Our Interns

Amelia Ortix,
Administrator and Programs Coordinator
Grant Writer

Amelia is a 2020 Master in Public Administration and a specialist in Conflict Resolution at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Identifying as Indigenous, Amelia feels particularly called to the work of healing historical trauma and truth-telling from an Indigenous perspective.


Amelia is passionate about the work of advocating for Indigenous rights as well as women's rights, mental health and wellness, and racial reconciliation.  

Layisha Paerhati
Innovate-a-thon Intern
Grant Writing

Layisha is a graduate student in International Policy and Development at Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Her areas of focus are mixed methods analysis, program evaluation, social justice, and conflict resolution. Layisha specializes in Monitoring, Evaluation, and Design.She completed her undergraduate degree in International Relations from Erciyes University in Turkey, during which she had the privilege of studying in Germany and South Korea. Exposure to an international environment at an early age has given Layisha a diverse understanding of language and culture, a proactive personality, and strong personal relations skills.

Lotus Chen
Innovate-a-thhon Intern
Grant Writing
Chen, Lotus photo .png

Xuelian (Lotus) Chen is a candidate for a Masters in International Policy and Development and a specialist in Conflict Resolution at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Lotus was born in China and came to the US after working as a journalist on global politics and culture in China and India. She published a book while in India, Our Familiar and Unfamiliar Neighbor in both simplified and traditional Chinese.
She strives to combine her two areas of knowledge (journalism and international development) to contribute to gender equality, trauma healing, youth empowerment, and the sustainable and cultural development fields.

Shinae Meylor,
Website Developer and Reconciliation Curriculum Summer Coordinator

Shinae is an International and Policy Development masters candidate with a specialization in Migration, Trafficking, and Human Security. She has spent the last decade working with organizations focusing on community impact and development.


Having worked with underserved communities, Shinae understands the importance of sustainability. Through her public workings, she values what creates change in a community--- it is not only access to funding. It is also behavior change through health (mental and physical), savings, and sustainability.  

Alison Climes
Innovate-a-thon Intern

Making positive changes for the future requires healing past traumas. Alison believes that moving forward towards a healthier, kind and inclusive society is only realistic if first work is done to address root causes of harm. Reconciliation and peace-building work is a much needed process and is necessary on an individual, familial and community level. Alison is especially interested in empowering youth to create sustainable change for the future after having working in a variety of educational capacities inside and outside of the classroom. She is currently studying International Education with a focus on the effects cross-cultural exchange programs can have on creating more equitable and just communities.

Shaziya Netto
 Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator

Shaziya is a masters candidate in international policy and development with a specialization in Conflict Resolution, Peace-building, and Monitoring and Evaluation. Shaziya also has an abundance of professional experience working in the financial sector in India. She strives to combine her two areas of knowledge to help build stronger M&E and feedback frameworks that aid in strengthening peace-building programs.  When asked about reconciliation, she considers it almost essential to the point of necessity, giving us hope for a better future.

Rachel Popik Grants Writing Coordinator

Rachel is an international development professional focusing on Women, Peace, and Security. She has over five years experience working in both the nonprofit sector and federal government.  She has lived and worked in West Africa as well as consulted for organizations in Rwanda, Ghana, and Ethiopia. Rachel is currently pursuing a masters degree in Public Administration specializing in Human Rights, Gender and Identity. Rachel’s passion for reconciliation work comes through personal experiences and a realization that without forgiveness, reparations, and trust, people cannot fully heal from trauma. 

Miranda Meyer,
Curriculum Development Coordinator

Miranda is an international development and intercultural communication professional with several years of experience working in the nonprofit and healthcare fields. Her work experience includes four years as an HIV counselor as well as a communications liaison for the Evangelical Lutheran Church Association. She has lived and worked in Central America and consulted for organizations in Nepal, India, Nicaragua, and Ghana. Her strengths include emotional intelligence, survey design, and program management. Her interests are conflict resolution, community development, and citizen diplomacy.  

Amanda Larson,
Curriculum Development and Special Projects Coordinator

 When asked what her passions are, the first thing that comes to Amanda's mind is people. Amanda has always striven to understand, listen, and learn from all of the different people she has had the privilege of interacting with in her life. She has recently made the commitment to dedicate her career to elevating others' voices in order to continue unwrapping all of the neglected histories that exist within all communities. Through this work, Amanda hopes to contribute to diminishing social inequities and inequalities.