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. 6
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. 2
Liz Parmalee, Volunteer Manager
Liz Parmalee was born and raised on Long Island. She recieved a B.A. in Anthropology with a focus on Archeology from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton. Liz moved to Knoxville in 1986. She has experience as an Archeologist, a Special Education Teaching Assistant for Knox County Schools, and currently, as an Americorps Volunteer. As an Americorps Volunteer, Liz has been assigned to be the Volunteer Manager for Bridge Refugee Services, Inc.
(865) 540-1311, ext. 0
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. 7
Katie Willocks, 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 an education background in Africana Studies and Spanish Language and Culture. 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. 1
Savanna Norrod, Senior Case Manager
Savanna Norrod is an East Tennessee native with a B.A. in International Studies and German from Centre College. She began working in the resettlement field as an intern at Kentucky Refugee Ministries and was eventually hired there as a case manager. In 2015, she returned home to begin working at Bridge Refugee Services.
(865) 540-1311, ext. 5
Ed Way, Financial Manager
Ed Way is a first-year “baby boomer” (born in 1946) with over 40 years of accounting experience as a Tennessee Certified Public Accountant in the public, private, governmental and not for profit sectors of Knoxville’s business community. He has served as Bridge’s Financial Manager since May 2008 and thoroughly enjoys participating in Bridge’s refugee resettlement activities. Ed and wife,Gail, have been blessed with three sons and eight grandchildren.
(865) 540-1311, ext. 4
Ashley Jones, School Liason/Health Advocate
Ashley Jones grew up in the Middle East, the child of international workers involved in humanitarian relief, translation, and development of academic materials. After graduating high school in the Middle East, Ashley Jones moved to Tennessee and attended Lee University in Cleveland, TN. Ashley studied English: Writing, and spent several semesters studying abroad. Ashley then began her MS degree at Lee University in Holistic Child Development, which is designed to educate and prepare its students for non-profit development and community programming, provide understanding of childhood development and the copious factors that influence it, as well as fundraising.
Before Bridge Refugee Services, Ashley worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Ocoee Region working with children, and with their fundraising and resource development team as the Grants Manager. She then joined Bridge Refugee Services in February 2016 as the School Liaison. Ashley also works as the Health Advocate with our HPP program, providing health orientations and case management.
865-540-1311 ext. 9
Kent Southworth, Wilson-Fish Program Coordinator/Eligibility Caseworker
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. 3