Intern Spotlight: Sabrina Pines

Special thanks to Learning Life intern, Ehvyn McDaniels, for helping to draft Sabrina’s profile.

Hailing from sunny and beautiful La Jolla, California (we’re jealous!), Learning Life summer intern Sabrina Pines is a George Washington University student with a penchant for helping people.

This penchant has taken many forms, but starts with her family.  “Coming from a big Persian and Jewish family, I have learned the importance of making time for family no matter how busy I may be.”  She has for several years worked in her family’s law and jewelry businesses, and helps prepare healthy family meals at home.  Beyond her family, Sabrina has assisted children at a preschool; fundraised for and engaged toddlers and teenagers diagnosed with mental and physical disabilities; counseled pre-teens in summer camps; aided patients at a surgical center; fundraised to send medical supplies to developing nations; and helped carry out medical research at a hospital.  Throughout, Sabrina has greatly enjoyed “meeting and conversing with different people, helping those in need, and working as a problem solver.”

Sabrina PinesSabrina is currently majoring in psychology at George Washington University.  For many years, her penchant to help people inclined her to become a doctor.  Yet Sabrina’s coursework at GWU and her experiences working at a hospital and surgical center turned her on to organizational psychology as a means to empower organizations to achieve their goals, and help their customers, employees and communities.

Interning with Learning Life this summer from her home in La Jolla, Sabrina helped gather well more than one hundred Twitter-sized “tweets” (messages of 140 characters or less) on everything from sleep disorders to the birthdays of famous U.S. and world figures past and present, each with a link to more information online for further learning.  Learning Life disseminates 2-4 messages via our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin seven days a week.  Most of these messages are educational, whether they be facts or questions inviting readers to learn more via our quizzes, five facts, or big questions pages on Learning Life’s website, or at other educational sites on the internet.  All this educational content takes time to research, draft and edit, so we are thankful to have volunteers and interns like Sabrina to help.

Sabrina also helped increase Learning Life’s Facebook likes, gathered notable quotes about learning, and researched facts about the D.C. metro area in preparation for Learning Life’s (former) “Weekly Learn” email offering D.C. area residents a free way to learn something about the history, economy, politics or demographics of their metropolitan community every week.

When she’s not studying or helping others, Sabrina enjoys cooking, playing tennis and piano.  Every year from 2000 to 2012, she participated in a piano competition of the National Piano Guild that required memorizing and performing challenging classical music pieces before a judge.  Her excellence in those competitions over the years led her to win the Guild’s coveted Paderewski Medal and a scholarship.

Asked why she decided to volunteer with Learning Life, Sabrina responded, “I decided to work for Learning Life because I believe the public needs to be educated on important facts to gain knowledge about world problems that have occurred in the past and present day. Learning Life is so accessible and provides simple, clear statements that any person at any place on the map can understand to form an opinion and use that information to debate, evaluate, and/or reflect on. I also wanted to be a part of an organization that would teach me something new every day to better myself personally, academically, and professionally.”

Sabrina’s research for Learning Life this summer helped us all learn some new and interesting things on varied topics from health to history, and for that we are grateful.  Look for some of Sabrina’s interesting facts on our Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin pages in the weeks and months ahead!

To learn more about interning or volunteering with Learning Life, contact us at     

Intern Profile: Ehvyn McDaniels

Thanks to Learning Life intern, Dimitra Rallis, for helping to write Ehvyn McDaniel’s profile.


“Carpe diem” (“seize the day” in Latin) should be Learning Life summer intern, Ehvyn McDaniels’ official motto.  A rising senior at Georgetown University, Ehvyn is majoring in sociology, minoring in psychology and French, working to improve the lives of children, and dancing with a passion in the United States and abroad.

Ehvyn McDanielsA native of Duluth, Minnesota, Ehvyn has spent her last three years at Georgetown seizing growth opportunities of all kinds.  Besides maintaining a 3.5 GPA overall and a 4.0 in her sociology major, she has served as a research assistant studying the history of law, an academic peer advisor for incoming first-year students, an outreach coordinator for the Georgetown University Dance Company, a volunteer organizer with Relay for Life, and an active member of the Georgetown Speechwriting Advisory Group and Adelfi, an all-women social group aiming to connect undergraduate women and powerful female figures in various walks of life.

Last fall, Ehvyn studied abroad in Sydney, Australia at the University of New South Wales to explore a country she knew little about.  While in Australia, she fell in love with everything about the country, and seized an opportunity to dance.  “I have been dancing since I was three and it is a huge part of my life,” Ehvyn explains.  “While I was abroad I tried out for the New South Wales dance team, got accepted, and so was also able to dance competitively in a foreign country halfway across the world, which was really exciting.”  That fall, the New South Wales dance team won the national competition.

Prior to working with Learning Life this summer, Ehvyn fostered a passion for working with children. Throughout her high school years, she worked with infants and toddlers as a teacher’s assistant in a daycare, where she organized a number of activities designed to develop basic motor skills and constructive interaction. In her time at Georgetown, she has taught Pre-K at Shaw Public Charter School, an inner city school in Washington, D.C.  As Ehvyn describes it, her experience at Shaw has been “incredibly rewarding and eye-opening.”  She explains that “It was rewarding to see pre-schoolers grow before my eyes, and eye-opening to see what they’re struggling with and what their lives are like at home.”  Ehvyn plans to continue working with children in her career either as a family therapist or as a teacher.

Learning Life’s mission to inform and empower more people by spreading knowledge on everyday surfaces, drew Ehvyn to intern with us this summer.  As she explains in keeping with her passion for helping kids, “there are far too many children who fall through the cracks of our nation’s education system, and as a result face an extreme disadvantage.  By working with Learning Life to spread free knowledge, I am working to reduce the education gap and empower others.”

With Learning Life, Ehvyn has tackled a number of challenging projects, including gathering research and expert insights on two “Big Questions.” Learning Life’s Big Questions series, launched in 2013 with three Big Questions on terrorism, offers facts and resources as well as brief answers from experts on questions of broad public relevance.  Ehvyn gathered evidence and reached out to experts for answers to two Big Questions: how and why is economic inequality increasing, and what can students do to get the most out of their education?  In addition, Ehvyn has developed significant facts for social media dissemination, drafted several profiles of other Learning Life summer interns, helped grow our fan-base on Facebook, improved and expanded our database of potential fundraising sources, created a list of relevant educational websites, and co-produced inequality infographics (coming soon to our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest!) with fellow intern, Dimitra Rallis.  She did all these things with her characteristic cheerfulness and earnestness.

We fully expect Ehvyn will continue to seize the day, and in so doing, she will surely help make the world a better place for children.

To learn more about interning or volunteering with Learning Life, contact us at

Intern Profile: Lila Gonzales

Special thanks to Learning Life intern, Ehvyn McDaniels, for helping to write Lila’s profile.

If you’re into IT (information technology) or gaming, look out for Lila Gonzales.  Lila is a rising senior at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia majoring in IT, with ambitions to enter the gaming industry.  In the meantime this summer, she is helping to improve Learning Life’s website and conducting online research for us.

Lila GonzalesBorn and raised in Bowie, Maryland, Lila is forging her path in the IT world, starting at Marymount, where she has taken courses in web development, networking, databases, graphic design, and other areas.  Most recently, through a software engineering course, Lila and two other Marymount students were charged with creating a software engineering plan for an airline company’s website.  Lila was able to lead her group to success as they not only met the project’s objectives but also created case scenarios mapping the course of different user actions.  Lila went on to write an 11-page paper explaining the tools found within the Apple IOS Software Development Kit that are used to create IOS applications, earning an “A” for her work.  (IOS is an operating system for Apple mobile devices, like Apple cell phones and tablets.)

Keeping up with her intensive IT coursework is not easy, but Lila still finds time to pursue her passion for Manga, a Japanese cartoon style the most popular forms of which are turned into animations, movies and video games.  Lila’s IT work was born in her passion for Manga starting in 4th grade.  “I have always had a curiosity for the coding behind the gaming software” she says. “In fact, one of my biggest goals in life is to work for a large gaming company like Nintendo or Sony.”  Manga has also inspired Lila to produce her own Manga artwork.  Lila posts some of her artwork on Facebook and on her page at, and has sold some of it at Otakon, an annual anime convention.

Lila also finds time to volunteer.  Through Marymount, she has helped with community gardening, and organizing an annual Halloween party for underprivileged children in Arlington, Virginia.  She has also served as a visitor guide at the Newseum, a museum about the news in Washington, D.C.

At Learning Life this summer, Lila has employed her IT experience to better integrate our website and social media.  Lila installed the Facebook and Twitter feeds in the right sidebar of each of Learning Life’s website pages (the homepage excepted) as well as floating social media sharing buttons.  She has also helped grow our Facebook audience, created a list of places online where we can get answers to website-related questions, gathered amusing and clever uses of surfaces like napkins (some of these images are forthcoming on our social media pages!), researched the use of sales receipts to inform and advertise, and more.

When asked why she chose to intern with Learning Life, Lila responded, “I decided to volunteer at Learning Life as a way to help improve my experience in the IT field. As an IT major, I was given the task to help improve Learning Life’s website through editing and installations. Though I am very new to this, I feel that I am broadening my knowledge in computers through Learning Life.”  Lila’s broadening knowledge is happily benefiting Learning Life, and we hope will help her on her path in the world of IT and gaming.

To learn more about interning or volunteering with Learning Life, contact us at

Five Facts on U.S. Immigration

In light of ongoing U.S. debate about immigration policy, Learning Life offers the following five facts to better understand immigration in the United States.  Thanks to Learning Life volunteer, Craig Gusmann, for helping to research and write these facts.  Click here for more brief facts on other current topics.     

1) 81 million immigrants

Immigrants in the United States and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 81 million people, or 26 percent of the overall U.S. population.

2) 30% managers and professionals

Thirty percent of legal immigrants work in management, professional, and related positions.  Twenty-five percent work in service occupations.  In 2014, 25 million immigrants were in the workforce.

3) Mexico, China and India

In 2014, 1,016,518 immigrants became lawful permanent residents (“Green Card” holders).  The largest numbers came from Mexico (13 percent), China (8 percent), and India (8 percent).  Citizenship is different from lawful permanent residency (LPR).  LPR essentially grants the right to live and work in the United States.  Citizenship grants the right to vote, a U.S. passport (allowing easier exit and entry in the U.S.), and easier access to all kinds of government benefits.

4) 6 million children

From 2009-2013, approximately 5.1 million children in the United States had at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant. Four million of these children are U.S. citizens by birth.

5) Family, work and diversity

The United States allows new immigrants based on these three criteria.  The majority (66% in 2013) become residents based on a family relationship with a U.S. citizen, or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.


The Migration Policy Institute’s statistics on U.S. immigration

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s 2014 Annual Flow Report