Ella Nalepka

McGill University,Middle East Studies, 2014

Since graduating from McGill University, Ella has been living and working as an English teacher in various countries including Palestine, Colombia and, currently, Morocco.  Ella’s passion for refugee affairs began during her semester abroad with the Middlebury School in Jordan, where she volunteered in the King Abdullah Parks camp and saw the difficulties refugees face firsthand. Ella hopes to attend law school in Fall 2019 with the aim of a career in legal aid and immigration advocacy.  In her spare time, Ella loves to read, study languages, and (embarrassingly) stay caught up on Law and Order SVU.  She believes Jiran is the perfect opportunity to improve in Arabic, her first language love, and gain the tools necessary to be an effective advocate for the communities she wishes to serve in the future!



Ian James

Tufts University, International Relations and Anthropology, 2018

Ian is a recent graduate of Tufts University, where he majored in International Relations and Anthropology. Born in San Francisco, California his interests include housing law, urban planning, and international migration. In his spare time he likes to play soccer, drink coffee, and do New York Times mini crosswords. He studied with Middlebury’s School in Jordan in 2017.







Joy Al-Nemri

Bard College, Anthropology, 2018

Joy Al-Nemri is currently pursuing a degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies at Bard College in New York. She attended theMiddlebury Summer Arabic Language Intensive during the summer of 2016, and has since worked as a volunteer and translator for charities that serve refugees in Samos, Greece. She enjoys volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician – Basic for the Bard EMS squad and organizing events.




Lorenzo Greenbaum

Middlebury College, Arabic, 2017

Lorenzo Greenbaum (Middlebury College ’17) was born and raised in Italy to an Italian mother and American father. Due to his upbringing, he was always interested in language as an identity marker, which is why he wanted to learn a completely different language in college from the ones that he already knew: Arabic. Between June 2016 and September 2017,  lived in Rabat, Morocco and attended Middlebury’s School in Morocco for the academic year. He finished his coursework at Middlebury in December of 2017. He hopes to continue using Arabic as a means to bridge the understanding between the Western and Arab cultures.




Marivi Howell-Arza

Duke University, Arabic, Chemistry, Global Health, 2019

Marivi is an Arabic major at Duke where she is also active as a member of the Catholic Center, on the executive board of a refugee service organization, and a tour guide. Marivi studied at the Middlebury School in Jordan in 2017. She has volunteered tutoring and teaching ESL to refugees in the US, Lebanon, and Jordan throughout the past five years. Unofficially, you can also find her cuddling with her Chihuahua, Shaki, binging obscure reality shows, and napping. She’s way too excited to be a part of Jiran this summer!