Meet the Interns
Jada Bullen - Office of the Dean of Students
Raised in Miami, Jada Bullen graduated with honors from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she majored in culture and politics and minored in Arabic. Coming from a multicultural background, Jada chose to focus her studies on global migration and post-colonial media which sparked her interest in the Middle East. She was a Critical Language Scholar in Oman and studied abroad in Morocco, where she also interned at Mohammed V University. Jada worked as a peer advisor in the Georgetown Office of Global Education, a blogger for Georgetown’s Office of Communications, and an alumni ambassador for the Institute for the International Education of Students. She also interned at the Palestine Center, the Jerusalem Fund’s center for education and advocacy.
Gemma Porras - Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment (RISE)
Gemma Porras grew up in southwest Virginia, and has spent the last four years studying at Williams College in Massachusetts, where she recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in geosciences. At Williams, Gemma enjoyed working as a teaching assistant and rock-climbing instructor. She was an active member of a campus volunteer group and the Williams cross country team. Gemma has spent time abroad volunteering at a school in the Dominican Republic and hiking across Spain on El Camino de Santiago. Her geosciences experience also led her to visit field sites in Baja, Mexico, to study sustainable development and local geology, and to the Mississippi River region of Louisiana to study hydrology. In her free time Gemma enjoys exploring the outdoors, hanging out with her dog Pumpkin and eating chocolate croissants.
Danielle Recanati - Office of the Provost
Raised in New York City, Danielle Recanati graduated with honors from Washington University in St. Louis, with degrees in Islamic studies and international affairs. While at Wash U., Danielle was president of Wash U Foreign Policy Engagement and also served as the International Relief and Outreach Committee Chair for Sigma Iota Rho, an international studies honor society. In addition to St. Louis, Danielle took her studies to Jordan and Morocco, where she focused on honing her Arabic skills. Danielle has been passionate about studying the Middle East since the age of 15, when she attended the Seeds of Peace camp, which brings youth from areas of conflict together. Danielle was also a Middle East Program intern at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a foreign policy think tank in Washington D.C.
David Folsom - Office of the Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance
David Folsom grew up near the beautiful farmland of central New Jersey in a small town called Clinton. He graduated from Williams College with a degree in physics and a concentration in leadership studies. At Williams, David was heavily involved year-round with the varsity cross-country and track and field teams, eventually becoming a track and field captain his senior year. David also spent three years in college participating in the Air Force ROTC program, and worked on his own over the summers to get his private pilot’s license. A passion for traveling and learning about new cultures led David this past summer to spend three months living and working in Burkina Faso. While there he was introduced to community health development work and had the opportunity to live in a rural village with a Burkinabe host family. David is very excited about being part of the AUC community, and thrilled to have the opportunity to live and work in such an interesting city.
Calvin Harrison - Office of Sustainability
Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Calvin studied at Yale University, where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in environmental studies and modern Middle East studies. As a native desert dweller, his academic interests focus on sustainable urban development and transportation in arid regions. During college, he spent seven months in Amman, Jordan, where he studied, researched wine and olive oil production and interned at the Hashemite Fund, a local organization focused on sustainable development in Bedouin communities. He has studied Arabic for six years, including a summer in Marrakech, Morocco, and conducted thesis fieldwork at a sustainable agriculture NGO for Bedouin in the Naqab Desert. At Yale, Calvin was involved in intramural athletics, on-campus sustainability, the Yale Refugee Project and the Yale Herald, an alternative weekly newspaper. When he’s not working, you can find Calvin spending time outside: on his bike, hiking or just laying in the sun reading. If it’s too hot for that, look for him at an art museum or a coffee shop.
Elizabeth Lepro - Office of Advancement and Communications, Communications
Elizabeth Lepro is a northeast Pennsylvania native who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a dual degree in sociology and non-fiction English writing. As both a freelancer and staff writer, Liz has worked at various publications in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and San Antonio, Texas. Though she spent most of her college career holed up in the student newspaper office, Liz also took part in 24-hour theater and a collaborative poetry group she founded. This is Liz's first time living outside the U.S. In her free time, you can find her frantically studying Arabic and wandering wide-eyed around the city's various neighborhoods.
Sofia Vargas - Office of Advancement and Communications, Advancement
Sofia was born and raised in San Diego, California, and she graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a degree in international politics, a minor in French and a certificate in international development. While at Georgetown, Sofia was involved in Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice (CSJ) where she worked as an ESL tutor and program coordinator at the D.C. Schools Project and as a participant and eventual trip leader in the CSJ’s Alternative Breaks Program. Driven by her passion for human rights and the common good, Sofia has also interned at the Latin America Working Group, the Center for Justice and International Law and Georgetown’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership. Sofia speaks Spanish, French and Portuguese, and she is eager to learn as much Arabic as she can during her year at AUC.
Laila Al-Soulaiman - Office of the President
Raised in Pittsburgh, Laila Al-Soulaiman is a Syrian-American transplant from Dubai, UAE. Laila graduated with honors from the University of Pittsburgh, with a degree in political science and a certificate in Arabic. During her undergraduate career, Laila dedicated most of her time to social justice work outside of the classroom. Laila served as the assistant executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, a faith-based nonprofit and later, as the project coordinator at Change Agency, a social enterprise leading an immigrant integration plan. These professional experiences are underpinned by Laila's independent activism. Since the age of 16, she has worked to begin a conversation within the Pittsburgh community about the ongoing conflict in Syria. Her advocacy campaign includes partnering with nonprofits, creating publicly funded installation art, and teaching in local high schools. Laila is a recipient of the Women and Girl’s Foundation’s ‘Women Having a Global Impact: Emerging Leader’ award. Laila's four years of experience in the nonprofit sector display her interdisciplinary and holistic approach to community building. She is thrilled to have started a new, exciting journey at the American University in Cairo.
Jena Lopez — Office of Data Analytics and Institutional Research (DAIR)
Born and raised in Ohio, Jena Lopez graduated from Rice University with a degree in economics. On campus, she did research in the Department of Political Science, Religion and Public Life Program and the Center for Civic Leadership, in addition to giving tours to prospective students. Jena also spent a semester in Washington, D.C. studying American foreign policy, studied Spanish and political science in Peru and traveled to Jerusalem as part of a class at Rice. She is particularly interested in refugee and migration issues, as she has both worked at and volunteered with nonprofit organizations in Houston that assist refugees. In her spare time, she enjoys crocheting, reading The Economist, running and drinking tea.