• Our Staff

    Paper Airplanes is run by a team of 20+ educators, advocates, aid workers, refugees, and former students, all dedicated to expanding opportunities for those affected by conflict.

    Mukaram Hhana

    Executive Director

    Mukaram is our Executive Director. She wears many different hats, leads Paper Airplanes’ growth and finds new ways to overcome time differences. Having completed her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, she spent two years as the McPherson Eveillard Fellow at Smith College. While global education and digital learning are passions that remain close to her heart and inspire her work at Paper Airplanes, she relocated to southern California in the autumn of 2018 to serve as a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA and take up the mantle that our founder Bailey has so carefully built.

    Gabrielle Wimer

    Managing Director

    Gabrielle (Gabby) Wimer graduated from the University of Chicago in 2016 where she studied the history of medicine and human rights. She first joined Paper Airplanes as a tutor in the fall of 2016 and quickly fell in love with the organization and its mission. Before moving to Amman, Jordan to work as Managing Director, Gabby worked in Guatemala running a program she co-founded called MealFlour which collaborates with local organizations to teach people how to raise mealworms as a more affordable source of protein. In her spare time, she likes to hike, read, and continue her quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

    Chloe Walton

    Director of Development

    Chloe first joined Paper Airplanes as External Relations Manager in March 2018. She graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and a concentration in linguistics in 2016. She was a 2016-2017 fellow with the CASA program in Jordan, and has also lived and studied in Morocco and France. Since returning from Jordan, she has worked with World Learning on the pilot of the Arabic language version of their Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, worked as a case manager at Nationalities Service Center in Philadelphia, and most recently started at HIAS Pennsylvania as a Legal Coordinator.

    Kaitlin Lucas

    English Program Manager

    Kaitlin Lucas is currently pursuing an MSEd: Information Technology and Instructional Design Certificate at Western Oregon University. As a CELTA-certified English language instructor, she has taught in France, Poland, and the U.S. for the past five years, and has been working with Paper Airplanes' English Program since July 2017. She is passionate about making educational opportunities accessible to conflict-affected communities through digital platforms.

    Myuri Komaragiri

    Youth Exchange Program Manager

    Myuri is passionate about education access in conflict affected contexts, particularly for young girls and women. She has worked as a teacher and on education projects in Guatemala, Morocco and Jordan, and has conducted trainings and workshops on “Building Social Justice Classrooms” and “Intercultural Coexistence.” She completed her MA in Education and International Development from University College London’s Institute of Education, with a dissertation focusing on equitable solutions to higher education access for refugees. She loves learning languages, and has working knowledge in French, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, and Telugu. Myuri is based in Toronto, and loves fostering dogs and cats when she can.

     

    Mohammad Aljamous

    Program Media Manager

    Mohammad Aljamous graduated from Yarmouk University, with a B.S. in Business Administration. Born and raised in Syria, lived in Jordan to complete his studies and because of the war, worked in the humanitarian sector and developed a career in Public Relations and Data Analysis and recently he moved to Canada.
    In 2015 he joined Paper Airplanes as an English language student, and after this, he joined the executive team. He is a firm believer in the right of education for refugees and conflict victims. He hopes the Paper Airplanes mission will make a true impact on students' life.

    Gray Babbs

    Tutor Recruitment Coordinator

    Gray originally hails from the pocket-sized city of Paducah, Kentucky. In 2018, they graduated from Carleton College where they studied biology and Middle East studies. After discovering a love of English teaching through four years of work with Paper Airplanes, they moved to Bahrain to pursue this passion further through a Fulbright Fellowship. When not teaching, they play water polo and frisbee, read a lot of classic literature, and bake at least one new bread recipe a week.

    Hieu Vo

    English Program Coordinator

    Hailing from Vietnam to the US, Hieu graduated the University of Maryland, College Park with a BA in Linguistics and a minor in Chinese in 2018. With a deep passion for linguistics, intercultural exchange and community service, Hieu is currently volunteering teaching English in Chile with el Programa Inglés Abre Puertas. She is hoping to encourage young students to see how learning a foreign language, especially English, could truly open doors to new opportunities and new horizons. Hieu has received admission to pursue an M.A. in Multilingualism and Foreign Language Acquisition at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and she is seriously contemplating living on the fourth continent of her life!

    Nadya Sidki

    English Program Reading and Conversation Groups Coordinator

    My name is Nadya Sidki. I have been involved with Paper Airplanes for a year and half, and now am the English Program Coordinator here at Paper Airplanes. I am a public health professional with a master's in Global Health (MPH Global Health). I am Syrian American, and have always had a passion for volunteering and helping the community. In the past I volunteered at a local hospital, and also volunteered with children with Autism or related disorders. A few activities I love to do are: spending time with family and friends, reading, watching movies, and hiking.

    Sasha Kleiman

    Creative Director

    Sasha graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Painting and Printmaking in 2016. After graduation, she volunteered with the nonprofit Bike & Build and landed in Boston, where she now works as an illustrator and designer (www.sasha.work). Since joining the PA team in 2017 as Video Coordinator, Sasha continues to support PA's mission on the operations side of the organization. In her free time, Sasha enjoys baking sourdough bread.

    Sofia Gazzotti

    Data Manager

    Sofia earned a triple-degree in business administration in May 2017 from the University of Southern California, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Bocconi University (Italy). She is passionate about women's rights and education, and joined Paper Airplanes with the goal of creating new opportunities for those students who need them the most. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she currently lives in New York City, where she works in management consulting.

    Sarah Khan

    Educational Specialist

    Sarah Khan graduated with a M.Ed. in Professional and Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvania in 2015 after completing her Honors B.A. in English and Linguistics and Language Studies at York University, Toronto. In 2015, she was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship as an ETA in Turkey where she applied her pedagogical training and years of service as a student and community activist. Her passion lies in advocating for fair educational policies; creating accessible, quality-driven, and sustainable learning opportunities in post-conflict communities; and connecting students around the world to demonstrate the transformative value of personal relationships. Developing curricula and educational materials for Paper Airplanes encompasses all of these passions and has been her most rewarding project yet!

    Anna Farrell

    Educational Specialist

    Anna Farrell graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2016 with PhD in comparative and international development education and an MA in linguistics. Her dissertation entitled "There is no nation without language (Ní tir gan teanga): Language policy and the Irish Dance Commission", won the outstanding dissertation award from the Language Issues Significant Interest Group of the Comparative and International Education Society. In addition to leading Paper Airplanes programs and pilots, Anna is a freelance academic editor and teaches adult intermediate level English to immigrants in Minnesota. In her free time Anna studies Irish and Arabic, Irish dances, bakes pies, and plays with her pet rabbit.

    Mert Arikan

    Turkish Program Manager

    Mert moved to the US two years ago from Istanbul, Turkey to continue his education. Currently he lives in Washington D.C.. He studied finance in Turkey. He loves politics. He got involved in political activities eight years ago, and he's still active with one of the biggest political parties in Turkey. He works really hard to make American/Turkish relations stronger while representing Turkish culture to the community. People say that he has a great voice. He makes sure that he plays soccer twice a week. He is in charge of the Turkish program, and sees that Turkish tutors feel great empathy towards their students. He strongly believes that we can solve problems with love, cultural interactions and by teaching Turkish.

    Marwa Darweesh

    Women in Tech Program Instructor

    Marwa recently graduated from Damascus University where she studied information technology engineering. She's passionate about learning English, reading books and teaching others. She firmly believes she was given a lot and now it's her turn to give back. She's interested in children's and women's issues and she's been ready to volunteer in these areas whenever she's had the chance. She's hoping to pursue a Master's Degree in Artificial Intelligence in the coming year. Her favorite quote is "There is no talent here, there is only hard work."

    Hussein Akoush

    Journalism Program Instructor

    Hussein Akoush is a Syrian freelance journalist based in Turkey. He has written for The Guardian, The Telegraph, Middle East Eye, Daily Mail, Syria Deeply and other media outlets. In Syria, he studied dentistry for one semester then was forced to drop out in 2012 due to his activism. As an ambitious young man he didn’t give up, even though it was a challenge to overcome many obstacles and to start again. He began volunteering in medical facilities and then started working as a media activist, covering daily updates on all aspects of the war. He became interested in journalism due to the absence of objectivity and professionalism in Syria’s media outlets. Hussein was previously a student in the Paper Airplanes English Program.

    Stephanie Stewart

    English Program Tutor and Student Coordinator

    Stephanie is a junior at the University of Georgia majoring in International Affairs, Women's Studies, and Economics with a minor in Arabic. She spent her spring semester in Madrid, Spain studying at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and this academic year is studying at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, Oman. She loves traveling and learning new languages and she hopes to utilize her experiences working towards gender parity in negotiations of peace accords! She has been with Paper Airplanes now for over a year and a half and hopes to stay involved for much, much longer.

    Wynter Oshiberu

    English Program Tutor Coordinator

    Wynter Oshiberu has had a deep curiosity for languages and cultures from a very young age, and as she grew older her curiosity has blossomed into an appreciation for the mutual interests that individuals from various backgrounds share. These interests developed into her passions, thus, she has worked with researchers, academics and thought leaders on various topics pertaining to the well-being and advancement of marginalized communities. She is most passionate about promoting and ensuring quality education for women and girls, especially in lower socio-economic settings and post conflict regions. As an avid language and education enthusiast, she has continued to augment her language skills and believes that technology will play a role in the amelioration of many social and global issues.

    Christina Fuleihan

    English Program Student Coordinator

    Christina Fuleihan will graduate from Rollins College in 2019. She is currently an undergraduate, premedical student pursuing degrees in biochemistry and philosophy, with a concentration in neuroscience. She is passionate about learning and believes that education transcends all borders. As a lifelong activist and volunteer, she is especially thankful to have been given the chance to help fellow students achieve their own goals through this program.

    Ibrahim Alaboud

    English Program Student Coordinator

    I graduated from the University of Aleppo in 2014 with a master's degree in criminal law. Born and raised in Syria, I moved to Lebanon to complete my studies. In 2018, I joined Paper Airplanes as an English language student, and afterwards, applied to be part of the PA team. I am currently volunteering with Paper Airplanes as a student coordinator.

     

    Bianca Navia

    English Program Tutor Coordinator

    Bianca, originally from Houston, Texas, is an undergraduate student at Arizona State University with a major in Political Science. Her career goals are to attend graduate school, join the US Foreign Service, teach English abroad, and travel. At Paper Airplanes, she is an English tutor and Tutor Coordinator. She also leads an English conversation group for advanced English speakers. Two fun facts about her are that she's the oldest of four sisters and she can speak German and Spanish (and she's currently learning Italian)!

    Parth Patel

    English Program Tutor Coordinator

    I am a senior at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN (about to graduate in May!) where I am pursuing a degree in Neuroscience. I started out with Paper Airplanes last year and since then have loved to be a part of the organization. I am extremely passionate about education and outreach, which is why this has been such a wonderful experience. In my free time I enjoy reading, hiking, and baking.

    Sam Schnirring

    English Program Tutor Coordinator

    Sam began as a tutor for Paper Airplanes two years ago and has been a Tutor Coordinator for one year. She is a junior at Carleton College in Minnesota, where she studies political science, Arabic, and Middle Eastern studies.

    Hannah Erdogan

    English Program Tutor Coordinator

    My name is Hannah Erdogan, and I am a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. I am on a Pre-med track, planning on majoring in Psychology and Modern Middle Eastern Studies. In the future, I hope to become a physician in Philadelphia, bringing healthcare to refugees and other marginalized groups. I am passionate about languages, interfaith dialogue, and intercultural exchange. At Penn, I am the Director of Academic Mentorship for Penn Undergraduates for Refugee Empowerment and serve as the Tutor Coordinator for Paper Airplanes. In my free time, I enjoy practicing Taekwondo, dabbling in yoga, and exploring coffee shops throughout Philadelphia!

    Deidra Denson

    English Program Tutor Coordinator

    Deidra is currently a tutor coordinator of the English Program at Paper Airplanes. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary with a degree in English and Hispanic Studies. Her passion is tutoring international students in English. Currently, she is in training to teach ESOL classes at Peninsula READS in Virginia. She plans to continue her education either domestically or abroad and find work as an Assistant Language Teacher. When she is not sending a lot of emails, she is reading tons of blogs, researching new ways of effective English tutoring, studying new languages, and watching anime.

     

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