Des Newzzz

A big thank you to our summer interns

There have been a few people behind The Des this summer helping us churn out great criminal justice news. We wanted to thank them for all their efforts and tell you a bit about them.

Abby Ilfeld, our reporting and research intern, is a rising junior in a Dual Degree program between Columbia University and Trinity College Dublin where she majors in Political Science and European Studies. She has been passionate about writing and journalism for a long time and was an editor for her high school’s literary magazine and took classes at The School of the New York Times. Abby continued working within the journalism industry in college as an intern for the Block Island Times and a freelance reporter for The Charlotte Observer’s magazine, CharlotteFive. She is excited to expand her experience to researching and writing about criminal justice for The Des, as she is extremely passionate about human rights and justice and is thrilled to contribute to an organization that promotes the abolition of the current US prison system and spreads awareness about pressing criminal justice issues.

Aside from writing, Abby likes to spend her days with friends, traveling, reading, or baking. She is looking forward to living in New York City for the next couple years and plans to explore the city’s local bookshops and cafés.


Zeyad El-Shami, our social media and marketing intern, is a Washington D.C. native with a passion for criminal justice reform. He studies in Scotland, pursuing a Master of Arts from the University of Edinburgh in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. His course of study has intensely stoked his ambition to join the political world in a capacity that contributes to real and practical change to criminal justice legislation. Zeyad’s interest in criminal justice reform arose from an unexpected place; while working as a market analyst for Asal Technologies, a Palestinian software firm, he saw firsthand the impact uneven governmental structures had on the implementation of justice in regards to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 

Zeyad’s work experience also includes stints in political advocacy, where he conducted voter outreach operations for senatorial campaigns in Virginia, the state of his birth. He spent his time organizing rallies and campaign events along with contacting prospective voters and outlining the criminal justice policies of the candidates participating in the 2020 election cycle.

When not writing for The Des, Zeyad can be found watching Washington Wizards basketball games, mentoring children in Washington D.C., hiking with his family, and walking his Labrador, Sonny, on the National Mall.


Mckayla Buckley, the graphic design intern, attends University of Washington, where she majors in Law, Political Science and Design. While contributing to The Des and going to school, she spins ice cream at Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle and loves to trail bike.


A huge thank you to these student’s dedicated work this summer from The Des.