Penn announced the new director of Penn Violence Prevention on Thursday, filling a nearly year-long vacancy.
Elise Scioscia will head PVP beginning Dec. 7, according to a University press release. Scioscia previously served for 11 years as the chief of staff for Women Against Abuse, a Pennsylvania resource for people experiencing domestic violence. Scioscia will be PVP’s third director since 2019.
PVP is Penn’s primary resource for students experiencing interpersonal violence, including sexual violence, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual harassment. In January, Malik Washington stepped down as PVP’s director after leading the center for two years. During his tenure, Washington oversaw the expansion of the Penn Anti-Violence Educator Program. Associate Vice Provost for University Life Sharon Smith and PVP's Associate Director Reema Malhotra have led PVP since January 2022.
Washington’s departure sparked a nationwide search for a new director. VPUL's Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives Michael Elias wrote in an emailed statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian in February that the new PVP director would oversee the development of a strategic vision for PVP.
“I am honored to be joining the Penn Violence Prevention team! Especially at a time when we are looking ahead to what university life looks like post-pandemic and as more members of our community return to campus – it is more critical than ever to promote safety and support in our environment,” Scioscia wrote in the press release.
At Women Against Abuse, Scioscia worked on the project Shared Safety: Philadelphia's Response to Relational Violence. That initiative was awarded the 2017 Barry and Marie Lipman Family Prize from Penn, which recognizes leadership and innovation in addressing social issues.
Scioscia graduated with undergraduate and master’s degrees from Villanova University. According to the press release, in addition to working as chief of staff at Women Against Abuse, Scioscia also served on the Racial Equity Audit Task Force, addressing racism and bias within the organization.
"I am very excited to welcome Elise to our team. I look forward to working with her and the Penn community to continue building on the work our talented PVP staff have done through the years," Smith wrote in a statement sent to the DP. "I would also like to thank the advisory team, the many staff, and students who participated in the search process."