MIRA Staff

MIRA Staff EMillonaEva Millona

Executive Director

(617) 350-5480 ext. 211

Eva A. Millona is Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), the state’s largest organization representing the foreign born, and co-chair of the National Partnership for New Americans, the lead national organization focusing on immigrant integration. She joined MIRA in 1999 and served as Director of Policy and Advocacy and as Deputy Director before becoming Executive Director in 2008, and she is now one of New England’s most highly quoted immigration experts. Prior to MIRA, Ms. Millona directed the refugee resettlement program in Central Massachusetts. In her native Albania, she practiced civil and criminal law, serving on Tirana’s District Court from 1989 – 1992, when she was the nation’s youngest district judge ever appointed.

Ms. Millona is also the co-chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants and serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement and serves on the Attorney General’s Council for New Americans. In 2010, she co-chaired the nation’s largest immigrant integration conference, which MIRA hosted in Boston. She is the recipient of over a dozen major awards, including the prestigious 2009 USCIS Outstanding American by Choice Award, the 2010 Wainwright Bank Social Justice Award, and the 2011 and 2012 Powermeter Award, presented to the most influential people for Latinos in Massachusetts.

evamEva Castillo

Director, New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees
(603) 661-2873
Habla español

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Eva Castillo has a long history of working with and advocating for immigrants. She came to the States in 1975 to study at Western Michigan University, and she began her career at the nearby Hispanic American Council. In 1984, Eva moved to New Hampshire, where she worked first at the NE Farm Workers Council, and later at the Latin American Center in Manchester. She joined MIRA in 2007 as the organizer for our project "NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees," of which she is now Director. Eva also directs the Welcoming New Hampshire initiative. Eva was honored with the 2017 Martin Luther King Award from the Martin Luther King Coalition and in 2016 received an Americanism Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution, given to naturalized Americans who have shown outstanding civic engagement.

MIRA Staff MDavisMarion Davis

Director of Communications
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(617) 350-5480, ext. 204
Cell: (781) 654-5160
Habla español, parle français

Marion joined MIRA in March 2017 after a career in journalism and science and policy communications. Born and raised in Costa Rica, with an American father and a Costa Rican mother, she came to the U.S. for college in 1990 and chose to make her life here. She worked as a journalist for 15+ years, at the New York Daily News, the Providence Journal, Providence Business News, and as a freelancer for the Boston Globe and Providence Phoenix, before joining the Stockholm Environment Institute in 2010, where she worked on global climate and sustainable development issues for 7 years. She has a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.


Amy Grunder

Director of Legislative Affairs
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(617) 350-5480 ext. 222
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Amy brings broad experience in law, human rights advocacy, and communications to her role as Director of Legislative Affairs. She did communications and program work at two Boston-based human rights organizations, Cultural Survival and Physicians for Human Rights, before earning a JD and Masters in International Affairs from American University. Amy then joined the Boston law firm of Palmer & Dodge LLP as a public finance attorney. She subsequently began an appellate immigration asylum practice, and was appointed to the governing council of the Massachusetts Bar Association Immigration Law Section in 2010. More recently, Amy taught in the legal studies department of Bunker Hill Community College, one of the most diverse colleges in Massachusetts.

MIRA Staff MOrbanesMia Orbanes

Finance Administrator
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(617) 350-5480, ext. 201
나는 한국말을한다

Mia joined MIRA as finance administrator in the summer of 2018. Previously, she was a business manager for private-sector businesses and technology/start-up adviser for Korea's foreign mission post in the U.S. She immigrated from South Korea more than 10 years ago and is passionate about being a true American by contributing to the country's diverse strength and beauty in everyday life. She has gone through some transformative changes in her life, including a decision that her own engineering degree would be more useful in the business world, and marrying her husband two months after meeting him on campus at MIT. Based on her firm belief that everyone has inherent dignity in his/her own form, she is immensely grateful to be part of MIRA and contribute to MIRA's mission in the back office. 

MIRA Staff LRyanLiza Ryan

Organizing Director

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(617) 350-5480 ext. 206
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Liza joined MIRA with more than 10 years' experience working with refugees, immigrants, and foreign/public policy from sub-Saharan Africa to the Middle East and Europe. Before moving to Boston in 2015, she worked with the East-West Center, a diplomatic think tank in Honolulu, Hawai’i, where she organized and coordinated fellowships for high-level media, political leaders, and educators on global affairs and media development, including U.S. relations with the Muslim-majority world. Liza holds a master’s degree in Diplomacy and Strategic Studies from Hawaiʻi Pacific University and an undergraduate degree in intercultural studies and language from the University of the Nations, Amsterdam. A native of Vancouver, Canada, she has lived in more than 15 countries.

MIRA Staff SSekhavatSarang Sekhavat

Federal Policy Director
(617) 350-5480 ext. 212

Prior to joining MIRA in April 2008, Sarang was an immigrant rights advocate in New York City. There he designed a legal training program for the Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans, and he served as the Interim-Director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's New York Office. Sarang received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 2005, his master's in International Relations from Boston University in 2004, and his bachelor's from Tufts in 1998.

Chris Whitman

Director of Development
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(617) 350-5480, ext. 218
باحكي عربي
אני מדבר עברית

Chris Whitman joined MIRA in June 2018 after working for almost a decade on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both academically and in the non-profit sector. Born and raised in Marlborough, Mass., Chris lived in the West Bank Palestinian city of Ramallah while obtaining his M.A. in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. From 2011 to 2016, he worked for various Palestinian and Israeli non-profits, focusing on labor rights, women-led media, educational development and other issues. In addition to programmatic implementation, Chris worked on the advocacy and communications level with both Palestinian and Israeli legislators to protect marginalized communities. During his tenure, Chris was able to diversify and secure funding from established institutions such as the European Union and created individual giving programs at several small local non-profits that had relied exclusively on institutional giving.

Beyza Burcak

Communications Coordinator
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(617) 350-5480, ext. 204
Türkçe konuşuyorum

Beyza joined MIRA as a summer intern in 2017, stayed on as a fellow, and joined our staff in January 2018. Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, she worked as a journalist for several years after graduating from Istanbul University with a B.A. in English literature. She covered news from Turkey, the Middle East, and Europe, and was also active on women’s rights and LGBT rights in Istanbul. In March 2016, she immigrated to the U.S. after earning a green card through the Diversity Visa Program. She is completing a master’s degree in conflict resolution at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Reflecting her interest in refugee resettlement – and, in particular, the experiences of women refugees – her thesis project focuses on assessing the needs of refugee women who have been resettled in Massachusetts. She hopes her project will help improve women refugees’ integration into American society.

MIRA Staff SMetroSuzanne Metro

Program Manager, New American Integration Program

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(617) 350-5480, ext. 216

Suzanne first joined MIRA in 2014 as a member of the New American Integration Program (NAIP), an AmeriCorps program for which she is now Program Manager. Upon completion of her first year of service providing citizenship services with MIRA's citizenship program, she served an additional year in AmeriCorps as a Massachusetts Promise Fellow at Asian Community Development Corporation to develop "See-Town Walking Tours," a youth-run walking tour business in Chinatown. Suzanne also worked as interim coordinator of MIRA's citizenship program before transitioning to her current role in NAIP. A Massachusetts native, Suzanne holds a B.S. in Public Health from UMass Amherst.

MIRA Staff CNtagengwa

Christine Ntagengwa

Program Director, New American Integration Program
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(617) 350-5480, ext. 227
Speaks Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, and Swahili

As someone displaced by the 1994 genocide in her native Rwanda, Christine has a passion for helping immigrants and refugees settle in the U.S. After graduating from Divinity School in Kenya in 1999, she came to the U.S. in 2000, earned a Master's of Social Work from Boston University in 2012, and joined MIRA in July 2014 with over ten years experience working in refugee and immigrant resettlement. Christine is a board member of the Chelsea Collaborative and Umunara, Inc., and received the 2008 “Unsung Heroine Award,” from the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants in recognition of her work helping “uprooted people.”

MIRA Staff SParsonsSue Parsons

Development Coordinator
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(617) 350-5480 ext. 219

Sue Parsons joined MIRA in 2015 after an extensive career in the areas of workforce policy, labor and community organizing, and development. She was a Workforce Policy Specialist at the MA AFL-CIO and from 2009-2012 served as Director of the Workforce Solutions Group, which helped pass key legislation and new appropriations in support of career pathway programs for less skilled workers. She has also been Director of Development at City Life/Vida Urbana, and worked as a union organizer for over 20 years. Sue holds a BA in English from Mount Holyoke College.

MIRA Staff EReinigerEmily Reiniger

Citizenship Coordinator
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(617) 350-5480, ext. 220
Parle français

Emily became our Citizenship Coordinator in 2018 after serving for a year and a half as AmeriCorps member in the Citizenship Program. She is a native of Massachusetts' North Shore and has a B.A. in Anthropology/African Studies and Global Studies (cum laude) from Saint Lawrence University, in Canton, N.Y. Her thesis focused on how global politics, economy and culture intersect to create conditions that produce forced migration. Also at Saint Lawrence, she was a Community Assistant, Orientation Leader, Admissions Ambassador, and active member of the ADVOCATES, a campus-wide program to address sexual violence. As a student on the Kenya Semester Program, she interned at FIDA Kenya, a nonprofit working to improve the legal standing of women, and developed a passion for the interactions between global and local governance. She plans to attend law school, but first wants to live abroad, study French and dedicate herself to challenging her culturally constructed way of seeing the world. She is inspired every day by the hard work and passion of the MIRA staff and is excited to be able to apply theoretical research to something tangible.

MIRA Staff JRiveraJoel Rivera

Field Organizer

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(617) 350-5480 ext. 205
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A native of Texas, Joel joined MIRA in 2016, bringing strong experience in campaign organizing, Get Out the Vote efforts, and constituency services for immigrant and Latino communities. He has been a volunteer coordinator and canvassing manager for mayoral and gubernatorial campaigns in Texas, and served as an immigrant intern in the Office of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, working with constituents on visa and legal status issues. Joel holds a BA in Political Science from Boston College.

Margalit Tepper

Integration Projects Lead
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(617) 350-5480, ext. 228

Margalit joined MIRA in January 2018, bringing more than six years of experience with non-profit programs. As a program coordinator for the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, she worked to advance legislation on gun control and to raise the minimum wage. She has worked in refugee resettlement case management in Massachusetts and Israel, taught English for speakers of other languages and computer literacy courses, and volunteers with African Bridge Network, a workforce development organization. Margalit holds a B.S. in human development from Indiana University, a certificate in Refugees and Forced Migration from York University Toronto, and an M.S.W. from Boston College, where she was a researcher for the School of Social Work’s Immigrant Integration Lab.

MIRA Staff AAydin Jansen

 Alev Aydin Jansen

NAIP Member/Citizenship Program
(617) 350-5480 ext. 217
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Alev joined MIRA in September 2018 as an NAIP AmeriCorps member in the Citizenship Program. Prior to moving to the U.S., Alev worked for five years as a visa specialist in Turkey. She got her first experience with an international organization as an HR Assistant/Contract Administrator with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Ankara. Born in Belgium, Alev was raised and lived most of her life in Ankara. She earned her B.S. in business administration from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. She moved to the Boston area with her husband in February of 2016 and filed her own (and her husband's) visa petition without the help of an attorney. Alev is looking forward to becoming a naturalized citizen within a few years.

Natalia Medina

NAIP Member/Citizenship Program
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(617) 350-5480, ext. 210
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Natalia joined MIRA in September 2018 an NAIP Americorps member in the Citizenship Program. Born in the U.S., she grew up in Medellín, Colombia, until her mom decided to return to the U.S in 1999. She attended Denison University with a Posse scholarship and earned a B.A in psychology. She was also a part of the MatchCorps, an Americorps program, in which she tutored sixth- to eighth-graders in English language arts. Recently she worked at the South End Community Health Center as a program coordinator for the Pediatric Wellness program. She coordinated after-school programs for kids in order to promote healthier lifestyles and provided case management to families that needed more specific resource allocation and nutrition advice. She has always had a passion for working with undeserved communities and plans to pursue a master's degree in social work in the future.