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Alia Quadir-Pantyuhin – I grew up on Florida’s Gulf Coast, though both my parents were born outside North America but raised in Canada. My (short) life until now has been marked by a lot of walking the line between two very disparate cultures, often feeling like an outsider, and feeling like I had to make my own meaning for myself. I’ve discovered that service and compassion are two key parts of that for me, the best way to ease my own as well as others’ feelings of isolation and confusion. I hold a B.A. in neuroscience and health studies and am currently working as a substance use counselor. I’m also just now starting the long path to obtaining my RN/BSN, with the eventual goal of going to graduate school to become a certified nurse midwife, in the hopes of working with pregnant women/mothers who use drugs and their children.

I’ve done a few different things and I’ve worked with children, the homeless, people with chronic health conditions, and drug users – and no matter the population, the lesson is always the same: the bulk of the work is just to be silent and listen, and to care when nobody else will. Outside of formal work, I’m an avid reader and an occasional creative writer, and I dabble in calligraphy, with a special interest in medieval European and Islamic illumination. I’m a storyteller at heart, and I use my love of stories and repeating narratives in my “therapeutic” work. I’m also an eager student of philosophy, and I sometimes practice playing the harp, though not nearly enough. I live currently with my husband and our two dogs in Florida, though my heart is calling me back to the North.

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