Executive Director

Paulina Romo Villaseñor
Paulina, a native of Guadalajara, México, was a Spanish and literature teacher for over 10 years. She has also worked as an academic advisor, translator, and interpreter. She holds bachelor’s degrees in business administration and general science (1999) as well as a master’s degree in romance languages from the University of Oregon (2004).



Board of Directors

Natalie Barg, President
Natalie is a graduate student at the University of Oregon pursuing a Master of Nonprofit Management degree. Natalie earned her bachelor of arts degree in anthropology from the University of California, Davis. Her field of interest is international community development. She hopes to help impoverished communities recover from economic hardships. Currently, she works at the Museum for Natural and Cultural History as an education instructor and loves to be around children.

Katie Gaebel, Treasurer
Katie is the Experiential Learning Program Coordinator for the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University, where she helps students and industry locate internship, research, and global opportunities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and German from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, and master’s and doctorate degrees in educational policy and leadership from Ohio State University. Before moving to Corvallis in 2014, Katie was an assistant professor of education in Iowa, where she taught socio-cultural foundations of education and multicultural education and implemented numerous opportunities for students, including short-term experiences in Puerto Rico and a grant-funded internship project for Burmese refugee youth in Des Moines. She also served on the Board of Directors for a refugee organization. Since coming to Oregon, Katie has taken every opportunity to explore the natural wonders of the state. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her husband and two dogs.


Marilyn Kelly, Secretary
Marilyn holds a bachelor’s degree in French from Whitman College. She served three years in the Peace Corps in Tanzania and Uganda, where she taught English in upper primary school and French in secondary school. A long-time resident of Eugene, she has worked as a seamstress, bookkeeper, legal secretary, legal software trainer, volunteer tutor for adult ESL learners, and editor and technical writer for an online public high school and other K-12 Web-based initiatives.


Doug Bales
Doug has been serving as a Financial and Investment Advisor in our community for almost 30 years. During this time he has been very involved with the Great Rotary Duck Race and the Egan Warming Center Project. He has renovated half a dozen houses in the downtown area and lives on the McKenzie River in Vida. Doug likes to row his wooden drift boat and spends a lot of time on the river.

Doug Bales

Ollie Gaskell
Ollie is a graduate student at the University of Oregon pursuing concurrent degrees in Master of Nonprofit Management and Master of Community and Regional Planning. Originally from Chester, England, Ollie holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Spanish from Lancaster University and previously worked as an ESL assistant at a school in Barcelona, Spain. When not working on grad school projects, Ollie can be found riding bikes and exploring the natural wonders of Oregon.

Becky-Jo Samples
Becky-Jo is passionate about providing students access to educational opportunities and has served as a volunteer mentor for ASPIRE Oregon, a program of the Oregon Student Assistance Commission, since 2015 and as a board member for Downtown Languages since 2017. A proud Duck, Becky-Jo holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Oregon and a master’s of business administration from Northwest Christian University. She is the marketing automation program manager at Columbia Bank.

Matthew Watkins
Matthew Watkins comes from a multi-generational Oregon family. His childhood was largely spent in the fishing and timber towns of the Oregon coast. As a young man, Matthew entered into the construction trades and continued to work in that industry for 15 years before deciding to return to school. Matthew graduated from the University of Oregon Law School in May 2017.

Matt Watkinson