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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
AmeriCorps Legal Advocate
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.
AmeriCorps Legal Advocate
Emily joined Project Citizenship in the Fall of 2021 as an AmeriCorps Legal Advocate. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 and Suffolk University Law School in May 2021. During her time as a law student, Emily interned with several public interest law organizations in an effort to assist those in need. Emily has worked with immigrant populations in a community health context, connecting individuals to housing and public benefit services. As the great-granddaughter of immigrants, Emily is passionate about helping folks pave the pathway to citizenship.
AmeriCorps NAIP member, Spanish
Emma joined Project Citizenship in September 2021 as an AmeriCorps New American Integration Program volunteer. Always passionate about human rights, her experiences assisting asylum seekers, observing immigration hearings, and conducting research about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) confirmed her interest in working with immigrants. She graduated from Boston College in May 2021 where she double majored in Sociology and Political Science and led a sexual assault prevention organization through her job at the university’s Women’s Center. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve Massachusetts’ immigrant communities and support Project Citizenship’s mission.
AmeriCorps NAIP member, Spanish
Cat joined Project Citizenship in September 2021 as an AmeriCorps member through the New American Integration Program. She graduated Brown University in 2021 with a degree in Development Studies. She has volunteered with various immigration organizations focusing on asylum law, workers’ rights and medical re-licensing for folks with degrees outside of the US.
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