TYO Fellow Alumni: Where are They Now?
By building relationships with Nabulsis, particularly residents of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods and refugee camps in the city, I began to learn about the very real injustices and challenges in their lives, as well as some successful ways of addressing those issues through programs and policies.
A Silver Spring, MD native, Karen taught Recycled Crafts, Women's English and Professional Competency at An Najah University as a fellow at TYO Nablus.
What was your favorite moment/story from your time with TYO?
One of my favorite moments at TYO was watching InsideOut Project participants smear wheatpaste all over the wall on Faisal Street, their posters, and, occasionally, themselves, as they brought their faces and statements of identity to Nablus and the world.
I am so proud to have played a role in supporting these teenagers, who brought the global InsideOut project to Nablus. Throughout the project, they were so impressive, both as artists and as young people with strong visions for their personal futures and the futures of their community. I learned a lot from them, and it was such a pleasure to see the project come to fruition in such a dramatic, public way.
What do you miss most about TYO or Nablus?
I miss the kunafeh, obviously, given that I ate it nearly daily for my first couple of weeks in the city. More importantly, though, I miss all of the TYO staff and volunteers I had the privilege of working with. Without fail, they made even the most tedious tasks--like coding data for the Needs Assessment and trash pick-up--interesting and a ton of fun.
What have you been up to after leaving Nablus and what are your plans for the future?
I recently began working at the National Academy of Sciences on a project that examines research on health, nutrition, social protection, and education for children from birth to age 8. My TYO experiences laid the groundwork for this very interesting work.
How do you think TYO affected you personally and professionally?
As my first post-college work experience, I developed many important professional skills at TYO. Even more importantly, by building relationships with Nabulsis, particularly residents of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods and refugee camps in the city, I began to learn about the very real injustices and challenges in their lives, as well as some successful ways of addressing those issues through programs and policies. This learning has impacted my professional goals in a profound way.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering applying for a TYO internship?
Think back to your 10-year-old self and remember the activities and places that you loved best. Read the information on TYO's website about the challenges facing this community, and begin to envision what life is like for a 10-year-old. Now ask, what can you offer to bridge the gap? What passions and skills can you share with children in Nablus? Do the same exercise to imagine what you can offer to university students and adult women. WIth that, you'll begin to identify what you can contribute to the TYO community.