Meet the Podcast Team

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Hanan Daqqa

Hanan Daqqa is a communicator and media experimenter. As a member of the design and production of the IIR podcast, she uses the power of media and writing, to communicate messages of self-empowerment, self-connection, mindfulness and inclusion. She is a talk show host at Fairfax Public Access, filmmaker, children's author and a mother of five children.   

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Monica Gomez Isaac

Monica Gomez Isaac served as the IIR Executive Director and was part of the design and marketing of the IIR podcast.  In this role, she worked to share the IIR's qualitative and quantitative research findings with the public.  Her interests also include research topics in anthropology, specifically the economic, political, and cultural value immigrants provide to communities through their cultural competency and language skills. 

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Abraham Kadi

Abraham Kadi is a George Mason University student majoring in Integrative Studies and minoring in Audio Production, while also serving as the editor of the IIR podcast. He enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, and creating music in his free time. Originally from Virginia Beach, he now calls Fairfax his home. Abraham draws on his Japanese and Yemeni heritage to foster conversations for immigrants, especially in today's current climate.  

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Lizzy Portaluppi

Lizzy Portaluppi is the Web Communications Coordinator at the Institute for Immigration Research at George Mason University. As a member of the IIR podcast team, she participates in design and production of programming.  She is an undergraduate senior majoring in Sociology with a minor in Women & Gender Studies. Her primary research interests include gender, popular culture, and immigration.  


Louise Puck

Louise Puck is a social science researcher, with an anthropological and methods background. She has extensive interview experience from her social work with refugees and immigrants in Denmark and England, and continues to focus on qualitative research projects.  They include studying day laborers and their economic successes, as well as immigrant artist entrepreneurs and their endeavors in the U.S.  As co-host of the IIR podcast, Louise is particularly interested in ‘Telling the Untold Stories’ of immigrants by encouraging participants to narrate their unbiased stories.

Anna Danielson

Anna Smith Danielson

Anna Smith Danielson, is co-host of Making a Mark, Making Places, and also serves as a production team member. She has worked in arts management in the Washington, DC area since 2004. Anna grew up inspired and guided by the visual and performing arts community of Charleston, South Carolina and studied music and French at the University of Maryland, the Sorbonne and the Schola Cantorum. She lived in France for three years and has traveled to Turkey, India, Iceland, and the Netherlands among others.

Maria Valdovinos

Maria Valdovinos

Maria is a doctoral student in public sociology at George Mason University. Her research interests include the carceral state, criminal justice system reform, reentry, and knowledge systems. She is a member of the research team at the Institute for Immigration Research where she supports grant proposal initiatives, and is exploring how immigration and immigrants have and continue to be drawn into the criminal justice system.