Chattanooga Office Staff
Marina Peshterianu, Associate Director
Marina Peshterianu joined Bridge Refugee Services Chattanooga in 1999 transitioning from the career in education. Before joining Bridge, she taught in an inner-city magnet school focusing on environmental and global issues.
During her time at Bridge, Marina participated in resettlement of refugees from Vietnam, Bosnia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Liberia, Sudan, Burundi, Tanzania, Congo, Chad, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Cuba and Colombia and performed a variety of job responsibilities such as case-manager, job developer, Early Employment (MG) program coordinator, sub-office coordinator, and became Associate Director in 2014.
“I am honored to have an opportunity to help refugees from all over the world to make a transition into their new life in our community and reclaim their freedom and independence. Their achievements are an everyday affirmation of human capacity to survive, rise and step forward”
Valerie Brite, AmeriCorps Volunteer Manager
Valerie is an East Tennessee native. She grew up in the Knoxville area and then attended Lee University and graduated with a B.A. in History and Theology in May 2015. After graduating she served as an Episcopal Service Corps intern in Cambridge, MA until joining Bridge Refugee Services as the AmeriCorps Volunteer Manager in May 2016. She is excited about engaging community members and organizations to ensure that Chattanooga continues to be a welcoming city for refugees.
Alexandria Palacio, Case Manager
Alexandria has been a case manager at Bridge Refugee Services Chattanooga since July 2015. She attained her degree in International Global Studies concentrating in Latin America at the University of the South where she also minored in Women’s and Gender Studies.
Alexandria is responsible for receiving incoming refugees at the airport and helping them build their new life in Chattanooga, TN. She provides an array of services in the Resettlement and Placement program, early employment program, as well as several programs funded by the Tennessee Office for Refugees.
Ryan Miller, Case Manager
Ryan Miller has served as a Case Manager at Bridge Refugee Services – Chattanooga since October 2014. He received B.A.s in Arabic Language and Literature, Government, and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and studied Arabic at Alexandria University in Egypt. Before joining Bridge, Ryan was living in Amman, Jordan, where he conducted research on displaced populations within Syria in order to assist the International Rescue Committee’s relief efforts. Ryan works primarily with clients from Arabic-speaking countries, administering the provision of R&P services and managing cases enrolled in employment programs.
Jennifer Croxall, Pre-Arrival Speciliast/School Liaison
Jennifer has traveled extensively and has a passion for other cultures. She has been volunteering with Bridge Refugee Services in various capacities since 2000, when her church co-sponsored a refugee family. Jennifer became a Pre Arrival Specialist at Bridge in 2015. Her responsibilities include securing affordable housing for refugees, preparing apartments with community volunteers for newly arriving refugees, and providing them with housing orientation to assist them in their transition into their new home.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a B.S. in Psychology.
Angel Daugherty, Senior Case Manager/Wilson Fish Coordinator
Angel is our Wilson Fish Coordinator/Senior Case Manager. She is responsible for enrolling clients into appropriate Wilson/Fish funded programs, managing cash and medical assistance eligibility, and timely reporting for all programs to the Tennessee Office for Refugees.The Wilson-Fish (WF) program is a state administered refugee resettlement program providing assistance (cash and medical) and social services to refugees with the purpose of increasing refugee prospects for early employment and self-sufficiency. She is responsible for providing Health Literacy Training (general health, nutrition, mental health, and other special topics) to all newly arriving clients, as well as assisting case managers with medical case management for clients with ongoing or more serious health concerns. Angel works closely with program staff to provide ongoing support and/or training as needed.