Our New Team, or, Happy Hellos — Fall 2016 Edition

Our new team, from high atop our world headquarters in the Casey Building (L-R): Khadija, Shan and Mandy.

Our entire team of fabulous students graduated this past June, which means we are now welcoming three new awesome Seattle U seniors to our project. All of them bring a wide range of talents and experience, plus excitement about our upcoming activities and a deep desire to bring change. Welcome to the project, Khadija, Shan and Mandy!

In alphabetical order…

Khadija Diallo, Project Assistant


Khadija Diallo is a senior majoring in Strategic Communications at SU. Originally, from Senegal, Khadija moved to Seattle with her family 10 years ago. She says she developed her passion for public service as a teenager, when she volunteered as an algebra tutor at her high school and at her neighborhood library, and co-founded her school’s teen health club.

She continued her volunteer work as a freshman at SU, tutoring math for fourth-graders at SU’s partner elementary school, Bailey-Gatzert. Throughout her college career she has been working at a local medical center as a hearing screener to detect and report newborn hearing loss. She completed a marketing internship at PACCAR Leasing Company this summer and is an officer in the SU chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. She has written for the SU Spectator campus newspaper and contributed a Seattle Times op-ed about diversity, opportunity and the Oscars earlier this year (she was one of the youngest writers ever to have an op-ed accepted).

Khadija’s dream is to be a public service attorney someday. Welcome, Khadija!

Mandy Rusch, Digital Design Project Assistant


Mandy Rusch is a Digital Design senior and is the fourth student recommended to us by Digital Design Prof. Naomi Kasumi, who each year identifies a student who she thinks would be a great fit for our project. She’s been right every time — just look at our past designers, McKenna Haley, Krista Kent and Amy Phung — and we are excited to have Mandy join the team.

Mandy worked with Prof. Kasumi in studio on the preparation of a large-scale art installation for Soji-ji Temple in Yokohama, Japan, and assisted in the on-site installation of an art piece at University of British Columbia. She is also involved as a graphic designer for the SU Spectator campus newspaper and as a marketing assistant designing promotional materials for SU’s Fine Arts department.

She is a student-athlete for the SU Track and Field team, and has spent her past few summers teaching STEM skills to elementary-school children through summer camp programming and classroom volunteering. Welcome, Mandy! (And thanks again, Prof. Kasumi!)

Shan Yonamine, Project Assistant


A senior majoring in Strategic Communications, Shan Yonamine says she has a strong interest in how mass media portrays marginalized people.

She worked for two years as a writing consultant in the SU Writing Center, helping students improve their academic writing skills, before joining us in August 2016. She has completed an internship with KiloWatts for Humanity, a nonprofit that provides  electrification to rural areas, increasing the organization’s social media presence while creating fund-raising ad promotional materials.

Like Khadija, Shan is an officer in the SU Public Relations Student Society of America chapter.  She also works as a desk assistant for SU Housing and Residence Life and is a Dean’s List Scholar. She is from Hawaii but loves Seattle. Welcome, Shan!

Update on the Class of 2015

Haley Lewis, at the laptop where she produced numerous StoryCorps pieces, including the conversation with Vince Matulionis.

Haley Jo Lewis, our project assistant from 2014-2015, just accepted a position at the Seattle Times as a marketing coordinator in early September 2016. We were already planning to congratulate her in this “Happy Hellos” post. But then, some sad news hit our homelessness community this week: Our colleague Vince Matulionis of United Way of King County died Sept. 26, 2016 after a long illness. Coincidentally, Haley helped produce an audio piece two years ago that is a great reflection of Vince’s legacy.

Many tributes have been pouring out for Vince, and a lot of them have shared the audio piece that Haley produced from Vince’s StoryCorps conversation with our project director, Catherine. After producing the three-minute audio piece from that 40-minute conversation, Haley wrote a Firesteel post describing the process of producing an audio piece for the first time, and what she learned about Vince from listening to his voice for several hours as she put the story together.

What a treasure Haley created for us. If you haven’t heard it yet, please take a listen to the three-minute story and help us remember a beloved champion for helping end homelessness in our community. And thank you, Haley, for your wonderful work that lives on. Best wishes to you in your new career!