Wamaitha is currently a graduate student at the Evans School of Public Policy focusing on Public Policy Analysis & Evaluation and International Development. Prior to that, she worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helping advance Vaccine Delivery and College Ready strategies. She relocated to the US 9 years ago from Kenya and was a client of NWIRP in 2011. She has previously volunteered as a tax preparer for the United Way of King County. Wamaitha has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Nairobi.
Richa Arora is a software engineer at Microsoft, where she works on the Identity Team. Richa moved to Seattle in 2010, and became a client of NWIRP in 2011. She retrained to be a software engineer through the Ada Developers Academy, an intensive software development training program for women in Seattle. While at Ada, she created a custom case database program for NWIRP. Richa previously volunteered as a tax preparer and tax preparation instructor for United Way of King County. Richa has a degree in Physics from the University of Delhi.
Renata is the Innovative Licensing Programs Manager at the Washington State Bar Association. She previously worked at Sea Mar Community Health Centers, overseeing the delivery of health and social services to under-served patients, and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, representing survivors of domestic violence. Renata received her J.D. and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington. Renata emigrated from Brazil and is the first in her family to live abroad.
Paul Castañón is a retired corporate lawyer. He formerly was the Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Tenet Healthcare Corporation (NYSE: THC). He has worked in the U.S. and internationally with S&P; 200 companies in the energy and health sectors. He has a broad range of experience in corporate and securities matters, equity and debt financings, and other corporate transactions. He formerly was associated with the law firm of Baker & Botts. He is a graduate of the Columbia Law School and received his undergraduate degree from Rice University. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. Paul and his partner relocated to the Pacific Northwest after his retirement. His commitment to human rights is based, in part, on the immigrant experiences of his parents and grandparents.
Liz is most recently retired as Executive Director of Tacoma Community House, a nonprofit which serves immigrants and refugees in the South Sound. Previously, she served in several positions at the Dept. of Social and Health Services, first as the state Refugee Coordinator and Director and last as Deputy Secretary. She has served on a number of boards, including the Board of Trustees for Tacoma Community College and Pioneer Human Services. She is a long time member of the Japanese American Citizens League and serves on the board of the Puyallup Valley Chapter. She is the daughter of a Japanese immigrant mother and an Air Force officer father. She graduated from Washington State University with a degree in social work. Liz is married, with two adult children and one grandson, who is the joy of their lives.
Dave is a Strategic Policy Advisor at Microsoft Corporation, where he focuses on the societal implications of rapid advances in computer technology, particularly artificial intelligence. For many years Dave served as a Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft, with responsibility at various times for competition law, privacy, telecommunications law, accessibility law, human rights, online safety and the company’s work with international standard-setting organizations. Dave chairs the board of Probono.net, a national non-profit that leverages technology and the power of collaboration to promote access to justice for those who cannot afford a lawyer. Dave has handled a number of asylum cases (successfully!) through Kids in Need of Defense, an immigrant rights organization co-founded by Microsoft. Dave is a graduate of Cornell University, where he received a B.A. in physics, and of the University of Michigan Law School, where he served on the editorial board of the law review. Before joining Microsoft, Dave practiced law at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York.
Wendy is an Immigration Attorney, practicing in Walla Walla, Washington. Prior to opening her practice, she established and directed an immigration clinic at World Relief, a refugee resettlement agency in Spokane. Wendy completed undergraduate degrees in Nursing, Social Work and an MA in Counseling Psychology from Walla Walla University. Following careers in those fields, she received her J.D. from Gonzaga University. She is a founding member of the Walla Walla Immigrant Rights Coalition and serves on non-profit boards focusing on vulnerable women and youth. In her leisure, Wendy loves skiing, biking and water sports, preferably with children and grandchildren.
Sok is the Director of Finance & Operations at the law firm of McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren PLLC. She manages all aspects of administration for the firm, where she has spent the past 15 years. Sok earned her B.S. in Biology (minor in Botany) at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California – the first in her family to graduate with a college degree. After fleeing the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and awaiting refugee status at a nearby Thai refugee camp, Sok immigrated to Twin Falls, Idaho in 1981. She enjoys traveling and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children.
Omar Riojas is a partner at Goldfarb & Huck Roth Riojas, PLLC. He concentrates in complex and high-stakes commercial litigation. Omar has been recognized by Washington Super Lawyers magazine as among “The Top 100” attorneys in Washington. He has also been repeatedly named been named a “Super Lawyer” and “Rising Star” by Washington Super Lawyers magazine. Omar has been at the forefront of the nationwide issue of a state’s authority to bring parental termination actions against parents detained due to immigration status. His pro bono cases involving undocumented immigrants who lost their parental rights as a result of their detention have garnered international media coverage in such outlets as The New York Times, ABC World News, Nightline, AP, Univision, and CNN, as well as attention from foreign government officials and several advocacy organizations. Due to his cutting-edge work, Omar was invited to participate in a United States Congressional briefing on legislation to protect children and families impacted by immigration enforcement. Omar was also invited to address Mexico's National Human Rights Commission on the protection of indigenous parents' rights in the United States. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project honored Omar with its Amicus Award, in recognition of his national work on the protection of immigrants' civil rights. Omar is a graduate of the University of Washington and Stanford Law School.