Our 2021 Fellows

The Karel Fellowship has been around since 2012. There have been eight classes of Fellows so far, and we’re so excited to welcome our ninth class of Fellows this summer.

Qing Yu Chen (She/Her/Hers) is a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar at Columbia University, studying Political Science. She is an advocate for children and women’s rights. Last summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she interned for the Women and Family Ascending Association, a nonprofit that offers mental health counseling and social services to victims of domestic violence. During her internship, she helped rebuild the organization’s website, fundraised, and delivered food and personal protective equipment to partner organizations and clients.  Qing Yu is also an accomplished violinist! She was admitted to the Juilliard Pre-College Division when she was nine years old and has been mentoring young violinists for two years. 

This summer, Qing Yu will be interning at Human Rights Watch, a leading international nonprofit organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights.  


Kassandra Luis (She/Her/Hers) is a student at the University of Florida, studying Advertising and Business Administration. Having been born mute, Kassandra’s superpower is finding and using her voice to help others and herself speak their truth. As a Hispanic pansexual woman, Kassandra utilizes her role as the student ambassador and marketing intern at the Office of Multicultural and Diversity Affairs to advocate for other communities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, particularly the “+” part. Kassandra is also committed to lifting Latina women up on campus through her work as a co-manager of the Latina Empowerment Symposium.

This summer, Kassandra will be interning at Human Rights Watch, a leading international nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the research and advocacy on human rights. 

 


Christian Donaldson (She/Her/Hers) is a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, studying Anthropology and Political Science. She knows firsthand what it means to defy all odds. Growing up under tough circumstances, Christian endured many years of abuse. Academics were her saving grace. When Christian went back to school after several years out of school, she had her eyes set on an Engineering degree. But her innate desire to “change the oppressive institutions and attitudes that perpetuate inequity in America” motivated her to switch majors. In between school and work, Christian volunteers at Room Inn, a program that provides emergency shelter for women experiencing homelessness. 

This summer she will be interning at the National League of Cities, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to being a resource and advocate for the nation’s cities and their leaders.


Lizbeth Olarte (She/Her/Hers) is a student at Montgomery College, studying Business. Coming from a long line of Peruvian agricultural workers, Lizbeth is attuned to the challenges that prevent people from making a living wage to support their families and lift themselves out of poverty.  In her free time, she teaches math and English to Peruvian middle school students back at home who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the co-leader of the Our Stories project at Montgomery College, Lizbeth empowers and mentors international students who escaped gang violence and poverty in their home countries to improve their literacy skills so that they can craft their own personal stories. 

This summer she will be interning at the National League of Cities, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to being a resource and advocate for the nation’s cities and their leaders. 

 


Katherine Marin (She/Her/Hers) is a student at the University of Florida, studying English and International Relations. As the first in her family to go to college, Katherine is passionate about makinwonky Florida legislation, voting information, and financial literacy resources more accessible for minority students through her blog, “Gator.In.Government.”  As a communications intern at the Supreme Court of Florida, Katherine helped the courts transition to a virtual setting during the COVID-19 pandemic. There, she saw firsthand how communications intersect with government work in highlighting transparency and upholding democracy. 

This summer she will be interning at the National Wildlife Federation, a nonprofit whose mission is to unite Americans from all walks of life in giving wildlife a voice. 

 


Roger Avila-Vidal (He/Him/His) is a student at Franklin & Marshall College, studying International Studies and Sociology with a minor in French. When Roger’s DACA status was rescinded last year, he faced multiple threats of deportation. But he never gave up. He powered through the application process while advocating for the rights of other undocumented immigrants through a project titled inVisible Americans. As a member of the Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Neighbor Fund, Roger helps immigrants who are currently detained by setting up funds that will help pay off immigration fees. 

This summer he will be interning at Spitfire Strategies, a public relations firm that helps nonprofits and foundations make positive change happen.