IJPC Staff Members
Immigration Program Organizer
Growing up, José was always going to rallies, marches, and meetings with his mother – all surrounding the rights of immigrants or workers. At the time José didn’t understand the purpose of all the work and was normally bored out of his mind, but then in the seventh grade he was “tricked” into telling my immigration story and finding the strength of sharing his own story. After that day he was never bored at a rally, march, or meeting that dealt with fighting for the right of all people. Since his sophomore year of high school, he was apart of Youth Education Society (YES) program at IJPC. As a member of YES, José shared his personal immigration story to others, help organize YES events, and fell in love with IJPC’s values and mission. When he is not at IJPC, he is at Xavier University where he is studying entrepreneurship and management with a minor in psychology and justice & peace studies.
Mel’s social justice background took root while attending La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA where she studied Public Relations and Organizational Communication. It was there that she knew she wanted to help nonprofits frame how to share their stories, successes, and challenges. Upon graduation, Mel did a year and a half of service with AmeriCorps at La Puente, a rural nonprofit in South Central Colorado. Later, Mel joined the staff of La Puente as the Director of the Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley where she distributed tons of produce to community members and shared the reality of rural hunger with anyone who would listen. Coming into IJPC, Mel is excited to join a team of justice seekers who are willing to educate and advocate about major issues. In her spare time, Mel is eager to explore the attractions of her new city of Cincinnati, get involved in roller derby, and go beer tasting at the various craft breweries throughout the area.
Program Manager, Death Penalty + Peace and Nonviolence
Sr. Andrea Koverman is a newly vowed member of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati who can be found gardening, hiking, or rollerblading whenever time and weather permit. She was born in southern Texas, raised outside of Dayton, OH. After graduating from Miami University of Ohio with a degree in Special Education, she taught public school students of the Gullah community on the sea islands of coastal South Carolina. While teaching, she earned Master’s degrees in curriculum and educational leadership. Upon entering formation with her community, she relocated to the El Paso area and taught in a Catholic school serving mostly Hispanic children and children of military servicemen and women. She witnessed the realities of our immigration system while assisting the sisters at their center for mothers of severely disabled children in Anapra, a colonia of Juarez, Mexico. Andrea has found service trips to Palestine and Haiti to be especially enlightening and rewarding. She dreams of working herself out of a job when there are no more issues of peace and justice to address!
After graduating from Loyola University Chicago, Allison accompanied students and Salvadorans during her time with the Casa de la Solidaridad in El Salvador. There, she learned about the collective power of community and gained a love of the Spanish language. Allison received her Master of Social Work from Boston College and stayed in Boston to work as a community organizer doing domestic violence prevention work. After moving to Cincinnati, to be closer to family, Allison was thrilled to find a home with IJPC as the organization continues to grow. She spends her time outside of the office with her family, researching the possibilities of bees, chickens, and goats as pets, and working on craft projects.
Samantha joins IJPC with a passion for carving out spaces for people to find and use their voice to create change. Samantha spent the last few years as a community organizer for a local grassroots organization that is working on environmental, economic and social justice issues here in Hamilton County. Originally raised in Findlay, Samantha attended the University of Indianapolis to earn a degree in social work. While there, she witnessed the power of many voices coming together to advocate for better public policy. Samantha was eager to learn more and received her Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community & Economic Development from Washington University in St. Louis. Samantha enjoys cuddling with her cat, Minerva, going to the water park during the summer, and playing the clarinet with the Queen City Concert Band.
IJPC Board Members
Kathleen Hebbeler, OP
Louise Lears, SC, Chair
Cassie Niemann, Secretary
Marge Wissman, OSF
Tim Zofkie, Vice Chair