Meet the AALV Staff
Yacouba Jacob Bogre: Executive Director
Jacob Bogre has been the Executive Director of AALV since 2009, leading AALV in partnerships with other service provider organizations to equip immigrants and refugees with necessary tools and skills to resettle in Vermont. Prior to leading AALV, Jacob worked at the Charles River Laboratories at the University of Vermont. He also served as president of the association’s board, in addition to mentoring students and organizing and facilitating AIDS awareness and prevention workshops.
He studied law degree and is also a 2008 graduate of the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program and has a professional certificate in Leadership and Management from the Vermont Business Center at the University of Vermont, School of Business Administration.
Thato Ratsebe: Assistant Director, Programs Manager
Thato joined AALV in 2012. Prior to joining AALV, Thato worked as Interim Director for Multicultural Affairs at St. Michael’s College in Vermont designing, implementing and evaluating diversity and social justice education programs to support students. She also worked internationally in East Africa and Canada to promote Women’s Health through Entertainment Education programs. She worked as a Public Relations Manager, building relationships between service provider
organizations, as well as Career Development practitioner, coaching newly arrived immigrants navigate labor markets and adjust to their new environment.
Thato has a Masters of Science degree in Administration and Management, a Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communications both from St. Michael’s College and an Associates degree in Liberal Studies from Community College of Vermont (CCV) in 2003. She graduated from the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program in 2014.
Alisha Laramee: NFNA Program Specialist
Originally from Kentucky, but raised primarily in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, she attended St. Lawrence University as an undergrad, and then received her Master's degree from Dartmouth College. At AALV, she manages the New Farms for New Americans program.
Alisha has managed education-based programs in East Africa, South America and Central America for the past 15 years. In Vermont, she has worked for the Vermont Migrant Education Program, serving migrant farm workers on Vermont's dairy farms. She's also taught travel writing at UVM and immigration and migrant studies at CCV. She has been a co-collaborator on research related to food and migration, as well as food justice in Vermont.
Rita Neopaney: Outreach Worker & Program Specialist
Rita joined the AALV staff as an interpreter in 2010 and a year later began working for the New Farms for New Americans program. Currently, she serves as a Community Outreach Counselor and Program Specialist primarily for the Bhutanese community, specializing in community and domestic violence education and counseling. She oversees the following programs at AALV: Adult and Youth STD and HIV/AIDS Training Program, Parenting Class Program and Financial Education Workshops. She is a graduate of the Burlington Police Department’s Community Academy for citizens of Burlington and members of the business community.
She is originally from Bhutan. She lived in Nepal for 20 years where she served as an educator and school administrator at the Bhassara Secondary School in Kathmandu, Nepal. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. She speaks Nepali, Hindi, Dzonkha and English.
Michele Jenness: Legal Services Coordinator
Prior to joining AALV in 2014, Michele was the executive director of Vermont Immigration and Asylum Advocates, where she worked to provide quality immigration legal services to the most vulnerable and indigent immigrants, such as asylum seekers, survivors of torture and trauma and detained immigrants in removal proceedings.
Michele also advocated for more humane immigration policies and worked to educate U.S. citizens to increase their participation in national and international refugee and immigration issues. She is glad to continue this work as a member of the AALV team.
Hina Vignola: Interpreting Services Coordinator
Hina moved from Pakistan to Vermont several years ago. She has appreciated and embraced the community spirit of Vermonters and has remained a resident of the green state ever since.
Hina brings five years of combined working experience in a senior care industry as a director of marketing, community outreach coordinator and admissions coordinator. She has also worked as a Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselor with adults experiencing significant behavioral, emotional and psychiatric challenges. She was also a part of a small group who started a non-profit organization called “Celebrating Seniors” to develop, coordinate and promote affordable opportunities for seniors to come together for social community events in Vermont. Hina holds a Bachelor’s degree of science in Business Administration with a concentration in French. She is fluent in Urdu/Hindi, has working knowledge of French, and able to read and write Arabic.