Alumni Spotlight: Kristen Aster and Tammy Lin

SDLA alumnae are playing an integral role in the globally important humanitarian work involving Syrian refugees and asylum seekers, while also educating Americans on the importance of continuing the U.S.'s long tradition of immigration.

Kristen Aster (2015 alumna), Manager of the Hunger Advocacy Network at Jewish Family Service (JFS) has moved to Washington, D.C. where she will serve as Policy and Advocacy Officer for the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Kristen will support the IRC's implementation of a robust advocacy strategy related to the Syrian refugee crisis. Her work will entail raising awareness of Syrian and other refugee resettlement in the U.S. in the context of the wider refugee response in the Middle East and now in Europe. The goal of these efforts is to maintain and strengthen political and community support for U.S. resettlement, and increase grassroots engagement on refugee resettlement.

The work of board member and 2012 alumna Tammy Lin is also shifting to focus on Syrians. For seven years as part of the Prins asylum program at JFS, Tammy has worked in collaboration with New York-based HIAS, the oldest resettlement agency in the U.S., to provide free legal representation to asylum seekers with backgrounds as scientists, musicians, artists, scholars and professionals. The Prins program is now known as the Syrian Humanitarian Crisis Response Project (SHCRP). With local funding, the SHCRP will focus on representation and community outreach to Syrians seeking asylum protection in San Diego County while also building a regional infrastructure in advance of the anticipated resettlement of Syrian refugees.

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