Advocating for safe children, stable families, and supportive communities
37 West Broad Street, Suite 1100
Columbus, OH 43215 — 614-224-5802

Who We Are

Public Children Services Association of Ohio is a membership-driven association of Ohio’s county Public Children Services Agencies that advocates for and promotes child protection program excellence and sound public policy for safe children, stable families, and supportive communities.

PCSAO is a nonprofit 501c(3) organization and member of the National Foster Care Coalition and the National Association of County Human Services Administrators.

Learn more about PCSAO’s members and about the public child protection system in Ohio.

Resources

Board of Trustees

Catherine Hill, MSW, LSW

President
Executive Director, Athens County Children Services

Beginning in May 2008, Hill was appointed executive director of Athens County Children Services Board in 2012, prior to that she was the Director at Hocking County Children Services.

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A social worker in central Ohio for many years, Hill is honored to have returned to contribute to her hometown. In addition to running a busy rural agency in Appalachia, Hill remains an active volunteer in her community by serving on the United Way board, Empty Bowls steering committee, Family and Children First Council, and as a volunteer gardener and artist with Bishop Educational Gardens in Rockbridge, Ohio. Hill holds a Master of Social Work from The Ohio State University and a BA from Wright State in Dayton. Remaining active in administration and direct service throughout her career, Hill began her service in a battered women’s and children’s shelter and rape treatment center in the early 1980s. Working in a variety of settings from inner-city hospital social work to corporate employee assistance program management, Hill kept in touch with her early direct service background in crisis and trauma through volunteering with various community boards and agencies including CHOICES and the critical incident stress management team in Franklin County. She is a licensed social worker and has advanced certification in critical incident stress management.

Kathi Spirk, BA

Vice President
Director, Clinton County Job and Family Services

Kathi Spirk became the Director of Clinton County Job and Family Services in December 2013. Her career in child protection began in 1987 in Clinton County as a child abuse and neglect investigator and generic caseworker. In the last 28 years, Kathi has been involved in most facets of child protection and was a supervisor for foster care, adoption and kinship care.

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Kathi also served as the CCJFS Deputy Director and has been involved with numerous organizations and committees, including the Early Childhood Collaborative Council, Head Start, Elderly Services Board, Family and Children First Council, Solutions Community Counseling Center Board of Directors, Regional Advisory Council (WIOA), Workforce Policy Board, and the Regional Continuum of Care for Rural Homelessness.

Kathi has worked as a Licensed Social Worker and Adoption Assessor and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Services from Wilmington College.

Kate Offenberger, BA

Treasurer
Director, Carroll County Job and Family Services

Kate Offenberger was named the director of the Carroll County Job and Family Services in January of 2002. She began her career as a student intern at Stark County Department of Human Services while she completed her bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of Akron.

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Upon completion of her degree, she was hired as a children services intake investigator at Stark County. In 1985, she began working at Carroll County Job and Family Services as a children services worker. She later became the Social Service Supervisor, Assistant Director and then the Director of the agency and is responsible for public assistance programs, workforce services and social services, including children services. Offenberger, who is a life-long resident of Carroll County works collaboratively with local community partners to improve service delivery to families and children. Offenberger is active in her church, serving as a past session member and currently as the church treasurer. She and her husband have four children and two grandsons. They enjoy spending time and working at their family farm with family and friends. Offenberger also enjoys gardening and quilting.

Julie Barnes, M.Ed., LSW

Secretary
Executive Director, Summit County Children Services

Julie Barnes became Executive Director of Summit County Children Services (SCCS) in December 2013. As SCCS Executive Director, Ms. Barnes leads a child welfare agency with approximately 330 staff and an annual budget of $45 million that provides Intake and Protective Services, and Placement and Permanency Planning Services, such as Foster Care, Kinship Care and Adoption.

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The agency also offers other specialized programs including: Alternative Response (AR) – a less-investigatory/more-collaborative family oriented child welfare protection service model – the Serious Trauma Assessment Team (STAT), which specializes in cases of suspected child sexual abuse, and a community-wide fatherhood initiative called The Father Factor, which identifies and engages fathers of children in agency care. Prior to joining SCCS, Ms. Barnes served for more than five years as Executive Director of Stark County Job and Family Services (SCJFS) and before that served for one year as Deputy Director of Children Services there. Ms. Barnes also served as Director of Foster Care and Adoption at Summit County Children Services from February 2002-May 2007 and she gained additional experience in the child welfare field through earlier positions at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Geauga County Department of Job and Family Services. Ms. Barnes has served on many committees and boards at the local and state level, and is presently on the Board of Trustees of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO) and the Board of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund (OCTF). She has a B.A. Degree in Psychology from Hiram College and a M.Ed. Degree in Higher Education from Kent State University.

Matthew Kurtz, BA

Past President
Director, Knox County Job and Family Services

Matthew Kurtz has been director of the Knox County Department of Job and Family Services since April 2010. His 20-year career with Knox County began as Chief Financial and Technology Officer.

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Over the years he has served on a number of committees with ODJFS that included development of the current TSSP process through the Office of Information Services and the CFIS financial system through the Bureau of Finance and Technical Assistance. He has been a member of the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association’s Fiscal Committee since 2005 and presented on fiscal issues at many of OJFSDA’s events. Most recently he has been a part of the Collabor8 pilot project that created a virtual call center between his and six other DJFS agencies in central and northwest Ohio. His experiences give him a unique perspective on the operation of a triplecombined agency. Kurtz holds a Bachelor of Arts in religion from Mount Vernon Bible College.

Stacy L. Cox, MSW

Trustee
Director, Champaign County JFS

Stacy L. Cox was named Director of Champaign County Department of Job and Family Services in June 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social and Behavioral Sciences and a Masters of Social Work, both from the Ohio State University.

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Cox has worked in child welfare, at Champaign County JFS, since 2001 in the roles of ongoing caseworker, investigator, supervisor, and administrator.

In her 17-year child welfare tenure, she has served on multiple statewide committees including Ohio’s Differential Response Leadership Council, Statewide Differential Response Implementation and Practice Advancement Team (co-chair), Continuous Quality Improvement Advisory Team, PCSAO Legislative Committee and Functional Job Analysis Workgroup, and the Quality Improvement on Workforce Development Implementation Team. She is passionate about the development and implementation of new initiatives aimed at improving service delivery to Ohio’s children and families.

Lorra Fuller, Ph.D.

Trustee
Executive Director, Scioto County Children Services

Dr. Lorra Fuller has been the director of Scioto County Children Services since April 2012. She earned her doctorate degree in clinical psychology from Capella University in 2010 and her Master of Science degree in educational psychology from Capella as well in 2005. She has a varied background in direct service and administration.

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Fuller began her career in the chemical dependency field and provided both residential and outpatient counseling in Portsmouth, Ohio. From there she went to work for the Adams, Lawrence, Scioto Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board as Program Director of Consumer and Institutional Relations. Through her work there, adult consumers of mental health services created a consumer-operated thrift store and drop-in center that still exists today.

Fuller left the ALS ADAMHS Board to pursue her doctorate degree. She completed both her practicum and internship with Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility. These experiences led to full-time employment there in the psychology department, where she worked until its closure in September 2011. Her work with the incarcerated adolescents who were unsuccessful in the foster care system ignited a passion to help change the lives of children in the child welfare system today. Through the role of director in Scioto County and serving on PCSAO’s Board of Trustees, Fuller hopes to help shape change in Ohio’s child welfare system one child at a time.

Patricia Harrelson, MSSA, LISW

Trustee
Executive Director, Richland County Children Services

Patricia Harrelson has served as the executive director of Richland County Children Services since February 2013.

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Harrelson has operated a training and consulting business working within Ohio and the United States and Canada specializing in child welfare and human services-related practice since 1996. She currently serves as an adjunct instructor for the Mandel School teaching individual and family therapy, trauma studies, and practice evaluation. She has served as a police officer and sergeant, led a Juvenile Court Probation Department, and worked in chemical dependency and addictions services, in addition to serving as a caseworker, supervisor, and administrator in several child protection agencies in Ohio.

Harrelson’s professional interests include addiction studies as well as trauma and its impact on children, families, staff and organizational development. She obtained a Master of Science of Social Administration (MSSA) from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in 1998 and has been an Ohio Licensed Social Worker since 1994 earning an Independent Designation in 2008. She volunteers with a dog rescue in the Toledo area and shares a Yellow Lab (Luke) and a Golden Retriever (Joey) with a partner.

Robin Reese, MSW

Trustee
Executive Director, Lucas County Children Services

Robin Reese is the Executive Director of Lucas County Children Services, the county agency responsible for protecting children from abuse and neglect. She was named to the position in 2016.

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Reese has been with Lucas County Children Services since 1984, rising from caseworker to manager of the Placement Department in 1988. In that position, she was responsible for ensuring that every child who needed to live away from his or her biological parents had an appropriate place to live. She also supervised the adoption unit and the foster parent training and licensing processes.

Reese is a lifelong Toledoan. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Toledo. She has also volunteered as a mentor for the local NAACP and for the local United Way.

Jacqueline Ringer, MPA

Trustee
Executive Director, Marion County Children Services

Jacqueline Ringer is the Executive Director of Marion County Children Services. She received a BS degree in social work from The Ohio State University and a Master of Public Administration from Kent State University.

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In addition, Ringer has maintained a License in Social Work through the State of Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist Board. For the past 15 years, she has worked in various areas of child welfare including investigations, foster care and adoption case management, and family support services.

Ringer began her child welfare experience conducting child abuse and neglect investigations, in which she found a true passion for child protection.

Cynthia Scanland, MSSA

Trustee
Executive Director, Allen County Children Services

Cynthia Scanland was named executive director of Allen County Children Services in June 2014. She began her career in 1991 with the Hancock County Department of Job and Family Services, where she worked as a line caseworker and supervisor in all child welfare program areas.

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In 1999, Scanland moved to state government and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, where she worked as a technical assistance specialist and technical assistance manager in the Office of Children and Families, Toledo Field Office. The field office provided oversight of social service programs for children and adults in county children service agencies and county departments of job and family services in the Toledo Region’s 27-county jurisdiction.

Scanland served in 2002 and 2008 as a State of Ohio Reviewer for the Child and Family Service Federal Reviews for the United States Department of Health and Human Services. She returned to county government in 2011 as the Intake/Assessment, Family Support and Quality Assurance Department Director for Allen County Children Services.

Scanland earned bachelor’s degrees in the fields of psychology and counseling from Southern California and a Master of Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University. Her professional affiliations have included the Western Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers. Her volunteer work includes the Crime Victim Services Board, the Children’s Developmental Center Board, and Teddy’s Rescue Animal Sanctuary.

Timothy Schaffner, M.Ed., LSW

Trustee
Executive Director, Trumbull County Children Services

Timothy Schaffner was named Executive Director of Trumbull County Children Services in November 2012. As a leader in behavioral health and residential care for children, Schaffner has provided consultation and training for many educational, residential and child welfare facilities and brings a wealth of management and child mental health treatment experience to his role as executive director.

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Schaffner had been the executive director of Valley Counseling Services prior to joining Trumbull County Children Services (in April 2012), from 1995 to 2006 served as Corporate Director/Corporate Clinical Executive for the Center for Behavioral Medicine at Forum Health, and prior to that he was director of youth services at Tod Children’s Hospital in Youngstown. Schaffner brings a total of 37 years of experience in professional child care to his position.

Corey Walker, MS

Trustee
Director, Defiance/Paulding Consolidated Job and Family Services

Corey Walker has been the director of Paulding County Department of Job and Family Services since 2005. Walker brought more than 17 years of experience in the community behavioral field with him to PCDJFS.

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He has served as a chief executive officer, executive director, therapist, and case manager in Ohio agencies and as chief operating officer at a behavioral health agency in Indiana. He has extensive experience in developing comprehensive systems of care based on best practices and consumer outcomes. Walker has served on several boards, most recently Focus on Friends in Findlay, Ohio, and the Paulding County Carnegie Library. He obtained his master’s degree at the University of Dayton in social agency counseling and received his undergraduate degree in communications from Defiance College.

Moira Weir, MSW, MBA

Trustee
Director, Hamilton County Job and Family Services

Moira Weir, named director of Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services in 2007, worked her way up from being a children services line worker, a position she accepted when she joined the Department in 1993.

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She now leads a department with a $1.3 billion annual budget that is responsible for local child protection, elder protection, child care, child support enforcement, workforce development, cash assistance, food stamp disbursement and Medicaid disbursement. A reform-minded leader who has made the department more accessible and accountable, Weir has a vision for Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services to be the center of a collaborative effort that draws together and leads social service agencies, businesses, governments, families and other community stakeholders to tackle the community’s toughest social problems, such as poverty and child abuse. Weir has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Boston’s Simmons College, a Master of Social Work from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Business Administration from Thomas More College.

David Wigent, BA

Trustee
Director, Wood County Job and Family Services

Dave Wigent received his Bachelor’s degree in 1985 from Oakland University. He has served in the social services for many years, starting as a juvenile probation officer in Lucas County where he served for three years.

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He also worked as a child abuse investigator and welfare fraud investigator in Williams County for seven years. After four years as a network technician and manager in the Toledo are, he served as the assistant director for the Department of Aging of Williams County. He then came to Wood County JFS as the assistant director on June 25, 2005, and eventually rose to director on October 10, 2011.

Jerry Coleman, JD

Ex Officio
Assistant Deputy Director, Legal Services, Stark County Job and Family Services

Jerry Coleman has spent his entire legal career in child welfare. After graduating from the University of Akron School of Law in 1999, he served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Summit County. While with the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, Coleman represented the Children Services Board in dependency, neglect and abuse actions from 1999 until 2001.

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In 2001 Coleman joined Stark County Job and Family Services as a staff attorney. In that position he was responsible for prosecuting dependency, neglect and abuse actions while also being responsible for the agency’s appellate docket. In 2007 he became the attorney supervisor of the Children Services Division. In 2013 Coleman was named chief legal counsel for that division. In May 2016, he became the assistant deputy director of legal services for Stark County Job and Family Services. In this role he oversees legal services for the triple-combined agency.

Coleman has been a member of the PCSAO Legislative Committee since 2013. In December 2017, he was named chair of the committee. Coleman is also a member of the PCSAO Rules Review Committee. He grew up in Orrville, Ohio, and graduated from Orrville High School. He attended the University of Akron, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Juris Doctor degree.

Staff

Angela Sausser, MA, MSW, LSW

Executive Director

Angela Sausser is PCSAO’s executive director. Prior to coming to PCSAO in August 2014, Angela simultaneously held three positions with the State of Ohio.

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Angela was the chief of the Bureau of Children and Families for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, overseeing funding, programs, and initiatives related to the mental health and addiction needs of children and their families. Angela served as the project director for the department’s four-year federal grant called ENGAGE (Engaging the New Generation to Achieve their Goals through Empowerment) focused on expanding systems of care for youth and young adults. Finally, Angela retained her governor-appointed position as the director of Ohio Family and Children First Cabinet Council, a post she held throughout her state government career of nine years. There, Angela worked in partnership with the health and human services Cabinet agencies, the Governor and First Lady’s offices, and the Office of Health Transformation to improve the coordination of services for children and their families. Angela was responsible for convening planning, policy, and fiscal teams to address cross-system issues; providing guidance and technical assistance to the 88 county Family and Chil­dren First Councils (FCFCs); and communicating with state officials, agencies, and community partners about issues, policies and funding impacting children and families.

Angela began her career as a caseworker and supervisor for a private foster care agency in Cincinnati. After receiving her graduate degrees, Angela became an independent management consultant for six years working with children services agencies throughout Ohio and across the country, including PCSAO. As a consultant, Angela provided strategic planning, grant-writing, best practice training and technical assistance, data analysis and advocacy. In addition, Angela formed the Council on Healthy Mothers and Babies in 2000, a Columbus-based nonprofit organization focused on reducing infant mortality.

Angela graduated from The Ohio State University with a Master of Social Work in Social Administration and a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Management. She received her Bachelor of Arts in social work and psychology with a minor in gerontology from Miami University. She is a Licensed Social Worker for the State of Ohio.

Scott Britton

Assistant Director

Scott Britton joined the staff of PCSAO in July 2011 as assistant director.

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Scott moved to Ohio in 2002 from his native West Virginia, where he had spent seven years as program development officer for the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service. There, he monitored AmeriCorps National Service programs throughout the state, providing oversight, training, and technical assistance for a grant portfolio that increased from $368,000 to $3.5 million during his tenure. Traveling to half a dozen states and the District of Columbia, he coached his counterparts on audit preparation and standards of excellence.

In 2002, he became executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, a statewide advocacy and voter-education organization. During his three years with the League, he increased member contributions to the annual fund, managed an ambitious judicial independence project, and coordinated direct and grassroots lobbying efforts on multiple good-government issues.

Scott then spent a year at The Columbus Foundation, where he helped launch PowerPhilanthropy (now known as The Giving Store), a nonprofit search engine for donors. The project involved coaching nonprofit executives through a complex organizational profile, evaluating audits and 990s, and troubleshooting technology. Analyzing collected data led the Foundation to identify strategies for increasing the institutional capacity of nonprofits in central Ohio.

In 2006, upon the birth of his son, Scott became a stay-at-home father. Seeking an opportunity to volunteer, he joined the board of the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus, where he led the redesign of the League’s website in time for the 2008 election; he continues to volunteer his time for the League.

In October 2010, he returned to work part-time as coordinator of Advocates for Ohio’s Future, a statewide coalition of health, human service, and early care & education programs, including PCSAO. The coalition’s advocacy efforts, grassroots mobilization, and media outreach resulted in increased funding in the FY2012-13 state budget to support long-term care for seniors, behavioral health, emergency food, home visiting, child welfare, and other programs for vulnerable Ohioans.

Born and raised in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Scott is a 1993 graduate of Drew University in New Jersey.

Mary D. Wachtel, MSW

Director of Public Policy

Mary Wachtel is PCSAO’s legislative director. Prior to joining PCSAO in August 2014, Mary was director of access and coverage policy at the Health Policy Institute of Ohio.

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Mary coordinated HPIO’s legislative outreach and worked with multiple stakeholders to lead the organization’s work to assure Ohioans have timely access to comprehensive, integrated and appropriate health services.

Prior to that, Mary was director of health policy for Voices for Ohio’s Children, advocating on behalf of child and family health issues with state legislative and agency officials. She also has served as health advocate for Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio and as director of policy and programs at the Association of Junior Leagues International.

A native of Ohio, Mary holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Akron and a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. She also holds a certificate in theological studies from The School of Theology at Sewanee (Episcopal).

Jeed Jitprasert, MBA

Director of Operations

Jeed Jitprasert has been with PCSAO since 2001. As the director of operations, she manages the daily business of the office and organization. She handles finance and grant reporting.

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She has a wealth of experience in project and event planning. She leads and coordinates PCSAO’s annual conference. She also manages the organization’s websites.

Jeed has a master’s degree in international business from the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok and a bachelor’s degree in English and Japanese from Phranakhon Si Ayutthaya Rajabhat University in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

William M. Murray, M.Ed.

Director of Ohio Reach

William M. Murray, IV, serves as state coordinator of Ohio Reach. Before coming to PCSAO, he spent three years as Coordinator of Student Life and Development at Central State University.

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As the Ohio Reach Coordinator, William works to address the recruitment and retention of emancipated foster youth in Ohio’s higher education system.

William is a native of Columbus. He earned both his Bachelor of Science in education and Master of Education from Central State University. William’s previous experience in student retention, program design, and overall student development has been a great asset to Ohio Reach.

Fawn Gadel, JD

Director of Ohio START

Fawn Gadel joined PCSAO’s staff as director of Ohio START in July 2017.

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Fawn previously served as associate director and clinical supervisor of the Family and Youth Law Center at Capital University.

Fawn received her bachelor’s degree in marketing magna cum laude from Xavier University and her Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School cum laude, concentrating in children and family law. Outside of work, Fawn loves to spend time with her husband and two children. She is an avid Xavier University basketball and St. Louis Cardinals fan.

Bhumika Patel, MA

Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator

Bhumika Patel joined PCSAO in March 2018 to serve as Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator. In this grant-funded role, she serves as a training and technical assistance resource for those working with trafficked children involved in child welfare and juvenile justice.

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Prior to joining PCSAO, Bhumika served as Regional Coalition Specialist in the Anti-Human Trafficking Program at The Salvation Army of Greater Cincinnati. At The Salvation Army, she facilitated training, awareness, and coalition-building activities in Southwest Ohio. Before joining The Salvation Army, Bhumika first learned about human trafficking as a Human Trafficking Education Specialist through the AmeriCorps Prevention and Awareness of Trafficking in Persons (PATH) grant program managed by the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services.

Bhumika attained her Master of Arts in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Cincinnati in 2014; she received her Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Agnes Scott College in 2012. She is a first-generation immigrant, born in India, raised in Georgia.

Kelsey Fobean

AmeriCorps*VISTA

Originally from Akron, Kelsey Fobean is a recent graduate of Wittenberg University with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. Arriving at PCSAO in July 2018, Kelsey serves as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member with the Ohio START program.

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After her year of service, Kelsey hopes to pursue a PhD in neuroscience focusing on the effects of addiction on the human brain and behavior.

In her free time, Kelsey likes to spend time with friends or relaxing at home with her cat.

Anthony DeWitt

Intern

Anthony DeWitt joined PCSAO as an intern in August 2018.

He is currently pursuing his bachelor’s in Social Work at The Ohio State University. After briefly volunteering at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Anthony had acquired a growing interest in policy and advocacy within social work. In the immediate future Anthony plans on going to graduate school with a focus in social work or public health.

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Though originally from Delphos, Anthony has been living in Columbus for over 5 years. On his free time he enjoys listening to records, playing guitar, and traveling to New York City.

Mary Imre

Intern

Mary Imre joined PCSAO as an intern in August 2018.

After graduating from The Ohio State University with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2017, Mary decided to continue her education by pursuing dual masters degrees in social work and public affairs. Mary’s courses have allowed her to gain insight into how public policy affects social services and wellbeing of individuals.

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Mary actively volunteers with SON Ministries, where she is able to spend time and form positive relationships with some of the children in her community. In her free time Mary loves watching Ohio State and Cleveland sports, reading, and cooking.