Leadership

Cathryn Miller-Wilson, Esq.
Cathryn Miller-Wilson, Esq.
Executive Director
Cathryn Miller-Wilson, Esq.

Cathryn Miller-Wilson, Esq.
Executive Director

Cathryn Miller-Wilson has been Executive Director of HIAS Pennsylvania since November, 2016. Prior to joining HIAS Pennsylvania as Deputy Director in June, 2014, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Villanova University School of Law where she co-taught the Civil Justice Clinic. She also taught Legal Writing. From September, 2008 through June, 2011 she was both the Deputy Managing Attorney at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania and an adjunct professor at Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law where she taught a Field Clinic. She has been a Custody and Support Master in Philadelphia’s Family Court, coordinator of the Delivery of Legal Services Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Director of the Parents with HIV/AIDS Project at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania and a staff attorney at Community Legal Services, Inc. where she represented parents accused of abuse and neglect. She co-founded, while in law school, the Custody and Support Assistance Clinic (CASAC) and today sits on the board of that organization. She is the primary author of Pennsylvania’s Standby Guardianship Act which became law in December, 1998. With support from the Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, she created a medical/legal partnership between the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania and the Jonathan Lax Treatment Center at Philadelphia FIGHT in 2007. She has made numerous presentations on family law, the unique issues in families affected by HIV/AIDS, standby guardianship, confidentiality and consumer rights issues. She has several law journal publications regarding legal ethics, disability law and policy and legal education. She graduated from Tufts University in 1989 and from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1993 and currently sits on the law school’s Board of Managers. In 2004 she was awarded the Penn Law Alumni Society’s Young Alumni Award for Professional Achievement.  

 

Ellen Freda
Ellen Freda
Director of Development
Ellen Freda

Ellen Freda
Director of Development

With more than 20 years of nonprofit advancement and community outreach experience, Ellen’s professional success is founded on her enthusiasm for providing meaningful experiences for both charitable organizations and donors. A lifelong Philadelphian, Ellen earned her B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in educational psychology from Temple University. She began her development career at a national consulting firm as part of a team that provided strategic development, management, and marketing services to nonprofit organizations. Ellen worked for 10 years at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia in progressively more responsible positions, including leading its fundraising and communications efforts. Additionally, she has held leadership positions at education nonprofits, as well as an international organization that promotes women’s economic independence.

Lucy Rabbaa, MSW, MSc
Lucy Rabbaa, MSW, MSc
Director of Social Services
Lucy Rabbaa, MSW, MSc

Lucy Rabbaa, MSW, MSc
Director of Social Services

Lucy Rabbaa has been serving as the Director of Social Services at HIAS Pennsylvania since November 2020. She has worked with refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants since 2007 taking on a variety of roles such as a Caseworker & Interpreter at the Resettlement Support Center (RSC) in Bangkok, Thailand; Health Access Coordinator with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Oakland, CA; Preferred Communities Program Officer with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) in Arlington, VA; and Program Director at Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE) in Baltimore, MD. In addition, during the Mediterranean migration crisis in 2016, she volunteered with two nonprofit organizations in Malta – Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants (FSM), supporting their search & rescue efforts and community integration programs for migrants and asylum seekers.

Lucy’s other field of specialization is elder care with a focus on a comprehensive, community-based model of care called the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). In this capacity, she participated in the outcome measurement and evaluation project by assessing the level of satisfaction among program participants and their caregivers at various senior care facilities nationwide, using an instrument called the Integrated Satisfaction Measurement (I-SAT).

Lucy received her Master’s in Social Work (MSW) from Temple University and a Master of Science (MSc) in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford. In her second year of the MSW program, HIAS Pennsylvania was her field placement where she engaged in both macro and micro social work by splitting her time between the two departments – Refugee Resettlement and Development.

Asha Ramachandran, Esq.
Asha Ramachandran, Esq.
Director of Operations
Asha Ramachandran, Esq.

Asha Ramachandran, Esq.
Director of Operations

With more than 30 years of experience practicing law and with her trilingual capability, Asha prides herself on providing high quality legal representation to her clients. As a general practitioner in Sri Lanka and as a public interest attorney in the United States specializing in federal and Pennsylvania public benefits and immigration law, Asha has strengthened and stabilized the lives of hundreds of clients through her zealous advocacy and successful representation.

Prior to joining HIAS Pennsylvania in April 2023, Asha worked as Director of Administration at SeniorLAW Center, Victims of Crime (VOCA) Program Manager at Pennsylvania Health Law Project, Staff Attorney and later Deputy Managing Attorney at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, and as a Paralegal at Community Legal Services while waiting to be admitted to the Pennsylvania bar after her immigration to the United States.

Asha’s passion is empowering clients, case managers, and social workers with the information they need to thrive. She has provided statewide training to HIV case managers and social workers on federal and state public benefits. Additionally, she has presented at PLAN, PCDVA, Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association annual conferences, and conducted statewide training for victim service organizations on Medicaid. She authored the HIV/AIDS Advocacy Manual on Public Benefits (2010, 2020 editions) for the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania in an effort to train and educate HIV case managers. As a certified Pennsylvania State Health Insurance Program (PA-MEDI) counselor, Asha has counselled many seniors and disabled individuals on their Medicare coverage and other health insurance options. She has also volunteered her time with the Homeless Advocacy Project securing disability benefits, and with the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Take Action Philly project.

Philippe Weisz, Esq.
Philippe Weisz, Esq.
Director of Legal Services
Philippe Weisz, Esq.

Philippe Weisz, Esq.
Director of Legal Services

Philippe Weisz has been an advocate for immigrant rights for over 20 years. He started his career as a staff attorney with the American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program in Newark, N.J.  There, he represented detained asylum seekers and immigrants from Central America. In 2000, he was named the program’s managing attorney. In 2006, he joined HIAS Pennsylvania as their managing attorney.

In addition to supervising its staff of attorneys and paralegals and handling his own caseload, Philippe oversees the agency’s educational activities. He has presented at professional conferences, trained pro-bono lawyers and provided training to staff at numerous social- and legal- services agencies. He also has been interviewed by English- and Spanish-language media on immigration matters.

Philippe has taught immigration law and supervised law school clinic students. He served as a visiting professor at the Seton Hall University School of Law’s Center for Social Justice International and Human Rights Clinic in 2004. In the 2008- 2009 school year, he was an adjunct professor in the Transnational Legal Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Philippe earned a B.A. in International Relations at Dickinson College in 1992. and a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at American University, where he also received an M.A. in International Relations.

Management

Isabel Abreu, Esq.
Isabel Abreu, Esq.
Managing Attorney

Isabel Abreu, Esq.
Managing Attorney

Isabel joined HIAS Pennsylvania in 2016 upon her graduation from law school. She provides direct representation to clients before US citizenship and immigration services. She also manages a program serving individuals from Eastern Pennsylvania.  In her free time she enjoys knitting, hand building ceramics, and taking walks with her dog.

Rachel Aistrop
Rachel Aistrop
Adult Education Program Manager
Rachel Aistrop

Rachel Aistrop
Adult Education Program Manager

Rachel Aistrop is the Adult Education Program Manager at HIAS PA. In this role, Rachel teaches the beginner and advanced English classes for adults. Additionally, she manages the volunteer tutor program and supports other English teachers in the program with curriculum design and administration of the adult English program. Before completing her TESOL certification, she achieved a B.A in Spanish from Temple University and an M.A in Global Migration and Policy from Tel Aviv University. It was in South Tel Aviv where Rachel discovered both her passion for teaching and her interest in serving and empowering refugee and asylum-seeking communities. Rachel is thrilled to be a part of HIAS PA where she can continue to help increase access to opportunity and self-determination by way of the English language.

Lori Alexander, MSW, DOJ Accredited Representative
Lori Alexander, MSW, DOJ Accredited Representative
Director of Citizenship and Family Unification Program
Lori Alexander, MSW, DOJ Accredited Representative

Lori Alexander, MSW, DOJ Accredited Representative
Director of Citizenship and Family Unification Program

Lori Alexander has been employed at HIAS Pennsylvania since 1978. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Master of Social Work degree from Temple University. She has been accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals since November 1979 to represent clients before both the USCIS and EOIR. Over the years, she has successfully represented thousands of clients at interviews for naturalization, adjustment of status and other matters. Lori speaks four foreign languages: Russian, French, Spanish and Italian.

Tiana C. Belton, MBA, SHRM-SCP, PHR
Tiana C. Belton, MBA, SHRM-SCP, PHR
Human Resources and DEI Manager
Tiana C. Belton, MBA, SHRM-SCP, PHR

Tiana C. Belton, MBA, SHRM-SCP, PHR
Human Resources and DEI Manager

Tiana C. Belton, MBA, SHRM-SCP, PHR, is the Human Resources and DEI Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania. In this role, Tiana will serve as the strategic HR and DEI resource for HIAS PA team members and leaders. Tiana has a broad base of knowledge and experience in all areas of Human Resources including HR Operations, Employee Relations, Coaching & Development, as well as Performance Management.

“I am here to make your jobs easier!”

Headshot of An Chu
An Chu, MSc
Accounting Manager
Headshot of An Chu

An Chu, MSc
Accounting Manager

An Chu has been serving as the Accounting & Fiscal Manager for HIAS PA since 2022.

Prior to joining HIAS PA, An was a Fiscal Director for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS healthcare center in Philadelphia for 11 years. She worked for 5 years at Kumon center as an AR Manager and worked for 2 years in Investor Relations at Providential Holdings in Vietnam. An received her Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Finance from Academy of Finance in Vietnam, and received her Master’s degree in Accounting & Finance from Wilmington University.

An loves hiking, traveling and cooking

Headshot of Stephanie Costa
Stephanie Costa, Esq.
Managing Attorney
Headshot of Stephanie Costa

Stephanie Costa, Esq.
Managing Attorney

Stephanie Costa is a Managing Attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania. Stephanie oversees a team of legal and social staff that provides direct representation and supportive services to immigrants residing in Philadelphia, PA and several surrounding counties. Stephanie also represents clients before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and in Immigration Court.  She is involved in local and state-wide advocacy efforts to increase access to justice for immigrants.  She graduated from Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2012 and joined HIAS Pennsylvania in 2013.

Amy Eckendorf, LSW
Amy Eckendorf, LSW
Immigrant Health and Wellness Program Manager
Amy Eckendorf, LSW

Amy Eckendorf, LSW
Immigrant Health and Wellness Program Manager

Amy Eckendorf is the Immigrant Health and Wellness Program Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania. In this role, she supports refugees and immigrants who are experiencing significant barriers to self-sufficiency here in the United States. Amy and her team navigate the complexities of systems and work to support clients in accessing the needed care and support they deserve.

Amy’s professional experiences include working with refugee youth and youth experiencing homelessness, and counseling survivors of interpersonal violence. She holds a Masters in Social Work from West Chester University and a BA in Intercultural Studies and Sociology. As a licensed social worker, Amy is particularly interested in addressing barriers to accessing culturally appropriate mental healthcare.

Diane Feissel
Diane Feissel
Grants Manager
Diane Feissel

Diane Feissel
Grants Manager

Diane Feissel joined HIAS PA as Grants Manager in 2023, and is responsible for securing and reporting on funding from foundation, government, and corporate donors. She previously worked in institutional giving and grants management at Mural Arts Philadelphia, the Please Touch Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, as well as Save San Francisco Bay Association and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in the San Francisco Bay Area. Originally from New Hampshire and raised on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Diane holds a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College with a major in Fine Arts; she has exhibited her paintings in galleries and museums in the U.S. and France.

Rona Gershon, Esq.
Rona Gershon, Esq.
Intake Managing Attorney
Rona Gershon, Esq.

Rona Gershon, Esq.
Intake Managing Attorney

Rona Gershon is the Intake Managing Attorney with HIAS Pennsylvania. She originally joined the Legal Department in November 2014 as a Cardozo Law Institute for Human Rights Fellow, and primarily focused on representing victims of domestic violence and children. Rona obtained her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2014. During law school, Rona was a legal intern at Her Justice, The Legal Aid Society, and Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation.  Rona also worked as a Clinical Student Intern at the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic and Cardozo’s Divorce Mediation Clinic. Rona is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey (2014).

Aidan Hamilton
Aidan Hamilton
Compliance, Data, and Technology Manager
Aidan Hamilton

Aidan Hamilton
Compliance, Data, and Technology Manager

Aidan Hamilton is the Compliance Officer and Data Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania. He is responsible for ensuring that the organization complies with its grant funding requirements. Aidan graduated from Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in philosophy and economics.

Jeffrey Isaacson Headshot
Jeffrey Isaacson
Community Engagement Manager
Jeffrey Isaacson Headshot

Jeffrey Isaacson
Community Engagement Manager

Jeffrey Isaacson is the Community Engagement Manager. He manages volunteer engagement, in-kind donations, and community events. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Jeffrey served in different AmeriCorps programs around the country. He then engaged volunteers at a therapeutic horseback riding facility in Seattle and the American Red Cross in North Carolina. Jeffrey then hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Most recently, he engaged volunteers at Bethesda Project, which provides emergency shelter and permanent housing to adults experiencing homelessness.
Shaloo Jose, DOJ Accredited Representative
Shaloo Jose, DOJ Accredited Representative
Director of Asylee Outreach Program
Shaloo Jose, DOJ Accredited Representative

Shaloo Jose, DOJ Accredited Representative
Director of Asylee Outreach Program

Shaloo Jose is the Director of the Asylee Outreach Program at HIAS Pennsylvania. She works with asylees to obtain necessary documentation, benefits, employment services, and other critical resources on the path to self-sufficiency. She also represents asylees in adjustment of status applications, family unification petitions, and other post-asylum grant matters. Shaloo graduated as an attorney from India and practiced Trademarks and Copyrights law. Shaloo is accredited by the Department of Justice since 2008 to represent clients before USCIS for immigration matters. She joined HIAS Pennsylvania in 2007.

Parisa Khoshnood
Parisa Khoshnood
Youth Education Program Manager
Parisa Khoshnood

Parisa Khoshnood
Youth Education Program Manager

Parisa serves as the Youth Education Program Manager. She holds a B.A. in Global Studies & Modern Languages from Drexel University, with a concentration in Justice and Human Rights.

In this role, Parisa supports the K-8 Newcomer Youth ESL Program and the Young Adult Mentoring Program, facilitates school enrollment, and provides education case management to immigrant youth and families, with a focus on Afghan arrivals through the Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) program. She also conducts parent workshops on key education-related topics to ensure that our newly arrived families have the necessary information and communication tools to become empowered members of their child’s new school community. Parisa previously worked as the Youth Education Administrative Assistant and Case Aide on the Education team.

Prior to beginning this position, Parisa conducted two six-month internships with the HIAS PA Education Team in 2018 and 2019, and has stayed on board in various capacities ever since. She is grateful to have the opportunity to continue supporting and advocating for our wonderful clients!

Stephanie Lubert, Esq.
Stephanie Lubert, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program Managing Attorney
Stephanie Lubert, Esq.

Stephanie Lubert, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program Managing Attorney

Stephanie Lubert joined HIAS Pennsylvania in 2015 as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow. In her current position, Stephanie provides direct representation to unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings, pro se assistance, and community outreach.  She previously held a staff attorney position at the Crime Victims Law Project where she represented survivors of sexual assault in family law and immigration matters.  Prior to law school, Stephanie worked for two years as a case manager at Catholic Charities’ St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigration Legal Assistance in Houston, TX.  Stephanie hails from the great state of Tennessee.  She obtained her law degree from Villanova University and her undergraduate degree from Fordham University.

Andrew Nguyen
Andrew Nguyen
Employment Program Manager
Andrew Nguyen

Andrew Nguyen
Employment Program Manager

Andrew Nguyen serves as the Employment Program Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania, where he ensures our clients have direct employment support services and develop personalized career development plans for career entry and advancement.

Prior to coming to HIAS PA, Andrew was a union organizer with UNITE HERE Local 26, organizing for better working standards with hospitality and food & beverage employees. Andrew graduated from Brandeis University with Bachelor Degrees in Anthropology and Sociology.

Brenda Nogales, LL.M.
Brenda Nogales, LL.M.
Crisis and Humanitarian Response Program Manager
Brenda Nogales, LL.M.

Brenda Nogales, LL.M.
Crisis and Humanitarian Response Program Manager

Brenda Nogales oversees the Crisis and Humanitarian Program at HIAS PA, a program tailored to respond to the legal and social needs of people affected by humanitarian crises who are arriving in the U.S. and are in need of access to timely, reliable information and services in languages they understand and in a culturally responsive and trauma-informed way.

Originally from Bolivia, Brenda understands the challenges and concerns that most immigrants face when moving to a new country. She started her career as an advocate for immigrant victim’s rights in 2005 at Nationalities Service Center where she oversaw the Survivor Services Program which provides legal and social supports to survivors of torture, human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes. In 2019, Brenda received the Pennsylvania Governor’s Victim Service Pathfinder Award recognizing her as a pioneer advocate for immigrant victim’s rights across Pennsylvania where she has been on the front lines of immigrant assistance and advocacy, helping open paths for equal access to justice and culturally responsive programing for immigrant survivors of crime.

Brenda is a graduate from the James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University where she received an LL.M. degree (Master of Law) and she also holds a law degree from the Universidad Mayor de San Simon in Bolivia.

Christopher Setz-Kelly, Esq.
Christopher Setz-Kelly, Esq.
Asylum and Removal Defense Program Manager Attorney
Christopher Setz-Kelly, Esq.

Christopher Setz-Kelly, Esq.
Asylum and Removal Defense Program Manager Attorney

Chris Setz-Kelly joined HIAS Pennsylvania as the Asylum and Removal Defense Program Manager Attorney in 2022 after years of representing immigrant clients in the Philadelphia region. Chris regularly represents individuals in Immigration Court and has extensive experience in asylum law, motions to reopen, and minimizing the immigration
consequences of criminal convictions. Previously, he was an associate at the law firm Gian-Grasso, Tomczak & Hufe, P.C., where his practice focused on representing non-citizens in removal proceedings as well as in appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals and federal courts. Before that, Chris was a staff attorney at Nationalities
Service Center.

Chris received his Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law. While in law school he represented clients in their applications for legal status through the Immigrant Justice Clinic. Chris received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Colorado. Chris is conversant in Spanish.

Taj Sheikh, MSW
Taj Sheikh, MSW
Asylee Outreach Program Social Services Manager
Taj Sheikh, MSW

Taj Sheikh, MSW
Asylee Outreach Program Social Services Manager

Taj Sheikh currently serves as the Asylee Outreach Program Social Services Manager.

A Texan at heart, Taj received her Masters of Social Work with a concentration in Administrative and Policy Practice, as well as her Bachelors of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining HIAS PA, Taj worked in various legislative capacities, and also volunteered as an ESL Instructor with Casa Marianella, a refugee shelter in Austin. She is proud to serve the refugee community here in Philadelphia.

Famoh Toure
Famoh Toure
Refugee Resettlement Program Manager
Famoh Toure

Famoh Toure
Refugee Resettlement Program Manager

Famoh S. Toure is the Refugee Resettlement Program Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania. He is a development practitioner and a leader in public/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with over 15 years of experience empowering others to be self-sufficient and become productive citizens in their communities.

Famoh has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration/Organizational Leadership from Southern New Hampshire University and a Master of Science Degree in Community Economic Development from the School of Community Economic Development of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). In addition to these degrees, Famoh has several certificates, including Advanced Leadership for Organizational Transformation, Project Management, Reception and Placement (R&P), Quarterly Consultation (QC), and Reception & Placement (R&P) Case Management Forms.

Famoh is very active in his community is currently serving as a board member for Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success (ORIS), and New Neighbor Connections.

Famoh enjoys public speaking and has participated in many speaking engagements. He has been a keynote speaker at New Hampshire Technical Institute’s “Wings of Knowledge”, a panelist at the New Hampshire First Immigrant Integration Conference at Saint Anselm College, a Panelist at a University of New Hampshire program on refugees’ and immigrants’ experiences in New Hampshire, and a subject matter expert/panelist during a New Hampshire Public Radio discussion on President Biden’s proposed asylum restrictions.

Famoh currently lives in New Hampshire with his family. He enjoys being active, playing basketball, going to the gym, watching CNN, and spending time with his family.

Vleidmy R. Velarde, LL.M., DOJ Accredited Representative
Vleidmy R. Velarde, LL.M., DOJ Accredited Representative
Immigrant Victims of Crime Program Supervisor
Vleidmy R. Velarde, LL.M., DOJ Accredited Representative

Vleidmy R. Velarde, LL.M., DOJ Accredited Representative
Immigrant Victims of Crime Program Supervisor

Vleidmy R. Velarde is the Immigrant Victims of Crime Program Supervisor at HIAS Pennsylvania. She joined HIAS Pennsylvania in August of 2008 to help provide legal services to the Latino immigrant community in Philadelphia. Born in Venezuela, Ms. Velarde came to the United States in 2001 as a student and earned her Master’s in International Legal Studies and American Law from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in 2007. Prior to joining HIAS Pennsylvania, she worked as a legal interpreter and a legal assistant at a boutique immigration law firm.

Ms. Velarde graduated as an attorney from the Law School of Universidad Catolica de Tachira, Venezuela, in 2000. She practiced business, corporate, employment and family law prior to taking a position as the Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel for a private Hospital in Venezuela.

Since joining the legal services department at HIAS Pennsylvania, she has become an Accredited Representative and supervises the Immigrant Victim of Crime Initiative. In May 2011, she co-authored, with Judith Bernstein-Baker, an article about a case that was published in the Philadelphia Bar Association Foundation newsletter, titled “A New Citizen Becomes a Proud Marine.”

Legal Services Department

Nicole Aron
Nicole Aron
Citizenship & Family Unification Paralegal
Nicole Aron

Nicole Aron
Citizenship & Family Unification Paralegal

Nicole Aron is a Citizenship & Family Unification Paralegal at HIAS Pennsylvania. She assists the clients with their citizenship applications. Nicole has a Bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies from Peirce College in Philadelphia. She is part of the Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa, and has an interest in the Fine Arts. Nicole is also fluent in Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi and English, which she utilizes in her work as an interpreter.

Madeline Artiga
Madeline Artiga
Asylee Outreach Program Paralegal
Madeline Artiga

Madeline Artiga
Asylee Outreach Program Paralegal

Madeline Artiga is the Asylee Outreach Program Paralegal at HIAS Pennsylvania.

She was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. She and her family moved to the United States in 2016, when she was 16 years old. She participated in the youth group (grupo de encuentro de Jóvenes en el Espíritu (Young Encounter Spirit) and was a group Leader/Volunteer at a church in El Salvador. Madeline trained and supervised children on religious ministries and outreach; developed or directed study courses or religious education programs within congregations; scheduled special events such as camps, conferences, meetings, seminars, or retreats; and attended workshops, seminars, or conferences to obtain program ideas, information, or resources.

In 2017, Madeline participated with “La Puerta Abierta” and “Barrio Ed Project Philadelphia.” During that time she participated in several trainings, workshops where she learned about the importance of immigrant rights, how to be heard in the US and how we can help immigrants. She is now studying her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing at Franklin University. Madeline speaks English and Spanish and is currently learning Dari to help the Afghan community.

Madeline joined HIAS Pennsylvania as a receptionist in November 2021 to help and serve the community.

Emily Augenbraun
Emily Augenbraun
Know Your Rights Case Specialist
Emily Augenbraun

Emily Augenbraun
Know Your Rights Case Specialist

Emily Augenbraun is a Know Your Rights Case Specialist on the Youth Team at HIAS PA. In this role, Emily will be giving Know Your Rights presentations and conducting legal screenings with unaccompanied youth in three different local shelters.

In her previous position, Emily worked as a Community Health Worker with the Philadelphia non-profit organization Education Plus Health, where she provided asthma and nutrition education to students in a school-based health center setting. Additionally, in this role Emily helped connect uninsured families with insurance and other social determinants of health, such as food pantry programs and housing/rental assistance programs.

Emily holds a bachelors degree in Spanish and Latin American Iberian & Latino Studies from Bryn Mawr College.

Headshot of Nicole Bañales
Nicole Bañales
Case Manager

Nicole Bañales
Case Manager

Nicole Bañales is a Case Manager on the Legal Team at HIAS Pennsylvania. She joined the team in January 2020 and works with Philadelphia based clients. She is currently a part-time student at the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and uses her studies to bridge legal and social services to clients. Nicole has received her B.A. degree in Sociology from Swarthmore College.

John Branca
John Branca
Complex Litigation & Humanitarian Relief Paralegal
John Branca

John Branca
Complex Litigation & Humanitarian Relief Paralegal

John Branca is a Paralegal on the Complex Litigation and Humanitarian Relief Team at HIAS Pennsylvania. He has a Bachelors in Paralegal Studies from Peirce College.

John has worked at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office as well as in Philly’s hospitality industry as co-owner of the James Beard-nominated Malaysian restaurant, Saté Kampar, along with his wife, Ange. During that time he co-founded Muhibbah Dinners, a charity dinner series that raises money for non-profits that work with immigrants and refugees. In recent years, he has helped run Kampar Kitchen, an online pick-up/delivery platform featuring a diverse roster of Philadelphia chefs specializing in underrepresented traditional cuisines.

He started at HIAS PA at the beginning of 2022 and is happy to be combining his paralegal experience with his passion for being a part of diversity thriving in Philly and the rest of the country.

Julie Burnett Headshot
Julie Burnett
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program Case Manager
Julie Burnett Headshot

Julie Burnett
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program Case Manager

Julie Burnett is the Immigrant Youth Advocacy Case Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania. In this position she connects clients to resources and benefits that will improve their quality of life in the United States. Prior to joining HIAS PA, Julie assisted unaccompanied migrant youth at an emergency shelter on the border where she created resources for indigenous children. She also has experience assisting migrants detained by ICE in their immigration cases and their release from detention. Julie is committed to this work and passionately believes migration to be a fundamental human right.

Julie graduated from Miami University with a degree in Kinesiology as well as a degree in Latin American Studies. After graduating she worked in Colombia and South Korea as an ESL teacher. She loves fresh fruit juice, nature, painting, and knitting.

Mary Clark, Esq.
Mary Clark, Esq.
Philadelphia Citizenship Action Network (P-CAN) Coordinator
Mary Clark, Esq.

Mary Clark, Esq.
Philadelphia Citizenship Action Network (P-CAN) Coordinator

Mary Clark serves as the Philadelphia Citizenship Action Network (P-CAN) Coordinator at HIAS Pennsylvania. The P-CAN partnership works to increase naturalization rates in low-income and underserved immigrant communities throughout the city and surrounding counties.

Mary joined HIAS Pennsylvania in 2017. She was previously the Executive Director of Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS), an organization that provides direct legal serves, education, and advocacy to primarily Latino immigrants and their families in the Philadelphia area. A graduate of Brown University and Temple University Beasley School of Law, Mary has worked in the field of immigration law since 2009. Prior to law school, she served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic.

Maria Castro
Maria Castro
Asylee Outreach Program Legal Advocate
Maria Castro

Maria Castro
Asylee Outreach Program Legal Advocate

Maria joined HIAS Pennsylvania in January of 2024 as an Asylee Outreach Program Legal Advocate. Prior to joining HIAS PA, Maria interned with the legal department of the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore and worked as a paralegal for a private immigration law firm in Philadelphia. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Maria graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s in International and Global Studies.

Emily Crossen
Emily Crossen
Asylee Outreach Program Case Manager
Emily Crossen

Emily Crossen
Asylee Outreach Program Case Manager

Emily Crossen is an Asylee Outreach Program Case Manager at HIAS PA. In this role, Emily assists clients with accessing social and legal services as well as identifying and addressing barriers to integrating into life in the US. She graduated from Temple University with a degree in Global Studies and Public Health. Prior to joining HIAS PA, Emily worked as a barista in various cafes around Pennsylvania. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time outdoors in the woods or by the water.

Stephanie Curl, Esq.
Stephanie Curl, Esq.
Intake Staff Attorney
Stephanie Curl, Esq.

Stephanie Curl, Esq.
Intake Staff Attorney

Stephanie is an Intake Staff Attorney working with the Intake Team at HIAS Pennsylvania. She received her B.A. in French from Georgetown University in 2014 and her J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2021. During law school, Stephanie served as a Staff Editor for the Temple International and Comparative Law Journal. She also participated in Temple law’s Asylum Practicum which partnered with the Washington Office on Latin America to create and provide asylum resources for attorneys and pro-se asylum seekers nationwide. Stephanie also volunteered with a group of Temple law students assisting the Sheller Center for Social Justice to file cases under the Federal Tort Claims Act on behalf of families separated at the US-Mexico border. Stephanie also served as an intern for the Asylum Outreach Program at HIAS Pennsylvania and as a Law Clerk at the Philadelphia office of Green and Spiegel LLC.

Jessica Oliff Daly, Esq., M.Ed.
Jessica Oliff Daly, Esq., M.Ed.
Pro Bono Coordinator
Jessica Oliff Daly, Esq., M.Ed.

Jessica Oliff Daly, Esq., M.Ed.
Pro Bono Coordinator

Jessica Oliff Daly is the Pro Bono Coordinator at HIAS Pennsylvania.  She is responsible for facilitating all aspects of the organization’s pro bono work in collaboration with the different initiatives of our legal services program.  Jessica also represents a variety of individual clients including those seeking asylum, adjustment of status, and family unification, as well as victims of crime and unaccompanied children in removal proceedings. Before joining HIAS Pennsylvania, Jessica worked at both small and large law firms; several education-related nonprofit organizations; and the Juvenile Rights Practice of the Legal Aid Society of New York.  Jessica graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.  She also has a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Sushmita Das
Sushmita Das
Pro Bono Paralegal
Sushmita Das

Sushmita Das
Pro Bono Paralegal

Sushmita Das is the Pro Bono Program’s Paralegal at HIAS Pennsylvania.

Sushmita was born in Bangladesh and came to the U.S. when she was a baby. Her parents moved to Atlantic City, where she lived until she moved to Philadelphia in the summer of 2017. Sushmita graduated from Temple University’s Fox School of Business in 2021 with a B.B.A. in Legal Studies and a minor in Management Information Systems. Sushmita first worked with HIAS Pennsylvania in 2020 as a legal intake intern.

As a first-generation member of the South Asian community, Sushmita has seen the challenges marginalized communities face firsthand. She is excited to be back at HIAS PA, an organization that provides quality legal resources to communities like hers. Sushmita looks forward to building a career in public service and using her experiences in business, law, and public policy for the common good.

Raisa Davidovich
Raisa Davidovich
Citizenship & Family Unification Legal Specialist
Raisa Davidovich

Raisa Davidovich
Citizenship & Family Unification Legal Specialist

Raisa Davidovich has been employed by HIAS Pennsylvania since 1997. Born and raised in Moldova, Raisa graduated from the University of Foreign Languages in Pyatigorsk, Russia, with a degree in teaching. Later, she earned a degree in patent searching. With the help of HIAS Pennsylvania, she came to the United States as a refugee. In her current position, she represents clients at naturalization and adjustment-of-status interviews before USCIS, and she teaches ESL and citizenship- preparation classes for different ethnic groups. She was accredited by the Bureau of Immigration Appeals in May 2000 and she is fluent in Russian.

Lina Duiker Headshot
Lina Ruth Duiker, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Lina Duiker Headshot

Lina Ruth Duiker, Esq.
Staff Attorney

Lina Ruth Duiker is a Staff Attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania. She provides direct representation to immigrants residing in Philadelphia, PA before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and the Immigration Court. Lina graduated Summa Cum Laude from Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2022 where she was a Rubin Presser Social Justice Fellow. She coordinates the Congreso IMPACT Clinic in partnership with Duane Morris LLP.

Matthew P. Egler DiFerdinando, Esq.
Matthew P. Egler DiFerdinando, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Matthew P. Egler DiFerdinando, Esq.

Matthew P. Egler DiFerdinando, Esq.
Staff Attorney

Matthew P. Egler DiFerdinando, Esq. is a Staff Attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania. Matt joined HIAS PA as an Independence Foundation Public Interest Law Fellow in 2020. In his current position, he provides direct representation to individuals detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement throughout removal proceedings and before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Matt is a graduate of Boston College Law School and Loyola University Maryland.

Janelle Ellis
Janelle Ellis
Humanitarian and Crisis Response Paralegal
Janelle Ellis

Janelle Ellis
Humanitarian and Crisis Response Paralegal

Janelle was born and raised in a Jamaican immigrant family. As a first-generation Jamaican-American, the experiences of her family members and friends motivated her to pursue a career in immigration law. Janelle graduated from Villanova University in 2022 with a B.A. in Criminology and a minor in Spanish. During her time at Villanova, she had the opportunity to participate in internships and organizations that focused on educating the public on immigration law and providing legal services to those in need. Janelle looks forward to serving the immigrant community here in Pennsylvania and learning from her incredibly dedicated and passionate colleagues at HIAS Pennsylvania.

Anna Fiscarelli-Mintz
Anna Fiscarelli-Mintz
Intake Paralegal
Anna Fiscarelli-Mintz

Anna Fiscarelli-Mintz
Intake Paralegal

Anna graduated Magna Cum Laude from Haverford College in 2022 with a major in Philosophy and extensive coursework in English.  She then lived in Santander, Spain for a year, working as an English Language and Culture assistant in a public language school for adults and tutoring English language learners of all ages. She enjoys cooking (especially baking), performing arts (singing, violin, and theater), figure skating (not well), and gushing about her recently adopted cat!
Ella Fleming
Ella Fleming
Haverford Fellow
Ella Fleming

Ella Fleming
Haverford Fellow

Ella Fleming is the Haverford Fellow working with the Asylee Outreach Program (AOP) team. With the AOP team, Ella helps clients apply for permanent residence, and also assists the intake and social services teams with their work.

Joseph C. Gembala, Esq.
Joseph C. Gembala, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Joseph C. Gembala, Esq.

Joseph C. Gembala, Esq.
Staff Attorney

Joseph C. Gembala, Esq., joined HIAS Pennsylvania in 2021 through Temple Law’s Postgraduate Public Interest Fellowship program. In his current position, Joe is a Staff Attorney on the Asylee Outreach Program. Joe attained his J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law’s Evening Division, taking classes on the Tokyo, Rome, and Philadelphia Campuses. He attained his Bachelor of Science from Drexel University in Fashion Design & Merchandising.

Jared Gencarella
Jared Gencarella
DOJ Accredited Representative
Jared Gencarella

Jared Gencarella
DOJ Accredited Representative

Jared Gencarella is a DOJ Accredited Representative on the Asylee Outreach Program team at HIAS Pennsylvania. Jared graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, and then spent a year as an Augustinian Volunteer at HIAS Pennsylvania working as an Asylee Navigator with the AOP team from 2019-2020. In this role, Jared worked with clients and families on Financial Literacy training, advocated for clients in the field when needed, and provided general support in consultation.

Besides the legal aspects of his position, Jared is fluent in Spanish, so working on the AOP team gives him the opportunity to practice speaking Spanish with his clients who mainly come from Spanish-speaking countries. Jared’s hopes are to continue to develop working across many different cultures and finding the bridges that bring us as people closer together. Jared hopes that he can take what he learns from working at HIAS Pennsylvania and bring the knowledge of navigating different cultures and supporting those in need to a Marketing world desperately in need of a greater awareness of these concepts.

Sara Giraldo headshot
Sara Giraldo
Paralegal
Sara Giraldo headshot

Sara Giraldo
Paralegal

Sara has been a paralegal at HIAS Pennsylvania since January 2023. Sara is an attorney at law in her home country, Colombia. She graduated from an L.L.M program for international attorneys at Temple Beasley School of Law in May 2023. Sara is passionate about serving her community as a paralegal and as an active member of the Latin community in the Philadelphia area. Also a certified trauma informed yoga instructor, she teaches yoga in Spanish to adults and kids.

Michael Hannum headshot
Michael Hannum, Esq.
IJC Fellow
Michael Hannum headshot

Michael Hannum, Esq.
IJC Fellow

Michael joined HIAS Pennsylvania in 2023 as an Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) Fellow representing unaccompanied youth. He received a B.A. in Spanish from Gettysburg College, and his Juris Doctorate from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law where he was Lead Research Editor for the Temple International and Comparative Law Journal. Prior to law school, Michael advocated for migrant workers’ children throughout Pennsylvania at the Migrant Education Program of PA; an experience that inspired his passion for immigrant rights.

Michael has previously interned with immigration legal teams at Nationalities Service Center, HIAS Pennsylvania, and the law firm of Palladino, Isbell & Casazza. He was a Fulbright Scholar, has traveled extensively, lived in three foreign countries, and speaks Spanish and Portuguese fluently. Michael is a born-and-raised Philadelphian who is proud to welcome his clients to the area.

Headshot of Kaitlyn Hepburn
Kaitlyn Hepburn
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program Paralegal
Headshot of Kaitlyn Hepburn

Kaitlyn Hepburn
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program Paralegal

Kaitlyn joined HIAS Pennsylvania in 2023 as a bilingual paralegal with the Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program. In this role, Kaitlyn assists the attorneys in providing legal representation to immigrant youth in removal proceedings. She also provides Know Your Rights presentations and legal screenings to unaccompanied minors in Office of Refugee Resettlement custody and post-release. Before joining HIAS Pennsylvania, Kaitlyn worked as a paralegal in Philadelphia Legal Assistance’s Medical Legal Community Partnership at a Philadelphia Department of Public Health clinic where she focused on the intersection of social determinates of health, public benefits, and immigration. Kaitlyn has also worked and volunteered in ESL education and translation and interpretation. Kaitlyn graduated from American University in 2021 with a double major in International Studies (Regional focus in Latin America) and Spanish Language and Culture, a minor in Public Health, and a certificate of English-Spanish translation. She owes her passion for languages, Latin America, and social justice to community-based study abroad programs such as Pachaysana and The Traveling School.

In her free time, Kaitlyn enjoys traveling, camping, hiking, and spending time with her cats.

Cindy Herazo
Cindy Herazo
Immigrant Victims of Crime Paralegal
Cindy Herazo

Cindy Herazo
Immigrant Victims of Crime Paralegal

Naomi Iser, Esq.
Naomi Iser, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Staff Attorney
Naomi Iser, Esq.

Naomi Iser, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Staff Attorney

Naomi Iser, Esq. is an Immigrant Youth Advocacy Initiative Staff Attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania. Naomi represents unaccompanied children in removal proceedings by pursuing humanitarian forms of relief such as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and asylum. Naomi represents her clients before USCIS and the Immigration Court. Before joining HIAS Pennsylvania, Naomi clerked for the Honorable Judge Jennifer Di Toro of the District of Columbia Superior Court and served as a fellow with the Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers project at Cabrini Green Legal Aid. Naomi received her J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 2017.

Danielle Lean
Danielle Lean
Legal Services Administrative Assistant
Danielle Lean

Danielle Lean
Legal Services Administrative Assistant

Danielle Lean came to HIAS PA in October 2022 as the Legal Administrative Assistant. She graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Criminal Justice.

Danielle is passionate about immigrant and civil rights and is excited to help the organization’s mission come to fruition while providing support to the Legal team.

In her free time, Danielle enjoys jigsaw puzzles and spending time with her friends and family.

Noelle Lemon, Esq.
Noelle Lemon, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Staff Attorney
Noelle Lemon, Esq.

Noelle Lemon, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Staff Attorney

Noelle Lemon is an Immigrant Youth Advocacy Initiative Staff Attorney and is part of the Immigrant Youth Advocacy Initiative (IYAI) team at HIAS Pennsylvania. Noelle is one of forty-five Equal Justice Works fellows across the country specifically dedicated to serving human trafficking survivors through the Crime Victims Justice Corps program. She works with the IYAI team to provide immigration legal services to low-income children in Pennsylvania with a focus on trafficking survivors. Noelle graduated from Drexel’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law in May 2018.

Mary McCabe, Esq.
Mary McCabe, Esq.
UCP Grant Supervising Attorney
Mary McCabe, Esq.

Mary McCabe, Esq.
UCP Grant Supervising Attorney

Mary McCabe is the UCP Grant Supervising Attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania. She represents kids and teens in removal proceedings, and supervises a team that provides direct representation, Know Your Rights presentations, and legal screenings to unaccompanied minors in Office of Refugee Resettlement custody and post-release. Before joining HIAS Pennsylvania as an attorney in 2015, Mary spent many years as a HIAS PA volunteer. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Mary was a staff attorney at Central American Refugee Center on Long Island, and then at Catholic Legal Immigration Network in New Jersey and New York.
Marlee McCadden, Esq.
Marlee McCadden, Esq.
Asylum and Removal Defense Staff Attorney
Marlee McCadden, Esq.

Marlee McCadden, Esq.
Asylum and Removal Defense Staff Attorney

Marlee McCadden joined HIAS PA as an Asylum and Removal Defense Staff Attorney in 2022. In this role, Marlee represents adults in removal proceedings in Philadelphia Immigration Court. Marlee received her Juris Doctorate from Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law. While in law school, she represented clients in the Federal Litigation and Appeals Clinic and served as the President of the Immigration Law Society. Marlee received a B.A. in Psychology with minors in Spanish and Deaf Studies from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Marlee is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania.

Headshot of Joanna McGill-Gardner
Joanna McGill-Gardner, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Headshot of Joanna McGill-Gardner

Joanna McGill-Gardner, Esq.
Staff Attorney

Joanna McGill-Gardner is a Staff Attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania. She joined the team in September 2019 through a two-year Skadden Fellowship. Her fellowship project expanded the agency’s T visa representation and work with survivors of human trafficking. Joanna graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers Law School, where she was a Social Justice Scholar, Associate Managing Editor of the Rutgers University Law Review, and Immigrant Justice Fellow. During law school she clerked for both private and public-sector immigration legal service providers, expanding her knowledge of many aspects of the immigration legal system, with particular focus on working with immigrant survivors of crime. Prior to law school, Joanna spent a year of volunteer service in Honduras. She is fluent in Spanish.
Marina Merlin
Marina Merlin
Citizenship & Family Unification Legal Specialist
Marina Merlin

Marina Merlin
Citizenship & Family Unification Legal Specialist

Marina Merlin, born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, arrived in the United State as a refugee and joined the HIAS Pennsylvania staff soon after arrival, first as a volunteer with the advisory committee, then as a staff member. During her years at HIAS Pennsylvania, she has assisted hundreds of immigrants and refugees through the immigration process and resettlement.

Marina graduated with a civil engineering degree from St. Petersburg’s School of Engineering and Science. She has partial accreditation from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to represent immigrants before USCIS.

Headshot of Emily Miles
Emily Miles, Esq.
Immigration Staff Attorney & Independence Foundation Fellow
Headshot of Emily Miles

Emily Miles, Esq.
Immigration Staff Attorney & Independence Foundation Fellow

Emily is an Immigration Staff Attorney & Independence Foundation Fellow at HIAS Pennsylvania. She joined the team in September 2023 after spending two years as a Judicial Law Clerk at the Board of Immigration Appeals. Emily received her J.D. from Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law in 2021 and her B.A. degree from Northeastern University in 2014.

Michelle Nava
Michelle Nava
Immigrant Victims of Crime Program Case Manager
Michelle Nava

Michelle Nava
Immigrant Victims of Crime Program Case Manager

Michelle Nava is the Case Manager for the Immigrant Victims of Crime Initiative at HIAS Pennsylvania. With a strong passion to serve and advocate for those in need, Michelle looks forward to providing support, self-sufficiency, and direct social services to immigrant survivors of violence and serious crimes.

Prior to joining HIAS Pennsylvania she worked right out of college as a Family Advocate for families enrolled in Early Head Start and Head Start programs in the South Philadelphia community with Montgomery Early Learning Center and Maternity Care Coalition, respectively. Working with low-income families struggling with language barriers, accessibility to basic needs and general social services has cemented Michelle’s dedication in social work and advocacy. She received her B.A. in Spanish/Social Work from Immaculata University in 2016.

Erin O'Brien, Esq.
Erin O’Brien, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Staff Attorney
Erin O'Brien, Esq.

Erin O’Brien, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Staff Attorney

Erin O’Brien is an Immigrant Youth Advocacy Staff Attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania. She joined HIAS Pennsylvania in August 2022 as a Legal Advocate with the Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program. Erin provides direct representation to unaccompanied children seeking asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status before USCIS and the Immigration Court. Erin received her J.D. from Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law in 2022. While in law school, Erin was a student in the Federal Litigation and Appeals Clinic, where she represented clients seeking asylum and other forms of relief with USCIS and the Immigration Court. Erin was an associate editor of Drexel Law Review. Erin received her B.A from Providence College in 2018.

Juana Perozo
Juana Perozo
Immigrant Victims of Crime Legal Advocate
Juana Perozo

Juana Perozo
Immigrant Victims of Crime Legal Advocate

Juana Perozo joined HIAS Pennsylvania as a Legal Advocate with the IVOC program in November of 2022. She provides high-quality legal services to immigrant victims of violent crimes and their relatives
eligible for U-nonimmigrant visas, and other applicable forms of relief.

Ms. Perozo was previously the Legal Coordinator for Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS), an organization that provides direct legal services, advocacy, and community education for underserved immigrants and their families.

Ms. Perozo graduated as an attorney from the Law School of Universidad San Buenaventura de Cali, Colombia in 2016 and practiced civil law before moving to the U.S. in 2018.

Jordy Portillo
Jordy Portillo
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program Paralegal
Jordy Portillo

Jordy Portillo
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program Paralegal

Jordy Portillo is a Paralegal with the Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program. In this role, he will be assisting the attorneys in providing legal representation to immigrant children. He was born and raised in DC, but his family is from El Salvador. He graduated from Stanford University with his bachelor’s degree in Sociology (track in Data Science, Markets, and Management) with a minor in Poverty, Inequality, and Policy. He previously worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Philadelphia Legal Assistance in the Pennsylvania Farmworker Project.

Pamela Roberts, Esq.
Pamela Roberts, Esq.
Citizenship and Family Unification Staff Attorney
Pamela Roberts, Esq.

Pamela Roberts, Esq.
Citizenship and Family Unification Staff Attorney

Pam joined HIAS Pennsylvania as the Citizenship and Family Unification Staff Attorney in February 2020. In this position, she assists residents in applying for citizenship and petitioning for family members to join them in the U.S. Pam received her J.D. and Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School, where she concentrated her studies on immigration and human rights violations as social justice impacts of climate change. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Sciences from Ramapo College of New Jersey.

While in law school, Pam was a Student Intern on the Immigrant Rights Project in the South Royalton Legal Clinic, where she drafted asylum briefs, applications to adjust status, and public comment letters. She completed several independent research projects and a field study to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the topics of forced migration, human rights, and immigration policy.

Pam was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in October 2019 and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

Pam speaks conversational German and is learning Spanish.

Jhordan Damaris Schildt
Jhordan Damaris Schildt
Asylum & Complex Litigation Paralegal
Jhordan Damaris Schildt

Jhordan Damaris Schildt
Asylum & Complex Litigation Paralegal

Jhordan Damaris Shildt joined HIAS Pennsylvania in 2018 as the receptionist before being promoted to Asylum & Complex Litigation Paralegal. She graduated from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Macros in Lima, Peru with a bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management; she then obtained a master’s degree in Hospitality Administration (2014) from the University of Kentucky. Shildt also possesses certificates in medical interpretation (English-Spanish, Spanish-English), legal interpretation (English-Spanish, Spanish-English), and English as a Foreign Language, or “EFL” (also known as ESL and ELL). She both volunteered as an EFL teacher and studied EFL methodology. In addition to Spanish, she holds a basic level of French. Shildt’s long-term professional interests include community development, agrotourism, and sustainability.

Lea Schuckmann
Lea Schuckmann
ARSP Volunteer

Lea Schuckmann
ARSP Volunteer

Lea Schuckmann is an Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) volunteer from Germany.

ARSP is a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting peace, reconciliation, and social justice through partnering with many different agencies and initiatives in Europe, the US, and Israel.

Lea finished her high school education in Germany last summer. Wanting to learn more about social justice issues and different cultures, she decided to take a gap year before starting college.

Lea mainly works with the AOP team (Asylee Outreach Program) and also helps the education team with their Young Adult Mentoring program, hoping to learn more about the American immigration system and challenges that immigrant communities face.

Headshot of Alexandra Sobieski
Alexandra Sobieski, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program Staff Attorney
Headshot of Alexandra Sobieski

Alexandra Sobieski, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program Staff Attorney

Headshot of Julie Stavarski
Julie Stavarski
Immigrant Justice Corp Fellow
Headshot of Julie Stavarski

Julie Stavarski
Immigrant Justice Corp Fellow

Julie is an Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) fellow who will be working with the asylum and removal defense team. Previously, Julie served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic and as a mental health services Program Coordinator for immigrants at WHCI in Philadelphia.

She received her B.S. in Public Health from Temple University and her J.D. from CUNY School of Law. While in law school, Julie served as a Co-Director of her school’s International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) chapter, was a student attorney with the Disability and Aging Justice Clinic, and volunteered with IRAP and Make the Road New York to conduct legal screenings. She also interned at Church World Service Lancaster, with Legal Services of New Jersey as a Deborah T. Poritz Public Interest Legal Fellow, and American Friends Service Committee in Newark.

Gin Sum
Gin Sum
Asylee Outreach Program Case Manager
Gin Sum

Gin Sum
Asylee Outreach Program Case Manager

Gin Sum, Asylee Outreach Case Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania, was born in Burma where he lived with his father and mother and his four siblings in Chin Hill. His father was a Christian spiritual leader who was targeted by the military junta. When Gin was just three years old, his father fled Burma to the United States where he gained asylum. Gin’s family was separated from his father for 17 years. They eventually fled to India where they applied for refugee protection.

In 2009, Gin’s father developed a terminal illness.  He reached out to HIAS Pennsylvania seeking assistance to be reunited with his family. HIAS Pennsylvania helped expedite the family reunification application and finally, in December 2009 Gin and his family were reunited with his father.  Gin and his family are grateful they had a year together before his father passed away.

Gin joined our refugee resettlement team as a case aide in January 2011. He was promoted to Refugee Housing & Basic Needs Coordinator job in July 2014 and became Employment Program Manger in July 2016. Gin speaks Burmese and Tedim (Zomi) dialect.

Dylan Tagg
Dylan Tagg
Asylee Outreach Program Intake Coordinator
Dylan Tagg

Dylan Tagg
Asylee Outreach Program Intake Coordinator

Dylan Tagg is the Asylee Outreach Program (AOP) Intake Coordinator at HIAS Pennsylvania. As an Asylee Navigator, he assists AOP with asylee outreach and the intake process within AOP. Dylan graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Psychology. He hopes his time at HIAS PA will give him the skills and knowledge to encourage communication and understanding between cultures.

Rebecca Vilella-Perez
Rebecca Vilella-Perez
Know Your Rights Specialist
Rebecca Vilella-Perez

Rebecca Vilella-Perez
Know Your Rights Specialist

Rebecca Vilella Perez is a Know Your Rights Specialist on the Immigrant Youth Advocacy Program team at HIAS Pennsylvania. In this role, Rebecca will provide informational presentations, legal screenings, and referrals to detained unaccompanied youth in Pennsylvania. Last year, she had the pleasure of travelling to Honduras to embark on a week-long medical brigade to provide vulnerable populations with clothing, medicine, food, and water. This experience allowed her to recognize the immense passion she feels for helping those in need and she aspires to one day become an immigration lawyer.
Rebecca holds a bachelors degree in Administration of Justice and a minor in Sociology.

Refugee And Immigrant Social Services Department

Abdulhadi Al-Karfawi
Abdulhadi Al-Karfawi
Employment Case Manager
Abdulhadi Al-Karfawi

Abdulhadi Al-Karfawi
Employment Case Manager

Abdulhadi (Hadi) Al-Karfawi works as an Employment case manager on HIAS Pennsylvania’s employment program team, which focuses on providing the direct employment support services and career development plans for new immigrants.

Hadi was born and raised in Iraq, and moved with his wife and two children to the United States and to Philadelphia in 2017. Hadi worked for the Penn Museum for 5 years as a tour guide before starting with HIAS PA. In his home country of Iraq, Hadi worked for the International Organization for Immigration (IOM) in the field of human trafficking, and for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in communications after working for the United States military for 6 years as an interpreter.

Susannah Bien-Gund, MSEd, MA TESOL
Susannah Bien-Gund, MSEd, MA TESOL
Adult ESL Instructor
Susannah Bien-Gund, MSEd, MA TESOL

Susannah Bien-Gund, MSEd, MA TESOL
Adult ESL Instructor

Susannah Bien-Gund is the Adult ESL Instructor at HIAS Pennsylvania, where she teaches beginner and advanced classes to emerging multilingual adult English language learners. She joined the HIAS PA team in June of 2023 bringing over 15 years of experience as a teacher, teacher educator, and facilitator. Susannah has worked with educators and learners of languages in diverse contexts throughout the world including elementary school students of French and Arabic in New York; K-12 learners of English in Morocco; multilingual undergraduates at Haverford College; prospective teachers in China; Libyan teacher trainers at a training-of-trainers camp in Tunisia; and more. For four years, Susannah managed the adult education program at the Arab American Association of New York and she is delighted to be back in the world of adult literacy education and immigrant and refugee rights and justice work through HIAS PA.

Susannah holds a MA TESOL from the City University of New York Hunter College, a MSEd from the University of Pennsylvania, a BA in Linguistics and Languages (Arabic and French) from Swarthmore College and continues to engage with theory by teaching master’s degree students at the UPenn Graduate School of Education. She is also grateful to learn new words, ideas, and insights every day from her students, partner, and two small children, and believes deeply in the wisdom of the late great adult educator Septima Clark that “continued learning is the basis for being richly alive.” Susannah looks forward to learning together and dreaming and scheming about our shared work towards a more just and loving world for all of us.

Mariale Bolanos Leal
Mariale Bolanos Leal
Humanitarian Family Reunification Program Coordinator
Mariale Bolanos Leal

Mariale Bolanos Leal
Humanitarian Family Reunification Program Coordinator

Mariale Bolanos Leal is the Humanitarian Family Reunification Program Coordinator at HIAS Pennsylvania.

Mariale was born and raised in Costa Rica and moved to the United States in the summer of 2020. She graduated from the University of Costa Rica in 2019, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Law. Right now she is writing a dissertation to obtain a license in law from the University of Costa Rica. Her dissertation is about taxation as a tool to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics. She is interested in Human Rights Law and Environmental Law. Mariale hopes to one day become a lawyer in the United States.

Mariale loves to learn about cultures and languages. She speaks Spanish, English, French, and Mandarin. She learned Chinese and French by living in each country for 11 and 8 months respectively.

In her free time she likes to rock climb and spend time with her family and friends.

Cecilia De Boeck
Cecilia De Boeck
Immigrant Wellness Case Manager
Cecilia De Boeck

Cecilia De Boeck
Immigrant Wellness Case Manager

Cecilia De Boeck is an Immigrant Wellness Case Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania. She grew up in Iowa City, Iowa and graduated from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, MI with a major in International & Area Studies, her area of focus being Latin America, and a minor in Anthropology/Sociology. Since graduating in 2017, Cecilia has mostly worked in education. She was a paraeducator at an elementary school, the same one she attended in Iowa City (full circle!), working one-on-one with students in a modified classroom. Additionally, she taught at a nature immersion school and most recently, pre-COVID, taught English in Armenia.

Cecilia structured most of her college career around refugee resettlement, participating in various internships and leading a student organization, Refugee Outreach Collective, that aimed to connect Kalamazoo College students with refugee populations in Kalamazoo. Her senior thesis focused on refugee resettlement in the United States, specifically researching how the long-term integration of refugees is achieved. Something that Cecilia talked a lot about in her thesis is the fact that integration is a two-way street, the receiving community playing a salient role in welcoming and assisting refugees as they adjust to life in a new country. She is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to assist in that portion of the integration process.

Besides her professional and academic interests, Cecilia loves to cook, forage, and sift through thrift stores for vintage clothes/glassware.

Maritza De Savornin Lohman
Maritza De Savornin Lohman
High School and Post-Secondary Lead Instructor
Maritza De Savornin Lohman

Maritza De Savornin Lohman
High School and Post-Secondary Lead Instructor

Maritza De Savornin Lohman is the High School and Post Secondary Lead Instructor at HIAS PA. In this role, Maritza assists with school enrollment and higher education consultations, coordinates the Young Adult Mentoring program, and works with other organizations advocating for access to higher education opportunities.

Maritza is finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Education from Drexel University. She started at HIAS PA as a Drexel co-op in 2020 and then worked as a program assistant for the Young Adult Mentoring program until she started her full-time position in 2023.

Lia Finkelstein
Lia Finkelstein
Employment Access Program Supervisor
Lia Finkelstein

Lia Finkelstein
Employment Access Program Supervisor

Lia Finkelstein serves as the Employment Access Program Supervisor, where she provides direct employment support services to newly-arrived refugees, immigrants, and asylees. Some of these services include workshops on resume-building and Workers’ Rights. Lia grew up in the Philadelphia area and is excited to connect clients to local resources and help them adjust to their new environment.

Lia graduated from Loyola University Maryland with a B.A. in Psychology, elevating her understanding of holistic and trauma-informed care. Lia gained community outreach and organizing experience within the Baltimore community and has held different ESL tutoring roles. She is grounded in Italian and Jewish roots and can be found cooking with friends and family during her spare time. Lia looks forward to learning from clients and colleagues at HIAS Pennsylvania!

Robert Gannone
Robert Gannone
Refugee Career Pathways Coordinator
Robert Gannone

Robert Gannone
Refugee Career Pathways Coordinator

Robert Gannone serves as the Refugee Career Pathways Coordinator at HIAS Pennsylvania, where he supports clients with employment assistance and career management. In this role, he assists with job placement and retention and develops personalized career development plans for career entry and advancement.

Prior to joining HIAS PA, Robert spent most of his career in Career Services and Career Advising within nonprofits and higher education, including at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. Within his prior roles, he advised students on the job search process, coordinated employer events and career fairs, taught a career course and professional workshops, oversaw the internship process for international students, and managed a corporate apprenticeship program. His experience includes working with a variety of populations, including high school and college students, business professionals, first-generation, and international students. Robert grew up in Philadelphia, attended The University of Scranton and Drexel University, and is excited to connect immigrants and refugees with local resources and upwardly mobile employment.

Victoria Garcia Rincon Headshot
Victoria Garcia Rincon
Immigrant Wellness Case Manager
Victoria Garcia Rincon Headshot

Victoria Garcia Rincon
Immigrant Wellness Case Manager

Victoria was born and raised in Venezuela and moved to Kuwait in 2016. After graduating from high school, she came to the United States in the summer of 2019 to attend college. Victoria graduated from Temple University, where she majored in Global Studies and minored in Political Science and Italian language. During her time in college, she completed internships focused on refugee resettlement and immigration.

Victoria loves speaking different languages and interacting with people from different cultures. She speaks Spanish, English, and Intermediate French and Italian. Victoria hopes to pursue a Masters of Social Work in the near future.

In her free, time Victoria enjoys doing yoga and hanging with her cat Juniper.

Darby Glenn
Darby Glenn
Immigrant Wellness Health Case Manager
Darby Glenn

Darby Glenn
Immigrant Wellness Health Case Manager

Darby Glenn is a Health Case Manager with the Immigrant Wellness Program at HIAS Pennsylvania. She looks forward to working closely with clients to identify their health needs and concerns. Darby is passionate about equitable access to medical services and immigrant and refugee rights.

Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Darby graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, ME as a double-major in Psychology and Sociology. While working at HIAS PA, she is also pursuing her Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management at Temple University.

 

Astride Gouba
Astride Gouba
Immigrant Health Case Manager
Astride Gouba

Astride Gouba
Immigrant Health Case Manager

Astride Gouba is an Immigrant Health Case Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania. In this role, Astride works within the Immigrant Health and Wellness Program, providing individualized training and education to clients that ensures they can manage their healthcare needs after leaving the program.

Noorulhaq Hadi
Noorulhaq Hadi
Employment Case Manager
Noorulhaq Hadi

Noorulhaq Hadi
Employment Case Manager

Noorulhaq Hadi joined HIAS Pennsylvania in September 2022 as an Employment Case Manager. He speaks four languages and has more than 10 years of working experience as a Senior HR Manager, university professor, and project manager, in linguistics and in other managerial posts for the Government of Afghanistan, NATO, and various NGOs.

Hadi graduated with degrees in Civil Engineering, and Business and Administration. He also has American, national, and international educational certificates.

As an Afghan refugee, Hadi is proud to join HIAS PA to help immigrants find employment in the USA and to support other refugees. His mission and vision are to honestly, strategically, and enthusiastically fulfill the organization’s mission and vision in order to ensure that we, together, will empower refugees here in the USA.

Hadi really thanks and appreciates HIAS Pennsylvania for welcoming him onto their team, and he is very excited to further HIAS PA’s mission and growth.

Parvin Hashemi
Parvin Hashemi
Education Case Aide
Parvin Hashemi

Parvin Hashemi
Education Case Aide

Parvin Hashemi is a Bilingual Education Case Aide at HIAS PA. She started in June 2022.

In this role, Parvin Hashemi supports and helps newly arrived families with school enrollment and learning about the US school system also helps to support youth programming that provides language and social-emotional support to newly arrived refugee youth.

Parvin graduated from university with a degree in Economics. Her work experience is with international organizations in Afghanistan such as Aga Khan Foundation Network, Bayat Media Group, 1 TV, United State Institute of Peace, and GIZ, and has worked in the social sectors of gender equality, contribution and roles of women in government projects, poverty, women empowerment, and conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and also in the economics sectors of TV and radio marketing and advertising management. Parvin is the author of “Family Economy – Clothing”.

Parvin hopes that all new immigrants to the US achieve their high academic dreams and live successfully in PEACE!

Lindsay Jones
Lindsay Jones
Housing Coordinator

Lindsay Jones
Housing Coordinator

Aminata Keita
Aminata Keita
Refugee Case Manager
Aminata Keita

Aminata Keita
Refugee Case Manager

Aminata Keita is a Refugee Case Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania. Originally from Conakry, Guinea, in West Africa, Aminata moved to the USA in 2017 from Montreal, Canada. She speaks Mandingo, Susu, French, and English. Aminata has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Montreal, and has a high interest in international relations.

She spent more than nine years working for the National Bank of Canada, and saw it as an opportunity to find her passion in customer service and build trust in relationships. Passionate about helping others, Aminata has been volunteering since she came to the USA for the Free Library of Philadelphia and for HIAS Pennsylvania. She also participated in the Immigrant Leadership Institute at the Welcoming Center. This program promotes immigrants’ integration into city life. Aminata also provided voter support during the 2020 elections.

Marianne Khouri
Marianne Khouri
Immigrant Wellness Program Senior Case Manager
Marianne Khouri

Marianne Khouri
Immigrant Wellness Program Senior Case Manager

Marianne Khouri is a senior case manager in the Immigrant Wellness Program, which provides intensive case management services to individuals facing significant barriers to self-sufficiency. Previously, Marianne worked as a benefits counselor at a health center in North Philadelphia and served as an Americorps member in the National Health Corps. Marianne graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in Biomolecular Science and Spanish. A daughter of Syrian immigrants, Marianne feels very fortunate to work with and help support immigrant communities in Philadelphia!

Yveline Merisier
Yveline Merisier
Immigrant Wellness Health Coordinator
Yveline Merisier

Yveline Merisier
Immigrant Wellness Health Coordinator

Robin Miles, MSEd
Robin Miles, MSEd
Refugee Job Developer
Robin Miles, MSEd

Robin Miles, MSEd
Refugee Job Developer

Robin Miles serves as the Refugee Job Developer at HIAS Pennsylvania, supporting immigrants and refugees in securing employment.

Robin has worked for 20 plus years with international populations. She has experience in foreign educational credential evaluation, she managed a translation/interpretation agency, she taught ESL in Spain, and most recently managed an educational research course for top high school students from around the world. Additionally, as a manager of a healthcare navigation team, she gained extensive experience in coaching and translating complex healthcare information so it was easy to grasp. Robin is passionate about working with refugees and immigrants, assisting them in adjusting to their new home country and empowering them to achieve their goals. She has volunteered her time teaching ESL to refugees and immigrants at various organizations in the Philadelphia area. Robin has a B.A. in Psychology and an MS Ed in TESOL.

Zainab Naseri
Zainab Naseri
Refugee Case Manager
Zainab Naseri

Zainab Naseri
Refugee Case Manager

Zainab Naseri is a Refugee Case Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania. She is from Afghanistan, and was granted a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) and moved to the US in June 2022.

Zainab obtained her bachelor’s degree in English Literature in Afghanistan. Before coming to the US, she worked with different national and international organizations in Afghanistan. Zainab has previous experiences as an Outreach and Training Coordinator and as a Workforce Development Case Officer with USAID projects. She also worked in Monitoring & Evaluation Officer and Master Trainer positions with CoAR prior moving to the USA.

Zainab speaks English, Dari, Farsi, and a bit of Pashto. Zainab’s main goal is to serve an organization where refugees are welcomed, and to help immigrants like herself.

Madeline Parent
Madeline Parent
Employment Case Aide & JVC Fellow
Madeline Parent

Madeline Parent
Employment Case Aide & JVC Fellow

Madeline Parent is the Employment Case Aide and JVC Fellow at HIAS Pennsylvania. In this position, Madeline will support newly-arrived refugees, asylees, and immigrants in their job search. A recent graduate from Boston College with a BA in political science, Madeline is eager to finally utilize her studies to serve and empower. Outside of work, Madeline will be exploring her new home in Philadelphia!

Dean Parris
Dean Parris
Housing Case Manager

Dean Parris
Housing Case Manager

Dean is the Housing Case Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania. He immigrated to the United States from Jamaica and has been living in the U.S. for 6 years. Helping refugees, asylees, and immigrants resettle and adjust to life in the United States is his life long goal and a passion of his. Dean’s role at HIAS Pennsylvania allows him to do just that.
Erica Pelta Feldman
Erica Pelta Feldman
Refugee Case Manager
Erica Pelta Feldman

Erica Pelta Feldman
Refugee Case Manager

Andrea Pulido
Andrea Pulido
Economic Empowerment Coordinator
Andrea Pulido

Andrea Pulido
Economic Empowerment Coordinator

Andrea Pulido is the Economic Empowerment Coordinator on the employment team and previously worked as a case manager for newly arrived refugees at HIAS PA. Andrea helps newcomers learn more about technology and finances in the US, focusing on increasing job opportunities and building financial savings.

Andrea is originally from Massachusetts, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Women/Gender/Sexualities Studies, with a main concentration in Reproductive Justice, and a minor in Political Science. She initially became interested in refugee issues while living in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a Rotary Youth Exchange Scholar. However, as a child of Filipino immigrants, Andrea has always been closely tied to the immigrant experience.

Prior to HIAS PA, Andrea conducted research on youths’ experience with sexual and reproductive rights in Manila on a Fulbright Research Grant, taught English in southern Spain, and worked in support services for incoming international students and truant students.

Outside of work, you can find Andrea biking, cooking, crafting, or spending time with her family.

Gabriela Rodriguez De Jesus
Gabriela Rodriguez De Jesus
Social Services Administrative & Compliance Specialist
Gabriela Rodriguez De Jesus

Gabriela Rodriguez De Jesus
Social Services Administrative & Compliance Specialist

Gabriela joined HIAS Pennsylvania in June 2019. She was born in Puerto Rico and is of half Ecuadorian descent. She is studying International Development at Penn State. Gabriela speaks English, Spanish & is currently learning Russian. She is committed to giving back and advocating for her community. In her free time, Gabriela is a community organizer, always looking for new ways to raise awareness about current political and social affairs in Latin America & the Caribbean.

Ana Sophia Rollins Headshot
Ana Sophia Rollins
Refugee Resettlement Case Aide
Ana Sophia Rollins Headshot

Ana Sophia Rollins
Refugee Resettlement Case Aide

Ana Sophia Rollins is a Refugee Resettlement Case Aide on the Reception and Placement team at HIAS Pennsylvania where they work with clients to support them through the resettlement process during their first few months in the U.S.

Having earned their B.A. in Latin American Studies from Temple University, Ana Sophia’s background focuses on language exchange and identity. They have previous experience as a Spanish-English language tutor with students of all ages and backgrounds, as well as interning at Temple University’s Translation Institute providing free translation and interpretation services to local Philadelphia organizations assisting English Language Learning immigrant communities. Ana Sophia also volunteered with HIAS PA as a Youth Mentor before joining the R&P team, guiding high school students through the college application/post-graduation planning process.

As a Colombian-American child of an immigrant, Ana Sophia’s familial and cultural background has closely tied them to the importance of the immigrant experience, and they are so excited to be doing such important and meaningful work welcoming newly-arrived refugees into our community!

Isabelle Schechter Headshot
Isabelle Schechter
Asset Building and Savings Program Coordinator
Isabelle Schechter Headshot

Isabelle Schechter
Asset Building and Savings Program Coordinator

Isabelle Schechter joined HIAS PA in November 2023 as the Asset Building and Savings Program Coordinator for HIAS PA’s Individual Development Accounts program. Isabelle comes to HIAS PA with two years of experience in refugee resettlement in Philadelphia. In her role, Isabelle helps refugees save money for vehicles, homes, small businesses and education, and learn about U.S. financial systems. Isabelle is passionate about empowering folks by equipping them with tools for wellness, independence, and confidence. Isabelle enjoys learning about life from clients’ perspectives.

Isabelle graduated from the University of Vermont in 2019 with a major in Anthropology and a focus in Global Health. She served as a Public Affairs intern for a national health organization, where she advocated for inclusive community health services. While living in Vermont, Isabelle participated in an initiative to educate doctors about the needs of Syrian patients in the U.S. Isabelle is interested in the ways different cultures, languages, and political systems impact our lives, and how we can use this understanding to strengthen communities.

Anna Shaffer
Anna Shaffer
Immigrant Wellness Case Manager and Group Programming Coordinator
Anna Shaffer

Anna Shaffer
Immigrant Wellness Case Manager and Group Programming Coordinator

Anna Shaffer is a case manager with the Immigrant Wellness Program, which provides intensive case management services to individuals facing significant barriers to self-sufficiency. Anna also works with the Immigrant Wellness Group programming which provides immigrants ways to work towards goals in a safe group setting. She originally got involved with HIAS Pennsylvania through volunteering while working as the services coordinator for a nonprofit providing ESL classes to immigrants in South Jersey.

Anna is passionate about refugee and immigrant rights, mental health and collective healing, and most of all her clients integration and the strengths that they bring to the United States. Anna has experience working with refugees abroad and focused much of her college research around migration as a basic human right and intercultural communication.

Eliana Stanislawski, MSEd
Eliana Stanislawski, MSEd
English for Employment Curriculum & Instruction Coordinator
Eliana Stanislawski, MSEd

Eliana Stanislawski, MSEd
English for Employment Curriculum & Instruction Coordinator

Eliana is the English for Employment Curriculum & Instruction Coordinator at HIAS PA. Prior to working at HIAS PA, Eliana was the Family Literacy Academic Instructor at the Nationalities Service Center. Eliana holds an MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Temple University and a BA in International Development and Social Change with a specialization in migration and refugee studies from Clark University.

Eliana discovered their love of teaching in immigrant, refugee, and asylum-seeker communities while supporting refugees from Myanmar by running an after-school program and providing community advocacy services, as well as serving as an adult ESL instructor at the Worcester Adult Learning Center and Worcester State University’s Urban Action Institute.

Administration

Courtney Craig
Courtney Craig
Human Resources Coordinator
Courtney Craig

Courtney Craig
Human Resources Coordinator

Courtney Craig is the Human Resources Coordinator at HIAS PA. Courtney comes from a background as a combined telephone operator/help desk assistant, but specializes in facilitating ease and efficiency! In her free time, Courtney can be found performing as a member of Trust Your Moves LGBTQ choir and knitting and crocheting hats and scarves, or creating yarn work kits for donation!

Esther Gonzalez
Esther Gonzalez
Receptionist
Esther Gonzalez

Esther Gonzalez
Receptionist

Esther has been a receptionist at HIAS Pennsylvania since December 2023. Before joining HIAS Pennsylvania, Esther was an Assistant Property Manager in New Haven, CT for 2 years.

Lisa Lamboy
Lisa Lamboy
Community Engagement Assistant
Lisa Lamboy

Lisa Lamboy
Community Engagement Assistant

Lisa Lamboy is the Community Engagement Assistant at HIAS Pennsylvania. She assists with volunteer engagement, in-kind donations, and community events. After earning her BA from the University of Pennsylvania, Lisa volunteered for a year in Buffalo, NY, with Franciscan Volunteer Ministry. While in Buffalo, she volunteered two days a week at Vive La Casa, a shelter for those seeking asylum in Canada and the United States. Following her time in Buffalo, Lisa worked as a social worker in Philadelphia for nearly 5 years. She then volunteered for two years in Guyana, South America with Mercy Volunteer Corps where she volunteered at an orphanage and a hospital. Lisa subsequently worked for Mercy Volunteer Corps coordinating volunteers placed in Guyana, Philadelphia, and New York City.
Yvonne Leung
Yvonne Leung
Operations Coordinator
Yvonne Leung

Yvonne Leung
Operations Coordinator

Yvonne Leung joined HIAS Pennsylvania in August 2018.  She immigrated from Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese. She received her BA in Psychology from UC San Diego. Prior to working at HIAS Pennsylvania she was an AARS drug & alcohol counseling, LCFS foster care social worker, and CalSAC conference coordinator.

Margaret Lyman
Margaret Lyman
Database Administrator
Margaret Lyman

Margaret Lyman
Database Administrator

Margaret Lyman started working with databases while managing the object and photographic collections of various museums throughout the US. When not wrangling data, she sits on the Board of the first housing cooperative in Philadelphia, and attempts to wrangle cats. Wrangling data is much easier.

Pamela Morales
Pamela Morales
Receptionist II
Pamela Morales

Pamela Morales
Receptionist II

Pamela Morales is the Reception II at HIAS Pennsylvania. Pamela was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador. She came to the U.S. with her brother in 1994 and became a U.S. citizen in 2017. Pamela attained her paralegal degree at Community College of Philadelphia and her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Temple University. She has been part of multiple groups to help raise Spanish culture awareness. Pamela has volunteered with multiple organizations to help immigrants fill out different types of immigration documents. She is fluent in Spanish and English and loves to travel, learn other cultures, and help people.

Headshot of Kathleen Moyer
Kathleen Moyer
Development and Communications Specialist
Headshot of Kathleen Moyer

Kathleen Moyer
Development and Communications Specialist

Kathleen Moyer is the Development and Communications Specialist at HIAS Pennsylvania. She is responsible for assisting the Development team in the execution of all aspects of the donor development strategy and implementing communications strategies.

Prior to joining HIAS Pennsylvania, Kathleen was the Manager of Marketing & Administration at Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to justice. There, she oversaw development campaigns; digital and print marketing; and coordinated statewide programs for judges, attorneys, journalists, and voters. Kathleen has also served in development and communications capacities at Stop Street Harassment, the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia, and The Eye Institute of Salus University.

Kathleen graduated from La Salle University with her M.A. in Professional and Business Communication and her B.A. in Communication, with a concentration in Public Relations.

Shirley Zenker
Shirley Zenker
Accounting Associate
Shirley Zenker

Shirley Zenker
Accounting Associate

On Dec 21, 1992, Shirley set foot in The Great Northeast of The United States of America. Shirley is a seasoned professional who has served Presidents, Chief Executive Officers, and Chief Financial Officers at various companies. She has handled the books of Smith, Bell & Co., Inc.; The Philippine American Life Insurance Company, an affiliate of AIG NY; AmeriChoice Behavioral Healthcare, known today as United Healthcare; Internal Revenue Service (IRS); Toll Brothers Luxury Homes; Security and Data Technologies, Inc.; Belmont Behavioral Healthcare Hospital; and Livengrin Foundation, Inc. Shirley has also successfully assisted Filipinas in acquiring legal documentation to apply for U. S Citizenship. On Oct 30, 2023 Shirley joined HIAS Pennsylvania as an Accounting Associate.

Shirley earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and majored in Accounting at The University of the East, Manila, Philippines. She is a proactive QuickBooks Online Certified User, a problem solver, a teacher, and a leader.

Shirley is an optimist and believes that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster – it’s more like the Cha Cha Cha. In her free time, Shirley loves music, singing, dancing, the arts, and traveling with family, loved ones, and friends.