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Staff Bios

(Simply click on any name below to send an e-mail to that Hogar team member.)

Antonio Bautista

BIA Accredited Representative, Legal Services
Antonio Bautista is a native of Chiapas, Mexico with a college degree in political science and public administration. Since he moved to the United States in 2005, he has been serving the immigrant community and he has been providing immigration legal services since 2006. He worked as an Immigration Assistant and then an Accredited Representative at Catholic Charities of Central Texas before coming to Northern Virginia. Here in Virginia, he spent three years leading the Immigration Legal Assistance and Citizenship Education Programs at the Hispanic Committee of Virginia / Northern Virginia Family Service before joining Hogar Immigrant Services as an Accredited Representative in 2013. Antonio has a deep understanding of family-based immigration procedures as well as experience serving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), U visa, citizenship and naturalization and Temporary Protective Status (TPS) clients.

 

Brooke Hammond Pérez
Program Director, Hogar Immigrant Services

Brooke received her MA in International Development, with a concentration in NGO Management and Civil Society, from the University of Pittsburgh. She also has a  BA in Spanish and a BA in International Affairs from James Madison University.  Brooke has extensive education experience working for the Education Department of Madrid, as well as teaching ESOL to elementary and high school students at both public and private schools in Spain. Brooke also has volunteered to teach ESOL at various non-profit organizations in the United States and Spain.  Born and raised in Charlottesville, VA, Brooke now lives in Manassas with her husband, Iker, and daughters, Ariane and Amaia. Brooke enjoys traveling, watching movies, and spending time with her twin daughters in her free time.

Denise Cruz

Administrative Assistant, Education Services

Denise grew up in Manassas, Virginia. She is graduating from Northern Virginia Community College with her Associates degree in Business Administration. She is transferring to George Mason University in the fall and will be working toward her Bachelor’s degree in Information System Operation Management. Denise is also a licensed cosmetologist and is also working on getting her nail tech license. Denise enjoys shopping, going to the gym, traveling and dancing.


Enrique Vargas


BIA Accredited Representative, Legal Services

Enrique was born in Bolivia and came to live in the United States three decades ago.  Motivated by his love of helping the diverse population of immigrants in northern Virginia, Enrique has worked in the immigration legal field for more than twenty years. In his spare time, Enrique enjoys reading, soccer, swimming, biking, basketball, and tennis.  In addition to his full-time job as a paralegal at Hogar, Enrique occasionally "moonlights" as a deejay.

Evin McFadden
Education Manager, Education Services

Evin McFadden was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has an eclectic background in education, non-profit management and international project management. Evin double majored in Sociology and Spanish at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock – focusing heavily on Latin American Literature and global studies. He began his career working with immigrant populations and the Hispanic community while completing an internship at a local chapel, La Capilla de Santa Teresita. Later, Evin obtained a M.A. in International Development. To gain first-hand experience working Latin America, he spent several years working in partnership with non-profit and government agencies in Honduras and El Salvador. Upon returning to the states, Evin settled in Virginia. He continues to manage education based programs that promote results based academic achievement and self-sufficiency.  


Ingrid Rosales Zavala


Citizenship and Naturalization Manager, Education Services

Ingrid was born in Lima, Peru, but moved to the United States with her family in 2001. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010 with a bachelor on Foreign Affairs with a specialization in Latin America and Philosophy. After college, she did an internship with Immigrants First in Manassas, Virginia. She has a commitment to the immigrant community since everyone in her family, including her, went through the same process with USCIS.  Ingrid likes to dance Latin music, especially traditional Peruvian music.

 

Jackie Chavez
Education Services Grant Manager

Jackie was born in Arlington, VA but was raised in Denver, CO and lived there until she moved back to Virginia in 2011. She has over 7 years of management experience working in different fields. She also has several years of experience working and volunteering with the public at hospitals, churches, and schools. Jackie is the oldest of four kids and comes from a large family. She enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family.

James Helmuth

James was born in Guatemala and grew up in Elkhart, Indiana. He graduated in 2015 from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia with a BA in History and Social Sciences. James has studied abroad in Spain and Morocco and has gained experience in the non-profit sector through a variety of experiences, including setting up a help desk for low-income clients at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic in Indianapolis and conducting research and analysis as a foreign policy intern at the Washington Office on Latin America. Recently wed, James enjoys traveling, cooking, playing guitar, running, and going on long bike rides with his wife.

 

Jean Larkai


Legal Fellow

Jean began volunteering in Hogar’s Naturalization clinic in January of 2012. Fascinated by what she learned at the workshops, she joined the legal team as an intern in the summer of 2012. She returned to Hogar to volunteer in the summer of 2013 and has now rejoined the team as a post-graduate legal fellow. Besides working with Hogar, Jean has interned and volunteered with the U.S. Department of Labor, CASA de Maryland, CAIR Coalition, and Lutheran Social Services Refugee & Immigrant Services Program. Jean received a BA in Human Rights and Law, as well as a MA in Legal Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. She spent a year studying French in Montreal, Québec and Nice, France before attending The George Washington University Law School.  Jean loves ballet, pure barre, traveling, and watching countless hours of reality TV.

 

Catherine Motolenich

Supervising Attorney

Catherine Motolenich Torres is a native of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. In 2005, she graduated from the University of Puerto Rico magna cum laude with a dual degree in Philosophy and English Literature. She was then the recipient of several merit scholarships to study law at Roger Williams School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island. During her time in Rhode Island, Ms. Motolenich Torres volunteered with VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program, as well as the Special Olympics. Ms. Torres finalized her legal studies at Florida State College of Law where she focused on immigration and family law courses.

After law school, Ms. Torres accepted a position with the pro-bono attorney program at Georgia Legal Services in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the sole Spanish speaking attorney in the office and was quickly made responsible for all Latino clients in the surrounding counties. In this position, Ms.  Torres routinely ensured that immigrants and their children received the government benefits and housing they were entitled to, as well as represented them at Protective Order hearings. Prior to working at HOGAR Ms. Torres was the managing partner at an immigration practice in Denver, Colorado where she was in charge of community outreach and all immigration court representation. After several years of private practice Ms. Torres returned to her roots in public service and has dedicated her career to ensuring all individuals have access to the legal help they need.

 

 

Jennifer Mora Zuñiga
Education and Adminstration Supervisor

Jen grew up in Berryville, VA. She graduated from James Madison University in 2009 with a BA in Business Administration and a minor in Nonprofit Studies. She has experience working in several nonprofits such as Boys and Girls Club and Prison Fellowship. Prior to working at Hogar, Jen served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Costa Rica. During her service she learned Spanish and met her husband. Jen's pastimes include: reading, traveling, running, community service, and baking.

 

Karen Barajas Powell

Staff Attorney, Unaccompanied Children Program

Karen Barajas Powell joined Hogar as a Staff Attorney for the Unaccompanied Children Program in November 2014. Karen is originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to the United States as a child. In 2006, she received her B.A. from Princeton University, where she was a member of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and received minors in Spanish Literature and Latin American Studies. Karen received her Juris Doctorate (JD) in 2009 from American University-Washington College of Law, where she was a Dean’s Fellow in the International Human Rights Law Clinic and received an Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award for her volunteer work. She has interned at Ayuda en Acción (Madrid, Spain), the National Immigration Law Center (DC), and the Spanish Catholic Center (DC). Karen has worked as an immigration attorney in her own practice - Barajas Powell Law Firm, PLLC and Northern Virginia Family Service. She is a member of the bar of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Fairfax Bar Association. This country has granted Karen numerous opportunities and allowed her to succeed, and thus, she hopes to help other immigrants navigate the complex immigration laws and pursue the American dream.

 

Karla Fuentes

Legal Assistant, Legal Services
Karla first came to Hogar as an intern in January 2014 from North Carolina through the Lutheran Washington College Semester. She interned with Education Services, with a focus on Hogar’s Citizenship and Naturalization program. After the competition of her internship, she began working as the Legal Assistant with the Legal Services program. Karla attended Lenoir Rhyne University with a dual major in Political Science and Sociology. While attending Lenoir Rhyne, Karla was a member of the North Carolina Student Legislators, Model United Nations, and was a founding member of the debate team.  Karla’s passion, drive and commitment to immigrant populations brought her to Hogar. Karla’s commitment to working with the immigrant community began at a young age, when she volunteered at a nonprofit organization committed to helping the immigrant community. She has also served as a student fellow with the organization Student Action with Farmworkers in North Carolina, where she taught the dangers of farming pesticides to members of the community and helped transition migrant workers in the United States. Karla also loves to travel; she has visited Russia, Germany, Mexico, and several states in the US. She hopes to continue traveling to new places worldwide. Karla enjoys learning about different cultures, and during her free time she enjoys watching documentaries and dancing Latin music.

 

Lorraine LaVia
Office Manager
, Legal Services
Lorraine joined Hogar in October 2010 after working 14 years at the Congressional Research Service in the Library of Congress.  Originally from Pennsylvania, she came to the DC area to attend the University of Maryland where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, including one year of study in Spain, and a Masters in Administration.  In her free time, Lorraine is an artist and member of the Maryland Pastel Society. She also enjoys reading, needlework, and biking.

 

 

Nancy Carbajal


Receptionist
, Legal Services
Nancy was born in Peru and has lived in the United States since 1982. She has been Hogar's receptionist since 1991, making her the longest-serving member of the Hogar team. Nancy loves working at Hogar because she gets the opportunity to help people every day. Nancy currently lives in Arlington with her husband and three of her four daughters. She is also a grandmother of two. Nancy loves dancing salsa and merengue and visiting the beach.

 

Nora Canchez-Gonzalez

BIA Accredited Representative, Legal Services

Nora came to Hogar with extensive work experience in the legal sector and in the field of charitable work to the poor and immigrant community.  She began her legal training when she received a Juris Doctor degree from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, in Lima, Peru.  In 2001 she received her LLM degree in International Studies from American University, in Washington, DC.  Nora has also studied Project Management at George Mason University in Virginia. Prior to joining Hogar, Nora was a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative at Catholic Charities of Baltimore, MD.  From 2008 through 2011 she assisted a team of pro bono attorneys from Howrey LLP, in Washington DC, representing immigrants in complex asylum cases.  Nora has also worked as a Legal Administrative Assistant at Advancement Project, a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization.
Nora has volunteered with several organizations to assist victims of domestic violence and low income immigrants, one of them was the Volunteer Interpreter Program at Fairfax County District Court in Virginia.  Nora has three children, lives in Annandale and enjoys watching comedy movies, listening to music and traveling in the company of her family.

 

Sabra Li


Volunteer and Outreach Manager, Education Services

Originally from Missouri, Sabra received a BA and BSBA from Saint Louis University, where she had the opportunity to study International Business in Spain.  She received her MA in International Administration from the University of Denver while completing her thesis research with the Somali refugee community in Colorado.  Sabra has extensive experience working with refugee populations in the US as well as in Thailand, Burma, and India.  She has managed various programs, including a women’s microbusiness development program helping immigrant artisans market their crafts in the US.  In her free time, Sabra enjoys traveling, sewing, thrifting, and challenging her husband in basketball.

 

 

Sister Karen Lynn Watkins, OSB
Staff Attorney, Legal Services

What does “OSB” stand for?  “Order of Saint Benedict.”  Sister Karen Lynn is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, a monastery located in Bristow  www.osbva.org .  The community was distressed when the issue of illegal immigration was raised as a “cause” of the car accident in August, 2010 that took the life of Sister Denise Mosier.  The Benedictine Sisters have served immigrants through their ministries for years.  So when it was time for Sister Karen Lynn to look for a job (each religious community has to support itself, often through the paid work of its members) it seemed natural for her to use her law degree to serve immigrants needing legal services.  Since Hogar Immigrant Services, an agency of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, is well known for providing top quality legal services, it also seemed natural for her to seek a position here.  After serving in an internship position for several months, Sister Karen Lynn has been assigned to a Western Expansion Office of Hogar, working Tuesdays and Thursdays from an office in Manassas provided by All Saints Catholic Church.

 

 

Stacy Jones
Staff Attorney, Legal Services

Stacy joined Hogar as Staff Attorney in August 2014, after many years of working at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.  At USCRI, Stacy trained and mentored pro bono attorneys representing unaccompanied children in removal proceedings before the various immigration courts throughout the United States.  She also served as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow at USCRI for two years, providing pro bono immigration representation to children in the District of Columbia foster care system.  In law school, Stacy was a student attorney in the school's International Human Rights Law Clinic, where she represented a young man from El Salvador in his appeal in a gang-based asylum case, sparking Stacy's interest in immigration law.  Stacy has previously worked in private practice and at Mil Mujeres Legal Services, and has interned with the Due Process of Law Foundation, Chile Transparente, and the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  She received her J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, after earning a B.A. in Spanish and International Relations from Lehigh University.  She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, as well as a contributor to international immigration blog, The Migrationist.

 

Tristen Mimiaga
Education Manager, Education Services

Originally from North Carolina, Tristen moved to Virginia in 2003. He began his studies at Blue Ridge Community College where he earned an Associate’s Degree. Later, after transferring to George Mason University, he earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish. During his time at Mason, Tristen had the opportunity to participate with, and eventually lead a trip for, the Alternative Break Program. His trips were to Guatemala to aid with a variety of things such as beautification projects and teaching English. Tristen comes to us after serving a year in AmeriCorps with the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. As an AmeriCorps with LCNV member he managed three educational sites around the Northern Virginia area as well as served as a lead teacher at those locations. He enjoyed his experience working with adults and decided to continue. In his spare time he enjoys doing a variety of things like playing tennis, volunteer teaching Spanish classes, and spending time with friends and family.