Our Staff

Joan Hodges-Wu, MA, MSW, LGSW

Founder & Executive Director


A social worker by profession and a torture treatment specialist by training, Joan Hodges-Wu has dedicated her career to serving low-income, English limited, vulnerable immigrant populations. Joan is a nationally recognized torture treatment subject matter expert, a regular advisor to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), and the lead author of the Survivor of Torture Psychosocial Well-being Index. A version of her tool serves as the national program evaluation measure for ORR's $14 million Survivor of Torture program. Joan founded the Asylum Seeker Assistance Project in 2016 to connect all persons fleeing persecution, including survivors of torture, to critical services and support. Joan holds a Masters in Refugee Care from the University of Essex in England and a Masters in Social Work from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia.

Camilla Pearson, MSW, LGSW

Social Services Program Manager


Camilla is a licensed general social worker with ten years experience serving diverse international populations in the DC Metro area and abroad. Camilla works in partnership with clients to safely explore their goals, navigate supportive services, and advocate on their behalf. Camilla received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland-Baltimore with a concentration in clinical and trauma-informed coursework. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Togo, West Africa. She is fluent in French.


EMPLOYMENT Program Manager


Nick is a graduate of Towson University where he received his bachelors in Environmental Studies. After graduation, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer along Zambia’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nick’s diverse work experience also includes English language tutoring and resident assistance for affordable housing projects within Montgomery County, MD. Nick is committed to working collaboratively with clients to help them secure safe, legal, and meaningful employment.


Community Program Manager


A lifelong community organizer, Holly Leon-Lierman has worked to promote the inclusion and integration of refugees, asylum seekers and asylees for nearly 15 years. Holly has worked with a variety of immigrant serving nonprofits including the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore where she co-founded CIVIC, a refugee speakers bureau, and Professional Pathways, a program to assist immigrant professionals re-enter their chosen careers. Holly is passionate about ASAP’s mission and vision.

Madison Hokans-csurilla



Madison received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Child Studies from Santa Clara University. As a Global Social Benefit Fellow, she conducted research on female economic empowerment in Rwanda and Uganda for All Across Africa, an East African social enterprise. Madison is proud to be a 2019/20 Jesuit Volunteer at ASAP.   


Office Manager


Fikirte is an administrative professional with 19 years of work experience. Prior to arriving in the U.S., Fikirte worked as a senior administrator for an independent financial regulatory service in Qatar. She has also held senior management positions at a luxury hotel group. Fikirte has an Associate’s degree from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. She is fluent in English, Amharic, and Arabic, speaks conversational French and is learning Spanish. Fikirte is an asylum seeker.




A licensed CPA, Liesbeth is a graduate from Northeastern University with a dual Masters in Accounting & Business Administration. She has worked in both for-profit and non-profit settings over the past eighteen years, including ten years with the National Park Service. In addition to professional pursuits, Liesbeth also serves as the treasurer of Vermont’s Reading Historical Society. 

Summer 2020 INTERNS

Beladona ontiveros (university of california, San diego)

To be considered for a future ASAP internship, please refer to our Get Involved (Students) page.