Meet Our International Professionals Program Participants (Winter 2021 Cohort)

On Thursday, December 16, 2021 The Welcoming Center hosted a recognition ceremony for the Winter 2021 cohort of our International Professionals Program (IPP).

IPP is an eight-week course for career readiness training followed by six months of job coaching. It brings together a diverse group of international professionals with bachelor’s degrees or higher and U.S. work authorization seeking to enter the U.S. workforce through meaningful employment or fellowship opportunities.  

Some our participants shared more about themselves. Learn more below.


Noudjoude Benykhlef

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Noudjoude has been a teacher of French for the past 13 years. She has a bachelor’s degree with a major in French language. She is from Algeria and moved to the United States in 2020.

She constantly looks for ways to make the learning environment more interactive, inclusive, and creative to meet the needs of every student.

She speaks Arabic, English, and French.


Tai-Hsuan (Aimee)

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Tai-Hsuan (Aimee) Liu is an experienced applied theater educator who has been working with diverse groups ranging from young kids to adults for more than 15 years. Her approach utilizes drama as a vehicle and applies for various purposes, such as language learning and community development. She is also a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, a widely-implemented approach to improve physical and mental wellbeing.

Since 2015, she has been teaching in both private and public settings in the U.S. and Taiwan, and also founded “Alexander Technique Chinese” for serving the Chinese-speaking community.

Tai-Hsuan (Aimee) holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theater from Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan, and a Master’s degree in Drama and Theatre Education from the University of Warwick, U.K. Tai-Hsuan speaks Mandarin Chinese and English.


Bulat Isenzhulov

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Bulat Isenzhulov is a marketing professional with over 10 years of experience as a consultant. He worked as a Deputy Director of special projects for a dancewear organization where he led the strategy to develop new products.

He has an MBA in Strategic Management from Institute of Business Studies of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration and moved to the U.S. in April 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bulat speaks Russian and English.


Helena (Janti) Hidayat 

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Helena (Janti) Hidayat is a participant in the International Professionals Program at The Welcoming Center. She is from Indonesia and emigrated to the U.S in 2016.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree of Accountancy from Tarumanagara University in Indonesia and brings with her 20 years of sales administration and accounts receivable experience that has been marked by a savvy and effective management style.

Helena speaks English, Bahasa Indonesia, and Chinese.

Zahraa Alshammari

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My name is Zahraa Alshammari. I was born in Iraq. In 2006 I graduated from Baghdad University with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

In 2008 I got a chance to work with an American company to support U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects and coordinate project meetings to avoid conflict. I also got great experience as an engineer when I worked with them.

In October 2016, I moved to Philadelphia, looking for something different, with new challenges and adventures. The Welcoming Center is one of the best places that helped me organize my resume and write my cover letter and meet new people from different countries.


Spenzer Louis

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Spenzer Louis is an immigrant from Haiti who has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science in the State University of Haiti with over 12 years of project management and leadership experience in contract management and monitoring of program. He worked for the Fonds d’Assistance Economic et Sociale (F.A.E.S), the E.U Delegation in Haiti and others organizations helping the Haitian state, private sector, and small and medium enterprises to successfully complete their projects and programs.

In April 2021 Spenzer immigrated to the U.S.. Spenzer is fully authorized to work in the U.S and brings with him skills and experiences to integrate a U.S enterprise and make a career. He also speaks French.


Sylvia Garcia-Garcia

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Sylvia Garcia-Garcia is an experienced multilingual strategic planning consultant and social impact project manager. She is a critical and strategic thinker, which has been fruitful while leading capacity-building initiatives and cross-sector alliances.

Sylvia thrives while managing projects from inception to conclusion, working on a range of topics from education and health to crime prevention and community development. Sylvia masters the use of strategic planning and human-centered design tools. She communicates clearly, concisely, and logically the findings and results to a diversity of groups, ranging from community members and allies to donors and board members.

Sylvia’s experience of living in five different countries strengthens the significance of shared knowledge, turning knowledge management actions into must-to-be-advanced within the organizations she works with. She prioritizes collaboration and integrity at all times.

Sylvia loves reading an assortment of genres, mixing embroidery and painting, and swimming when a pool is available.

Samiha Belmellat

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Samiha Belmellat is an Algerian immigrant. She immigrated to the United States in 2014.

She has more than 10 years of experience as an administrative assistant and worked for the Algerian Government for all her career.

Samiha has a bachelor’s degree in economy and finance from the University of Algiers and also, she was one of the top ten students graduating from high school.

Samiha was born and raised in Algiers, the capital of Algeria. She can speak French, Arabic and English.

Our participants are a highly skilled group of bilingual and multilingual talent with global experience who bring years of knowledge, skills, and experience with themTo connect with any of our international professionals for employment or fellowship opportunities, please contact Rochelle T. Cooks, Director of Workforce Development, through our contact form. 

Do YOU want to apply for IPP? Visit the IPP page to learn more and apply!

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