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Community Advisory Board Members
My name is John “Ikenna” Ogwuegbu and I am a fourth-year pharmacy student at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). I am originally from Nigeria. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations, and Master’s Degree in Global Interactions from Cleveland State University.
My interests include: working with marginalized populations, global health literacy, advocacy, and academia. I currently serve as the President and co-Founder of IKON Health Foundation, a non-profit organization geared towards increasing access to health screenings, improving health education and overall quality of life for underserved communities nationally and abroad.
Upon graduation from pharmacy school, my goal is to pursue a postgraduate residency and work in academic and global settings. My ideal career would be to work as a pharmacist with UNICEF or the WHO.
I remember my transition to the US being difficult. In addition to the culture shock, I found myself having to navigate my new world in ways I’ve never experienced. Now that I have those experiences, I’m focused on helping others within the community by finding them resources they need in order to achieve their goals. It is my passion to help others get acclimated so that I can mitigate the number of unnecessary challenges they encounter on their journey.
To feed this passion, I studied international relations, with a minor in Middle Eastern studies; and currently I focus on exposing diverse and underserved communities to aerospace and aviation opportunities.
Sakhi Faiz, a 29-year-old Afghan who came to United states as an immigrant in 2017. Faiz had the dream to be a neurosurgeon one day. Therefore, three months after resettlement in US he started to be a pre-medical student at Cleveland State University. Faiz is halfway of his journey to become a doctor, but he has accomplished a lot in last four years including learning cross-cultural activities and cultural assimilation. As a full-time student, having full time job and taking care of a family of four, he has been through rough times in the last four years of his life
in US. Faiz doesn’t want other immigrants to go through rough times as he did. He wants to share his knowledge of cultural assimilation and adjustment to US work environment through the Refugee Response Community with other immigrants. Meanwhile he works as a member of CAB (Community Advisory Board) with Refugee Response in Cleveland to accomplish his goal of
helping other immigrants.
I joined the Refugee Response Community Advisory Board in December 2020 to increase awareness of the organization among my peers and assist the organization in furthering its objectives. Having personally met and befriended Refugees while going through my own immigration process to America, I empathize with how Refugees feel and I understand the complexities of the US Immigration system. Growing up abroad in 2 African countries allowed me to see the world through a different lens from others who may only have a Western world perspective on life. While I was an undergraduate Economics student at The Ohio State University, I held a special bond with international students. Not only did I live in the International House dormitory (Morrison Tower) but I also volunteered as an English language conversation partner for Japanese and Chinese students who wanted to practice their English. I also worked one-on-one with a Ukrainian student to introduce him to American and University campus life. It is no surprise that I am now in this board role with the Refugee Response here in Cleveland, Ohio. Currently, in 2021 - 2022, the board is working on a driver license initiative to provide driving training and class instruction scholarships for Refugees who want to drive. Immigrants are the heart of the United States of America and I'm proud to be one from Nigeria and South Africa.
Melaak Rashid, MPA
Melaak Rashid is an Nonprofit Consultant specializing in grant writing, organizational development, Human Resources, Compliance, and Cultural Competency Training, as well as holds positions as the Development and Community Outreach Director for Smart Development, Inc, and Fund Developer for the Spanish American Committee. Melaak has over 7 years experience as a nonprofit professional helping bring in over 15MIL to minority-led nonprofits to further their work and missions and small businesses across Greater Cleveland and connect diverse residents in need to the services they need to lead more stable, healthy, thriving lives. Previously, Melaak was the Human Resource Director for 3 years at United Funding Group and Secure Lending, providing customized HR services to ensure businesses and organizations are providing the best work environments for their employees. Melaak received her bachelors of Liberal Arts in Political Science with a minor in International Politics from Cleveland State University as well as her Masters in Public Administration with certificates in Urban Planning and Nonprofit Management from The Levin College of Urban Affairs. Currently, she is a phD candidate in Public Affairs focusing on developing a cross-sector model elevating nonprofit, private, and public sector relations in achieving intersectional outcomes in community and economic development. As a daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Melaak is tied to her community through her continuous volunteerism through Islamic Center of Cleveland, Al-Omary Mosque, Global Cleveland, Cleveland Women’s Group, Ibn Sina Clinic, and beyond as well as leads in being a trusted-voice for the local Arab American and Arab immigrant community in Cleveland.
I am a twenty-two year old sophomore at Cleveland State University and former refugee from Afghanistan. I came to the United States in 2014. One of my main goals is to become a physician's assistant so that I can help people; I would love to work in the medical field. In high school, I participated in many programs and clubs including Teen Response, JROTC, and College Credit Plus. Shortly after starting college, I joined TRR's Community Advisory Board after which I was hired to help lead TRR's Afghan Response program. I enjoy welcoming new families to Cleveland.
My name is Abdinoor. My nickname would be Noor or Abdi. I was born August 23, 1990 and I was born in a village called Jilib in Somali. When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a businessman who helps people in need. I have lived in refugee camps in Kenya including Hagadera and Kakuma. My favorite hobby is to help people who are in need. My favorite traveling destination is Haji.
Sonya Nudel is honored to be serving on the Community Advisory Board for the Refugee Response.
Professionally, Sonya is Business Operations Manager at Amazon Web Services. In this role, she is a business consultant and partner for emerging technology delivery business lines and works to standardize process and procedure while solving problems.
A graduate of Cleveland State University with a B.A in Political Science, Sonya's education background includes studies of Peace & Justice Studies, Post-Conflict Resolution, and Modern Political Thought. Originally arriving in the United States as a refugee from Ukraine in the 90s, Sonya is passionate about the mission at the Refugee Response.
Sonya's involvement in the community includes being an active Board Member for the Young Leadership Division of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and a Leadership Council Member for Engage! Cleveland.
She currently resides in Solon with her husband Sergey, and their adorably large goldendoodle, James.
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