meet the panelists

Laura Gomez-Horton

Laura is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Board-Approved Supervisor through the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners. She received a Bachelor and Master of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996 and 1997, respectively. She is currently the clinical director at the YWCA Greater Austin whose adopted mission is “eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.” Laura is a Member of National Association for Social Workers (NASW).

Ainee Athar

Ainee is currently responsible forengagement with center-right interest groups & businesses, outreach to immigration coalition partners, and facilitating resources and support for the Texas Congressional delegation. She builds big programs and events, aims for press hits, and makes strategic decisions on how to plug influencers into the rapidly evolving political landscape. She is serving the 2nd year of her 1st term as board member for YWCA Greater Austin.

Farah Muscadin

Ms. Muscadin has most recently served as the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Chicago State University (CSU). While at CSU, Ms. Muscadin served as the Interim Dean of Student Affairs, the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Board Liaison to the Board of Trustees. Prior to joining CSU, Ms. Muscadin worked as the Associate Director of Legislative and Government Affairs for the City Colleges of Chicago, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Ms. Muscadin was also Assistant Public Defender for the Cook County Public Defender's Office and Guardian ad Litem for the Cook County Public Guardian's Office. Ms. Muscadin currently serves on the board for the Austin Iowa Alumni Club and is a member of the Travis County Women’s Lawyers Association. She holds a bachelor's of business administration from the University of Iowa and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law.

Sarah Crockett

Sarah grew up in Idaho and has a bachelor's degree in political science from Northwest Nazarene University. She obtained a master's degree in social work from the University of Michigan in Social Policy and Program Evaluation in 2010 after gaining experience working on women's issues, domestic violence and with refugees. Sarah served as associate director of the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health prior to joining Texas CASA in late 2014. Sarah has significant experience advocating for children, both legislatively and in her role as a CASA volunteer for CASA of Travis County. She served as the Chair of the Prevention Committee for the Child Protection Roundtable from 2014-2016 and has extensive knowledge of both the legislative and Sunset processes.

Barbara Cossie

Barbara began her "service" at the University Y (now known as the YWCA Greater Austin) in 1982 on 2330 Guadalupe on the second floor of the Varsity Building. During her time at the YWCA she has been through three moves with the YWCA; worked under six executive directors; and, seen a countless number of YWCA staff, interns and volunteers come and go. She has seen the finances go up and down, YWCA programs move in and out, as well as program name changes. She has held numerous positions and filled numerous roles at the YWCA. Most recently she served as Coordinator, for one of the YWCA’s flagship programs, the Training Institute. In this role, Barbara has helped build capacity to address the root causes of gender and race-based inequalities in thousands of individuals and service providers. Throughout it all, Barbara has maintained a sense of joy, a sense of humor, and a dedication to the mission of the YWCA and serving the Greater Austin Community. She lights up a room like fireflies in a jar, and for that we are grateful.