The staffing needs of Bilingual International continually evolve to meet the growing needs of the community that we serve.
JASON BAKER received his Ph.D. in Languages and Literatures from Washington University in St. Louis in 2007. While working as (among other things) an adjunct German professor, he served as a volunteer citizenship tutor in the Naturalization Assistance program for two years before leaving the academic arena entirely and coming on board as Interpreter Coordinator in 2012. For four years, Jason assisted the agency’s founder, Julia Ostropolsky, LCSW, with strategic planning, grant and financial management, and day-to-day agency operations before accepting directorship in 2016. As Executive Director, Jason is dedicated to carrying out the founder’s vision of equal access to services for all. A native St. Louisan, he has never had a more challenging, exhausting, or rewarding job.
KATIE KILCLINE, LCSW, earned a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Trauma Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011. She has subsequently completed post-graduate training certificates in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. Throughout her career, Katie has worked and volunteered with torture treatment centers in Chicago, San Diego, and Saint Louis (formerly the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma), as well as a health-focused non-profit in Kathmandu, Nepal. Katie now manages adult and child therapy services at Bilingual International, including the federally-funded torture treatment program.
EUNJI KOH holds an MSW from Washington University in St. Louis and a Social Work B.A. from Yonsei University in Korea. Prior to returning to St. Louis, she was a Director at Korean-American Community Services in the Chicago area. As Director of the Social Services Department, Eunji is dedicated to leading the team in compliance and achievement and is an exemplary manager/supervisor.Eunji is also directly in charge of all SLAAA programming at Bilingual International and Macklind International Senior Center, which she also oversees. Eunji is also a certified Medicaid reassessor and oversees both the Affordable Care Act Navigation and CLAIM counseling programming internally.
MARCIA WILDERMAN is responsible for recruiting, screening, and supervising the agency team of interpreters and has developed, implemented, and taught interpreter training and continuing education courses. She collaborates with all departments at Bilingual International to ensure contract compliance, successful project management, and quality customer service. Marcia received her undergraduate degree from Loyola University, New Orleans and is currently a MA candidate at Webster University for Nonprofit Management and Leadership.
KIMBERLY OSMANAGIC received her Masters of Counseling from St. Louis University. While she has a background working with adolescents and facilitating conflict resolution she also has over 14 years of experience providing individualized therapy to foreign born immigrants and refugees. At Bilingual International, Kimberly oversees two major programs: STEPS to Better Health and Peer Health Coaching for Immigrants/Refugees. Kimberly is fluent in Bosnian. She easily adjusts to various cultures, diverse backgrounds and many languages, while maintaining professionalism, a great attitude, and a helpful demeanor.
LORNA VAUGHN, PLPC, holds an MA in Professional Counseling from Lindenwood University and joined Bilingual International after many years working on the front lines of mental health crisis intervention in St. Louis. With a work history that includes ALM Hopewell Center, Behavioral Health Response, and Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center, Lorna excels at providing a calming presence in situations of extreme psychological distress. Lorna is currently providing counseling under the STEPS to Better Health program. She also works with the social service department serving non-foreign-born seniors in St. Louis City. Lorna is also a licensed ACA Navigator.
MIRANDA GACE came to Bilingual International as a professional interpreter and quickly alerted us to the needs of the small but underserved Albanian and Kosovar communities in the area. She has since worked to secure U.S. citizenship and social services for many older permanent residents of this community. Miranda has a background in teaching and journalism, and she served as the Executive Director of the Society for Democratic Culture in Tirana, Albania for almost a decade. Miranda is a community leader in the true sense of the word, an advocate for her people, and a member of numerous organizations and Boards outside the agency including Family Care Health Centers.
DIANNE CARTY came to Bilingual International as a Russian interpreter in 2012 and has become a valued member of a number of program teams. Born in Uzbekistan (then Soviet Union), Dianne arrived in the U.S. in 1991 and has actively helped her family adjust to American culture. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Geography: GIS from Northeastern Illinois University and worked as a contract cartographic analyst for the Department of Defense for two years, until switching fields to pursue her passion of helping people. Over the past ten years, Dianne has volunteered with the St. Louis Chapter of the American Red Cross, and Missouri Botanical Gardens. Most recently, Dianne assumed oversight of agency Medicaid reassessment services.l
THINH NGUYEN was born in Vietnam and holds a Journalism and Law degree from universities in Hanoi. He also holds a Masters in Legal Studies from Webster University. Initially working with the agency’s Vietnamese client base as a Community Access Worker, Thinh transitioned in Fall of 2014 to the position of Survey Researcher. As such, he oversees all surveys in support of agency programming/reporting as well as the analysis and interpretation of survey data.
ELLEN SHERMAN is no stranger to Bilingual International. One of three founding board members, she served as the President of the Board of Directors for two consecutive terms. Under her leadership, the agency grew from a small team of five to a larger, vibrant, and productive team of 12 staff members. Ellen joins us as an experienced Volunteer Coordinator with dedication and positive energy that is truly contagious.
DALY SULLENTRUP serves as Bilingual International’s Bookkeeper, having previously worked in an estate planning law firm and for many years with a non-profit labor organization. Born in Cuba as the daughter of missionary parents who left Havana in 1961, Daly is bilingual, fluent in English and Spanish. Daly has lived and worked in Florida, Mexico City, Texas, and, for the last 14 years, Missouri. Daly welcomes the job’s challenges as she continues to collaborate with Bilingual International’s leadership team with the ultimate goal of sustained organizational success.
FARAH MOHAMMED and his family fled Somalia in 1991 due to civil war. At a refugee camp in Kenya, Farah worked as a driver for the UNHCR and IOM, and also assisted the disabled and vulnerable in the camp. Mohammed and his family were resettled to St. Louis in 2004, and he began working at various agencies. Farah is well-known in the Somali community as the father of the largest Somali family in town (13 children). Farah picks up our multi-ethnic senior group participants at their door and brings them to Macklind International safely and always with his trademark positive energy.
LILIYA (KADNIKOVA) JOSEPH, having immigrated as a foreign student from Russia 13 years ago, can relate to the struggles of being a newcomer to the US. Liliya is passionate about helping individuals discover their full potential and follow their goals in life. With a Masters in Geography/Ecology from Baltic Federal University (Russia) and a Bachelors in Behavioral and Social Studies from East-West University in Chicago, IL, Liliya’s strongest interest is in learning about new cultures and languages. In the past she has contributed as a volunteer to several fine resettlement and ESL organizations in Saint Louis and Chicago, and is currently in charge of coordinating the Citizenship Program and Human Resources department at Bilingual International.
ELI HOXHA was born in Albania and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1997. She graduated from Saint Louis University with her Bachelors in Social Work. Her work ethic and compassionate care for aging populations makes her a unique asset on the Bilingual team. Eli serves as the Senior Center Coordinator and Operations Manager at Bilingual International. Most recently, she secured Department of Justice accreditation, allowing her to represent agency clients at USCIS.
KUMAR TIRWA was born in Bhutan, but grew up in neighboring Nepal. He completed a Sociology degree program at Amity College, Birtamode, Nepal in 2008, after which he began teaching high school. He came to St. Louis as a refugee eight years ago, and has been affiliated with the agency for the last five years – first as a beloved driver for the Senior Center and most recently as a Community Access Worker for the Nepali-speaking community.
SAMIRA MUJDZIC was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, lived in Germany for seven years and then moved to the United States in 1999. She graduated from UMSL with a Bachelors degree in Social Work and a Certificate in Gender Studies. She completed her practicum with Bilingual International and was hired as a Community Access Worker in June 2016. Samira’s passion for helping others started after she moved to the US and saw members of her community struggling to find footing in their new country. She is passionate about working with older adults and with the Bosnian community here in the greater St. Louis area.
RON KLUTHO has worked with the refugee communities of St Louis for over 25 years. With a background in linguistics and English as a Second Language, Ron has taught English in Japan and at several locations in St Louis. He started as a volunteer at St Pius V’s Refugee Support Ministry with Sister Paulette Weindel while teaching full-time, which evolved into a full-time position at the church. Ron speaks several languages fluently including Bosnian, and is trying to learn Arabic now with great interest but great difficulty. Ron and his refugee services “Faith Team” came to the agency from Places for People in October 2016 after many years of collaboration with Bilingual International
JEANNINE COLE holds a Masters Degree in Conflict Transformation with an emphasis in Trauma Healing from Eastern Mennonite University. Prior to returning to St. Louis, her hometown, she worked planning recreation programs with the U.S. Navy in Italy and Bahrain before transferring to the non-profit world by working with Catholic Relief Services in Kenya. Jeannine, who speaks Swahili and German, has over 5 years experience working with immigrants and refugees in St. Louis. At Bilingual International, she is coordinating projects related to ACA enrollment and immigrant/refugee peer health coaching in addition to assisting case management participants in finding employment. She finds it an honor to serve our participants and learn from them.
MARIO CAMERE received his Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2013. Although Mario has practiced different types of law, his practice has primarily focused on several subsets of immigration law. At Bilingual International, Mario advises and assists clients in navigating the complex processes of naturalization, adjustment of status, family reunification, and asylum.
SAJIDA MOMENI received her B.A in Linguistic Humanities in Kabul, Afghanistan. She also received an Associates Degree in Human Services from St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. Sajida was born in Afghanistan and speaks Pashto and Dari fluently. Sajida worked for four years at the International Institute of St. Louis as a mental health case worker and worked for five and half years at Places for People as community support. Sajida is currently working at Bilingual International as a Community Access Worker.
GEORGE SIMON grew up in the Arab world and is well versed in both the Arabic language and Islamic culture. He studied and gained his undergraduate degree at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He left Lebanon staying ahead of the Arab Spring going to Egypt and gaining a Masters degree in Arabic Language and Islamic Jurisprudence. At Bilingual International, he works primarily with Arabic speaking survivors of torture and war trauma.
KATRINA ORLET, LCSW has over 20 years of experience working with individuals and families who have experienced abuse, trauma, and difficult life circumstances. A bilingual (Spanish) therapist, she has an MSW from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a BSSW from Saint Louis University, and has worked in St. Louis, the Pacific Northwest, and Bolivia. Her focus is on building capacity to care for complex family problems, and collaboration to improve services for everyone. Katrina’s professional experience includes child abuse and neglect,mental health and substance abuse treatment,school social work, and residential services, with an emphasis on serving people in their own community.
GARY U BEHRMAN, PhD, LCSW has been an Assistant Adjunct Professor at Saint Louis University (SLU) Schools of Allied Health, Public Health, and Medicine for the past 25 years. He holds a PhD from the School of Social Welfare, University of Albany, and an MSW from Saint Louis University. Dr. Behrman has extensive training and publications in trauma recovery and served as a first responder for crisis events around the country, including Ground Zero after 911, and resilience work for the Ferguson Florissant School District after the death of Michael Brown. From 2005 to 2010, he collaborated with the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma to provide therapy, staff training and consultation. Additional specialties include suicide and self injury, spirituality, and the connections between mental and physical health.
IVETTE ACEVEDO-WEATHERHOLTZ, MA, LPC, RPT, was born in Mexico and immigrated to Washington State with her family when she was 10 years old. She received a degree in Psychology from the Universidad de las Américas-Puebla and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. During the past 10 years, Ivette has actively intertwined her passions for mental health services and education, working both nationally and abroad. Ivette specializes in Developmental and Complex Trauma, Attachment, and Social-Emotional Learning in youth ages 2-21, as well as facilitating Trauma-Informed Care and Attachment trainings to educators and parents. Ivette is a bilingual therapist with Project Safe Space providing Somatic-based interventions and EMDR to refugee and immigrant youth.
RY’N ROBINSON is a mental health coach for our STEPS to Better Health program. Before finishing her Master’s in professional Counseling Program from Lindenwood University- St. Charles, she worked as a substitute teacher for University City school district as well as psychiatric technician at Hawthorn Psychiatric Hospital for Children and Adolescents. Her professional work experience also includes working for Community Response as a private contractor/mental health case manager through grants.
PAUL WITTE, LPC, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature and Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Truman State University in 2010. He earned his Master Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Southern Oregon University in 2013 and began work that year with the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma in St. Louis. Paul has recently returned from working as the clinical supervisor of the Belize City Community Counseling Center in Belize Central America. Paul has completed advanced trainings in EMDR and attachment, cognitive processing therapies specializing in traumatic grief and mindfulness and specialized in treating complex trauma with children and adults.
GIGI (GUANQI) GAO graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with Masters of Public Health and Social Work in 2016. Gigi speaks Mandarin and English. Before moving to St. Louis, she was working with low-income families in China. She had volunteered for Bilingual International Assistant Services as a citizenship tutor for two years. With extensive experiences in health education, research and advocacy, she is dedicated to serve and advocate for immigrant communities in St. Louis area.
MICHAEL NTHIGA worked in Kenya in the corporate sector in marketing 11 years. A trainer and motivational speaker by trade, Michael served with Leadership Training International for 10 years. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (KEMU) from Kenya and an Associates in Theology (CLST) from the US. Michael is dedicated as an ACA Navigator and Community Access Worker to providing immigrant and refugee families with the information and tools that they need to thrive in their new country.
EDITH COOPER, LMSW, found herself, as a daughter of Mexican immigrants, interpreting and helping her family navigate multiple systems from a young age. She believes that this is where her passion for helping others began. Edith holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Greenville College and a Master of Social Work degree from Saint Louis University. Edith‘s clinical experience is in providing family therapy as well as individual therapy to youth ages 4 – 19. Edith is eager to provide somatic-based interventions and EMDR reprocessing to the immigrant and refugee community in the St. Louis area.
RITA SKIBA, LMSW earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University with a focus on supporting community development in underfunded urban neighborhoods. Upon arriving in St. Louis in 2012, she worked with first generation college students at College Bound St. Louis and served as a groups facilitator and psychoeducation coordinator at Safe Connections. In 2017, Rita graduated from St. Louis University’s clinical social work program with a specialization of working with children and youth who have experienced trauma. Rita currently serves as the Project Safe Space Coordinator and Clinician on the project.
MEGAN ROONEY, LMSW, has worked with refugee populations for over 10 years in St. Louis through ESL and citizenship classes. She has an MSW from the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked in refugee resettlement and provided mental health services to refugee families. Megan also has a MEd from University of Texas at Austin, where she studied behavioral interventions to improve individual resilience and coping skills. Megan has worked in the health literacy field for the past 15 years, providing education around clearer health communication between systems, providers, and patients.
JOANNA MIKHAIL, PLPC graduated from Covenant Seminary in May 2018 with a Masters of Counseling and has pursued training in trauma therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), and CBT-Insomnia. Joanna is also a Master Facilitator-in-training with the Trauma Healing Institute. She is passionate about caring for refugees with trauma, particularly those from the Middle East, having been raised in Egypt and worked there throughout the Egyptian revolution and the Arab Spring as a freelance journalist. She is fluent in Arabic and has lived and worked internationally in multi-cultural environments for more than 20 years.
ENISA BALOGUN, PLPC, was born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She provided lay counseling in Bosnia for 14 years before moving to the U.S. to pursue and complete her Masters of Arts in Counseling at Covenant Theological Seminary. Enisa is bilingual in Bosnian and English with experience providing community-based therapy to clients from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Enisa is a coffee enthusiast and when not working can be found hanging out in coffee shops.
SUSAN ECKHART, M.ED holds degrees in English and German from Miami University (OH) and a Masters of Education and French from Harding University. A recently returned St. Louis native, Susan worked in the financial services sector in Luxembourg as well as teaching and translating for many years. Upon her return to the US, she worked in secondary education (Arkansas Foreign Language Teacher of the Year 2004) teaching French, German, and English before moving on to coordinate volunteers for Heifer International in Arkansas, volunteering with the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, and serving as a CASA advocate for children in the court system in rural Arkansas. At Bilingual International, she coordinates citizenship education for survivors of torture.
AMY WILHELM holds a BA in International Relations from Tulane University and an MA in Spanish from St. Louis University. She has worked as an English as a Second Language educator and advocate for the Illinois Migrant Education Program and also as an immigration specialist for an immigration attorney in New Orleans. Amy has studied second language acquisition theory and teaching methodologies, and is a member of ACTFL (American Council on Teaching of Foreign Language). She has been teaching Spanish for 14 years in St. Louis, from primary to college levels.