Jessica Marks founded the. She has given many thousands of people the tools to build new lives.
Jessica Marks launched the Refugee Center Online in 2013. She built this incredible resource originally with volunteers—without any paid staff, and with no pay for herself. Today the number of programs, site visitors, and staff are growing. More than 10,000 people were enrolled in citizenship and GED classes on our site in 2018. Almost half a million people have looked at more than 2 million RCO pages.
Jessica saw her first-ever cellphone in the hands of a refugee when she was a school counselor on the Thai-Burma border. She realized the role and importance of technology in the lives of refugees and other migrants. She saw a need—and an opportunity. Jessica is passionate about building systems that support newcomer self-efficacy. She believes technology can play a vital role in the longer-term integration of refugees, immigrants and migrants into all communities.
Before founding the RCO, Jessica had extensive experience working with refugees around the world, including serving as the programs manager for the African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation (AIRF) in the nation’s capital, teaching social studies, and working with refugees from Tibet and Bhutan. Jessica’s expertise lies in refugee religious practices, religious intolerance in the United States, and rural refugee resettlement. She has a Masters in Public Administration.
What refugees and immigrants say about Jessica Marks
I have never seen anyone with —Tej Mishra, refugee from Bhutan
- Thank you for creating something amazing and incredible. You have made me feel like I belong — Mohy Omer, refugee from Sudan
- The RCO website is unique from other refugee serving websites I've visited. It offers multilingual resources and the information it provides is practical — Newcomer, North Carolina
- I want to thank you for your excellent work—because of life difficulties I could not graduate from high school but I am following your GED studies and I am very happy and enjoying every lesson — Prospective college student, New York
- The RCO website was helpful to anyone looking for answers to a lot of questions about being an immigrant — RCO Facebook page follower
- I recall the first time I was introduced to Jessica. We organized two Know Your Rights webinars, and Jessica offered to support with multiple language interpretations, which was awesome and very helpful! I really enjoyed working with Jessica — Adamou Mohamed, Church World Service
- Jessica is such an amazing person ... She is a great heart that is more dedicated in helping people more specially immigrants, refugees and the greater folks as well — Hassan Y. Mohamud, refugee
- Behind every successful woman, there is a tribe of successful women. Jessica, you are one of the top women who have influenced me to be where I am today — Basma Alawee, refugee from Iraq
- I am very happy to get access to resources like the Refugee Center to help me study for my GED — Fathiah Ainte, RCO GED student