Alumni Testimonials & Bios


Mackenzie is a recent graduate from The Ohio State University, with a Bachelors of Science in Public Health and a specialization in Sociology. She will be completing health-focused ICOs for refugees and hopes to empower refugees to utilize primary care and preventative health care to live longer, healthier lives. Mackenzie will return to Ohio State after her AmeriCorps year of service to obtain a dual Masters in Public Health and Social Work, before continuing her work with refugees. In her free time, she enjoys a cappella music, Ohio State football, and petting dogs she passes on the street.


Dureti is a recent graduate from Michigan State University, with Interdisciplinary Studies major concentrating in Health, Society, and a minor in Anthropology. She has a lot of excellent cross-cultural experience due to her background and interests. She is interested to learn more about different cultures around the world. She is also very interested to learn about how different cultures look at health issues and illnesses. Originally from Oromia region of Ethiopia, being Oromo is one of the things Dureti values very much along with being Muslim.


My name is Birendra. I am the Refugee AmeriCorps Housing Orientation Coordinator with CWS. I worked in Nepal as the Assistant Vocational Training Coordinator and Assistant Youth Friendly Center Coordinator for Caritas Nepal. Working for refugees and immigrants has always been my passion, and AmeriCorps gave me a right platform to work on my interests. The experience as an AmeriCorps member is so much holistic that the growth I have seen in myself over the months is not only fulfilling but realistic too. I have been able to receive various trainings and I look forward to growing more in my understanding of my life and career as I fulfill my responsibilities as a Refugee AmeriCorps Housing Coordinator.


My name is Jeremy, and I have just started my year of service with AmeriCorps.  I have an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Millersville University.  I have always wanted to do something that is worth getting out of bed in the morning. Working for a corporation or company and striving to increase their profits did not seem very worth it. That is why I applied to AmeriCorps as my first professional job out of college. It will give me the professional experience I need to succeed in the future while doing something worthwhile. The next summer I came back to volunteer.  I did the same this past summer.  It was then that I learned about the AmeriCorps position.


Francesca is a graduate from St. Olaf College, where she studied Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology. Francesca is passionate about helping newly arrived refugees learn more about their community and attain self-sufficiency. As an Intensive Community Orientation AmeriCorps Member, Francesca develops Intensive Cultural Orientation curriculum, expands supportive volunteer and community relationships, and utilizes interactive and experiential teaching methodologies. Prior to her new role as an Intensive Community Orientation AmeriCorps Member, Francesca worked for Minnesota Council of Churches as an Employment Services Intern, where she helped refugees enter the workforce and achieve upward mobility. Francesca is well-versed in the needs of her community through her work and internships. Her research has focused on finding new ways to implement necessary and lasting change for vulnerable communities through policy change and advocacy.


Cassidy graduated from the University of South Florida, where she majored in international studies and communication with a concentration in public advocacy. She has always had an interest in directly serving her community and learning about other cultures and ways of life. During Cassidy’s service, she would like to learn more about the refugee community and help make the integration process easier for all refugees. Above all, she would like to create lasting community partnerships that enable the community to grow together.

Name: Not Provided

It is our differences that make us strong. Diversity is too often seen as a weakness, and not as the strength and continual learning opportunity that it is. Hi, I am a member of the Refugee AmeriCorps Program! I am a recent graduate from Calvin College. I grew up being a little different from everyone around me. While some disliked my difference, others saw it as a something beautiful and some even called it a gift. I studied International Relations with the hope of being able to help improve policy in the US, so that more are able to go to school here, and so that more can enjoy the sanctuary and safety of the United States in comparison to their home countries. I chose to work in the Refugee AmeriCorps Initiative because the position offers experience in a world that I have always found to be very interesting, and that I have always wanted to learn more about. I am very excited to be serving this year, and look forward to seeing how I grow and change with the new experiences.


Jessica was born in California and has lived between Egypt and the US for the past 10 years. She graduated from Denison University in 2015 with a BA in Political Science. During her time at Denison, she worked as an Arabic Teaching Assistant and developed a passion for social justice, women’s rights and international development. She joined the Refugee AmeriCorps Initiative June 1st. A first generation American, she is excited about serving and making a positive and sustainable impact.


Paige is the Intensive Community Orientation AmeriCorps Member at her site, where she has been actively working and volunteering at since September 2015. Paige holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arabic, and it was a study abroad trip to Jordan in 2015 where she discovered a passion for working with refugees. In her spare time, Paige likes to cook, attend Washington Nationals games when she can, and hang out with her cats Paisley and Poe.