Shelton Ingram has over 30 years of experience in the cleaning industry. He is a reliable and competent custodian who ensures that the Institute is in pristine condition every day for our community. He has built positive and long-lasting relationships with the Institute’s staff and all the people we serve.
Shelton believes that when we all do our part to improve the workplace, everyone enjoys greater overall success. He continues to serve in his current position by identifying and responding to the needs of the Institute regarding health and wellness.
Front Desk Receptionist
Rose is often the first person you’ll see at the Institute’s front desk, as she greets people with a smile and desire to help. Every day she makes the Institute a welcoming place for our community.
What motivates Rose is being able to welcome and interact with people from all over the world. As the first point of contact for anyone who comes to the Institute, she wants them to know and experience the warmth and friendliness of Minnesota.
Data and Evaluation Coordinator
As a child of refugees and a first-generation Hmong American, Cheng Lee feels at home at the Institute. She started at the Institute as an AmeriCorps member, helping Nursing Assistant students with employment services, and then as Financial Assistant, where she discovered her love for Microsoft Excel and databases.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” is the motto Cheng lives by and carries over into her role. The best part of her job is training and interacting with staff members. Outside of work, you can find Cheng taking long walks or working on personal projects through Microsoft Excel.
IT Manager and Executive Assistant
In her 20+ years in nonprofit administration, Kate Raleigh has built her career by seeking and addressing gaps that need filling and problems that need solutions. This pursuit led to her current position. Kate’s stellar communication skills, ability to figure out any problem placed in her way, and 10+ years at the Institute have established her as a “first point of contact” for staff questions on all things administrative and operational.
Always seeking to help wherever she can, Kate is motivated by the incredible work her colleagues do to support Minnesota’s New American community. Ensuring they can do their work efficiently and effectively is what brings her back to the Institute each day. On a personal note, Kate seeks to honor her grandparents who emigrated from Ireland to find opportunities in the U.S. They were inaugural members of the Shamrock Club, an Irish cultural organization that began in Milwaukee with help from the International Institute of Wisconsin (a connection Kate was delighted to discover!).
Rufo Jiru is a Health Educator and facilitator of Women’s Health workshops at the Institute. Her dedication to serving immigrant and refugee clients who share her language extends beyond mere assistance, as she strives to offer support, guidance and connection to vital resources.
Drawing from her personal experiences as a refugee, Rufo overcame language barriers and navigated the complexities of starting a new life in a foreign land, fueling her motivation to make a lasting impact in the lives of her Diaspora communities. With a unique perspective and profound empathy for the struggles endured by those she serves, Rufo’s connection to the Institute and its mission is deeply rooted in her own refugee experience. Her unwavering determination to overcome adversity and build a better life for herself and her family instills within her a passion for making a difference in the lives of others.
Preferred Communities APA Case Manager
Zamzam Hussein is a case manager for the Preferred Communities-Ukraine program. She started at the Institute as an immigration legal intern and has also previously worked as a Preferred Communities case manager for Afghan and Somali clients.
Her own experience as a refugee motivates her work at the Institute.
Matching Grant Employment Counselor
Mohamed Abdinur helps immigrants and refugees get early, entry-level employment opportunities to attain self-sufficiency as soon as possible. He facilitates a weekly, in-person job orientation class called Job Club to help refugees and immigrants understand American workplace culture, their rights and responsibilities, and above all, how to safely work in any workplace environment.
Mohamed has more than 20 years of experience working with immigrants, refugees, and non-profit organizations in different capacities. He studied Economics at Cairo University in Egypt and Leadership Studies at Augsburg University. He is fluent in English, Arabic and Somali, and speaks basic Spanish.
Matching Grant Employment Counselor
Reception and Placement Case Manager
Munir Mohammed is a dedicated and compassionate refugee case manager at the International Institute of Minnesota. With a heart committed to helping those in need, Munir plays a vital role in assisting refugees as they embark on their journey to rebuild their lives in the United States. Munir brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the team. His daily mission is to provide guidance, support, and resources to refugees, ensuring they have the best possible start in their new home. Munir’s work goes beyond paperwork and logistics; it’s about fostering a sense of belonging, advocating for the rights of refugees, and helping them navigate the complexities of a new culture. His empathy and dedication shine through as he works tirelessly to empower refugees, helping them overcome obstacles and achieve self-sufficiency.
When not at the office, you might find Munir volunteering in the community, further exemplifying his commitment to making the world a better place. As a valued member of the International Institute of Minnesota, Munir is a true advocate for refugees, embodying the organization’s mission of creating a welcoming and inclusive society for all.
Anti-Trafficking Case Manager
Arhyel Ngada is a trainer of trainers on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) case management with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Originally from Nigeria, he has experience in implementing and coordinating gender-based violence prevention and response programming in community and emergency settings.
He is currently a doctoral student in business administration researching the socio-economic impact of intimate partner violence and gender inequality.
Volunteer and Community Partnerships Manager
Hayat Mohamed has the exciting role of overseeing volunteer programs at the Institute. She spends a great deal of time connecting individuals and community members to opportunities where they can contribute to the lives of New Americans. This is what motivates her every day.
Hayat has a personal connection to the Institute’s work, having experienced the challenges and opportunities of immigration. Originally from Somalia, she is passionate about giving back to the community and helping others realize how much they can make a difference in volunteering. Through her role at the Institute, her foundational focus has always been relationship-building and forming meaningful connections.
Annual Giving Manager
Emily Kleinschmidt manages the Institute’s annual giving campaigns, fostering relationships with individual donors. Formerly a dance artist, she found her way to development while working in the arts sector.
Emily believes that the heartbeat of any nonprofit is in the programs and the subsequent effect they have on participants. This is what inspires her to support the Institute’s mission in her current role.
Online Evening English Instructor
Sarah Pradt teaches Advanced Pronunciation, a class for proficient speakers of English who want to be well understood at work, school and in the community. She loves working with students on the sounds of American English. Her class includes training in both speaking and listening for pronunciation.
Sarah developed “Be A Better Listener,” a workshop for native speakers on how to be more effective communicators with people whose first language is not English. She introduces monolingual English speakers to features used in English by speakers of Spanish, Hmong, Somali and other languages widely spoken in Minnesota.
Community Orientation Workshop Instructor and Program Support
Kaija Bergen has worked as an adult educator in the Twin Cities since 2013. At the Institute, she teaches Community Orientation Workshops for new arrivals in Minnesota. These workshops help people learn the systems of life in a new country, including navigating transportation, housing, finances and more.
She loves working with adult learners because they bring their knowledge, skillset and motivation to the classroom. She believes that all people have a right to learn, which is one reason why adult education is so invaluable.
Lead Employment Counselor
Faith Loggers-Jamnik works with Nursing Assistant students, helping them one-on-one or in the classroom to increase their employability, find gainful employment and ultimately strengthen their financial stability. She has an extensive background in human resources and finds sharing that knowledge with students and staff rewarding.
Faith’s parents were immigrants to the U.S., and she enjoys being around people that come from other cultures and backgrounds. Over the years she has had different jobs at the Institute, being able to meet staff from other departments and share in travel and food experiences. She also has enjoyed bringing in flowers from her garden and sharing her plants with the Institute.
Valerie Geary is a Minnesota native and one of its biggest cheerleaders. She thoroughly enjoys getting to share her favorite place with some of its newest residents, often helping them better understand such things as the awesomeness of a parking lot full of snow. In return, she gets to vicariously experience the rest of the world through her students.
After graduating with a degree in nursing from Winona State, teaching has been a mainstay of Valerie’s career both in and out of healthcare. The connection between teaching and healthcare is by far what excites Valerie the most.
She trains over 100 students each year to become dynamite nursing assistants, using her skills to put the most caregiving out into the world as possible. Being able to do that within an extraordinary organization like the Institute, with truly remarkable students, is just icing on the cake.
Nursing Assistant Training Program Manager
Julie Garner-Pringle is originally from Canada and came to the Institute after teaching English in Hungary and Egypt. Twenty years later, Julie is now the Manager of the Nursing Assistant Training Program and feels inspired by the brilliant and caring students and coworkers who all want to give back to their communities.
The Institute has been her only workplace in Minnesota and she can’t imagine being anywhere else.
Anna Peter provides individualized support for immigrants and refugees with professional backgrounds to establish and advance their careers in the U.S. Anna also runs monthly workshops on employment-related topics including resume writing, informational interviewing and mock interview practice.
Anna is from the Twin Cities area and studied Global Studies and Portuguese at the University of Minnesota. Before joining the Institute, Anna worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer helping Afghan arrivals resettle in Minnesota. She speaks Spanish and Portuguese.
Anna Benker has been with the Institute since 2019. In her current role, she supports graduates from the Housekeeping, Dietary Aide and Cashiering programs reach their employment goals. She is passionate about working with New Americans and enjoys supporting people wherever they are in their employment journey. The best part of her work is getting to meet people with many different experiences.
Anna has a background in sociology, refugee and migration studies, and teaching English as a foreign language.
Career Advancement Specialist
Kate Carter grew up in St. Paul and started her career in the St. Paul Public Schools. Later she moved to Maryland and became a work-based learning coordinator. Her role was to offer career guidance and future planning to high school students, as well as support them in employment, helping them develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and work habits so they could move successfully into the world of work.
She now teaches the Institute’s Professional Leadership class. It is a privilege to work with business, medical, engineering and educational professionals, learning from them and helping them develop leadership careers, earn promotions or change professions.
Hospitality Program Manager and Instructor
Lynn Thompson began working at the Institute in 2015 as an AmeriCorps Opportunity Corps member in the Nursing Assistant Training program. Wanting to continue serving adult learners, she pursued her TEFL certificate and began teaching in the English department.
In 2018 Lynn became the Program Manager and Instructor for the Hospitality Career Pathway. She is passionate about helping New Americans to overcome barriers to employment through education, empowerment and advocacy.
Jimmy Chien’s parents were immigrants to the U.S. so he is aware of the challenges and struggles immigrants face daily. Because of his parents’ immigrant background, saving and budgeting were habits he grew up with. His interest in personal finance and investing started in college and he has successfully invested in the stock market for the past decade.
In his previous role, Jimmy successfully coached clients from around the world on how to manage their portfolio risk, develop plans to achieve their financial goals and stay level-headed during turbulent times in the stock market. Jimmy is also a certified homebuyer advisor and helps clients no matter where they are in the home-buying process.
Internationally Trained Professionals Navigator
Ollie Schiefelbein helps internationally trained healthcare professionals continue their healthcare careers in the United States, either by relicensing or continuing their education. Ollie especially enjoys building relationships with their clients and helping them choose the right path forward, whatever that might look like. Their favorite part of their job is celebrating successes with their clients.
Ollie attended college at UW Madison and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi, Africa before moving to Minnesota.
Dr. Nicholas Bubak
International Medical Graduate Coordinator
Before coming to Minnesota in the autumn of 2022, Nick Bubak lived in Liverpool, UK earning his Ph.D. in History/Political Science and working as an instructor and researcher at the University of Liverpool. While he enjoyed his career in academia, time spent with a university outreach program in which he worked directly with immigrant students led him to change gears and pursue a career in international policy.
Nick Bubak works with internationally-trained physicians who want to relicense and practice medicine in the U.S. Nick enjoys the diversity of his job, which allows him to work in international and healthcare policy, but also directly with clients in the day-to-day. The camaraderie and support of his colleagues, as well as the unwavering commitment to supporting immigrants’ transition to the U.S. by everyone at the Institute, motivates Nick to continuously improve his department and advocate for his clients.
Medical Career Advancement Navigator
Sarah Corrigan’s work at the Institute is the convergence of two professional paths. After completing her master’s degree in biology, she advised students at the University of Minnesota for 13 years. From 2015 to 2022, she taught English language learners from different immigrant communities in the Twin Cities. This work inspired her to find a position that combined her passion for supporting New Americans with her academic and career coaching experience.
She learned as a first-generation student that success in college depends on a community of support, and Medical Career Advancement is part of that larger community. Sarah is motivated and inspired by the Institute’s clients, who are working hard to achieve their goals of becoming nurses and other health professionals.
Medical Career Advancement Navigator
Gabby Zuerlein started working as a case manager at the Institute in 2022 after leaving her job as a special education teacher. She transitioned into the Medical Career Advancement program a few months later. In her role as a navigator, she works closely with immigrants and refugees who have been accepted into medical career training courses at their not-for-profit universities. She helps clients find tuition assistance, provides writing tutoring, problem solves, and makes referrals for any hardships a client may experience while in the program. She also assists with employment searches, applications, and interview prep.
Her favorite part of working with immigrants and refugees pursuing medical careers is supporting them through obstacles in their life and getting to experience the joyful moments with them when they reach their goals.
Citizenship Case Aide
Blaine Joseph is a Citizenship Case Aide working in the Immigration Services department. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Coming from a family who went through the Institute’s Immigration Services department, she can relate to most of her clients as they go through the journey of becoming U.S. citizens.
She finds it very rewarding and exciting to watch her clients accomplish their goals.
Eh Pho Say
Legal Assistant and Immigration Intake Specialist
Eh Pho Say is a Legal Assistant and Intake Specialist with the Immigration Services Department. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work.
As a refugee herself, she finds it rewarding to help people, give back to communities and motivate them to move forward with their lives.
Immigration Services Attorney
Rachel Kohler joined the Institute in October 2022. Before joining, Rachel was an immigration attorney for a nonprofit providing legal assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence. She carries forward her passion for working with immigrants in Minnesota, providing legal advice and representation to people applying for their green cards and U.S. citizenship.
She also continues her work with victims/survivors of abuse by leading the effort to provide immigration assistance to victims of human trafficking.
Cori Ertz joined the Institute as Director of Development in 2017. Her primary responsibility supports the Institute’s donors and community as they contribute to helping New Americans make a new start in Minnesota. In this role, she provides leadership for the team responsible for fundraising, marketing, communications and volunteer programs.
Cori began her career as a program manager and nonprofit director in the fields of public health, health equity and public policy advocacy. She has worked as a fundraiser for nonprofits and community foundations operating in nine countries. These experiences inform her approach to philanthropy, collaboration, advocacy and advancing equity within mission delivery.
Jane Graupman is the Executive Director of the International Institute of Minnesota. During her more than 30 years with the Institute, Jane has been instrumental in creating a nationally recognized Medical Careers Pathway, a top performing refugee resettlement department, and anti-human trafficking services that help New Americans maximize their talents and become fully contributing members of American society.
Jane continues to be a tireless advocate for New Americans in our community. She has led the Institute through participation in more than 90 community outreach events, reaching more than 4,000 individuals in the last two years. Jane holds a BA in Organizational Communications from the University of Minnesota.
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