We are happy to welcome our latest batch of interns at the New York headquarters! Meet Quina, Lauren, Maria, Randall, Adrian, Monica, Br. Thomas Martin, Kristyn, Carissa, Michelle and Michael.
Quina Baterna is an incoming senior at the Ateneo de Manila University studying Information Design. She was the Co-President of 180 Degrees Consulting Philippines, a non-profit organization that helps socially conscious organizations improve their capacity to help others, the former Chairman of the Dept. of Corporate Relations for her university student council, and the former Creative Director of the Asia Pacific Student Entrepreneurship Society (ASES) Philippines. She was an intern for Alterfin, an alternative finance company in Brussels, Belgium, that caters to developing countries before becoming a regional intern in WYA Asia Pacific and WYA Headquarters in New York. She also starred as Matt in the Southeast Asian premiere of “Matt & Ben”, gave a handful of talks and seminars on student consultancy and is a varsity member of her university pistol shooting team. She is very passionate about social entrepreneurship, travel and culture. She hopes to see more of the world and use her skills to defend dignity through social businesses and the arts to help make it a better place.
Lauren Benzing hails from the small, rural town of Solon, Iowa. She is currently working towards bachelor’s degrees in Theology and Philosophy from Benedictine College (and is consequently becoming quite fond of late night theological debates and metaphysical musings). In her spare time, Lauren enjoys writing, singing, exercising, and curling up with a great book. An avid distance runner and member of the Benedictine Track and Cross Country teams, Lauren is also involved in the Gregorian Fellows leadership program, respect life club, and ministry team at her college. She is an aficionado of jazz music and love stories… and a self-proclaimed chocoholic. More than anything though, Lauren craves truth and desires to lead others to truth. She is passionate about the Catholic faith and about defending the dignity of the human person, promoting human rights, and glorifying God through her endeavors. Lauren has been actively involved in the pro-life movement throughout her high school and college years, taking a leadership role in numerous pro-life initiatives and organizations. She has a strong desire to illuminate the intrinsic value of every human life and to assist people in realizing their potential for greatness. She spent last summer ministering to hundreds of young people as a catechetical teacher in various parishes throughout northwest Iowa. She is more than excited to intern with World Youth Alliance this summer and to start a WYA chapter on her college campus in the fall, where she plans to facilitate Track-A training and bring WYA’s mission to the greater Kansas City area and beyond.
Maria Estraviz Pardo pursued a Master’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering at the Higher School of Telecommunications Engineering in the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Afterward, she completed her Master’s Thesis at the University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil.
Besides the college academics, she has always been actively involved in volunteer activities. She has been a member of an NGO since 2009 when she was part of different campaigns ranging from building restoration to a month-long volunteer term working with children. However, it was not until she lived in Brazil that she became aware about the importance of human dignity and the necessity of its promotion and protection among our societies. This is what made her eager to know more about WYA and its projects. Before applying for the International internship in New York, she completed an internship at the European office in Brussels.
Active, curious and open-minded, she loves traveling and sports. She thirsts for finding solutions to problems and developing ideas to improve the quality of life.
Randall Fowler received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Religion in 2012 and is currently engaged in graduate study at Baylor University in Rhetoric. In 2013 he served as a community development AmeriCorps VISTA in Waco, TX, and in 2014 Randall was a US Student Fulbright grantee to Amman, Jordan. His experience helping others, especially volunteering with Syrian refugees while in Jordan, taught him the importance of promoting human dignity on an international scale. To that end, Randall intends to continue teaching at the collegiate level and help raise up students who are dedicated to promoting human flourishing around the world. His research interests include the intersection of Rhetoric and Christian Theology, US Foreign Policy Rhetoric, and Middle East Politics. An Abilene native, Randall loves all things Texas as well as reading good books, learning languages, and traveling.
Adrian Jugaru is a Social Communication and Public Relations graduate, with a Philosophy background. He has been involved in artistic projects, such as writing and art making. He has been featured in several literature magazines and in one collective book. His collages have been showed in places such as Nanyang (Singapore), London, and Bucharest and have made the subject of auctions for humanitarian fund raising such as for the victims of typhoon Yolanda and the children taken care of by the Bethany Association in Iasi, Romania. Along with some friends, he runs the Association for the Environment and Local Sustainable Development, an NGO that runs locally in his hometown and the entire Vrancea District. After working in the marketing and advertising field in Romania, he is now a Marketing Intern at the WYA Headquarters in New York.
Monica Marin studied International Relations at Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala City. She also has studies in law from Istmo University in the same city. Back in Guatemala she collaborates with different organizations that promotes human dignity and family values. Recently she finished an internship at the Organization of American States in the office of Guatemala. Last summer she did an internship in Mexico City at the regional office of World Youth Alliance Latin America. Monica has a special interest in the areas of education, public policy and international law where she can promote the family as the basis of society and the dignity of the human person.
Br. Thomas Martin Miller holds a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree with concentrations in philosophy, mathematics, and international studies, and is currently a graduate student in philosophy and theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. Prior to entering the Dominicans, he had been a computer network manager, done work in the philosophy of chemistry, and volunteered as an emergency medical technician for Team Rubicon, a disaster-response NGO. Working as a direct-care aide for mentally handicapped persons helped show Br. Thomas Martin the dignity of all persons, and experience as a tutor in various after-school programs showed him the importance and difficulty of communicating human dignity to youth. Br. Thomas Martin is very excited to combine those experiences with his philosophical knowledge to further WYA’s Human Dignity Curriculum. He has been interested in global institutions since he attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for International Studies in 2000. In his free time, Br. Thomas Martin enjoys reading, hiking, and going for a sail when he has the chance.
Kristyn Rooney is a Marketing major at Loyola University Maryland. She is a member of the club swim team at Loyola. She wants to travel the world, experiencing different people and cultures. She love hearing stories and learning from others. She attended World Youth Day in Brazil in summer of 2013. She was amazed and inspired by the number of youth who share in the same values and principles as she does. It confirmed her belief that the youth of the world are a powerful force and together they can make the world into a better place for all.
This past March, she attended a Peace and Justice Studies lecture at Loyola and it was here that she understood the importance of collectively recognizing the intrinsic nature of human dignity. The lecture discussed the details of the Parents Circle-Families Forum, which is a joint Palestinian and Israeli organization of families who have been affected by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. She was moved by the degree of forgiveness and peace these exhibited. These families show that by working together progress can be made to improve society. They understood that every life is valuable despite opposing religious beliefs and despite conflict over land.
Carissa Tinley is working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics at New York University. She loves traveling, learning new languages, and exploring foreign cultures. In summer 2014, she worked for a disability law firm, where she assisted in the evidence collection process for clients in need of government assistance. In January 2015, she traveled to the Dominican Republic for a service trip with Hugh O’Brian Youth (HOBY), a non-profit which teaches young people leadership, service and citizenship. After the trip she was selected to be an intern for HOBY for the spring semester. As such, she did research for future youth leadership programs and compiled a fundraising guide for students. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she plans to go to law school to become an international human rights lawyer, so that she can defend human dignity on a larger scale. She is a proud Texan, and loves to fish, ride four wheelers, and road trip while she’s in her home state.
Michelle Volk is a third year at New York University, studying to receive a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Ecology. She is originally from Illinois and loves gardening, animals, dinosaurs, and being outside. She is currently working in a molecular biology lab at NYU studying influenza and genome-sequencing techniques. Michelle also enjoys playing piano, viola, and singing, and will drop everything at the chance to see a Broadway musical.
Michelle became passionate about promoting human dignity when she first learned about FEMM, a knowledge-based fertility program aimed at helping women understand and manage their fertility. After spending two years on a college campus, she realized how many young women need a program like FEMM to help them make important decisions about their health. She is now a FEMM intern, and is enjoying the opportunity to make a difference in women’s lives, education, and self-confidence.
Michael Wang is a rising freshman at Hamilton College who just finished high school at West Essex High School this spring. During his last summer in high school, Michael acted as a student ambassador for the US to Finland, spending two months in Taipalsaari, a rural area in South-East Finland. In the two months that he was an ambassador, he explored the embassies and met with prominent dignitaries in both Finland and Washington, D.C. to speak about education and environment relations between the two countries. While Michael misses his host family and friends that he’s made, he was more than excited to come back this year and apply to college, ultimately deciding to go to a small Liberal Arts College. Michael hopes in the next four years to continue his love for playing cello, something he’s been doing since he was eight, but also try and pick up a new sport and find a new passion! A long-term goal of Michael’s is connecting people from all different backgrounds. This acted as a catalyst for him to start a Student Against Destructive Decisions chapter at his school, a student organization with the purpose of creating a club that helped foster a good community where all students could feel at home. In the next couple months, Michael can’t wait to become part of the WYA family as well as start the next chapter of his life at college!