Arley Titzler is a senior at UC Santa Barbara, majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Professional Writing. She works at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management as an IT assistant, and is also currently writing a senior thesis on the relationship between environmental regulation and economic growth in developing countries. Last spring, she studied abroad in both London and Paris, where she took urban studies classes, visited countless museums and monuments, practiced her French, and ate approximately one baguette per day. Arley’s classes at UCSB have inspired her passion for environmental activism and influenced her decision to attend both graduate and law school. She hopes to pursue a career as an environmental lawyer so that she can help tackle today’s challenging environmental issues. Outside of school, Arley likes to spend time with her housemates, stay active by going on walks and the occasional run, and unwind by painting or watching the famous Isla Vista sunsets.
Clara Spars is a freshman at Stanford University. Originally from Santa Rosa, California, she spent the past year studying Mandarin in Beijing, China on a government-sponsored language intensive scholarship. She recently published a short story about a moment from this experience called “Domino” on New World Writing magazine (previously known as Mississippi Review Online), and received a National Gold Key Medal at The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards 2016 in the personal essay/memoir category for her essay titled “The Zombie.” Clara has performed at the Moth StorySLAM, a live storytelling event in Berkeley, California. On campus, she is an Ambassador for the Stanford Office of Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Education and Response, a staff writer for The Stanford Daily, an English tutor for the Stanford Habla program, and a member of the Stanford Storytelling Project.
"My name is Clare Doyle and I am a full-time, second-year undergraduate student at UC Santa Barbara double majoring in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies. During my studies at UC Santa Barbara and after having experience doing project design in refugee camps located on the island of Lesbos, Greece, I am pursuing a career in the field of human rights law, specifically that which applies to protecting and meeting the needs of refugees in a camp setting, in transit, and applying for asylum. I seek to advance research on how to improve education and work prospects for displaced families, youth, minority groups and unaccompanied minors moving through the Middle East and areas surrounding the Mediterranean based on the lack of public services and rights that are often available to people fleeing climate changes, scarcity and civil conflicts. To further my interest in the migration across Arabic-speaking regions, I will be studying through UCSB my junior year in Morocco and Jordan. I speak intermediate French and am working to obtain proficiency in Arabic in my current studies at UCSB. My other hobbies include playing and teaching soccer, doing volunteer work with campus organizations, doing art and journaling in my free time."
Jonathan Abboud, the youngest Community College Trustee in California, won his election in November 2014 to represent the communities of Isla Vista and Hope Ranch on the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees, now serving as Vice President and Legislative Liaison of the Board. A first generation American and college graduate, Jonathan was born and raised in the City of Los Angeles and has lived in Isla Vista since 2010. He completed his B.A. in Political Science at UC Santa Barbara in 2014 and is currently completing a Masters of Technology Management at UCSB. Upon graduation, Jonathan stayed in IV and co-founded the Isla Vista Self Governance Initiative, which succeeded in creating the Isla Vista Community Services District, where he serves as Interim General Manager. Jonathan also works with the Reclaim CA Higher Education Coalition to eliminate tuition and restore quality at CA public colleges and universities.
Justine is a homeless youth activist and full time English student at UCSB. She transferred from San Diego Community College District after earning three Associates in English, Biology, and Humanities. After leaving her home at a young age, she was able to get off the streets and start a small business as a young adult. She gives speeches on behalf of Doors of Change, a non-profit that aims to end the cycle of youth homelessness. After becoming financially stable, she started college a little late. She is currently focusing on her writing, both scientific and autobiographical. She plans on applying for grad school and pursuing a teaching credential.
Koosha Nouri is a 20-year-old Iranian American from Oakland, California. As a communication studies major, Koosha loves analyzing societal trends and social practices that ultimately shape our culture. Koosha is currently a research assistant for the UCSB department of communication, and is analyzing mainstream media coverage of Immigration and the cognitive/physiological response of individuals who consume this media. Koosha’s love for communication research has led him to observe facets of his personal life to explore how society has shaped his personal identity and self perception. As an openly gay man, Koosha has applied his communication knowledge to analyze the effects that cultural attitudes surrounding heteronormativity have had on his journey of self discovery. Through reflecting and analyzing his own personal experience, Koosha aims to conceptualize social constructs that hold young boys back from self acceptance.
Lilly is a Doctoral student at University of Southern California. She specializes in Corporate Hypnotherapy and focused meditation for companies experiencing challenges. She is an entrepreneur and co-founder of ChunkyBrain, a focused meditation app. After earning her undergraduate degree at Loyola Marymount University and Masters at UCSB, Lilly spent several years teaching. Currently, Lilly is researching the effects of focused meditation and it’s practice in the corporate sector.
Maimuna Syed has worked for statewide and national unions for eight years. Most recently, as Northern California Field Director at California Labor Federation, she directed the political, organizing, and legislative priorities of the organization, its unions, 17 central labor councils, and 1.2 million union members in Northern California. Among her achievements, Maimuna created and managed a ground-breaking training program for union members to promote engagement and leadership development, which has become a model across the labor community. Previously, Maimuna worked as New Mexico State Affiliate Political Organizer for the American Federation of Teachers and as Pennsylvania Political and Legislative Coordinator for AFSCME.
Prior to coming to Emerge CA, Maimuna worked for the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. As Pennsylvania Training Director, she developed and implemented training programs for organizing, leadership development, mobilization and voter contact for over 3,000 staff and volunteers.
Maimuna will be the first Muslim-American to serve as Executive Director in Emerge America’s network of 17 state affiliates.
Matthew Bal is originally from the Big Island of Hawaii, where after graduating high school, opted to attend a gap year program. This led him to volunteer in Bali, Indonesia, learn business skills in San Francisco, and intern in Seattle. His internship eventually became a full-time job, as he now works as a Brand Manager at Experience America marketing and running educational programs. He loves connecting with his students and trying to impact their lives as much as he can. In his free time, he enjoys analyzing games and film, listening to indie music, and generally being a nerd.
Natasha Nema is a second year Economics and Communication double major at UCSB. She is a board member of the American Marketing Society, and has a passion for learning new languages, dancing, teaching, and public speaking. As part of her mixed race upbringing she speaks English, Spanish, French and Hindi. Her love for teaching has seen her instructing preschoolers in her mother’s homeland, Nicaragua, as well as mentoring middle schoolers in English, Math and Speech and Debate for the past 5 summers. She also identifies with her father’s Indian culture and takes an active role on the South Asian student associations on campus, bringing her passion for dance to the university’s Bollywood fusion dance team, Andaaz. Natasha hopes to complete her studies at UCSB and continue making connections through her diversity and love for education and business.
UCSB Middle Eastern Ensemble
The UCSB Middle Eastern Ensemble is an “Ethnomusicology Performance Ensemble” in UCSB's music department. They perform Arab, Turkish, Persian, Armenian, Greek, Sephardic, Oriental Jewish, Kurdish and Assyrian style music in a variety of styles. It was founded by professor of ethnomusicology Scott Marcus in 1989.