Stroum Center Staff

Portrait of Sarah Zaides

Sarah Zaides Rosen, Associate Director

Sarah Zaides Rosen joined the Stroum Center as its Associate Director in the Summer of 2017, after receiving her Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington. Sarah works closely with Director Noam Pianko on the strategic and operational management of the Center, which is home to the Sephardic Studies and Israel Studies Programs.

Sarah comes to the Center with both non-profit administration experience as well as experience teaching courses on modern European, Jewish, and Middle East history at the UW, and has lived and conducted field work in Jordan, Israel, and in Turkey. Her dissertation, Tevye’s Ottoman Daughter: The Making of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews in the Shatterzones of Empire, 1882-1923, traces Russian Jewish routes of exit to Constantinople and the Anatolian borderlands in the twilight years of the Ottoman and Russian Empires. During her graduate work, Sarah held the Charlotte Newcombe Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Hanauer and Titus Ellison Fellowships at the UW, and was also supported by the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and Genesis Institute at Brandeis University. She is also an alumna of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies graduate fellowship. She received her B.A. from the University of California at San Diego, magna cum laude. A native of Southern California, Sarah enjoys honing her language skills by watching Israeli TV series, skiing, running, and obsessing over her vitamin D consumption.

E-mail: szaides @ uw dot edu

Kara Schoonmaker

Kara Schoonmaker, Web & Communications Manager

As the Stroum Center’s Communications Manager, Kara Schoonmaker enjoys editing and formatting all kinds of writing, managing the Stroum Center’s social media, designing new features for the website, and honing her skills in videography and video-editing. When not working for the Stroum Center, she teaches English, writing, math and technology skills at Seattle-area community colleges. In her free time — when she has it — Kara reads voraciously, works on film and other storytelling-related projects, and tries to improve her speaking and writing skills in the Thai language. She holds a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies in the humanities from the University of Chicago and master’s degree in education from the University of Washington.

E-mail: kschoon @ uw dot edu

Grace Dy smiling, outdoors

Grace Elizabeth Dy, Event & Outreach Coordinator

Grace Elizabeth Dy is excited to return to the Stroum Center as the Event and Outreach Coordinator, after completing a B.A. in comparative religion with a minor in Jewish studies and B.S. in biology with a minor in education at the University of Washington. Their other work focuses on equitable teaching practices, culturally responsive mental health, LGBTQ+ Jewish language, and the intersection of science and religion. In their free time, Grace Elizabeth likes reading autobiographies, baking, traveling, and learning new languages.

E-mail: dyg @ uw dot edu

Portrait of Makena Mezistrano smiling in brown sweater, with wooden bookshelves and historic books in the background

Makena Mezistrano, Assistant Director, Sephardic Studies Program

Makena Mezistrano joined the Sephardic Studies Program as Assistant Director in the fall of 2019. She works closely with Professor Devin Naar (Program Chair) and Ty Alhadeff (Research Coordinator) to advance the mission of the Sephardic Studies Program: to make Ladino language and culture accessible by planning local programs in Seattle and by supporting the development of the Sephardic Studies Digital Collection.

Makena received a B.A. in English literature and an M.A. in Jewish studies from Yeshiva University in New York City. She comes to the Sephardic Studies Program with a background in journalism, Jewish education, and graphic design. Her passion for Sephardic studies stems from spending most of her childhood in the home of her grandparents, both of whom were native Ladino speakers and Holocaust survivors from Salonica, Greece. In her free time Makena enjoys hiking, hosting friends for dinner, and floating on one of Washington’s sparkling lakes or rivers with her husband.

E-mail: makflo @ uw dot edu