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.
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 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.
Access to Justice Fellow
Michael retired in 2018 after serving as a litigator, regulatory lawyer, and transactional lawyer for Met Life, Inc. for almost 20 years. Upon graduation from Columbia University School of Law, where he was the Executive Editor of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, Mike began his legal career as an Associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York. Upon moving to Boston, he joined the Litigation Department at Palmer & Dodge as an Associate and then Partner, where he worked on a wide variety of litigation and transactional matters. In retirement, Mike now volunteers at Newton Wellesley Hospital and the Wellesley Council on Aging. As an Access to Justice Fellow, Mike will partner with Project Citizenship to educate immigrants about the benefits of citizenship and to assist eligible, legal permanent residents to overcome barriers to naturalization.
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.
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.
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.
Program Coordinator, Haitian Creole, French
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.
Grants & Finance Officer, Cantonese
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. She took on the role of Communications Manager in September 2022. Outside of this work, she is pursuing her M.F.A in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She’s currently a Teaching Fellow for undergraduate courses. Her experience lies in social media marketing with digital and data- driven content creation experience. She is passionate about her work and supporting immigrant communities throughout Massachusetts and beyond
Operations & Communications Coordinator
Maria joined Project Citizenship in September 2022, as a Communications & Operations intern. She recently graduated from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. She also received a double minor in Human Rights and Immigration Studies. Maria is second generation, from her father who is an Italian Immigrant. This background has inspired her passion for social justice, and immigration services. She looks forward to her work with Project Citizenship and making a meaningful impact in her community by supporting naturalizing immigrants.
Jessica joined project citizenship in January 2023 as a legal intern. As an immigrant, Jessica had always an interest in immigration because she knows the hardship of adjusting to a new environment. She is interested in working with Project Citizenship and trying to help and support the community in its naturalization process. Jessica earned a bachelor’s degree in Lebanese and French Law from Saint-Joseph University of Beirut, as well as a master’s degree in Public Law in Saint-Joseph University of Beirut. She is currently pursuing her LLM degree at Boston University School of Law.
Operations & Development Intern
Tara joined Project Citizenship in December 2022 as an Operations/Development intern. Growing up in Southern California, her passion for immigration justice was inspired by her childhood friends and family in the large Mexican-American community of Anaheim. Tara graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with her bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and information systems. She is currently pursuing her MBA at Boston College.
NAIP AmeriCorps Member
David joined Project Citizenship in 2022 as a member of the AmeriCorps program. David graduated from UMass Boston in May of 2022 with a degree in International Relations and East Asian Studies. Born and raised in Boston, growing up in an immigrant neighborhood, David always felt a strong desire to give back to the community he was raised around. When his advisor emailed him about AmeriCorps he jumped at the opportunity to join. He’s excited to see where his service at Project Citizenship will take him.
NAIP AmeriCorps Member, Farsi
Andre joined Project Citizenship in 2022 as part of an AmeriCorps State and National program. Andre is a recent graduate of Brandeis University and a New England native. He decided to pursue an opportunity serving immigrants after the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan. Both his parents are naturalized U.S. citizens and he is excited to help others navigate the bureaucracy of the immigration system.
NAIP AmeriCorps Member, Spanish
Samuel joined Project Citizenship in 2022 as part of the AmeriCorps Program. Originally from Austin, TX, Samuel recently graduated from Lesley University in Cambridge with a double major in Expressive Arts Therapy and Counseling. Samuel’s professional timeline has been a series of human service-based pivots. From theatrical entertainment to therapeutic studies, and now to legal services, Samuel is tied to helping others. He leaned towards Project Citizenship as a host site because of its specificity in services and its client first mentality.