Marilyn Guggenheim(Board President) - Marilyn grew up in southern California, where she wishes she had the chance at her K-5 school to learn Spanish WLI-style from her many classmates raised in bilingual families! She started studying Japanese in college, and learned some family history by living with her mother’s three sisters in their Tokyo childhood home. She taught Japanese language and literature at Montana State University for six years, and now enjoys sharing Japanese greetings and songs, memories of and trips to Tokyo, folk tales, anime, and origami with her two sons. Building true connection with people through interactive stories and ideas is one of her favorite pastimes.
Katie Wing (Vice President) - Katie Wing, is owner of The Loft Spa Downtown Bozeman. She brings a strong business sense, a commitment to mission-based endeavors, and a commitment and passion for language and cultural diversity to our community. We are so excited to have Katie on our board!
Lauren Caselli -Lauren learned her first foreign language when she was five and her grandparents would switch from English to Italian to argue with one another. A voracious reader and lifelong traveler, Lauren's love for languages started in middle school when her seventh grade class visited Quebec and she asked to buy something in French. An event planner and community builder, Lauren believes deeply that shared language can connect us and help build bridges across experiences and culture. As Montana grows and we start hearing different languages more often in our state, Lauren is thrilled to be a part of WLI's board to help connect folks from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds who share a deep love for our amazing community.
Claudia Koechell - As a young professional with a global mindset, a fervor for studying languages, and a strong initiative to connect with her community, Claudia is thrilled to be a part of the WLI-MT Board of Directors. She currently works on the development team at commonFont, a Bozeman-based tech company, but is originally from Wisconsin. While at UW-Madison, Claudia studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina with a Spanish immersion program where she interned and volunteered with local advocacy groups. After graduating from college, she moved abroad to Paris, France to work as an au pair and to learn French. In the summers, she continues to travel back to France as a guide with a service-based travel company for teens called Global Works. Claudia loves studying languages, learning about other cultures and traditions, and above all, inspiring others to do the same.
Nancy Mahoney - After years studying archaeology and excavating sites from Cyprus to Chaco Canyon, my husband and I settled in Montana to raise our two kids. Between work and personal travel, language has been at the forefront of my concern. My greatest regret was not to have learned a language early in life, and as a result, I am a hopeful (yet still mediocre) Spanish speaker. At MSU, I taught Anthropology for over a decade and linguistics became a well-loved section in many of my courses. The power of language to enhance brain development and shape human perception is truly amazing. The earlier we learn new languages, the better.
Brigitte Morris - Brigitte was born and raised in France. She earned a Master’s in Sociology-Anthropology at Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France, just before moving to Bozeman. She founded a chapter of the Alliance Française in 1990 and expanded their teaching of other foreign languages, offering French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Chinese classes adults in the Bozeman community for about 30 years. Her other professional experiences include teaching French language and theatre at MSU for over 25 years as well as seminars with the Honors College and the College of Letters and Science. In June 2016, she received a Master’s in Education from MSU and continues teaching French at MSU and in the community. Through her work on WLI's Board she aims to promote communication in a variety of languages and looks forward to offering her expertise and energy to help it grow.