Directors

Interim Executive Director

Brook Edwards
Brook was named DTL’s Interim Director in September, 2018. Prior to her appointment, she served as a Senior Project Manager at Downtown Languages for over four years, working extensively with our leadership team during that time, as well as managing our volunteer program. She brings 17 years of experience in both the financial services and public/nonprofit sector prior to the position. Brook also served in the Peace Corp as a public health volunteer in Nicaragua. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Idaho, and a Master of Public Administration degree and Master’s Certificate in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Oregon. She enjoys hiking, road biking, photography, camping, and just generally being out in nature with her husband and son.

Board of Directors

Becky-Jo Samples, President and Treasurer
Becky-Jo is passionate about providing students access to educational opportunities. She served as a volunteer mentor for ASPIRE Oregon, a program of the Oregon Student Assistance Commission, from 2015 to 2018, and has been 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 a product marketing manager at Oregon Community Credit Union.

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.

Marilyn

Nino Dgebuadze
Nino is a graduate student at the University of Oregon. She is doing concurrent degrees in Nonprofit Management and International Studies. Her research focuses on the well-being of migrant and refugee communities as a result of their resettlement experiences. She looks at how women specifically experience migration and what the impacts are on their health. Previously, Nino worked with an international nonprofit organization in the Republic of Georgia on a program addressing human rights violations in Eastern Europe. She was responsible for coordination of the program activities. She also had the opportunity to work with the same organization at headquarters in Washington, D.C., over the summer of 2018. During her undergraduate studies, Nino studied abroad and volunteered in three countries where she was able to gain valuable intercultural experience. 

Brice Mercer
Brice is a graduate student in nonprofit management at the University of Oregon. Before entering graduate school, he spent over 10 years working as a creative director and technology director in churches and religious communities throughout the southeastern United States. During those years, he developed skills managing volunteers, programming live productions, building technology infrastructure, and public speaking. In 2015, Brice began studying religion and philosophy at Radford University in Virginia, which led him to choose a career path in the nonprofit sector. His current studies focus on social entrepreneurship with a specific emphasis on how nonprofits utilize software and information systems to advance their missions.

Claude Puntel-Sessions
Claude moved from the south of France to New Jersey in 1998. As an immigrant to this country, diversity, languages, cultures, and cross-cultural communications are a big part of her life. She knows well how challenging and intimidating language acquisition is for newcomers to the United States. In 2009, she created a cross-cultural communication and translation business in Kansas, and in 2011 got involved with the International Rescue Committee, assisting refugees from around the world with English as a Second Language and Naturalization test preparation. Claude has a trilingual master’s degree in cross-cultural communication and negotiation from the University of Aix en Provence in France, and is a certified ESL instructor and French-to-English translator. In her spare time, she likes to explore Oregon and spend time with her three daughters and husband.