the Social Media Specialist at a non-profit that certifies and supports teachers in America. Her experience lies in social media marketing with digital and data- driven content creation experience. She is delighted to have the opportunity to support immigrant communities throughout Massachusetts and support Project Citizenship’s mission.

Grace Alzaibak

Legal Intern, basic Mandarin

Grace joined Project Citizenship in May 2022 as a Legal Intern. She is currently a law student at Northeastern University School of Law and graduated from Brown University in 2016 with a degree in International Relations. She has worked predominantly in employment-based immigration prior to law school in both university and private firm settings.

Lauren Jackson

Legal Intern, Spanish

Lauren Jackson joined Project Citizenship in May of 2022 as a summer legal intern. She is a second-year law student at Northeastern University and is interested in public interest law. Before law school, she worked with various non-profit organizations as an AmeriCorps Fellow. Her interest in immigrant services developed from her experiences working abroad and her time as an ESL tutor in the U.S. She is excited to be working with Project Citizenship this summer!

Gia Varlotto

Legal Intern, French

A native of the Greater Boston area, Gia is especially interested in immigration law because of her Italian heritage and growing up with immigrant grandparents. Gia graduated from Boston University in 2020 where she majored in international relations, specializing in the Middle East and North Africa region. She also minored in psychology and French. During her time at Boston University, she completed an exchange at Sciences Po in Paris, France. After graduation, Gia took a year to work at the Massachusetts House of Representatives before starting law school at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law, where she will graduate from in 2024. In her free time, Gia enjoys going to the beach, practicing yoga, and traveling.

Jiaqian (Sarah) Bai

Marketing Intern, Chinese

As a marketing intern, I seek to connect the brand and its audience. At Emerson college, I majored in Marketing Communication and minored in Sociology. My education prepared me to apply classic marketing techniques to modern brand strategies, especially in the field of social media consulting and advertising. In my previous experience, I have practiced consumer communications, media management, and event planning. I’m looking forward to contributing my passion and skills to Project Citizenship.

Megan Starses

Program Intern, Mandarin

Megan joined Project Citizenship in June 2022 as a summer program intern. She just finished her sophomore year at Tufts University and is pursuing a double major in international relations and economics. As an adoptee from China and a descendent of immigrants herself, she is extremely interested in the naturalization process and enjoys working within immigrant communities. Additionally, she has also interned at her local city government in Goodyear, Arizona to advocate for more translated campaign material from local elected officials to benefit those who are non-native English speakers.

Katie Furey

Program Intern, Spanish

Katie joined Project Citizenship in June 2022 as a Program Intern. She is a rising senior at Tufts University majoring in history and Spanish and minoring in entrepreneurship. At Tufts, she writes for the school newspaper, tutors local elementary and middle school students, and works with a local nursing home. Katie studied in Madrid, Spain during her Spring 2022 semester. She has interests in immigration and education and spent last summer co-teaching English, technology skills, and citizenship classes at BEST Hospitality Training Center in Medford, MA. Katie is grateful and excited to be working with Project Citizenship this summer!

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