Enhancing the quality of life for all refugees from Burma in Minnesota

Meet Our Staff

Eh Tah Khu, Co-Executive Director

Eh Tah Khu joined the Karen Organization of Minnesota in 2011 as a Youth Development Coordinator and was promoted to Program Manager for Youth and Social Services in 2013. He was appointed Co-Executive Director by the Board of Directors in February 2016. As Co-Executive Director, Eh Tah Khu will primarily focus on program management, operations, and community engagement. He is also a visible leader in the Karen community in St. Paul through his active participation with the Karen Community of Minnesota and Ebenezer Karen Baptist Church. Eh Tah Khu was born in Burma, but due to political conflict, he moved to Thailand as a refugee where he earned a four-year degree from Kawthoolei Karen Baptist Bible School and College. After graduating, he taught for two years and helped manage multiple schools under the Burmese Migrant Workers Education Committee. He came to Minnesota as a refugee with his wife and son in 2010 and became a U.S. Citizen in 2015.

E-Mail: ekhu@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3114

Alexis Walstad, Co-Executive Director

Alexis joined the Karen Organization of Minnesota in 2012 as the Development Director. She was appointed Co-Executive Director by the Board of Directors in February 2016 following six months as Interim Executive Director. As Co-Executive Director, Alexis is responsible for activities related to fund development, finance, and public relations. Alexis has over seven years of experience working with Minnesota nonprofits in fundraising, program development, communications, and volunteer management. She also volunteered with Twin Cities World Refugee Day for five years, including four years as event chair/co-chair. Alexis was born and raised in the Twin Cities and graduated from Macalester College. She is grateful to be able to work with KOM's staff, board members, and partners to help refugees from Burma succeed in their new home.

E-Mail: awalstad@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3120

Morrison Johnny, Program Manager, Employment and Social Services

Morrison Johnny was born in Burma in 1972. Morrison graduated high school and attended college in Myaung Mya. After college, Morrison moved to the border of Thailand and Burma to work with media outlets covering the events on the Thai-Burmese border. In addition to working with media outlets, Morrison worked with various non-governmental organizations (NGOís) in 2000 to evacuate refugees from the dangerous locations in Burma. Morrison also worked as a teacher on the Thai-Burmese border.

Morrison and his family came to the United States in 2004 as refugees. After his arrival, Morrison worked as a social services provider and youth counselor at the Vietnamese Social Service office. Currently, Morrison is Program Manager, Employment and Social Services, at the Karen Organization of Minnesota (KOM). He lives in Saint Paul with his wife, three sons and one daughter.

E-Mail: smorrison@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3101

Moses Moe, Program Manager, Youth and Social Services

Moses Moe joined the Karen Organization of Minnesotain August 2016 as a Program Manager of Youth and Social Services. Moses is an ethnic Karen from Burma. Several years later, he and his family were forced out of Burma by the Burmese military. He lived in a Thai refugee camp, where he taught English and worked for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) as a medical referral officer for many years before coming to the United States.After arriving in the United States in 2006, Moses worked for Saint Paul Public Schools as an Educational Assistant for a few years. Moses graduated from Metropolitan State University with a B.S. in Human Service Administration in the fall of 2013.Previously, he has been working several years with the HealthEast Care System as an interpreter and a translator. Currently, he, his wife and two children are living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is eager to work with KOM to serve the Karen communities who are in need.

E-Mail: mmoe@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3125

Chrit Hen, Housing and Social Services Coordinator

Chrit Hen was born in Burma on December 24, 1968. He finished high school at Kaw Moo Ra High School at Huaykaloke refugee camp in 1999. He took English classes one year after finishing high school. After that he joined the KNU. He worked with the forestry department until he flew out of his country due to the Burmese Army attacks. In 2004 Chrit Hen got a chance to move to the America with his family. His first job was working at Taste of Thailand restaurant when he came to the United States over ten years ago. Chrit Hen has volunteered his time to help the Karen community as much as he can. He is currently a deacon at First Karen Baptist Church and on January 9, 2012, Chrit joined the KOM team working as a Housing and Social Service Coordinator.

E-Mail: chen@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3104

Marner Saw, Social Services Coordinator, Immigration

Marner Saw was born in Burma in 1970. While in the refugee camp he graduated from Kawmoorah High School, taught at Ahmoe Mission School, worked with a Thai Missionary and Karen newsletters. In March of 2005 Marner moved to Minnesota with his family. For the last five years Marner has been a volunteer with the Karen Community of Minnesota (KCM) serving in the roles of Superintendent, Treasurer, and is currently the Secretary. Marner worked hard during the process of KCM becoming its own non-profit; the Karen Organization of Minnesota (KOM). Today, Marner is the Social Service Coordinator at KOM. His mission is to serve and celebrate Karen culture.

E-Mail: msaw@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3103

Nana Loo, Family Advocate and Social Services Coordinator

Nana Loo was born in Karen State, Burma. She moved to Thaim Him-a Karen refugee camp-in 1977. In May of 2004 she came to the United States and settled in Minnesota. Here she enrolled and graduated from Como Park Senior High School in 2008, working part time in a translating job. After finishing school Nana Loo moved to Albert Lea and took on a job at Quality Pork Processors in production. During this time she also helped translate and do paperwork for the Karen people in the Quality Pork Processors Company, as well as tutoring in the Austin area schools and assisting with medical interpretation in the area clinical hospital. Nana Loo has a passion for helping all refugee people in any way she can. She is happy to join the Karen Organization of Minnesota as a Social Services Coordinator.

E-Mail: mloo@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3123

Ta Da, Community Health Coordinator

Ta Da was born in Burma. He moved to the Thai-Burmese border in 1991. He attended high school in Mae KhongKah refugee camp in Thailand, and lived in a refugee camp for 20 years. In 2001, he started working for the Karen Youth Organization and worked there for four years. In 2002, he started working with Drug Alcohol Recovery and Education (DARE Network) until 2011. He also worked as a health coordinator in Mae La Oon camp for two years. On June 30, 2011 he and his family moved to the United States.In July 2011, he started working for Wholesale Produce Supply Company for about three years. He joined KOM in May 2016 as a community health coordinator. He enjoys working with the Karen community and also other communities.

E-Mail: tda@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3102

Julyna Loo, Community Health Coordinator

Julyna Loo was born in Burma. She moved to ThamHin refugee camp in 1997. In May 2004 she came to the United States and settled in St. Paul, Minnesota. She moved to Orange County, California in 2006. She then moved to Phoenix, Arizona to continue her education and graduated high school in 2008. After finishing high school, she enrolled and graduated from Brown Mackie College in 2012 and took on a job at Phoenix Family Medical Clinic as a medical assistant. She is happy to join the Karen Organization of Minnesota as a community health coordinator.

E-Mail: jloo@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3128

Ner Mu, Community Health Coordinator

Ner Mu was born on May 24, 1983 in the Karen State of Burma. When he was 9 year old, his village was burned down by the SPDC military and his family moved to Mae La refugee camp in Thailand. He graduated from Eden Valley Academy in Thailand. He worked at Eden Valley Academy as a teacher for 2 years and Handicap International for 1 year in Thailand. He and his family joined his cousin in the Netherlands in 2005. He obtained his Dutch High School Certificate in 2009. He worked with a health care organization in the Netherlands for a year. In 2011, he became a Dutch citizen. He moved to the United State of America on November 21, 2013. He joined KOM as a staff member on November 16, 2015 and is eager to help refugees from Myanmar become successful, build unity and contribute their skills to the larger society.

E-Mail: nmu@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3126

Laymu Paw, Project Coordinator, Elders Program & Weaving Group

Laymu Paw was born in Mae Hong Son, a Karenni refugee camp in Thailand. She came to the United States in 2009 as a refugee. She attended high school and got her high school diploma in 2013 in Saint Paul, MN. She is currently enrolled in Saint Paul College and working towards an AA Degree. From 2014-2015, she worked with Minnesota Math and Science Academy as a Teacher's Aid where she assisted students in class. She is very pleased to join with the Karen Organization of Minnesota and serve the community. "You have two hands. One to help yourself, and the second to help others."

E-Mail: laymupaw@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3131

Mahnthurai Min, Employment Counselor

Mahnthurai Min was born on January 3,1985 in Burma in Karen State. In 1990, his parents sent him to Maw La Myine Township in Mon State and he studied there until he graduated high school. Then, he wanted to join the Karen National Liberation Army(KNLA)but he was not 18 years old yet so they sent him to Thailand for school. He took the Karen Youth Leadership and Management Course in 2003 for about one year. In the summer, he went back to Burma on the front lines and took a temporary position. Later on, he enteredUmpiumRefugee Camp and continued hiseducation. He started school at the Special English Program in 2005 and graduated in 2008. After that, he got the chance to resettle tothe U.S.in 2008. In 2009, he got married and he has two children now.

E-Mail: mmin@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3132

Thomas Ritnorakan, Employment Counselor

Thomas was born in Burma in 1968. Thomas grew up in the Magui Tavoy District of Burma, where he graduated from high school and became a teacher. Thomas left his teaching job in 1994 to become a missionary with the Karen on the Thai-Burma border. In 1997, Thomas worked with Karen refugees in Mae Sot City, Thailand.

Thomas came to the United States as a refugee in 2000. He worked for various sushi companies and served Burmese refugees by providing transportation and translation services. Thomas is currently working as an Employment Counselor for the Karen Organization of Minnesota (KOM). Currently, Thomas lives with his wife in Saint Paul, MN.

E-Mail: tritnorakan@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3105

Nilwin Tint, Employment Counselor

Nilwin Tint was born in Burma in 1987. He and his family arrived in the United States on August 10, 2000. He graduated from Joliet Central High School in 2005 and started college in 2007. He graduated from Century College with an associateís degree in Human Services and has plans to go back for a bachelorís degree in social services or as an educator. He worked as a teacherís assistant at Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet School for 3 years and also worked in the service industry for 9 years. He got married in 2015 and has one daughter. He recently joined KOM as employment counselor through the DEED program. He looks forward to serve and advocate for the community.

E-Mail: ntint@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3129

Moo Moo Paw Htoo, Employment Navigator

Moo Moo Paw Htoo was born in Burma. In 2001, she moved to Nu Po refugee camp in Thailand. She graduated from high school in the camp and took a teacher's preparation course there for 2 years. After receiving her certificate in 2005, she taught math to middle school students in the camp for 3 years. Moo Moo came to the U.S. in 2008. She lived in Colorado for her first 5 years, where she worked as a cashier at the Denver International Airport. She came to Minnesota in 2013 and started classes at Roseville Adult Learning Center. She received her diploma in June 2016, and shortly after she started taking interpreter classes in KOM's TRIN program in partnership with Century College. She finished the program in December 2016 and started working at KOM as an Employment Navigator in January 2017.

E-Mail: mhtoo@mnkaren.org
Phone: 612-202-3122

Wah Wah Paw, Employment Navigator

Wah Wah Paw was born in Hpa-An, Burma in 1992. When she was 7 years old, she moved to Mae La refugee camp where she attended school from Grade 1 to Grade 9. She came to the U.S. in 2013. She attended high school for two years and graduated in 2015. She is working at KOM because she is interested in learning more about how to help people with human services. Before she worked at KOM, she worked as a cashier at Golden Harvest Foods for one year. She lives in St. Paul with her husband, one sister, and one brother.

E-Mail: wpaw@mnkaren.org
Phone: 612-202-3113

Sara Johnson, Career Development Counselor

Sara Johnson was born and raised in a small town in Wisconsin. In December 2010 she graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies with a focus in Africa and the Middle East. She studied Arabic in Alexandria, Egypt in 2010-2011 before graduating. Before coming to the Karen Organization of Minnesota she volunteered at Neighborhood House teaching adult ELL courses for immigrants and refugees. Sara is looking forward to working with refugees here in St. Paul and is excited to learn more about the Karen people, their culture, and hopefully the language.

E-Mail: sjohnson@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3110

Pkwa Htoo, Youth Development Coordinator

Pkwa Htoo was born in Burma. In 1997, her family had to move to ThamHin refugee camp in Thailand because of the civil war. She lived in the refugee camp ten years before she moved to the United States. In 2007, Pkwa Htoo moved from the refugee camp to the United States and settled in Saint Paul, Minnesota. When she arrived in Saint Paul, she went to International Academy Leap High School. In June 2010, she graduated and got her high school diploma. Pkwa Htoo has volunteered in Karen community and World Relief to help her people to achieve their goals. She has helped new families who came to Saint Paul with needs such as translation, paperwork, and school enrollment before they become independent. She is happy to join with the Karen Organization of Minnesota as a Youth Development Coordinator.

E-Mail: phtoo@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3115

Hta Thi Yu Moo, Youth Development Coordinator

Hta Thi Yu Moo was born in a Thai refugee camp in 1994. She and her family moved to the United States in 2007 and settled in Saint Paul, Minnesota. First month in Minnesota was like entering a new world for Hta Thi and her family. In 2013 she graduated and got her high school diploma at Washington Technology Magnet School. She volunteered at KOM during her high school years. She learned a lot by helping others and gaining more experiences which she is excited to use and build on as a Youth Development Coordinator.

E-Mail: hmoo@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3107

Ron Skjong, Marshall Program Manager

Ron Skjong, has over 20 years of teaching and community outreach experience, primarily in faith-based settings. Through this work, Ron gained experience working with the Latino community in Willmar, which gave him a deep understanding of the challenges that immigrants in rural cities face and how to work with numerous service partners and community leaders to address their needs.

E-Mail: rskjong@mnkaren.org
Phone: 507-537-3870

Mu Hser, Marshall Social Services Coordinator

Mu Hser was born in Burma in 1996. She moved to Nu Poe refugee camp in Thailand in 2001 because of civil war. In 2009, her and her family moved to the United States. In 2015, she graduated and got her high school diploma from Marshall High School. Currently she is a college student at Southwest Minnesota State University. She joined KOM in November 2015 and is excited to help Karen people and other ethnic refugees from Thailand.

E-Mail: mhser@mnkaren.org
Phone: 507-537-3870

Rebekah Jacobson, Community Engagement Specialist

Rebekah Jacobson is from the small town of Hanover, MN and recently graduated from North Central University in Minneapolis, MN with a B.A. in communication arts and a minor in international development. During the summer before her 5th year of college, she traveled to Thailand as a communications intern with a nonprofit called Venture Expeditions. There, she taught English to kids and wrote blogs every week. One weekend, she took a trip to the Thai-Burmese border and met Karen refugees for the first time. Three months later, when she arrived back in the Twin Cities, she learned that there were over 8,000 Karen people living in her own city! Her discovery sparked an interest in learning as much as possible about Karen people, so for her senior project she interviewed and wrote the stories of six Karen people. During that time, she also began volunteering at Karen Organization of Minnesota. When she heard there was an opening for a VISTA position at the organization, she jumped at the opportunity and applied! She received the position, and is so excited to serve KOM as the community engagement specialist for the next year. Besides being a writer and a lover of Karen culture, she is also a coffee fanatic and an advocate for the immigrant/refugee population.

E-Mail: rjacobson@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3112

Keetha Vue, Development Associate

Keetha Vue earned her Bachelorís of Science from St. Catherine University in December 2016. She majored in social work with a minor in womenís studies. In the past, Keetha interned at Neighborhood House and Little Sisters of the Poor focusing on youth development, families and elder care. The experiences revealed her strong passion for working with the community and development. In the summer of 2015, Keetha was the Womenís Program intern at Breaking Free, advocating to end human trafficking and prostitution in Minnesota where she also participated in filming a news documentary with BBC News. During her time as a student at St. Kateís she was actively involved with the Asian Womenís Association (AWA) working with Asian American students and exploring identity, womenís rights and education. She served on the AWA board as Programmer and Co-Chair. Keetha has also lived in Japan during the summer of 2016 as an American Counselor teaching English. Keetha was honored to be awarded the 2017 Presidentís Student Leadership award from St. Kateís and MN Campus Compact for her civic responsibility and leadership. Keetha started working as the Development Associate for the Karen Organization of Minnesota in March 2017. In her free time she likes to practice photography and explore Minnesota.

E-Mail: kvue@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3109

Saw Poe Thay Doh, Receptionist

Saw Poe Thay Doh was born in Karen State, Burma. When he was seven years old, the Burmese military troop came to his village and burnt down the village. All the villagers fled and hid in the jungle. He finally escaped to theThai-Burma border and took refuge in Mae La refugee camp. He lived in the refugee camp for eleven years. In August 2008, he resettled to U.S and first lived in North Carolina by himself. In North Carolina, he did not have a chance to go to school, but worked for his own survival. In 2009, he moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota and lived with Saw Sunshine's family. He went to Hmong Academy High School until he turned twenty one years old. In 2011, he went to Job Corps, and successfully completed Office Administration courses and High School Diploma on 2012. He completed an internship at St. Paul Public Works and volunteered at Zoo Boo, Minnesota Stat fair and St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. He also helped Karen Churches with typing documents and letters, and photography and video recording. In 2015, he started working at Karen Organization of Minnesota as a Receptionist. He is very happy working at Karen Community, helping Karen people and other ethnic refugees from Burma.

E-Mail: sdoh@mnkaren.org
Phone: 651-202-3116

Saw Htet, Van Driver

Saw Htet was born and raised in Pay Gone village in Burma. Because of the Burmese military persecution, he and his family moved to Nu Poe Refugee Camp in Thailand in 1996. He attended school in Nu Poe Refugee Camp until Grade 9.After that, he continued his high school education in Umpium Refugee Camp in Thailand. In 2007, he graduated fromUmpiumHigh School. In 2008,he got the opportunity to move to the United States as a refugee with his family. On April 18, 2016, he joined the Karen Organization of Minnesota as a van driver. He enjoys working with the Karen community and hopes to work collaboratively with the Karen people more in the future.

Meet Our Board of Directors

Hsajune Dyan, Board Chair

Hsajune Dyan was born on the Thai-Burma border and moved frequently during his childhood to evade the Burmese militia. His family was particularly targeted by the government because of his grandfather's and uncle's leadership in the Karen National Union. Hsajune and his family joined his uncle in Minnesota in 2001. He graduated from high school within three years of arriving in the United States and went on to obtain a bachelor's degree in history and international studies from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. A strong advocate for education, Hsajune works as a Karen cultural liaison for Saint Paul Public Schools. He joined the KOM Board of Directors in January 2012 and is eager to help refugees from Burma become successful, build unity and contribute their skills to the larger society.

George Thawmoo, Vice Chair

George Thawmoo is originally from the Karen State in north-eastern Burma. He moved to Thailand in 1997 as a refugee. He attended the Open Society Institute's (OSI) college preparation program in Chiang Mai, Thailand and received his GED. He went on to study at Bangkok University as an OSI fellow and received his BA in Communications in 2006. While studying at the university, he also worked as an interpreter for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the U.S. Embassy. Most recently, he worked for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in two locations in Thailand, where he assisted with the safe movement of refugees out of Thailand to resettlement countries. George speaks four languages including Karen, Burmese, Thai and English. George immigrated to the U.S. in April 2010. He joins Wilder Foundation in October 2010 as a Mental Health Case Manager to serve the growing Karen population in Saint Paul.

B. Steven Messick, Esq., Secretary
Steven received his Juris Doctorate from Hamline University School of Law, magna cum laude, in December 2008. Currently, he works as an attorney at the Law Offices of J. Scott Braden, P.A. Before law school, Steven served as an aide to Congressman John Kline (MN-02), and a campaign, political, and policy advisor to numerous state and federal candidates and officeholders.

Steven currently lives in Cottage Grove, MN with his wife Richele. He is the Chairman of the Cottage Grove Planning Commission and volunteers at Five Oaks Community Church in Woodbury, MN.

Soe Doh, Treasurer

Bio coming soon

Jennifer Dunbar, Board Member

Jennifer was first introduced to the Karen community in 2004 through World Relief Minnesota. She organized teams at Five Oaks Community Church in Woodbury, MN, to come alongside newly arriving Karen families to help them with basic needs, transportation, and friendship. She co-led the Karen ministry at Five Oaks for 8 years. Jennifer was one of the founding Board members of KOM, serving as its treasurer then secretary before stepping off the Board. She returned to the Board of Directors in January 2014. Jennifer lives in Woodbury, MN, with her husband Tim and their four children. She earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Pennsylvania State University in 1998 and currently homeschools her children. She is very thankful for her Karen friends and looks forward to continuing to help the refugee community.

John James, Esq., Board Advisor
John James, lawyer, consultant and former Commissioner of Revenue for the State of Minnesota, has spent his career in public service and service to the public as a lawyer working on tax and business matters and a consultant on public policy issues. John has more than thirty years of experience related to governmental fiscal matters.

He has been involved in federal and state taxation since 1974. His work experience in addition to practicing law includes serving as Deloitte & Toucheís Minneapolis office partner in charge of multistate taxation, working for the Chicago Board of Trade, Price Waterhouse & Co, and co-founding a public policy consulting firm. He also chaired the Multistate Tax Commission, 1989-90 and was a member of the IRS Commissionerís Advisory Group, mid 1990s.

John has been a director of 1000 Friends of Minnesota, Inc., a public charity under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), for the past 11 years and currently chairs that Board. His tax work includes substantial experience in what it takes to qualify for and maintain tax exemption under the Internal Revenue Code and Minnesota law.

John earned his law degree at Harvard Law School, JD, cum laude. He holds a BBA with highest distinction, accounting major, from the University of Iowa.

Tha Kyi, Board Member

Tha Kyi was born in Thailand. He graduated from Bradford College in Bangkok with a B.A. in Business Administration in March 2004. While studying, he co-founded all Karen University Students' Group in 2002 and was elected as a general secretary of University Students Group across Thailand.

In 2005, Tha Kyi started working with Democratic Voice of Burma, DVB, based in Oslo, Norway, as a chief editor and manager of radio broadcasting program in Karen until December 2009. Apart from Karen radio program, Tha Kyi also worked as a radio reporter in Burmese covering Burma. In addition, Tha Kyi closely worked together with various Karen community-based organizations as an active community leader along Thai-Burma border.

Tha Kyi arrived in Minnesota in January 2010 and worked as an immigration assistant with the Minnesota Council of Churches. In 2011, he worked with Lifetrack Resources as an employment counselor. Currently, Tha Kyi works as a medical interpreter and also actively works with the Karen Community of Minnesota as a committee member. He joined the Board of Directors of the Karen Organization of Minnesota in January 2012.

Jim Letts, MD, Board Member

Jim Letts, MD is a family physician and medical director at HealthEast Roselawn Clinic in St. Paul. He also sits on the HealthEast system Equitable Care Advisory Team. At Roselawn Clinic he has led multiple health projects with the Karen community. These include projects partnering with Ramsey County Public Health, Minnesota Department of Health, the University of Minnesota, and the Center for Victims of Torture.

Dr. Letts completed his undergraduate studies at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, his MD at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and his residency at United Family Medicine Residency Program. He is an adjunct faculty member in the department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Dr. Letts serves on the steering committee and as Treasurer for the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. He and his wife Erinn have three children.

Thomas Nguyen, Board Member

Thomas Nguyen, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist and a clinical supervisor at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. At his current employment he supervises case managers serving the Southeast Asian immigrant communities. He is also experienced in providing individual and group therapy, and psychological evaluation. He is particularly interested in serving the immigrant and refugee populations in the Twin Cities.

Dr. Nguyen completed his undergraduate studies at the University of St. Thomas, Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology at St. Mary's University of Minnesota, Doctor of Psychology at the University of St. Thomas, and his residency at Natalis Counseling & Psychology Solutions. He is fluent in Vietnamese and serves as a Sunday school teacher at St. Columba Catholic Church in St. Paul. He and his wife has a 6 months old daughter. Dr. Nguyen joined the KOM board in 2014.

Hmone Putz, Board Member

Bio coming soon.

Susan Schuster, Board Advisor

Susan Schuster is a multifaceted leader specializing in corporate social responsibility, external relations, internal corporate communications and traditional human resources functions, including employee total rewards, recognition and employee engagement. Currently the Senior Community Relations Consultant at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Schuster is a passionate advocate for the employee experience and community involvement. Experienced leading initiatives and collaborating across sectors to accomplish goals, Schuster has extensive knowledge of the Twin Cities' community, corporate and nonprofit players and tirelessly pursues her passion for making meaningful connections between people, organizations and opportunities. She was motivated to serve the Karen community when they became the largest growing population of refugees in Saint Paul. She served as board chair for the Karen Organization of Minnesota in 2010 and 2011, and has served as board advisor since that time. She has served on multiple nonprofit boards, earned her MBA from the University of Saint Thomas, and is pursuing her doctorate in public administration in order to better serve as a catalyst between sectors to improve communities

Myat Thanda Tun, Board Member

Myat arrived in the United States from Yangon, Burma in 2002 as an Asia Pacific Leadership Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. She completed her Bachelors of Economics degree from the University of Rangoon and recently earned her Master's in Health and Human Services Administration from St. Mary's University of Minnesota. In 2005, Myat joined Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis as an intern and was promoted to her current position -Diversity Consultant- over the years. She is currently employed in this position and resides in Minneapolis with her family.

Myat brings vast experience with addressing issues and opportunities in a diverse working environment to the KOM Board. As a member of the Rakhine-Burmese ethnic group of Burma, Myat is particularly passionate about advocating for all of the different ethnic groups from Burma in Minnesota such as Karen, Karenni, Kachin, Chin, Pa-O, Mon, Lisu, Rakhine as well as Burmese. She believes that it is possible to find ways for all of these groups to rebuild their lives together in Minnesota through intercultural and even interfaith practices. In addition to her work in diversity and inclusion, Myat was extremely helpful in contributing to KOM's annual gala last year through her outreach efforts. Most recently, Myat joined the Board's development committee and hopes to further her involvement with KOM in this capacity.

Maiyia Yang, Board Member

Maiyia first worked with Karen English language learners when she was a tutor at the Minnesota Literacy Council. She received her M.A. in Peace and Justice from the University of San Diego where she studied about peace education in Lugufu Refugee Camp in Tanzania. In 2010, Maiyia worked with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mae Sariang, Thailand where she helped with resettlement logistics for Karen refugees. Maiyia is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education with a minor in Human Rights at the University of Minnesota. Using life history, Maiyia's research aims to deconstruct how the lived experiences of Karen women shape their understanding of what it means to be educated. She joined the KOM Board in September 2014.




Please feel free to contact any staff member if you, your family, or Karen or Burmese refugee you know of, could use our assistance.

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