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

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
dmugorewera@bridgerefugees.org


Katie Weber, Program Manager
Katie is a Nebraska native who moved to Knoxville in 2010. She has been working at Bridge Refugee Services since 2011 in various roles from community outreach coordinator to caseworker. Katie has a Bachelor degree in Secondary Education with a Social Studies endorsement from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before working at Bridge Refugee Services, Katie served as an AmeriCorps member at Lincoln Literacy Council in Lincoln, Nebraska and taught ESL to adult students in Knoxville. In her current role, Katie oversees the grants that fund Bridge programming and supervises the staff. She loves to help welcome new refugees to Knoxville as a Bridge staff member.

(865) 540-1311, ext. 102
koneal@bridgerefugees.org


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
khollingsworth@bridgerefugees.org


Larisa Brass, Development and Community Outreach
Larisa
 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 a master’s degree in public health from Loma Linda University and a bachelor’s in journalism and broadcasting from Southern Adventist University. With personal connections to Africa and the local immigrant community, Larisa is passionate to serve—and provide others the opportunity of serving—refugee families in Knoxville.

(865) 540-1311, ext. 114
lbrass@bridgerefugees.org


Charissa Rivera, Employment Specialist
Charissa serves as our Employment Specialist. She also teaches a beginners English language learners class and volunteers with Knoxville Internationals Network (KIN). Her degree is in Communications with a concentration in Broadcast Production. After working at Conner Prairie interactive history park in Indiana, she moved to the East TN area in 2010 as the Chief Pilot for a Helium balloon, she then became a manager and later a director at WonderWorks indoor amusement park. Feeling called to serve internationals and minorities, she volunteered with Bridge Refugee Services until becoming a staff member in 2016.

(865) 540-1311, ext. 107
employment@bridgerefugees.org


Katie Willocks, Preferred Communities Case 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
kwillocks@bridgerefugees.org


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
kent@bridgerefugees.org


Summer Awad, 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
sawad@bridgerefugees.org


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
aparker@bridgerefugees.org


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
lnyquist@bridgerefugees.org


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
rmukeshimana@bridgerefugees.org


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
volunteerknox@bridgerefugees.org


Steve Winfree,  AmeriCorps VISTA Refugee Youth Mentor Program Coordinator

Steve is a 2007 graduate from the University of Tennessee in Sport Management with a Masters in Sport Business. He has worked in the sports industry for Disney’s Wide World of Sports, the NBA’s Orlando Magic, the Tennessee Smokies, and the University of Tennessee Athletics Department. After receiving a life-saving kidney transplant in 2017 and becoming a foster parent, his passions for a career quickly changed to wanting to help children and youth in whatever capacity possible. He is extremely blessed and honored to be working with Bridge Refugee Services! Steve is married to Heather who is also his kidney donor.

(865) 540-1311
youthmentor@bridgerefugees.org

 


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
culturalorientation@bridgerefugees.org