OnWord Partner is an organization that supports immigrants and refugees who have established careers and seek to become professionally integrated in the U.S. We provide individualized career and educational advising services as well as language and legal support services as needed.
Founder & President
OnWord Partner was established in 2016 by Shelly Hedstrom, an ESL professor and linguist who specializes in writing and grammar. Shelly has spent her career working with international students and immigrants - both locally and globally - primarily in colleges and universities, but most recently in the non-profit sector in Boston. In 2015, Shelly left the college where she was teaching in Florida to move to Boston to begin serving skilled immigrant and refugee populations in Massachusetts, partnering with them to return to their professional careers in the U.S. Realizing the great need for foreign-trained professionals and the limited resources available, Shelly decided to start her own organization to support this underserved population. Shelly holds Master’s degrees in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) and Theoretical Linguistics and has completed PhD coursework in Higher Education Leadership. Shelly has lived and taught and travelled to dozens of countries and speaks six languages.
Jeff joined OnWord Partner in 2017 after a long and varied career as a nonprofit program director, educator, private sector project manager, and public policy researcher. From 2012 to 2017 Jeff was Director of the New Americans Integration Institute at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition. Under Jeff's leadership MIRA convened the first statewide, cross-sector task force in the country to explore strengthening career pathways for foreign-trained medical professionals, and he is a nationally recognized expert on policy and program development impacting skilled immigrants and refugees. His career includes a decade as a project manager in the high tech sector, where he managed multi-national development projects and worked with engineers and scientists from dozens of countries, and many years as a college humanities teacher and ESOL instructor. He holds a PhD in Medieval Studies from Harvard University and a Master in Public Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Elizabeth Hogan joined OnWord Partner in 2018. Elizabeth has spent more than a decade assisting immigrants with citizenship & immigration and training foreign-educated doctors and nurses returning to healthcare as certified nursing associates. As manager of the Citizenship & Immigration Program at Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), one of the largest workforce development non-profits in Boston, Elizabeth has supported hundreds of immigrants and refugees in obtaining their US citizenship. Elizabeth holds Board of Immigration Appeals - Department of Justice Accreditation and serves as the JVS citizenship & immigration onsite services provider. She has extensive experience with processing green cards, family-based immigration, EAD work cards, derivative applications for citizenship, US citizenship applications, fee waivers and disability waivers. Elizabeth holds a BFA from Boston University and has worked in the medical field for over 30 years. Elizabeth was a professor of Health Information Management before focusing her career on serving immigrants and refugees in Massachusetts.
Abbey Finn officially joined OnWord Partner in 2019 as our blog editor and social media and web design manager. Abbey revitalized our blog page, taking the initiative on many fronts: producing feature articles and editorials, covering OnWord Partner events, assisting as a promotional photographer and videographer, and maintaining our social media presence. At OnWord Partner, Abbey is honing her diverse skillset as a journalism student at Emerson College. In her affiliation with OnWord Partner Abbey is not only expanding upon her media and reporting skills, but also exploring her interest in diverse, multicultural narratives as she recounts the stories of OnWord clients. Abbey’s fascination and drive to learn more about different cultures is reflected in her minor in Political Science and in Global & Postcolonial Studies, studies that will ultimately contribute to her desired international beat within the wider realm of contemporary journalism.