Meet the 2018 CRS Summer Hires

Every year, Catholic Relief Services Headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland takes on summer hires that consist of college students and recent college graduates.  These summer hires work in a wide variety of departments at CRS ranging from Human Resources to Finance to University Engagement and beyond.  Here is your chance to meet a few of the 2018 Summer Hires!

Tara Jae Villaruel

Human Resources

I am originally from NYC and a recent graduate from Loyola University Maryland. CRS impacts many lives domestically and internationally, so I wanted to broaden my exposure to something more wholesome through the work they do, and how they are able to work in many countries. This is also something I hope to learn more about, especially how they lead others to help the most vulnerable. I am quite excited to work with the teams in the HR department that connect with many individuals globally and see how they carry out the values of CRS. So far, it has been very fun to see what programs were implemented in other countries to enhance employee engagement, such as looking at all the activities taken place on Community Day. Since I went to a school nearby, I am also excited to spend more time in the places I love in Baltimore. One thing I recommend others in doing is to go to Rhouse (in Remington) and try out all the coffee shops in Mount Vernon.

Sam Abbott

Financial Planning and Analysis 

My name is Sam Abbott and I am from Jacksonville, Florida. Currently, I am attending the University of Florida, where I am a senior economics major. I decided to apply to CRS because it was the perfect match for my interest in finance and my Catholic faith. At CRS, I can put my faith into action by using my talents and interests to benefit others. This summer, I am in the financial planning and analysis department where I am helping my fellow team members develop and assess CRS’ budget for the 2019 fiscal year. By the end of my tenure at CRS, I hope to achieve a better understanding of what career I would like to pursue after graduation. During this summer, I would like to visit the Baltimore Basilica and the National Shrine of St. Alphonsus de Liguori.

Sarah Donahue

Operation Excellence Department

My name is Sarah Donahue, and I will be a sophomore at Loyola Marymount University in the fall, focused on studies in Communications and International Relations. I am ethnically Vietnamese and have lived in Zimbabwe for my whole life. I wanted to work for CRS because I would love to work for an international humanitarian organization later in life and I thought working for CRS would give me good exposure. This summer I am working in the Operation Excellence Department specifically with the Gateway Team. I am cleaning the online database and doing data analysis. One thing I want to learn from this job is how to maneuver Salesforce because it is a company that many organizations take advantage of, which could be a great asset to me in the future. The best part of my job so far has been working with the OpEx/Gateway Team! They have all been friendly and supportive, it’s great working with them. One thing I would love to do while I am in Baltimore is attend some good live music or go to an art museum!

Manal Arma

Human Resources Talent Acquisition 

I’m from Plainsboro, NJ but I’ve just graduated from Loyola University Maryland right here in Baltimore!  I came to work for CRS because I was familiar with their work due to the university engagement program at Loyola (A Jesuit Catholic School). I wanted to understand CRS’ operations within International Development, and take that as an introduction to the field. This summer, I’m working in HR, and directly with the Talent Acquisition Group. I am responsible for helping with reference checks, interview scheduling, job postings, and any tasks to help out recruiters.  I want to learn about every department and every division that operates out of CRS. There are a thousands of people who work for CRS globally, and I want to learn about how their work speaks to the mission of CRS.  I’ve met quite a few people not related to HR due to the nature of the recruiter’s jobs. So, I get to work with hiring managers from different departments. Check out the Bromo Seltzer Tower! It’s on Eutaw Street, and it’s free to take a self-guided tour. There are so many levels of the tower that are outlined with different paintings/art pieces.

Ally McHale

Education Department, Program Development 

My name is Ally McHale and I am from Columbia, Maryland which is just down the road from Baltimore! This summer I am working in the Education department, assisting the development of education programs for students K-12 on the work of CRS. So far I have been working mainly on the Global High School Program which is a great program for Catholic High Schools to become involved with the work of CRS throughout the school-year. I am currently majoring in Theology and Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville so the opportunity to work for the Church this summer was one of the big reasons why I came to work at CRS! In addition, I eventually want to teach Theology in a Catholic High School so being able to work on education programs I might one day use in my classroom is a real joy! I think the best part of my job so far is the people I am surrounded with! My supervisors, Kristen Witte and Rachel Campbell, and my co-intern in the education department, Sahana Callahan, are all amazing brilliant women and they make my job here so much fun! I have grown up outside of Baltimore my whole life and the one thing I recommend is eating all the Berger Cookies you possibly can! These cookies will change your life!

Sahana Callahan

Education Department, Social Media and Communication

I’ve lived in Ellicott City, Maryland, for much of my life, but was born and lived in India for five years. I wanted to work for CRS because I believe in its mission- I believe it bridges the gap between education and action for youth here in the US, and, on a more global scale, CRS has a real impact on the lives of those in need, working with people in their local communities to come up with strategies that best fit their needs, letting the people who know best run the show, while supporting them as well as possible. I’m in the Education Department this summer, working on Social Media and Communication. I’m fascinated by people’s response and active engagement in real life that is fostered by a social media presence, so this summer I’ll be trying out what works to see what people will connect with, in terms of media, and I’m excited to see how that goes. The absolute best part of my job, other than having the relative freedom to create what I think will be impactful, to collaborate with my supervisors on my duties for the summer, is undoubtedly the people I get to work with. As for things to do when in Baltimore, while walking around the Inner Harbor is a classic, and beautiful, I highly recommend finding the nearest Dangerously Delicious Pies and going to grab a slice!

Erika Sato

PIQA Research Assistant 

Hi! My name is Erika Sato and I’m from Oregon. I just graduated from Pomona College in International Relations, and I’ll be starting law school in the fall. Here at CRS, I’m working with the EQUIP team (PIQA) as a research assistant on a number of different projects related to youth, gender, peacebuilding, and protection. I wanted to work at CRS because in the process of researching and writing my thesis on agrarian reform in NE Brazil—and becoming frustrated with the Brazilian government’s inability or unwillingness to provide agrarian reform settlers with things like technical assistance, credit, and projects that empower women and youth—I realized that organizations like CRS were stepping in to fill those roles, and I wanted to be a part of that. The best thing so far about my job has been meeting the amazing and interesting people with whom I will be working for the summer! I hope to learn from them how to ensure that projects that are thoughtful and incorporate the interests and protection of groups who might otherwise be marginalized or unheard. Finally, while I’m in Baltimore for the summer, I hope to explore the city on my bike and attend lots of events. I also want to go to the American Visionary Art Museum!

Laura Hillard


Hi everyone! I am originally from Baltimore, but I attend George Mason University during the school year to study Econ and Global Affairs. I decided to come work for CRS again this summer since I had such an amazing experience as an intern last year. This summer I am working in the Advocacy Department and supporting our grassroots advocacy efforts. I excited to learn more about the legislation we are supporting as well as our digital marketing efforts. The best part of my job so far has been my amazing coworkers and fellow summer-hires. For those of you who are from out of town, I would recommend going to the free concerts in Canton Waterfront Park that happen the first Thursday of every month. Thanks for checking out our blog! 


Christina Mistretta

University Engagement 

Hi!  I’m Christina Mistretta!  I am from Brooklyn, NY and will be a senior this Fall at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY.  At CRS this summer, I will be working in the University Engagement Department.  I wanted to come work for CRS as I developed a passion for its work after having started a CRS Student Ambassador Partnership on my college campus.  One of the main things I will be working on this summer will be the CRS SALT Summit, where CRS Student Ambassadors from colleges across the United States are given the opportunity to network with one another and grow further in the mission of the global work of CRS.  From my position this summer, I would like to gain skills in organizing and promoting that I can take back to my college campus.  Thus far, I truly enjoy seeing the great communication that my department has.  They are always willing to answer any question that I may have!  Since I am not from Baltimore, I am being a tourist this summer.  I would love to take a tour of the Inner Harbor and see The Baltimore Basilica. 


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