Live music returns as Samara plays an impromptu gig on a Columbia River houseboat in August 2021.

5 questions for Samara Islam

The NTEN team continues to grow! We’re excited to welcome Samara Islam as our new Program Coordinator. Samara brings a passion for community and problem-solving. I asked her five questions to help us get to know our latest teammate.

Samara Islam

What was your first job?

My first official job was in high school. I ran the audio board with an A/V team that recorded football games for local public access TV. If we want to get technical, my first job was actually in elementary school. I was fortunate enough to have a pretty sizable VHS collection growing up and rented them out to my friends and family.    

You’re a musician. What are some of your favorite bands?

We could be here a while — I love a lot of bands, and my favorites are constantly changing! These days I’ve been listening to a lot of Weezer, Against Me!, and Meg Myers. I’ve seen Everclear live more than any other band and have always had a soft spot for 90s-era Aerosmith. I also really love Green Day, The Darkness, Muse, and Bad Religion. Oh, also Motion City Soundtrack, Bruce Springsteen, and David Bowie. I could spend an eternity talking about music I like, so let’s go ahead and cut it off here for now.

What are some of your favorite local adventures?

I’m not much of an outdoor person, but I do love taking my daughter to the Oregon Zoo! I also enjoy walking around Downtown Vancouver and Portland with my wife. 

What was a favorite childhood meal?

Pizza! I have loved pizza for as long as I’ve had a conscious memory. I grew up in the 1990s, so Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles probably influenced this a lot. 

What is one new place you’d love to travel to? 

I am fascinated by early human civilizations and would love to check out the Pyramids of Giza. I also really want to go to India to see the Taj Mahal. We’re going to have to call this one a tie.

Ash Shepherd
Chief Program Officer
Ash has been in love with the nonprofit sector for nearly two decades, where he has worked in the areas of conservation, environmental education, social work, youth program development, and technology consulting. He has been an active member of the NTEN Community, serving as a co-organizer of Portland’s 501 Tech Club, and completing a three-year term on the NTEN: Change Journal's Editorial Committee. Ash earned a B.S. from the University of Montana in Resource Management and a Masters in Environment and Development from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa.