On September 5, 2023, we welcomed Jo Moley as the Master of Social Work (MSW) Intern at the Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA). She will intern with our office during the 2023-2024 academic year. We’re excited to introduce her to you.
Jo will work with OIA Director, Amy Eusebio, to further the mission of the Immigration Services Fraud Task Force and support the coordination of community engagement events such as the second-annual Philadelphia Welcoming Awards. Jo will also assist with operations at The Welcome Center, gaining first-hand knowledge of the needs of asylum seekers in Philadelphia to incorporate into local advocacy and policy.
We asked Jo some questions to get to know her better.
Why are you interested in interning with the Office of Immigrant Affairs?
As a newcomer to Philadelphia interning with HIAS Pennsylvania last year, it was an honor and a privilege to welcome the refugees, parolees, and asylees the organization served to the city, and to be welcomed by my clients in return. As a result, my Philadelphia experience and community is inseparable from the city’s vibrant immigrant community and welcoming infrastructure.
This year, in my role with the OIA, I am most excited to continue to work with this community and Philadelphia’s immigration service providers. As a policy-focused macro social work student, an internship with OIA stood out to me as a unique opportunity to learn more about impactful, inclusive immigration policy at the local level. I hope to continue to serve the diverse and dynamic community of immigrants who call Philadelphia home.
What made you choose social work as a career pathway?
I chose social work as a career pathway to pivot into the type of policymaking that is truly based upon collaborative work with the people and communities that NGOs and government agencies serve. Additionally, I have been fortunate to work with and learn from various macro social workers in the policy field, and their commitment to social justice and community empowerment inspired me to pursue an MSW. Especially in the immigration policy field, macro social work stood out to me as the most promising, ethical pathway toward policymaking with the potential to dismantle harmful systems that endanger international human rights.
Tell us a little bit about your career prior to joining the Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs
After graduating from college, I moved to Medellin, Colombia for one year to work at an international education NGO that provided English and robotics education to public schools in Medellin and the surrounding communities. This experience led me to an opportunity at a federally funded, international development NGO in Washington, DC with a focus on democracy and governance in Latin America and the Caribbean. In this role, I worked to support civil society organizations in Venezuela and Guatemala, which sparked my passion for community-driven, bottom-up policymaking and implementation.
Since starting my macro MSW degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 2022, I have pivoted to immigration policy work, which I have found to be an exciting field for people-focused policymaking. To this end, I completed my foundation year MSW internship with the Employment Team at HIAS Pennsylvania and then spent the following summer interning with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Office of Policy and Strategy – Humanitarian Affairs Division. I am extremely excited to continue working with the immigrant community here in Philadelphia through the OIA.
Where did you live prior to moving to Philadelphia?
Before Philly, I was based in Washington, DC for almost eight years. Despite its transient reputation, DC is an exciting, diverse city in which to build community. I started there as a college student and had lived across four different neighborhoods by the time I left. My list of hidden gem DC restaurants and attractions is long, and I’m always happy to share!
Lastly, what do you enjoy in your free time?
I love spending my free time with my dog, Gemma! She enjoys walks, but not super long ones because she’s incredibly lazy. Also, because I’m still relatively new to Philadelphia, I try to explore new neighborhoods, restaurants, and/or museums every weekend. I’m a big fan of the Italian Market, Chinatown, and all the amazing Ethiopian food in West Philly!