MCC Staff

Adkins, Jason head shot

Jason Adkins, Esq., Executive Director

Jason Adkins has served as the executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference since March 2011. Prior to his advocacy work for the Church, Jason was an attorney at the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm. Jason has clerked for both state and federal appellate judges, and received his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he has served as an adjunct professor.

Jason teaches at the St. Paul Seminary and writes a regular column that appears in diocesan newspapers around Minnesota. His writing has also appeared in numerous secular publications and journals, and he is a frequent guest on the radio and TV. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), and resides in St. Paul, Minnesota with his family.

Jessica Zittlow, Associate Director for Communications

Jessica has worked in international and boutique public relation agencies in Chicago, Illinois and St. Paul, Minnesota. She has more than 15 years of experience helping execute and manage communications projects for organizations in the consumer brand, B2B, and real estate industries, and non-profit sector.

Jessica holds degrees in Public Relations and French from Marquette University and a graduate degree in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas. She  resides in St. Paul, Minnesota after working as a volunteer English tutor in Rwanda, Africa and studying in Rome, where she interned for the Holy See’s Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace.

Shawn Peterson, Associate Director for Public Policy

Shawn joined the Minnesota Catholic Conference in 2014 as Public Policy Director. Before coming to the MCC, he was president of his own government relations firm specializing in school choice and reform issues. Prior to client lobbying work, he spent seventeen years in state government serving in the administrations of Governors Tim Pawlenty and Mark Dayton, and as a senior staffer in the Minnesota Legislature.

Shawn holds a degree from Hamline University in International Relations and Russian Area Studies. He resides in Stillwater, Minnesota with his wife and three children.

Kathryn Mollen, Policy and Outreach Coordinator

Kathryn joined the Minnesota Catholic Conference in 2013 as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator after graduating from the University of St. Thomas Law School. She also holds a Master’s degree in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas.

This past year, Kathryn interned at the Holy See Mission for the United Nations on the Legal Committee and traveled back to the United Nations to participate with the Holy See at the Commission on Population Development. Prior to law school, she worked in the nonprofit sector with at-risk youth both nationally and internationally.

Mary Jane O’Brien, Business Manager and Resource Coordinator

Originally from Southern California, Mary Jane has worked for several Catholic organizations, including Catholic Answers and Thomas Aquinas College (California). She holds a Business degree from the University of California, Riverside, and a Liberal Arts degree from Thomas Aquinas College. Mary Jane currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is pursuing a graduate degree in Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas.