In monthly sessions held at the Catholic Information Center, Leonine Fellows are led in discussion by Catholic thought leaders from around the country to grapple with some of the most important questions at the intersection of faith and public life.



In monthly sessions held at the Catholic Information Center, Leonine Fellows are led in discussion by Catholic thought leaders from around the country to grapple with some of the most important questions at the intersection of faith and public life.

Join over 650+ Leonine Fellows across the country 

Become part of a larger community of leaders committed to integrating the teachings of the Church within their professional and civic lives.

Applications for the 2022-2023 Leonine Forum cohort are now closed.

2021-2022 WASHINGTON


Omeed Assefi
Department of Justice

Omeed currently serves in the Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Previously, he worked in the Department’s Civil Rights Division and Associate Attorney General’s Office as well as the Office of White House Counsel. Omeed was baptized in 2014 at St. Luke’s Church in McLean, Virginia. He is an avid squash and tennis player who aspires to learn golf.
David Bathon
American Principles Project & American Principles Project Foundation

David is the Director of Operations for the American Principles Project, the premiere political organization for families in the United States. Prior to his current role, he served as a Senior Advisor for Operations at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. A proud graduate of Ave Maria University in Florida, David began his career in the Pro-Life movement. In his free time he enjoys reading, crafting cocktails, and entertaining friends.
Suzanne Beecher
Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights

Suzanne Beecher is a Civil Rights Analyst at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, where her work focuses on protecting conscience rights and addressing religious discrimination. Prior to joining HHS, Suzanne served as associate counsel at First Liberty Institute, a religious freedom non-profit law firm. Suzanne is originally from Chicago. She attended the University of Notre Dame for law school and received her undergraduate degree in Economics from Baylor University. In her free time, Suzanne enjoys experimenting with different ways of making coffee, running along the Potomac, and trying to finish Russian novels.
Mercedes Bendeck
The Heritage Foundation

Mercedes was born and raised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and moved to Washington DC to pursue her career in hospitality management. She is now the Senior Conference Services Manager for events at The Heritage Foundation. In this role, she oversees all in-house events hosted in Washington DC. Prior to joining Heritage, she gained extensive experience in hospitality management with InterContinental Hotels both in Washington DC and abroad, worked with Think Food Group Restaurants by José Andrés and also opened a family-owned Chocolate Shop in Maryland. Mercedes graduated from the George Washington University with a BBA in International Business and Hospitality Management and studied abroad in both France and Spain. She enjoys entertaining, cooking and traveling.
Evan Bruccoleri
Georgetown University

Evan Bruccoleri is a Captain in the U.S. Army and parishioner at Saint Louis Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Policy Management at Georgetown University as part of the Army’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Internship Program. He graduated from James Madison University in 2013. CPT Bruccoleri deployed to Garoua, Cameroon with 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He has also served with Stryker Brigade Combat Teams stationed in Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington and executed several training exercises in the Pacific area of responsibility. Evan currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and three children. He enjoys spending his time with his young children, coaching their soccer teams, reading, and training for triathlons.
Alison Cheperdak
United States Court of Federal Claims

Originally from Maine and Massachusetts, Alison M. Cheperdak graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Villanova University with a degree in Communication and a minor in Political Science. She then earned her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School. While in law school and later as an attorney, Alison has worked in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government as well as at a large Washington, D.C. law firm. Prior to law school, Alison was a television news journalist for an NBC affiliate in upstate New York. While a full-time college student, she also represented U.S. Figure Skating as an ice dancer at the highest national level. She and her husband, an entrepreneur in the real estate industry, live on Capitol Hill.
Jason Cheperdak
Shepherd Homes Group

Jason Cheperdak is the founder of the Shepherd Homes Group, a Washington, DC based business that helps individuals, families, and investors buy and sell residential real estate as well as build new homes across the DMV. Originally from Vancouver Island, Canada, Jason earned his Bachelors of Commerce with a Small Business Specialization from Royal Roads University. He first moved to the United States to train full-time with internationally renowned ice dance coaches. Jason and his partner earned the bronze medal at the Canadian National Championships at the junior level and represented their country at numerous international competitions. When he’s not working, Jason enjoys travel, golf, and great food.
Dominic Chiu
Albright Stonebridge Group

Dominic was born and raised in Hong Kong. He is an analyst at Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG), part of Dentons Global Advisors. He provides strategic advisory services to multinational companies and organizations with investment interests in foreign markets, specializing in East Asia. Prior to joining ASG, Dominic was a management consultant at Kaiser Associates and worked at various think tanks and trade associations in Washington D.C. He also held research positions at the World Bank and the Economist Intelligence Unit. Dominic has a M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in International Economics and China Studies and a B.A. from the University of Chicago in Economics and Philosophy.
Mike De Robbio
Olympic Media

Mike serves as the Executive Assistant to the CEO at Olympic Media, an Inc. 5000 company (No. 13 for 2021). From humble beginnings on the Jersey shore, Mike moved to Northern Virginia in 2011 with a passion for service where he has held key positions in Congress, Wall Street, and Main Street. Working to advance the causes and campaigns of the country's foremost changemakers, Mike's love for God and country serves as his catalyst. Mike graduated cum laude from Marymount University and holds a Bachelor of the Arts in Liberal Studies. When not at his desk or in a pew, he can be found behind his drum set, lost in a book, or wordsmithing another column. Mike lives in Arlington, VA with his feline overlord Katy.
Moira Delaney
Yuma Center

Moira Delaney is an alumna of Franciscan University of Steubenville and proud native of Green Bay, Wisconsin. As the Director of Advancement at Yuma Center in Washington DC, she enjoys her roll in fulfilling Yuma’s mission to inspire women to develop personally, professionally and spiritually, finding joy in their daily work and lives.
Natalie DeSanctis
Blackbriar Regulatory Services

As a scientific writer, Natalie analyzes and presents nonclinical toxicology research to assist in the regulatory documentation required for premarket applications to the FDA. She relocated to Arlington in 2021 after living in Galway, Ireland for 5 years, where she completed her PhD and MSc at NUI Galway. Her doctoral research focused on the impact of depression treatment during pregnancy on mothers and their offspring. Prior to her studies in Ireland, Natalie obtained her BS in neuroscience from Christopher Newport University. While born in Boston, she was raised in her family’s ancestral home of Rochester, NY before moving to Northern Virginia for high school. Natalie most enjoys traveling and exploring new places with her local and international friends. In her free time, she also enjoys practicing calligraphy, playing bocce, and boating.
Rohit Fonseca

Rohit Fonseca is a strategy consultant with Deloitte. Born in Minnesota but raised all over the US, he studied International Economics at the University of Notre Dame. Rohit is an active member of St. Charles Parish in Arlington and the Director of Prospective Students for the Notre Dame Club of Washington DC. Rohit enjoys discussing current events, sharing travel stories, and playing pick-up basketball.
Molly Franzonello
The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Chief Information Officer

Molly is a Solutions and Management Architect at the Office of Health and Human Services. She recently moved to this role after four years of working in healthcare service delivery for active duty military members and their families at DoD's Defense Health Agency. At HHS, Molly focuses on special programs such as the COVID-19 pandemic response, health equity & maternity mortality, and open data standardization. Molly is a freelance writer and has contributed to several Catholic online websites such as Catholic Women in Business. She holds a masters in Health Systems Management from George Mason University. When she isn't working, writing, and reading, Molly enjoys exploring the DC Metro area with her family & friends.
Abigail Galvan
Crimsonbridge Foundation

Abigail Galván is a Communications and Program Officer at the Crimsonbridge Foundation. As the communications officer, she leads the Foundation’s efforts to convey its work through written and visual content, marketing, and PR. As a program officer, she helps schools, parishes, and nonprofits increase their multilingual communications capacity. Before joining Crimsonbridge, Abigail served as Development Director of the Religious Freedom Institute, where she spearheaded their development strategy. Prior to that, she helped devise, finance, and launch the Bethlehem Museum for Heritage and Culture as the Special Programs Officer of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation. Abigail obtained her bachelor’s degree in International Politics with a concentration in International Law, Norms, and Institutions from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Abigail enjoys reading, outdoor excursions, spending time with friends, and volunteering in her spare time.
Douglas Gates

Douglas Gates is an attorney at WilmerHale, where he is a member of the National Security, Defense, and Government Contracts practice. He was law clerk to the Honorable Michael S. Kanne on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Honorable Carl J. Nichols on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, as well as counsel to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Before entering the legal practice, Douglas was a naval officer. He served in warships based in Japan, was flag aide to the Seventh Fleet Commander, and was a master instructor of political science at Annapolis. He holds degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Naval War College, the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service, and the University of Chicago Law School. He lives with his wife and three children in Hyattsville, Maryland.
Natalie Goodnow
Independent Women's Forum

Natalie Goodnow and her husband live in Northern Virginia, where her two young sons keep her busy with their shenanigans. She is passionate about policy issues affecting children and families and recently was a Visiting Fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum. Previously Natalie has worked as a policy advisor for the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services and a research fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. She earned her master’s degree in social and urban policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, which was a bit of a pivot from studying classics during her undergrad at Princeton University. She enjoys cooking, crossword puzzles, and adventures with her family.
Chris Gretchen

Chris is an Account Executive for Tableau Software, a subsidiary of Salesforce, Inc. and serves a multitude of the State & Local Governments and higher education institutions across the country. Prior to Tableau, Chris has worked for name brand companies such as Oracle and Bloomberg in the IT sector delivering software to the public sector. Born and raised in New Orleans, LA, Chris attended Jesuit High School and received his B.S. in International Business with a minor in Global Trade and Commerce from Wake Forest University. Chris is an avid musician and spends weekends playing across D.C. and Virginia with his local band as well as finding new places to hike and eat in the DMV and beyond. He is an active parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Arlington, VA.
Mark Guiney
The Heritage Foundation

Mark currently serves as Senior Multimedia Producer at The Heritage Foundation. Upon graduating from West Virginia University in 2013 with a degree in biology, he taught middle school science and theology in Martinsburg, WV for three years. He pivoted into the creative industry, where he founded freelance production agency Sounder & Key, serving businesses, ministries, and dioceses across the country. Both in work and play, he can usually be found messing around with a camera, trying to making friends, and telling stories that are hopefully funny. He is currently pursuing graduate studies in Communications at Johns Hopkins University.