STAR is led by a team of staff and a board of trustees. The national staff team provides training and support to our student groups at colleges and universities across the UK. We work together at a number of levels to bring about lasting change for refugees. 

Our staff

Emily Crowley - Chief Executive
Chief Executive

Emily Crowley

I joined STAR in autumn 2009 as the Volunteering Project Coordinator, took on the role of Deputy Director in 2012, and have been the Chief Executive since 2019. I’ve been working in the refugee sector since 2006 and in the charity sector since 2004. Before working at STAR, I led a research project into mental health service provision for asylum seekers and refugees in England and Wales at Mind. Before that, I was the Volunteering Coordinator at the North Glasgow Community Food Initiative, a project originally established by the Glasgow STAR group. I am CELTA qualified and teach English to refugees and migrants as a volunteer. 

Jessica Benham - Student Network Manager
Student Network Manager

Jessica Benham

I joined STAR in winter 2021. My role is to manage the student network team, build and mobilise the STAR student network, and support the running of the STAR charity. I am experienced in campaigns, community and youth outreach, and communications. Before STAR, I worked at the Holocaust Memorial Trust, Universities UK International, and have taken on voluntary campaigns roles relating to genocide prevention, human rights, and politics. In my previous roles, I led student-facing campaigns, managed youth programmes, and worked with refugees and survivors of genocide.

Siobhan Coskeran - Access to University Coordinator
Access to University Coordinator

Siobhán Coskeran


I joined STAR in the summer of 2020. I coordinate the Equal Access campaign to improve access to university for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds in the UK. I have an MSc in International Development and Management, as part of which I researched higher education for refugees in Jordan. I’ve previously taught history and politics to secondary school students in the UK and France, and have volunteered with a range of organisations supporting people seeking asylum. Alongside my role at STAR, I’m a youth worker in South London.

Bekah Lucking - Volunteering Project Coordinator
Volunteering Coordinator

Bekah Lucking

I joined STAR in the spring of 2021. My role is to ensure that STAR groups can promote and run successful volunteering projects to support refugees and people seeking asylum in an effective and safe way. Alongside this role, I’m studying part-time for my master’s degree in Education, Gender and International Development. Before coming to STAR, I managed education and arts programmes for refugees and people seeking asylum in Greece, and taught English to secondary school students in the UK.

Hannah Carbery - Student Network Organiser
Student Network Organiser

Hannah Carbery

I joined STAR in the summer of 2020, having graduated from the University of Nottingham where I was the Vice President of Nottingham STAR. My role is to support students to set up and run STAR groups, organise successful events, and engage in and lead STAR’s campaigns. Outside of STAR, I volunteer with Literacy Pirates and my local library’s youth projects.

Anisa Halili - Administrator

Anisa Halili


I joined the STAR team in autumn 2019. My role is admin and finance as well as helping to organise events and conferences. I’ve studied AAT accounting and have first-hand experience of asylum. I am experienced in running campaigns and leading asylum and refugee women’s groups. Before coming to STAR, I was Co-chair of the All African Women’s Group, a group of asylum seekers and refugees who campaign for their rights in the UK. I was also the treasurer of Women Against Rape.

Miriam Lawson - Communications Assistant

Miriam Lawson

I joined in spring 2021 to support STAR’s communications output and strategy. Previously, I’ve worked in communications and fundraising at Minority Rights Group International, and in research roles at Freedom from Torture and PEN International. I have also managed communications for a sustainability consultancy and written fundraising applications for documentary films. I have an MA in Comparative Literature, during which I researched journalistic and photographic portrayals of survivors of the genocide in Rwanda.

Our trustees


Dave Garratt

Dave has worked in advice services in the UK for 20 years. Beginning as a volunteer in street homeless services, he developed extensive grounding in working with vulnerable people with complex needs. He began managing homeless services in 1995, developing first single services, then networks of residential and day-care provision. Moving to the refugee sector in 1999, Dave spent 15 years as a senior manager for Refugee Action, first as Operations Director and then, from 2010-15, as CEO. Dave joined STAR’s board in 2014 and became Chair in 2016.  Dave is also a trustee of the Asylum Support Appeals Project.


James Osbourne

James’ background is as a fundraiser, and he has worked and volunteered for a range of charities, including Oxfam, Third World First, and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. Currently, he is also treasurer at National Ugly Mugs, who work to end violence against sex workers, and is on the working group for Music Declares Emergency, which supports artists in speaking out on climate change. As Treasurer, his role is to help manage STAR’s accounts, work with the STAR team on day-to-day finances and report back to STAR groups at the annual conference.


Edward Arnold

Edward is an employment lawyer who works with UK and international employer clients, including in the charity sector. He joined our board of trustees in November 2018.


Maryam Taher

Maryam graduated from the University of York in 2019, where she was a recipient of the Equal Access scholarship. She was the Volunteering Coordinator of York STAR and campaigned for Equal Access. She is now one of STAR’s Equal Access Activists. She now works at City of Sanctuary as Universities of Sanctuary Coordinator.

Student trustee

Karolina Joksaite

Karolina is on the committee for Essex STAR and was voted onto our board of trustees at the 2020 AGM. She studies Social Anthropology at the University of Essex. Her favourite part about being a student trustee is being a part of an organisation that breaks down social barriers and brings people together from all over the world.


Natasha Murphy

Natasha is on the committee for Northampton STAR where she studies International Development. She was voted onto our board of trustees at the 2019 AGM. Natasha works part-time as a youth worker for Northampton Town of Sanctuary.


Billie Dibb

Billie is on the committee for ULIP STAR and was voted onto our board of trustees at the 2019 AGM. She studies International Politics at the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP) where she is also the Ethics and Environment Officer.

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