Skip to Main Content

Ellen Rafshoon Oral Histories: K

Karinshak, Zahra

Interviewee: Zahra Karinshak
Interviewer: Ellen Rafshoon
Date of interview:


In this interview, Zahra Karinshak discusses her enhanced level of political activism as a candidate for Georgia State Senate district 48. She has historically been politically active through her professional work as an intelligence officer in the Air Force, a lawyer, and on the council for Governor Barnes. Karinshak cites divisiveness as the main issue that propelled her to take on a more enhanced role in politics after Donald Trump's election.

Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and raised in LaFayette, Georgia, Zahra Karinshak graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and served as an intelligence officer in the Air Force from 1989-1994.  After leaving the military, she attended Emory University School of Law, received her J.D. in 1997, and clerked for a judge on the 11th Court of Appeals.  From 2003-2011 she was Assistant U.S. Attorney in Atlanta prosecuting cases involving human trafficking and child predators.  Her political career includes working for Governor Roy Barnes from 1999-2003 as Deputy Executive Counsel.  In 2019 she won a seat in the Georgia Senate representing the 48th District encompassing Gwinnett and North Fulton counties, but she left the Senate to seek a seat in the U.S. Congress, losing the Democratic primary in 2020 to Carolyn Bourdeaux.  She currently serves as litigation partner in the law firm Krevolin & Horst.

Koonz, Stephe

Interviewee: Steph Koonz
Interviewer: Ellen Rafshoon
Date of Interview:


Stephe Koontz is a City Councilmember representing District 3 in Doraville, Georgia. A resident of Doraville since 1985, Koontz has been a small business owner and church administrator and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta. 



Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives

Oral Histories at GSU

Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women's Movement Archives

Lucy Hargrett Draper Collections on Women's Rights, Advocacy, and the Law

Archives for Research on Women 

Phone: (404) 413-2880

Mailing Address:
Special Collections & Archives
Georgia State University Library
100 Decatur Street, SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3202

In Person:
Library South, 8th floor

Employee Directory