Volunteer Spotlight: Taylor Zerby

SOTIAdmin Volunteering

SURVIVORS works extensively with volunteers to maximize funding and services to clients. From 2012 – 2015 we had over 400 short-term and long-term volunteers including 33 dedicated long-term administrative and program support volunteers who, together, contributed approximately 48 hours per month for a total of 1,728 hours during the past three years. Activities ranged from newsletter folding, to hygiene drives, to befrienders, to volunteers who drove clients to and from appointments, and more!

Today we spotlight Taylor Zerby, who recently graduated from San Diego State University with degrees in French and International Security and Conflict Resolution. Taylor interned at SURVIVORS for the spring semester.


  • Name: Taylor Zerby
  • Hometown: I am from Newberry, MI but I have lived in San Diego for almost 3 years.
  • Background: As of May 13th, 2016 I will be a graduate of SDSU with my B.A. in International Security & Conflict Resolution with a specialization in Cooperation Conflict & Conflict Resolution as well as a second major in French.
  • Hobbies: My hobbies include running, hiking, traveling, camping, reading and watching French films.
  • Career Interest: My career dream is to work with humanitarian organizations as an interpreter in Francophone Africa. I also hope to get my MA in Interpretation and Translation and a J.D. in Human Rights Law.
Taylor represented SURVIVORS at many community events.

Taylor at the International Nonprofit Fair in Balboa Park, April 2016.

  • Why did you choose to intern at SURVIVORS?

I chose to intern at SURVIVORS because of my passion for human rights advocacy as well as my prior volunteer experience with the local refugee population with other NGO’s in the San Diego area.

  • What did you do at SURVIVORS?

I served as the Community Relations intern. As such, I assisted with data entry, social media updates, blog entries, outreach events, and other administrative tasks.

  • What did you learn while at SURVIVORS?

I learned so much! Too much for a short answer response—But I would say the most valuable things I have learned are the legal definitions of “torture” definitions as defined by the U.S. Torture Act and UNCAT, commonly held misconceptions regarding the use of torture and its efficacy—as well as its cultural pervasion, and the arduous legal process for refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers to obtain legal status and remain in the United States permanently.

  • What was your favorite part about working at SURVIVORS?

My favorite part about working at SURVIVORS was staying informed about current global, national, and local events pertaining to torture/rehabilitation and human rights as well as discussing those events thoroughly with the staff and my peers.

  • What are your next steps professionally?

For the next 7 months, I will be an English Teaching Assistant in France—more specifically Reunion Island. Then I hope to join the Peace Corps prior to graduate school.

  • Anything else you would like to add?

Thank you, Niki and the entire SURVIVORS staff for being so welcoming and allowing me to explore so many great opportunities, I am truly grateful and feel blessed to have been a part of this wonderful organization for the past three months.

Interested in volunteering like Taylor? Go to our volunteer page to see all of the ways you can get involved.