We’re so excited to introduce you to the 2022-2023 QVS Fellows!
This year’s Fellows are an outstanding group of ambitious and creative young adults. They are self-identified caretakers, students, bakers, musicians, strategists, painters, conversationists, and hockey fans. Some grew up Quaker or attended Quaker summer camps, some bring renewed excitement to explore spirituality and religions from their upbringing, and still others are just uncovering their spiritual practices. Some graduated college from their living rooms. Some are avid travelers. Many are intentional community-builders.
They bring a wealth of experience into their QVS year as anthropologist researchers, teachers, tax preparers, healers, lobbyists and leaders of climate resiliency initiatives.
This year’s Fellows are already dreaming up a future where all beings have a home, can thrive, and belong.
Incoming Fellows (click a picture to read the Fellow's full bio)
Alissa Vandenbark (she/her) grew up Quaker in a number of places, but considers Eau Claire monthly meeting in Wisconsin to be her home meeting. She graduated in 2022 from Haverford College, near Philadelphia, with a B.S. in Psychology, minor in Spanish, and minor in Political Science. Her senior thesis explored certain predictors of prejudice in elementary school children. While at Haverford she spent a year living and organizing in Quaker House, an intentional community space centered around quaker values. She also worked with the Quaker Affairs Office on campus in partnership with Friends Committee on National Legislation to get other students involved in lobbying their legislators on issues they care about. She is especially passionate about issues of justice and equitable distribution of resources, whether in an environmental sense or preventing poverty and oppression. In her spare time, Alissa loves to read, sing, dance, sew her own clothes, and go on long walks with her friends. She is excited to continue learning and growing at MANNA
Anaga grew up in Portland, Oregon, and can’t wait to explore Philadelphia and the East Coast with QVS this year. In her free time, she enjoys singing Indian classical music and doing art. She just graduated from Scripps College in Southern California, majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Politics. She is passionate about social justice and health equity, having worked as a community organizer for the drug decriminalization campaign in Oregon. She is excited to pursue those interests at Pennsylvania Health Access Network during her QVS year!
Annette Davis is an enthusiastic healer, soul connector, and artist. She is joyfully committed to uncovering new ways to engage with her spirituality. She grew up in a musical family surrounded by a loving community in Berlin, MA where she learned to center music, art, natural remedies, laughter and fresh food in her life. Annette took a gap year to learn Spanish before attending Connecticut College where she majored in Anthropology. Travel, spontaneity, and healing conversations with loved ones are all things that fill her cup. Part of her life path includes learning more about alternative healing modalities and becoming a relationship coach. She is excited to begin her job at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center working in the Let's Get Movin' Program!
Bridget Lewis grew up in Austin, Texas, and recently graduated from Earlham College with a degree in Religion. The main focus of her studies was Buddhism. During her time at Earlham, she was a proud member of the Javanese Gamelan Ensemble and served as the convenor of Mindfulness House, an intentional living community focused on mindfulness practices, for three years. Bridget was introduced to Quakerism at Earlham and is excited to develop a deeper relationship with it through QVS, as she finds it to be a kindred tradition to the religion she was raised in, Unitarian Universalism. In her free time, Bridget enjoys baking and listening to podcasts, and she has recently become enamored with fiber arts. Bridget is looking forward to serving at Apprentice Learning in the coming year.
Camille (she/her) was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She graduated from Earlham College with a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience and Public Health in 2022, and while she is fascinated by medicine, her heart is called to social justice work. During her time at Earlham, she was a Bonner Scholar and took care to be active in campus organizations and club events. Camille loves spending time with her family and friends, sitting in the living room or around a great meal sharing laughter and stories. She was raised Christian and that faith still informs many of her values, but she also draws from other religious traditions as she learns about them and considers herself spiritual. She has always been inquisitive and believes that nothing just "is what it is;" we can always do better for each other. Camille loves all things food, writing, sitting in the sunshine, painting, photography, and learning about things people care about. She is determined to use critical thinking and radical empathy to destroy unjust and inequitable systems and replace them with empowering frameworks of community and mutual success. Camille is so excited to serve at Bread & Roses Community Fund this year!
Elizabeth Zhao grew up in Edison, New Jersey. She is a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College with a major in sociology and a minor in health studies. At Bryn Mawr, Elizabeth developed a passion for social change. Outside of classes, she has volunteered with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program as a tax preparer and co-coordinator of the BMC program helping students and low-income taxpayers file their taxes and maximize credits and refunds. This coming year, Elizabeth is excited to grow and learn as a QVS Fellow at the Outside In East Clinic.
Elsa Hoover (she/her) was born and raised in Portland, OR. Elsa graduated from Earlham College with a BA in Peace and Global Studies and minors in Museum Studies and Economics. At Earlham, Elsa worked at the Joseph Moore Museum and was the president of EC Votes, a club dedicated to voter registration and education. In her free time, Elsa enjoys watching movies, weaving, and listening to podcasts about urban design. She is excited to join the Minnesota State Horticulture Society team and explore the Twin Cities this year!
Evan Saito (He/Him) is from Northampton, MA where he grew up attending Northampton Friends Meeting. He recently graduated from Earlham College with a BA in Peace and Global Studies, concentrating in Law and Justice. Evan served as a Bonner Scholar at Earlham, working as a program Intern during his Junior and Senior years. His service placements also included the Amigos Richmond Latino Center, the Tibet Policy Institute (Dharamshala, India), and the EC Mutual Aid Fund. During the 2020-21 academic year, Evan worked as an Advocacy Corps Member with the FCNL, lobbying members of the Indiana Congressional delegation on the topic of immigration. Following this experience, Evan worked to combine his training in lobbying and advocacy with his community work, receiving a grant from the Bonner Foundation to form the Richmond Advocacy and Leadership Program (RALP) in the Summer of 2021. As RALP Coordinator, he worked with local high school students to research, strategize, and implement a youth-led advocacy campaign addressing local policy issues. Evan loves to play violin, sing, and build community through music. He is excited for a year of exploration, career discernment, and growth with QVS! Evan looks forward to learning and growing at his placement with the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center this coming year.
Hannah Weir (she/her) grew up in Dallas, Texas before moving to Scotland in 2018 to study International Relations and Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. During her time in St Andrews, Hannah supported climate resiliency initiatives that brought both students and town community members into conversation around how to live sustainably. Hannah led beach clean up projects, clothing swap sessions, and helped to run a food co-operative that connected town residents to local, organic produce. Through these experiences, Hannah developed a passion for community-oriented projects and a faith in the power of people to resist the exploitative, wasteful pitfalls of consumer culture. During her time as a student, Hannah conducted research for The Third Generation Project, a Scottish climate justice think tank. Using the methods she learned as an anthropologist, she investigated the way that storytelling written by migrants about migration tells us something about what home is, and what it means to belong. Driven by curiosity and compassion, Hannah is excited to transition away from a life of theorising in the classroom to a life of engaging with organisations and community groups on the ground., In that capacity, she is looking forward to beginning work as a fellow for the Massachusetts Bail Fund in September.
Jenna grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas and graduated from Duke University in 2020 (on their couch at home). She then spent a little over a year living at Camphill Village Minnesota, a farm and intentional community of around 50 people. Most recently Jenna has been an au pair in Berlin, Germany, and she enjoys swimming in lakes, reading in parks, and going on long walks around the city. Jenna is looking forward to returning to community life, exploring Quaker spirituality, and serving with New Avenues for Youth in Portland this year.
Kate McHale (she/her) is from Rockville, Maryland and graduated from Scripps College in Claremont, California with a Bachelor's degree in History and a minor in Classics. At Scripps, she was a member of the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company and worked in the Ella Strong Denison Library as well as the Pomona College Department of Theater and Dance's Costume Shop. Working with rare materials in Denison Library grew her love for historical research, libraries, and making materials accessible to a wide audience, and Kate hopes to eventually attend a graduate program in Library Science. She loves to knit, crochet, sew, read, and dance. She grew up attending Sandy Spring Friends Meeting and Baltimore Yearly Meeting's youth programs, including attending and then working at Opequon Quaker Camp, which initiated her passion for working with young people. Kate is thrilled to be working with Historic Fair Hill and their projects with school libraries, community gardens, and other community-building initiatives.
Having grown up in the Philly 'burbs, Maggie Lind (she/her) is thrilled to be moving into her city for the first time with QVS! Before college, Maggie attended Friends schools in both South Jersey and Pennsylvania, and is hoping to return to her educational and spiritual Quaker roots during her service year. Maggie graduated from Wesleyan University this May with a degree in Anthropology, where she wrote her senior thesis on her town's anxiety about invasion during the year she attended college from home, as told through their suburban experience with Spotted Lanternflies. At Wesleyan, Maggie was an abortion doula in the Wesleyan Doula Project and a farmer at Long Lane Farm, Wesleyan’s student run community farm. Both organizations taught her about the advocacy and equity work that can come from within communities and outside of structural violence. In her free time, Maggie enjoys making rugs and hanging out with dogs. This year, she is excited to continue her journey to serve in community at ACHEIVEability!
Mickey (he/they) is a recent graduate from St. Olaf College, having completed a double major in Art History and French. Interested in art, social justice, and community organizing, he is excited to be a part of QVS, and to learn as much as he can! Originally from Austin, TX, Mickey is a fan of sunny days and swimming in any body of water they can find. In their free time, Mickey enjoys dancing with their friends, eating fresh fruit, listening to Beastie Boys, and reading horror novels. He is also a very enthusiastic hockey fan - ask him about the Philadelphia Flyers! He is over the moon about his placement with QVS, and is honored to be working with Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility this upcoming year.
Molly recently graduated from Middlebury College where she studied Environmental Policy, Spanish, and Art History. While living in Vermont she fell in love with the Green Mountains and spent her free time hiking, skiing, and watching sunsets– and some sunrises. She grew up in Evanston, Illinois where she attended Evanston Friends Meeting and spent childhood summers at Catoctin Quaker Camp in Thurmont, Maryland. At Middlebury she served as the president of the Quaker student organization for two years, worked as a student employee at the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, and organized interfaith gatherings with other student spiritual leaders. She is interested in food systems, community building, spiritual practices from all traditions, and embodied knowledges; and how all of those can and will intersect as we work towards a future where all beings can thrive in the context of a changing climate. Molly is excited for her next phase of learning, growing, and connecting during the upcoming year in a city that is totally new to her. She is looking forward to the impactful work she will be doing with the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center.
Robie Ryan (she/her) grew up in a suburb of Rochester, NY and on the shores of the Finger Lakes and is overjoyed to be moving to Minneapolis in the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’! She graduated from Wesleyan University in December of 2017 with an undergraduate and master’s degree in chemistry. Robie has spent a cumulative of more than three years working as a patient care technician at Rochester General Hospital and has discovered her deep love of caring for people during the most difficult times of their lives. She sees her ability to connect with and advocate for people in need as one of her greatest gifts. Robie’s passions led her to pursue a career as a medical doctor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2019. After a leave of absence and some challenging inner work and healing, Robie decided to withdraw from medical school. In the quiet serenity of letting go of her lifelong dream, QVS came into her life as a divine gift and opportunity to continue her personal growth with the support of a loving community. Although she doesn’t currently identify with a religious affiliation, Robie remains close to her home church community (Spiritus Christi Church in Rochester) as well as her spiritual 12-step recovery community, and is excited to explore Quakerism this year. Robie is grateful to be joining Our Saviour’s Housing as a case manager for the permanent supportive housing program.
Samantha Paladini was born in sunny California and moved to Virginia at the age of eight. She grew up attending Virginia Beach Friends School where she received a Quaker education focused on implementing the SPICES (simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equity, and stewardship) in all aspects of her life. Her sense of giving back to the community was enriched during the eleven years she helped feed the homeless at the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center. Samantha returned to the West Coast where she graduated summa cum laude from Whittier College with a BA in English and Theatre. Graduating in her living room during the pandemic was not an easy feat, but Samantha found her light while aiding students with developmental disabilities. As a tutor, camp counselor, and eventually college mentor, she found purpose and patience during a time of uncertainty. This led her to a job as an Artist's Assistant where she conducted research on collaboration in the workforce. Recently, she stage managed a production for The 24 Hour Plays Company, explored the benefits of hot yoga, and fulfilled her dream of working in a bookstore. Samantha is looking forward to reconnecting to her Quaker roots and will be serving at Better Future Project this year in Boston.
Sophie is from the lower Mahicantuck valley and loves planet earth, oil painting, friendship, and novels. An editor and research assistant, they are interested in tracing ecological, geospatial, and colonial histories as represented in landscape painting, specifically in both early modern India and Lenapehoking. Sophie attended Chappaqua Friends Nursery School and, more recently, Bryn Mawr College. Sophie is really looking forward to learning from the QVS community as well as from the kids at Fleisher Art Memorial's after school program.
The 2022-2023 QVS Fellows will be working as case managers, after-school curriculum builders, communications assistants, and so much more. If you’re curious to see this year’s site placement partners by issue area visit this page, or by city visit this page.
We hope you will follow along on Facebook or Instagram as we continue to introduce a QVS Fellow every weekday through August. You can like a post, drop a comment, and help us welcome these amazing young adults into a year with QVS!