About Us

Three Spinners Inc.

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Our story is better told by a Syrian folktale entitled “The Three Spinners,” recorded by Muna Imady in her book Syrian Folktales.  Please take a moment to read her story and upon arriving at the end, we hope the moral will be clear, as it is the basis upon which we have built this organization.

“We have a solution and we have a responsibility to each other to act in the face of discrimination.”


Alexandra van Doren

Co-Founder, CEO
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Alexandra van Doren is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She specializes in Holocaust Studies in Polish, Spanish, American, and German literatures and languages.  She holds a BA in English and a BA in Theatre Arts from Loyola Marymount University and an MA in Humanities/English from the University of Chicago.  She co-founded Three Spinners in 2016 to create a safe community for Syrian refugees in which to seek asylum, learn English, receive medical care, and prepare to enter the job market.  Alex is a poet, photographer, yogi, animal lover, amateur chef, and avid Oxford comma enthusiast.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


Meagan Smith

Co-Founder, COO
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Meagan Smith is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative and World Literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work focuses on the depiction of border walls in Russian and American dystopian novels. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Cincinnati and an M.A. in Literature from American University. She joined Alex in setting up an organization to help provide housing, food, and safety to refugees in January of 2016.

“I honor the human race. When it faces life head-on, it can almost remake itself.” — Eleanor Roosevelt


Timothy King

Co-Founder, Secretary, Treasurer, CTO
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Tim King is web developer/graphic designer living in Urbana-Champaign. He is interested in how design can have more than a fleeting impact on people’s lives. He holds a BS in Digital Design from the University of Cincinnati.  He joined Three Spinners to help place refugees seeking a welcoming place in the US.  He likes cats, but likes turtles more. He also enjoys photography, baking, and science-fiction in any form.

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.” — Katharine Hepburn