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”

(423) 954-1911

Angel Daugherty, Senior Case Manager/TOR Liaison

Angel Daugherty is our Tennessee Office for Refugees Liaison/Senior Case Manager. She is responsible for enrolling clients into appropriate TOR funded programs, managing cash and medical assistance eligibility, and timely reporting for all programs.  TOR provides state administered refugee resettlement programs 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.

(423) 355-5969

Jennifer Croxall, Case Manager/School Liaison

Jennifer Croxall 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.

(423) 355-5969

Bonnie Boley, Case Manager

Bonnie Boley is passionate about welcoming newcomers to Chattanooga and connecting with other cultures. She graduated from Pellissippi State Community College with an Associate of Science in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Middle Tennessee State University. Before joining Bridge in 2019, Bonnie worked for a U.S. Member of Congress as a caseworker and event coordinator. Her responsibilities include overseeing setting up apartments, meeting families at the airport, connecting refugees with language and social services and ensuring they receive extensive cultural orientation. She also supports refugee families through the Matching Grant Early Employment Program with the goal of refugees becoming financially independent within 4-6 months of arrival.

(423) 954-9288

Samantha Lecksell, Case Manager

Samantha Lecksell is passionate about ensuring that New Americans have access to the resources they need to thrive in their new communities. She graduated from Covenant College with a Bachelors of Arts in Community Development. Before Bridge she worked in one of Atlanta’s non-profit organizations assisting refugees as a Family liaison and Volunteer and Student support coordinator. She is eager to continue working with refugee population here in Chattanooga promoting their integration, self-reliance and supporting their advancement. When she’s not working Sam loves reading, hiking, and running.

(423) 954-9288

Nate Hiltibran, Volunteer & Co-Sponsorship Manager

Nate Hiltibran joined the team at Bridge Refugee Services as an Americorps member in June of 2020, after that year he stayed with Bridge as the Volunteer & Co-Sponsorship Manager. He grew up in Budapest, Hungary, and recently graduated from Wheaton College with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a minor in Urban Studies.

(423) 713-9477

Kelsey Brown, Office Coordinator and Program Specialist

Kelsey Brown joined us in March 2021 as our Office Coordinator and Program Specialist. Starting at a young age she volunteered with a housing nonprofit organization, called Mission Discovery. Serving at orphanages in South Africa and Mexico was just one of the many amazing opportunities MD gave. Since then, she has been passionate about nonprofit work. She graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a Bachelor of Political Science in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management. Before Bridge she worked at the Alzheimer’s Association in Chattanooga, TN as their Office and Volunteer Coordinator and has volunteer experience with the Hunter Museum, Girls Inc., Girls on the Run, and several other organizations. In her free time she enjoys putting on a Louis Armstrong vinyl, making a latte, and playing with her two puppies, Ginger and Nooga.

Sarah Copeland, Youth Mentoring Program Coordinator
– AmeriCorps VISTA

 Sarah Copeland joined Bridge in August 2021 as their AmeriCorps representative, coordinating the Youth Mentoring Program. After hosting exchange students throughout her childhood and being exposed to displacement living in Turkey and Spain during two of her summers breaks, her desire to learn about people and serve people from different countries grew. She graduated from Covenant College with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, with a focus on migration, and is eager to learn more through Bridge and the people it serves. In her free time, Sarah enjoys baking bread and being outside.