Knoxville: (865) 540-1311
| Chattanooga: (423) 954-1911
Knoxville: (865) 540-1311 Chattanooga: (423) 954-1911

Knoxville Office Staff

Knoxville Office Staff

Drocella Mugorewera, Executive Director
Drocella Mugorewera serves as the Executive Director of Bridge Refugee Services Inc., but her first encounter with Bridge was when she first arrived in the U.S. in 2009 as a refugee. This firsthand experience has given her a unique and valuable perspective for her current role. Drocella believes in embracing change as part of her leadership style however, she also seeks ways to help the community embrace and recognize the social, cultural and economic values new Americans are bringing to our nation. Drocella Mugorewera was also elected as the Delegate from Tennessee to the Refugee Congress in September 2016.

In 2014, Drocella was part of the Knox County Action Committee community leadership class. Before joining Bridge Refugee Services, she served as a Multicultural Outreach Coordinator at Cherokee Health Systems in Knoxville for more than four years where she helped refugees access healthcare and interpretation services. These experiences have contributed to Drocella’s strong background in network building and community empowerment.

Drocella graduated from National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine in 1991. She has over 15 years of experience in managing government and non-government programs in the United States and Africa and speaks English, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, French and Russian. Drocella is passionate about helping refugees integrate into the community by working with community members, volunteers, and others to make our cities and neighborhoods welcoming places.

(865) 540-1311 ext. 106

Katie Willocks, Program Manager

Katie Willocks has been a case manager at Bridge Refugee Services since October 2015 and before that worked as the administrative assistant from February 2015.  Katie is a lifelong Knoxville resident, wife and mother of two, Isabella and Ian. Katie previously worked with Centro Hispano de East Tennessee, teaching English to adults. Katie has B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Africana Studies from the University of Tennessee, and also speaks Spanish. As a person of Latin descent, minority populations have always been near and dear to her heart, and she very much enjoys working with the diverse population that Bridge Refugees serves.

(865) 540-1311, ext. 101

Kelly Hollingsworth, Financial Manager

Kelly has lived in Knoxville with her husband and four kids for the past 9 years.  She comes to Bridge with over 25 years’ experience in public, private and nonprofit accounting – gaining most of her experience outside the Knoxville area working for companies including Tennessee Donor Services in Nashville and Deloitte in San Francisco.  She graduated with honors from California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo, CA with a degree in Business and holds a Certified Public Accounting License.   Growing up with adopted brothers and sisters from Vietnam, Kelly has seen the value of freedom and diversity first hand and is excited about the opportunity to be a part of bringing that kind of life to others.

(865) 540-1311, ext. 104

Larisa Brass, Director of development and Community Outreach
 joined Bridge in 2019 and has lived in the Knoxville area for the past 20 years. She comes with experience in non-profit community work—leading and fundraising for community health initiatives in neighboring Loudon County—and in journalism and communications, working as a business reporter for the Knoxville News Sentinel and in media relations and marketing for, among others, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Provision Healthcare. She has served on the boards of the Loudon County Health Improvement Council, and as chair in 2017, the Kirabo Foundation and WUOT. She has a master’s degree in public health from Loma Linda University and a bachelor’s in journalism and broadcasting from Southern Adventist University.

(865) 540-1311, ext. 114

Ashlyn Henke, Assistant Program Manager

Ashlyn joined the Bridge team as the Assistant Program Manager in 2020. She graduated with a B.A. in Intercultural Studies from Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, IL. She and her husband Kory are Midwest natives but decided to make Knoxville their home after Ashlyn gained experience in local and global church engagement and volunteer culture development in Arizona. She has always had a desire to stand with her global “neighbors,” traveling several times to Haiti and having the opportunity to live and study in New Zealand in 2015. She is honored to help Bridge warmly welcome and empower refugees finding their way in East Tennessee.


Summer Awad, Preferred Communities Case Manager

Summer Awad is a Knoxville native of Palestinian descent. She graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2016 with a personalized degree in Literary Activism. As an undergraduate, Summer was a Haslam Scholar, College Scholar, and co-chair of Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee (SEAT). Summer’s original play, WALLS: A Play for Palestine, premiered at the Clarence Brown LAB Theatre in 2016 and has since been performed at The 2016 New York International Fringe Festival and at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn. Summer is actively involved in the spoken word poetry scene in Knoxville under the stage name “Uncensored.” She started with Bridge in May 2017, serving as the Intensive Case Manager and overseeing the Elders and Health Promotion Programs. As the daughter of an immigrant, Summer is proud to welcome newcomers to her hometown and assist them in accessing vital services.

(865) 540-1311 ext. 112


Kent Southworth, Eligibility Caseworker/TOR Liaison
Kent Southworth is Bridge Refugee Services’ Eligibility Caseworker, handling the Refugee Cash Assistance and Refugee Medical Assistance programs. He has been with Bridge since 2006, working first as a case manager and interpreter before leaving for graduate school. Kent returned to Bridge in 2009 and has been working here ever since. Born and raised in Knoxville, he got his BA in Russian and linguistics from the University of Tennessee and his MA in Russian and second language acquisition from Bryn Mawr College.

(865) 540-1311, ext. 103

Amanda Parker, School Liaison & Housing Specialist

 Amanda first joined the team at Bridge by serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in 2019, where she supported capacity building efforts and launched a refugee community garden program. In the spring of 2020, she gladly took on the role of School Liaison & Housing Specialist. She graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in Sociology and Human Services from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. Prior to Bridge, she worked with youth and families as a case worker and program coordinator at several non-profit organizations. She is incredibly honored to be part of the Bridge team in welcoming, supporting, and learning from refugees in the Knoxville area.

(865) 540-1311 ext. 105

Libby Nyquist, Case Manager

Libby is a Vermont native who joined Bridge as a Case Manager in 2020. She graduated from Eastern Nazarene College with Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work and History. As an undergraduate, she spent two summers in Kenya and Rwanda working with local non-profits and other organizations. She has a long-time passion for refugees and is excited to enter this role in which she can help welcome, support, and empower this community.

(865) 540-1311, ext. 109


Karen Ferraz, Case Manager

Karen (she/her/hers) is a Brazilian immigrant who first joined Bridge Refugee Services as an intern in 2019 and is working as a Case Manager since 2020. She received her Bachelor of Psychology from the Federal University of Espirito Santo in Vitoria, Brazil in 2016, and her Master in Social and Cultural Psychology from the University of Oslo, Norway in 2020, with an emphasis on Global Mobility. She is passionate about multiculturality, LGBTQIA+ populations and intersectionality. She is very excited to be introduced to the Knoxville community through Bridge and honored for the opportunity to serve the amazing and diverse community of refugees that the organization helps resettle in East Tennessee.

(865) 540-1311, ext. 102


Matthew Turvin, Employment Specialist

Matthew has been living in East Tennessee for 20 years after moving from New England.  He comes to Bridge with a background in non-profit and faith based ministries. After graduating from Lee University in 2014, Matthew and his wife Kristen, spent a year overseas partnering with non-profits in 13 countries. While in Greece, Matthew served refugees in a UNHCR transition site on the island of Lesvos. Matthew now lives in Knoxville with his wife and one year old daughter, Ellianna. As the Employment Specialist at Bridge, Matthew is excited to help empower refugees as they settle into their new home in East Tennessee.
(865) 540-1311, ext. 107

Rehema Mukeshimana,  Interpreter and Community Liaison

Rehema Mukeshimana is a Congolese refugee who grew up in Uganda and came to the US in 2016. Rehema and her family were resettled in Tallahassee, Florida, and then moved to Knoxville after one and a half years there. Rehema speaks 8 languages, some of which she learned in school and others by associating with different people in the refugee camp. Rehema began interpreting for Bridge in August of 2018 and has become such a valuable member of the team.

(865) 540-1311, ext. 115

Emily Carson,  AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator

Emily is serving as the Americorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator from August 2020 to August 2021. While most recently from Lakeland, Florida, she has been lucky enough to live in many different countries around the world, including China, France and Australia. These opportunities have allowed her to meet people from many diverse backgrounds, and to gain a better understanding of the issues which affect people globally. She graduated in 2019 from the University of Edinburgh with an MSc in International Development, and is extremely excited to help strengthen the relationships between Bridge’s clients and the local community!

(865) 540-1311, ext. 113

Michaela Moulaison, AmeriCorps Community Garden & Cultural Orientation Coordinator

Michaela is serving as a CAC AmeriCorps member with Bridge Refugee Services for the 2020-2021 service year. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Planning and Policy from University of Southern Maine in 2018, and she also received her Master of Science degree in Urban Planning and Community Development from University of Massachusetts Boston in 2020. She is passionate about environmental equity and social justice, and she is incredibly honored to be a part of Bridge working with and learning from refugees resettling in Knoxville.

(865) 540-1311, ext. 111