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Sarah Peterson

Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance, DSHS
WA State Refugee Coordinator
Sarah Peterson is the Washington State Refugee Coordinator and oversees the Washington Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA). Before taking on this role in 2014, Sarah spent 15 years working with refugee and immigrant communities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sarah attributes her passion in working with people from other countries to the rich experience she gained serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala. When she returned to the U.S., she earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Pennsylvania. During her tenure in Philadelphia, Sarah gained a broad range of experience in the nonprofit sector. She worked as a foster care social worker serving Unaccompanied Refugee Minors. She managed the Pennsylvania Asylee Outreach Program, helping individuals granted asylum navigate systems and remove barriers to achieving self-sufficiency. For five years, she directed the refugee resettlement program at HIAS Pennsylvania, helping to establish a citywide refugee health collaborative.

In 2018, Sarah received the Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management and in 2019, received recognition from the Islamic Center of Tri-Cities for her support for refugee resettlement. She is currently the President of the State Coordinators of Refugee Resettlement and served as the Vice President of SCORR from 2017 through 2019. Sarah lives in Seattle with her husband and daughter and enjoys running, hiking, and exploring the beautiful nature of the Northwest.
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