Our Interns

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Abigail Simmons

Civil Rights Intern - Summer 2019

Abigail Simmons is a Summer Law Clerk for CAIR-Chicago's civil rights division. She earned a History Degree from the University of St Andrews in Scotland and will in the fall will begin her second year at The John Marshall Law School here in Chicago. She is originally from Pennsylvania but now enjoys living in such a big city as Chicago. Abigail originally was not interested in pursuing a career in the Law, but upon taking a Human Rights class for her undergraduate degree she began to see that the best way she could try to make a difference moving forward was through law. She is now hoping to pursue a career in Human Rights, Civil Rights, or Immigration law after she graduates. Abigail's interest in working for CAIR was sparked by their work fighting the Travel Ban. Abigail hopes that through this opportunity working at CAIR-Chicago she will gain invaluable experience working in a area that she feels very passionately about and be able to make a difference. In her free time, Abigail has always been an avid reader and enjoys many different genres but specifically non-fiction, memoir, mystery, suspense, and the classics. She has also been able to cook and bake since she was ten years old and now loves to experiment with new recipes and ingredients and cook for her friends. She is very active and on the weekends enjoys hiking, swimming, and walking around Chicago as a way to take in all the sights of the city.



Elisabeth Phillips

Civil Rights Intern - Summer 2019

Elisabeth is a Civil Rights Intern at CAIR-Chicago. She will begin her senior year at Northwestern University in the fall, studying Political Science, Middle East & North African Studies, and Legal Studies. She is originally from the Chicago suburbs, and would love to stay in the city as long as she can. She hopes to pursue a legal career in immigration, women’s rights, or juvenile criminal law. Elisabeth’s interest in working for CAIR started after interning for an immigration law firm in Chicago, interacting directly with clients who needed proper representation for asylum and DACA cases. Seeing that her work could make such a huge impact on people’s lives inspired her to continue fighting for the rights of underrepresented and marginalized groups in America. In her free time, Elisabeth enjoys playing the violin, which she started learning how to play when she was four years old. She also loves spending time outside with her two dogs, eating at new restaurants with her family, and exploring Chicago with her friends at school.



Rawan Hishmeh

Civil Rights Intern - Summer 2019

Coming Soon.



Inas Mahmood

Civil Rights Intern - Summer 2019

Inas Mahmood is a returning Law Clerk for the summer session of 2019. She’s a rising 3L at DePaul University College of Law and is passionate about civil rights issues and combating racial and religious discrimination. As a future attorney, she wants to pursue a career in public interest law, specifically immigration/asylum, international human rights, or civil rights. Like many South Asian children, she was initially coaxed into pursuing a pre-med route in undergrad but quickly realized she had no passion (or even a fraction of the required math/science abilities) for the STEM arena. During her time studying abroad in Jordan in her junior year of undergrad, she had an eye-opening and life-changing experience visiting and assisting in several Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps. This lead to an epiphany that drove her fierce zeal and dedication to serve as a voice for the voiceless. Inas decided to join CAIR-Chicago because their mission statement is perfectly aligned with what she wants to accomplish in terms of her personal and professional goals. Confronting perpetrators of discriminatory practices, assisting refugees in dire need of asylum, actively documenting and denouncing hate crimes, and defending the Constitutional rights of aggrieved minorities are just a few of the cases Inas gets to work on at CAIR, and she could not be more enthralled to contribute to this organization. In her free time (which is virtually non-existent because of law school), Inas likes to binge-watch Netflix shows, try new restaurants around Chicago, and sleep as much as humanly possible.



Sahdia Uddin 

Operations Intern - Summer 2019

Sahdia is an undergraduate student at University of Illinois at Chicago and majoring in psychology and with a minor in business administration. She previously worked as an intern at the University of Illinois assisting international students with employment. Her passion for fighting for equal rights regardless race and religion has made CAIR Chicago a great fit. In addition, her hobbies include reading, shopping, and spending time with family and friends. 



Hannah Faris

Communications Intern - Summer 2019

Coming Soon.



Afreen Mohiuddin

Communications Intern - Summer 2019

Coming Soon.



Gregory Guillen

Communications Intern - Summer 2019

Coming Soon.



Afaaf Amatullah

Communications Intern - Summer 2019

Coming Soon.



Cristian Solis

Communications Intern - Summer 2019

Coming Soon.



Margaret Halquist

Outreach Extern Intern - Spring/Summer 2019

Margaret Halquist is an independent artist and curator acting as an extern in the Outreach Department for the summer of 2019. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. After spending the last year and a half working with refugees in Greece, Turkey, and the West Bank, she arrived in Chicago focusing on local matters related to migration as well as religious, cultural, and ethnic nurturance. She joined CAIR because of their unbiased approach to civil rights and fighting bigotry as well as to assist in building relationships to Chicago museums and other relevant institutions. Outside of her professional practice, she practices Kung Fu and frequents a Zen Buddhist temple. She also maintains a studio practice focusing on public sculpture and installation, periodically showing at galleries and alleys around the city. 



Becca Turley

Government Affairs Intern - Summer 2019

Becca Turley is currently an undergraduate at the University of Vermont where she is pursuing dual degrees in Political Science and Religion and a minor in Spanish as a member of the class of 2021. At her school, Becca is involved in various clubs and organizations on campus, like Explain the Asterisk, which works to dismantle rape culture on college campuses across the country. Once she graduates from university, Becca hopes to pursue a career involving international relations in the hopes of dismantling systems of oppression by engaging in the political system to affect change in the fight for the guarantee of universal human rights. Due to her passion of providing a voice for marginalized communities, Becca decided to join CAIR-Chicago to join the discourse surrounding the experiences of the Muslim community in Chicago and nationally, seeing the work done by non-profits as of paramount importance in educating the public in the fight against bigotry. Becca plans to study in Jaipur, India in the spring 2020 semester where she will explore various modes of sustainable development in India, learn Hindi, and conduct independent research on the Indian political system with an emphasis on the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). In her free time, Becca enjoys reading, hiking the Green Mountains and Adirondacks, and cooking various cuisines which she picked up while traveling around the world.



Natalia Vasylyk

Government Affairs Intern - Summer 2019

Natalia Vasylyk is a Government Affairs Intern at CAIR-Chicago and a rising sophomore at Barnard College of Columbia University. She is most likely majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics, although she has not officially declared yet. She is a member of her college’s Model UN team and a writer for the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review Journal. Natalia is passionate about international politics, human rights, diplomacy, and social justice. She hopes to attend law school after completing her undergraduate career. Natalia decided to join CAIR-Chicago because she wants to educate herself on the issues surrounding the larger Muslim community, promote civic engagement within the Muslim community in Chicago, write articles on Islamophobia, do policy research, and do everything she can to improve the civil rights of Muslims. Outside of academics, Natalia is a cat mom and a dancer who loves to perform all different styles of dance. Three interesting facts about Natalia are that she is trilingual (English, Ukrainian, and French) and is currently learning Russian, she has dreamed of living in NYC for as long as she can remember, and her role models are Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Amal Clooney. 



Rakan F AlZagha

Outreach Intern - Summer 2019

Rakan F. AlZagha, 19, is an Outreach and Government Affairs Intern at CAIR-Chicago. He is a student at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and is currently double-majoring in Economics and Public Policy & Law and on the Pre-Law track. His professional goals are yet to be formed, however, he does have aspirations to work in the international law sector. Rakan is currently a Posse Foundation Scholar, a former Boeing Academy Scholar, and serves on his college’s Muslim Student Association Board, various interfaith groups, pre-law society, and works part-time as an Arabic translator and RA. When he is able to, he appreciates watching films, gaming, and exploring different cuisines. His academic and familial background, paired with his preceding experiences and avid desire to aid his own community, have pushed him to pursue this internship at CAIR and he is ecstatic to be a part of the summer 2019 intern cohort



Lina Aldadah

Outreach Intern - Summer 2019

Lina is a rising senior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is a Global Studies major with a concentration in human rights and a minor in Spanish. Working at CAIR-Chicago, she would like create a unity between different groups of Muslims as well as connecting with non-Muslims as well. Lina would like to break the pattern of most Muslim communities breaking off into groups based on culture or ethnicity. The United States is known for bringing all different races and ethnicities together however integration between these groups is rarely seen. She would like to take the skills she will be learning at CAIR and put them to use to create a more inclusive society. She believes CAIR-Chicago has done amazing work in the past to help defend the rights of Muslims, but also spreads so much awareness about Islam through many positive outlets. Lina found CAIR-Chicago’s work to be really inspiring and wanted to join immediately.  In her free time she loves running and hiking. She also loves watching college basketball, and her favorite team is Duke University. Lina has recently been very interested in the Islamic History of Spain, and lived in Granada, Spain to further expand her interests on the subject. Lastly, she has a fascination with languages and is currently trying to master Spanish and Arabic. Some interesting facts about her is that she was a competitive fencer for 10 years before she went to college, she’s traveled to 13 different countries, and loves to cook especially Hispanic or Asian cuisine. 



Amir Mahmoud

Outreach Intern - Summer 2019

Amir Wsam Mahmoud is a 17 year old rising senior at Neuqua Valley High school. He is of Egyptian and Australian descent, has had a memoir published on a public Muslim website, and has helped the Webb foundation with their annual dinner video. He would like to attend UIC for the gen-ed classes, eventually, transfer to a more prestigious college, and graduate with a bachelor’s degree. He decided to apply due to his previous experiences, familiarity, and volunteering with CAIR-Chicago. He likes what the organization advocates for and has had a passion for it since he is a Muslim as well. It will also expand his knowledge on topics he wouldn’t have discussed with peers at school, or in any current setting for that matter. He wants something productive and meaningful to do in his free time and really feels like this is a good program to keep himself busy as well. He has had quite a few previous appearances with CAIR events. He was featured in the My Jihad Ads along with his family. He also gave the opening speech for the CAIR video presented at the 2015 annual CAIR dinner event; he was also in the video as well. He lastly joined Ahmed Rehab in filming the video advertising the turkey trip giveaway. As for his personal interests, Amir has always had a passion for film making, directing, and producing. All the work that goes into it is truly an enjoyable thing for him to do. He also enjoys photography as he finds it very peaceful as well.



Paige Thiel

Outreach Intern - Summer 2019

Paige, 20, is a rising Junior at Lake Forest College. She is majoring in International Relations and Religion with a minor in History. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, as she did this past spring semester studying abroad, and playing soccer. Through working as an intern with CAIR Chicago, Paige hopes to be able to foster interfaith communication and understanding along with educating the non-Muslim community on the history, culture, and beliefs of those from Muslim and Arabic backgrounds.



Nicole Carter

Government Affairs Intern - Summer 2019

Nicole Carter will be a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the fall, where she is a double-major in Economics and International Studies. At school she serves as a Resident Assistant and competes on both the Forensics Team and the Federal Reserve Challenge Team. Prior to joining CAIR, Nicole worked as a global development programs intern for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and spent the fall 2018 semester studying in Ghana, where she was a fundraising/projects intern for the Play and Learn Foundation. An aspiring attorney, Nicole hopes to eventually build a career in human rights law working with NGOs and intergovernmental organizations. She was drawn to CAIR-Chicago by a strong disappointment in the way she sees Muslims and other religious minorities being treated, and a desire to help promote acceptance and civil rights in the US.



Brent Brewer

Government Affairs Intern - Summer 2019

Brent, 19, is a native from Cumby, Texas. He is a senior International Relations major and a History/Legal Studies double minor at Lake Forest College. Following his graduation, Brent hopes to pursue a career in policy work and hopes to continue his passions for advocacy and cultural education. Outside of educational pursuits, he enjoys traveling, video games, kayaking, and writing. His interest in CAIR-Chicago began with his trip to study abroad in the U.A.E. where his engagement with the cultures present led him to the internship he has today. Brent hopes to bring a different perspective to CAIR-Chicago and he is excited to begin working this summer as a Government Affairs intern.



Christopher Nevarez Azdar

Outreach/Government Affairs Intern - Summer 2019

Christopher Nevarez Azdar is an Outreach and Government Affairs Intern at CAIR-Chicago. He is an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he plans to graduate in the spring of 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in both Political Science and Spanish. As a Staff Tutor at the UIC Writing Center, where we has worked for the past 5 semesters, Chris has gained a special appreciation for the writing process. He will be applying for law school and hopes to use his unique perspective as a Latino Muslim to serve both communities upon graduation whether that be done through his work as an attorney or as a public servant. In his spare time he takes breaks from reading a Spanish translation of A Song of Ice and Fire, the Game of Thrones series, by skydiving in the middle of Illinois or snowboarding in Colorado. 



Ayesha Mohammed

Research Intern - Summer 2019

Ayesha is a rising senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago, majoring in Political Science and minoring in International Studies and Economics. Over the past few years, she has worked as an election judge in both the primary and general elections, served as a Research & Finance intern with an Illinois Senate campaign, and assisted her professor in undergraduate research. In the future, she hopes to pursue legal studies or further education in the field of international affairs. Ayesha has joined CAIR Chicago in hopes of making a tangible difference in the community and greater Chicagoland area. Outside of academics, she enjoys traveling, reading, and learning new languages. 



Sojourner Hunt

Research Intern - Summer 2019

Sojourner Hunt is an undergraduate student at Emory University majoring in International Studies with a minor in French. Sojourner was drawn to CAIR-Chicago for its core values and research initiatives. Having gone to high school in Chicago, she is excited to be working on fighting discrimination at home. At CAIR-Chicago Sojourner hopes to learn skills that will help her in the work force long after graduation. She is excited to learn from CAIR’s passionate staff and her fellow interns. In her free time, Sojourner enjoys listening to podcasts, baking, and she is an avid dancer.   



Jazmin Alvarado

Communications Intern - Spring/Summer 2019

Jazmin Alvarado was Chicago born and raised, specifically from the Humboldt Park area. Working, going to school, and doing an internship are all pretty hard for a student to take on, but Jazmin wants to do it. She is currently studying to get her Bachelor’ degree in graphic design at Flashpoint Chicago. After producing graphic design work for four years, she wanted to focus on making important critical art that can make a difference. She chose CAIR-Chicago because they believe in fighting for civil rights. Being exposed to hate and racism simply from being born into a minority group is not unseen by her. CAIR-Chicago does everything she wish she could; she is of Mexican descent and there is a lot she wishes she can advocate equality. She will learn everything she can and incorporate it into the world through her work. We all deserve to life in a world where no one should be judged by the color, language, or religion and stopping hate is what she is all about. Personal interest include designing art, running, baking goods, traveling, participating in protests, and camp fires while making s’mores.



Lacey Latch

Communications Intern - Spring/Summer 2019

Lacey is a spring Communications Intern at CAIR-Chicago and an undergraduate student at DePaul University dual-majoring in Journalism and Media & Cinema Studies. She is originally from a small town in New Jersey but has made her way to the Windy City to begin telling some of the most important stories of today. Lacey gravitated toward working with CAIR because of the importance placed on the voices of marginalized communities and CAIR's devotion to ensuring that an accurate representation of Muslims has a presence in mainstream media. When she's not reporting, she enjoys FaceTiming her dogs back home and failing to choose something new on Netflix, ultimately settling on watching "30 Rock" for the hundredth time. 



Nuseybe Yagmur

Outreach Intern - Spring 2019

Nuseybe is an undergraduate student majoring in Islamic Studies at American Islamic College. She has previously volunteered at non-profit organizations aimed towards youth groups or refugees. She joined CAIR-Chicago because she believes it will help her learn more about the injustice and bigotry aimed towards Muslim Americans and ways to create a fair, unbiased world.  As an outreach intern, Nuseybe wants to meet, engage with different communities and faith groups in the Chicagoland area and learn skills for her future career. During her free time, Nuseybe enjoys reading books or traveling, exploring different places and their cultures.



Aya Mahjoub

Civil Rights Intern - Spring 2019

Aya Mahjoub is a law student at DePaul University College of Law. She is originally from Ohio but attended the University of Pittsburgh, completing her degree with a major in psychology as well as a certificate in Arabic Language and Linguistics. Being of Syrian-American descent, Aya has focused her studies on Immigration Law and has completed the one-year long Immigration and Asylum Clinic at DePaul Law. She hopes to graduate in the Spring of 2019 and pursue a career focusing on helping clients with their immigration and asylum cases. In her free time, Aya enjoys traveling with her family, trying new cuisines, and attempting to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie. 



Mesut Mamaloglu

Research Intern - Winter 2019

Mesut Mamaloglu is an undergraduate student at American Islamic College majoring in Islamic Studies. He has previously volunteered at a non-profit that focused on youth education. Mesut is excited to be a part of the CAIR-Chicago team. During his tenure at CAIR, Mesut wants to learn more about the Muslim community in Chicago and the workings of a successful non-profit organization. He also wants to improve his research skills while working on projects for the benefit of the Muslims. He hopes to implement the knowledge and skills he attains from his internship to future research projects that he wants to conduct regarding Islam and America. In his free time, he enjoys talking walks along Lake Michigan and listening to podcasts.



Eric Forehand

Research Intern - Winter 2019

Eric Forehand is working in the Research Department for the Winter Term. Eric is currently a sophomore at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, studying Arabic, Government, and Environmental Science. He has previously worked coaching and tutoring fellow students, in addition to interning at an immigration law firm. He is excited for this opportunity at CAIR-Chicago to help fight injustice and bigotry aimed towards Muslim-Americans and working to create a more tolerant and equitable world. He hopes to learn skills at CAIR-Chicago that he will be able to use beyond his tenure here. Eric enjoys running, hiking, or just spending time outdoors with friends and family. A big fan of all-things music, he loves to play piano in his spare-time.  



Jason Simons

Research Intern - Winter 2019

Jason Simons is a Winter term research intern at CAIR-Chicago. He is currently an undergraduate student at Benedictine University pursuing dual degrees in Business Analytics and Finance. He has previously interned and volunteered at several nonprofit organizations geared towards supporting people with job training skills. He is excited to grow his research and writing skills while supporting a noble cause at CAIR-Chicago. He believes in the values of CAIR-Chicago and is excited to support their mission of helping American-Muslims fight discrimination and injustices that occur nationwide. In recent years, he has focused his free time on traveling, enjoying nature’s beauty and spending time with family and friends


Nada Afaneh

Operations Extern - Winter 2019

Nada worked in Telecommunications companies for 5 years before moving to Chicago. Currently, Nada is pursuing her MBA from DeVry University. She previously worked for other non-profit organizations that were concerned in empowering people for a better living. From each experience she had been through, she learned a lot and gained new skills that improved her personality on the professional and personal levels, and now she is eager to get new experiences from CAIR-Chicago. CAIR-Chicago holds values that Nada always believed in and is passionate about. In her free time, Nada enjoys cooking and trying new recipes, she also likes to explore new places. 



Bayan Fares

Outreach Fellow - Winter/Summer 2019

Bayan, 22, is an Outreach fellow at CAIR-Chicago. She is a Master’s student at the School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago. She graduated from Valparaiso University with a Bachelor of Social Work where she served as a United Way of Porter County Intern, President of the MSA, and Founder of Banat (a professional women’s networking group). Over the years, she has traveled to six countries (including Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria). These experiences have helped build her passion for human rights, service, and networking which led her to this CAIR-Chicago internship.



Abu Ubaida

Operations Intern - Winter 2019

Abu Ubaida is a student of American Islamic College in his final year of bachelor’s degree program in Islamic studies.  He is an immigrant from Pakistan where, in Karachi, he was running his books and stationary store.  In Chicago, he started driving a taxi cab.  In the meantime, he studied at the Truman College and obtained Associate degree in 2012.  He feels excited on learning that CAIR-Chicago is determined to support American Muslims against prejudice and discrimination for being Muslims, and that, it has made it a point to fight for bigotry and prejudice on the basis of faith.  He hopes to learn a good deal from CAIR-Chicago during the tenure of his internship.



Joseph Milburn

Law Clerk - Winter 2019

Joe Milburn is a law student at DePaul University College of Law. He is originally from St. Louis where he went to Saint Louis University and double majored in Criminal Justice and Political Science. In college, Joe served as community service chair for his MSA. When Joe lived in St. Louis, he was a Government Affairs intern for CAIR-Missouri and co-founded a soup kitchen at West Florissant Masjid in St. Louis. Joe hopes to become a civil rights attorney that is of service to all marginalized communities while having a focus on fighting against Islamophobia as well as discrimination against those with disabilities (especially those who have Autism). In Joe’s free time (which is almost never due to the pressures of law school) Joe likes to work out, binge watch Law & Order: SVU, go mosque hopping (especially in Ramadan), learn about Islam, and go kayaking. Staying true to his Saint Louis roots, Joe being a Cardinals fan does not wish well for the Cubs! Staying true to his Scottish heritage, Joe is eager to wear his kilt at just about any occasion! Joe is currently in the process of teaching himself how to speak both Bosnian and Arabic.



Sufyan Shaltaf

Civil Rights Intern - Winter 2019

Sufyan Shaltaf is a Palestinian-American Muslim who is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago pursuing dual degrees in Biochemistry and Political Science. Sufyan was born to Jordanian-Palestinian immigrants in East Chicago, IN, and raised with a strong moral and work ethic. He is an aspiring attorney and hopes to begin law school in the Fall of 2019. Sufyan is involved in various efforts in the Chicagoland area geared towards reducing the health, economic, and educational disparities which exist for marginalized, underrepresented, and underprivileged communities. In his personal life, Sufyan is the proud companion of 3 cats: Yogi, Pretty, and Einstein. He enjoys reading, watching nature documentaries and (basically all) sports, running, playing basketball, and listening to reggaeton and classical music.


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