Staff Bios

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

Ben Brokaw
Manager, Education Services

Ben Brokaw began the 2012 year by joining the Hogar team. Previously, he served with Americorps for two years. His first year was spent on the Eastern Shore of Maryland teaching pesticide safety to the farmworker community with Telamon Corporation. Then in 2011, Ben served locally with CASA de Maryland promoting citizenship and teaching citizenship classes. Ben graduated from Wheaton College in 2007 with a BA in history, and became interested in working with immigrants after traveling abroad in Latin America and doing volunteer work as an ESL teacher in the D.C. area. In his spare time Ben enjoys reading, running, traveling, playing board games, and bowling. 

Brooke Hammond Pérez
Program Director, Education 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.



Carla Perantoni Walsh
Manager, Education Services
Carla has lived in the Washington DC area since her student days at Georgetown University, where she earned her BA in Government.  After working in the Carter administration and graduating from Catholic University Law School, she practiced law for a number of years before turning to nonprofit program work, in which she has been engaged since 2005.  At Hogar she is enjoying working with immigrant communities for the first time, and is even picking up a little Spanish!  Carla has two grown sons and finds time to play the piano, study Italian and indulge her passion for opera.


Cindy Brown
BIA Accredited Representative, Legal Services

Cindy began working with Hogar’s Education Services department in December 2006 and transitioned in 2008 to the Legal Services team as a paralegal.  Having studied Latin America and the Spanish language at the College of William and Mary, Cindy has dedicated herself to the advancement of immigrants in the US through past positions in social work and teaching English to speakers of other languages.  Cindy’s strong Loudoun County roots have not stopped her from traveling the world.  Highlights of her travels include teaching stints in Nicaragua and the Czech Republic.

Denise Hunter
Staff Attorney, Legal Services

Denise began at Hogar as a Legal Intern in the summer of 2010 and returned as an attorney in January 2012. Denise graduated from The George Washington University Law School in 2011, where she participated in the International Human Rights Clinic and the International Human Rights Law summer program at Oxford University.  She interned at the World Organization for Human Rights USA and Amnesty International in Warsaw, Poland.  She has volunteered for Capitol Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Kids in Need of Defense, International Models Project on Women’s Rights, and Human Rights First.  She received her B.A. from Wesley College and studied abroad in Spain.  In her spare time she enjoys dancing flamenco and salsa, yoga, and baking


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.

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.


Jennifer Griffith
Database Manager, Education Services

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 Fiance. Jen's pastimes include: reading, traveling, running, community service, and baking.

Krupskaya Elliott
Citizenship Education Manager

Krupskaya is originally from Nicaragua, where she studied Business Administration at the Universidad Centroamericana.  She later worked for The National Democratic Institute (NDI), an organization that provides developmental support to civic organizations working with different political parties and embassies in Nicaragua.  After NDI, Krupskaya moved to the US with her new husband; and, in 2006, they started graduate school in Ohio.  In 2008, Krupskaya did a study abroad in Cuenca, Ecuador where she obtained a certificate in Teaching English as a Second and Foreign Language from the Center for Interamerican Studies.  After finishing grad school in 2009, Krupskaya began working as an interpreter for Health Partners of Western Ohio in the New Carlisle branch— a satellite clinic mainly providing services for Latin American farm workers.  In her spare time, Krupskaya likes reading books by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and watching “Harry Potter” movies.  She also loves dancing.  She and her husband, Michael, are the proud parents of a newborn son.


Lorraine LaVia
Office Manager

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 Pastel Society of Virginia. She also enjoys reading, needlework, and biking.


Mary Brittingham
Program Director, Legal Services
Mary Brittingham joined the Hogar Staff in November 2011 as the Program Director for Hogar's legal services program. Most recently, she was the Executive Director of DC Law Students In Court Program. Prior to that, she was a former associate professor of clinical law at GWU Law School and a visiting associate professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Originally from Puerto Rico, Mary moved to Washington, DC to attend law school and has never left. She began her legal career at AYUDA where she became the managing attorney. A volunteer ESL teacher, Mary is very happy to be back in the immigration legal community again. Mary lives in Washington, DC with her husband and has two grown children, both of whom live in DC.


Nancy Carbajal

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.



Natalia Weekes

Administrative Assistant
Natalia was born in Lima, Peru, and moved to the United States with her family in 2001. Natalia has over 5 years of experience in the administrative field previously working with a telecom company where she served as an Account analyst. Currently attending college, Natalia is pursuing a degree in Business Management with a focus in Human Resources. Natalia enjoys traveling, spending time with her husband and her dog, dancing, as well as running. Natalia is excited to join the Hogar services family as her story is very similar to those of the students being helped.


Sister Karen Lynn Trespacz, 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 .  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.