Our Board Members

GICS is pleased to announce our Board of Directors, who began their terms in November 2016 and will serve through 2020. Please enjoy their brief biographies below.

The Oral History Series, Filmnacht, and Klönschnack are community programs of the Gerlind Institute, a tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All programs can receive, and acknowledge, tax-deductible donations and grants.

Dr. Marion Gerlind

Marion Gerlind, Ph.D., Director/Founder and Board President

Making the Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies a nonprofit is a long-held dream of mine, since I founded the Institute in 2006. I am honored to work with students and participants in our programs throughout the Bay Area in the teaching and promotion of progressive German cultural studies.

We have grown as an international community and appreciate everyone who has walked through our doors, as well as those who have been actively engaged over many years. I am excited to work with our members, especially those who have stepped up to the Board of Directors.

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JB, Vice President and Treasurer

I am the owner of DRAGA design, a computer consulting and design company, in Oakland, CA, and have been involved in the computer industry for over 25 years. I've also been a German student for nearly as long! My B.A. in Theatre (minor in English Literature), from Fordham University prepared me for a lifelong love and study of the Arts, language, and literature.

I have been involved with the Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies since its inception as the Technical Director and advisor.

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Jude Bell

Jude Bell, Secretary

My love of German language and culture began at University of Washington. After my undergraduate studies, I spent a year at the Universität Hamburg. After that, I came to UC Berkeley to do graduate studies. After my formal studies, I continued to study on my own. I was so excited to find like-minded people at the Gerlind Institute along with many opportunities to work with the language. I’ve been part of the Gerlind Institute now for several years and am delighted to serve as a member of the Board.

My favorite way to immerse myself in German is travel. I’ve visited many parts of Germany, but in recent years all my visits have been to Berlin, my favorite city. I had the privilege of visiting Berlin several times while the Wall was still up, and I am fascinated about all the changes in the city since then.

Loren Norman

Loren Norman

Loren started with the Gerlind Institute in 2012 as a student seeking affordable German language lessons and came to find friends and mentors who share her commitment to community, diversity, and accessibility. She’s a self-described Lebensstudentin with a BA from Mills College in Philosophy with emphases on Feminism and Religious Studies. Her education, in combination with her extensive experience in program assistance and good old fashioned gumption, brings a helping hand guided by sensitivity and collaboration. As Administrative Assistant, Loren liaisons with community businesses, solicits co-sponsors for the OH-Series, and assists with program development efforts. In addition, she supports the director, Marion Gerlind, with course research and preparation, web site resources and OH-Series events. In short, she’s a Loren-of-All-Trades!

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Travis Fretter

Travis Fretter

Born and raised in Berkeley California, the eldest of three children, I graduated from Berkeley High where I learned some German. Later I attended the University of Geneva, Switzerland Interpreters’ school, and studied in English, French, German, and Italian. Altogether, I lived in Europe for ten years, five in German speaking areas.

I have two daughters, one in Portland, one in Upstate New York. Their mother died in 1980. I live in Berkeley with my partner of 6 years, Betsy, and have volunteered as an Italian teacher for the past 11 years at the North Berkeley Senior Center. I have been a supporter and member of the Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies for nearly a decade, and speaker in the Oral History Series.

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Elizabeth Brady

Elizabeth A. Brady

Elizabeth studied at Golden Gate University, San Francisco, as well as the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (Episcopal), among others. She has considerable experience as a Development Director and Alumni Relations. Now retired, she remains active by taking classes through the Osher Life Long Learning Institute, private German classes through the Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies, and volunteering with Alameda County.

Elizabeth loves reading, travel, book groups, hiking, Pilates, cooking, theater, concert and museum going, her grandchildren, and meaningful conversations.

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