TASSC Leadership

Léonce Byimana, MPH

Executive Director

Léonce joined TASSC in July 2017, bringing 10 years of experience in Human Services and Program Management. He came to TASSC from the Western New York Center for Survivors of Torture at the Jewish Family Service of Buffalo and Erie County where he worked as the Program Director. He is a health professional and a human rights activist with degrees in Clinical Psychology, Public Health and Conflict Resolution. He has worked with local NGOs in Rwanda and international NGOs like Handicap International, Partners in Health, Clinton Health Access Initiative and Delagua Health/UK. He is passionate about working with vulnerable populations, including orphans and vulnerable Children (OVC), HIV/AIDS patients, PTSD clients and torture survivors.

Colleen Daly, MA

Executive Coordinator

Colleen joined TASSC in November 2018 bringing with her over five years of experience in nonprofit administration and operations. Most recently, Colleen was the Gallery Director of the Old Sculpin Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard where she focused on enhancing the organization’s community outreach and programming relevancy. During her undergrad at Whittier College Colleen traveled abroad to Ghana and Cuba with an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to study how transatlantic nationalist movements related to the arts.  After that, she worked for StoryCorps and art space The Kitchen while working on her MA at NYU where she collaborated on artworks and papers about inherited trauma, spectatorship, and the privacy of the body.

Jennifer Isely, LICSW

Social Services Program Manager

Jennifer began her position as Social Services Program Manager in April 2017, having also worked as a Clinical Case Manager at TASSC since November 2015. Jennifer completed her Master’s of Social Work with a clinical concentration from Catholic University in June 2015. During the first year of her graduate program, Jennifer also interned at TASSC, where she was incredibly inspired by the survivors she worked with. Before starting her graduate work, Jennifer spent over two years serving in the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan working with local women to develop a crisis center for survivors of domestic violence and bride kidnapping. Post-Peace Corps, Jennifer worked for a local nonprofit in the Washington, DC area supporting survivors of human trafficking, and has additional experience counseling survivors of sexual assault. Jennifer is passionate about working with immigrants in the United States and is honored to be back at TASSC.

Caitlin Tromiczak, LICSW-C

Health & Psychological Wellness Program Manager

Caitlin joined TASSC in March 2017, bringing over 15 years experience working with immigrant communities in Washington DC.  She is a licensed clinical social worker, whose areas of expertise include trauma, depression, anxiety, grief, transnational families, domestic violence, women's empowerment, community outreach, diversity & inclusion, and using mindfulness practices as an accompanying modality to therapy. Caitlin also draws experience from working with communities abroad in Rwanda, El Salvador, Nicaragua, South Africa, and India. She strives to create and provide more culturally responsive and effective services, while helping others to do the same. Caitlin is currently pursuing her PhD in international psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Andrea Barron, MA

Advocacy & Outreach Program Manager   

Andrea Barron has managed TASSC’s Advocacy and Outreach Program since November 2013. She works closely with survivors to educate policymakers about human rights policies toward countries whose governments tortured survivors, and on other issues that affect them such as the asylum backlog. She also coordinates the Truth Speakers program, which brings survivors to faith-based and human rights organizations. Before coming to TASSC, Andrea was Senior Program Manager for Civic Engagement at The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, where she organized volunteer projects for college students on global women’s rights, Mideast peace, homelessness, the environment and immigrants’ rights. She graduated from New York University, holds a Master’s Degree in History from Boston College and completed doctoral courses in government at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Cynthia Vanderpool Garcia, Esq.

Legal services Program Manager   

Cynthia Vanderpool Garcia joined TASSC in September of 2018.  In her over ten years of experience practicing law, she largely focused on humanitarian and family immigration law.  She came to TASSC from private practice in which she vigorously pursued success on asylum claims for persecuted clients from diverse backgrounds and countries including Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Liberia, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.  In 2014, Ms. Vanderpool Garcia volunteered as a legal advocate for detained women and children with the AILA Artesia Pro Bono project in Artesia, New Mexico.  She is licensed to practice law in the states of Maryland and Oklahoma.  She is also a tribal member of the Native American Cherokee Nation.  

 

STAFF

Morgan Neibich-Gianni, MSW, LGSW

Clinical Case Manager    

Morgan joined TASSC in May 2017, bringing four years of experience working in social services and with survivors of forced migration, including an internship at TASSC. Morgan has also worked in Guatemala with indigenous children, helping to spark her love of working with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Before returning to TASSC Morgan worked in both refugee resettlement and with survivors of torture in South Florida. Morgan has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a master’s degree in Social Work from Barry University specializing in trauma-informed care and clinical practice. Morgan is grateful to be back at TASSC where she combines her love of working cross-culturally while utilizing her trauma training with inspiring and resilient survivors of torture.

Shanta Kingham, BSW

Clinical Case Manager

Shanta joined TASSC as a clinical case manager in May 2015, after completing almost twenty years of direct service experience to marginalized populations, both in the United States and abroad. After graduating from James Madison University with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work, Shanta followed her passion for serving the underprivileged and spent years in Ghana, Thailand, India, and Burma working with refugees, people with leprosy and HIV/AIDS, street children, orphans and the abandoned elderly. Shanta brings her in depth understanding of other cultures and deep compassion for individuals who have experienced trauma and displacement to all that she does at TASSC.

Semhar Stora, MSW, LGSW

Clinical Case Manager

Semhar Stora joined TASSC in November 2018 as a clinical case manager. Semhar previously served with TASSC in 2015 and 2016 as a clinical case manager intern. Before returning to TASSC, Semhar worked with veterans experiencing PTSD and severe mental illness. Semhar completed her Master’s of Social Work from the Catholic University of America in May 2018. Semhar received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Asmara. In addition, Semhar brings more than six years of humanitarian experience, assisting gender based violence survivors, displaced persons, and children in post conflict areas in Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea.  Semhar is fluent in Amharic and Tigrinya and she is thrilled to use her language skills and cultural experience to journey with survivors as they settle in their new home.

Tracy Belle, MA, LPC

Therapist and Forensic Psych Evaluator

Tracy joined TASSC in July 2014 and currently provides psychological services, including therapy and forensic evaluations. She is also an adjust professor at Georgetown Law, Center for Applied Legal Studies. Before joining TASSC, Tracy worked in humanitarian programs for the autonomous state of Puntland, Somalia and the East African region. Tracy obtained her Masters in Counseling Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and is completing her PhD in International Psychology at the same institution, both with a trauma concentration. Tracy is a graduate of the Harvard's Program in Refugee Trauma and is currently a participant at Oxford's Forced Migration Program at the Refugees Studies Center. Her research interests focus on culturally-informed counseling methods including informal and natural systems of support, alternative healing methods, and culturally specific systems of recovery.

Michelle Stilwell, Esq.

Staff Attorney   

Michelle Stilwell joined TASSC in December 2017 as an experienced immigration attorney and human rights advocate.  Before TASSC, Stilwell worked as a family, humanitarian, and employment immigration attorney at her own immigration law firm.  Prior to that, she gained experience in civil rights and litigation.  Stilwell has a bachelor's degree in Business Management and Marketing from Colorado State University and graduated from Pepperdine Law School with a Juris Doctor.  Stilwell is passionate about immigrants' rights, human rights, and international law.  

Mireille Makambo, MPA

Career Development Coordinator

Mireille Makambo joined TASSC in July 2018, first as a volunteer coordinating other volunteers activities, then in November 2018 as a Career Development Coordinator. Mireille is a graduate from the University of Oregon where she holds a Bachelor in International Studies with a concentration in Diplomacy and International Relations, and Masters degree in Public Administration. Before joining TASSC, Mireille worked as an intern at Mobility International USA and Holt International. Afterwards, she stepped away from the workforce to take care of her family. Mireille is a passionate advocate of issues related to social justice and the respect of human rights.

 

VOLUNTEERS

Sister Denise Curry, MA

Employment Specialist  

Sr. Denise joined TASSC in 2007 after retiring from teaching. She has been a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur for more than 50 years, and she has spent time in Mexico, Peru and Nigeria with the sisters for different international missions aimed at changing lives for the better. At TASSC, Sr. Denise works with survivors who are looking for their first job in the US. She also helps rewrite resumes and find English classes and specialized job training, including in the fields of computer software and IT.

 

JoAnn Goerdert, Esq.

Pro Bono Attorney Coordinator

JoAnn is an attorney who joined TASSC's Legal Services Program  as a volunteer with the Ignatian Volunteer Corps after retiring from many years with the State of Maryland in 2016.  A graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the Georgetown University Law Center, she had served as counsel to the Maryland State Department of Education, the Governor's Office of Children, Youth and Families and the University System of Maryland, and then as an Associate Vice Chancellor for the University System.  During that time, she also volunteered with CASA de Maryland, Shepherd's Table in Silver Spring, and other local non-profit groups that serve immigrants and others in need. She is honored to now work with TASSC survivors as they seek asylum in the US and to assist TASSC's Legal Services Program as the Pro Bono Coordinator.

 

Laurie Chenoweth, MSW

Clinical Case Manager Intern  

Laurie joined TASSC in January 2016. Prior to joining TASSC Laurie worked as Project Coordinator for the Center for Social Justice and Community Development, a research center for the National Catholic School of Social Services (NCSSS).  In addition to working with survivors of torture, Laurie’s professional experience spans working with low-income elderly, urban youth who have been affected by grief and loss, female ex-offenders who are transitioning back into society, and homeless men and women with drug addictions. Laurie has a BS in History from Stanford University, and completed her Masters in Education from Marymount University and her Masters of Social Work from Catholic University of America in June 2004. Laurie believes in the power of authentic, caring relationships to heal brokenness and restore hope into the lives of those who have experienced trauma.