Martha Nichols-Pecceu

Martha’s passion for language learning and cross-cultural exchange has taken her far and wide. In Paris, she completed research for her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures at Duke University. In the classrooms of Eckerd College, Southern Methodist University and, more recently, at Brown University, she has taught French language and culture for 20+ years. Her research has also taken her abroad to the Francophone worlds of Senegal, Martinique and Tahiti. As her experience illustrates, language learning opens up life-changing opportunities. Her family includes her husband, Eric, and their two children, Henri and Charlotte. As a family, the love libraries, theaters and most anywhere in Provence.

Rafael Fernandez-Botran

Rafeal Fernandez-Botran

Rafael was born and raised in Guatemala City, where he obtained a B.S. degree in Biological Chemistry from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala.  He started taking French classes at the Alliance Française de Guatemala but shortly after moved to the U.S., where he received a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Kansas Medical Center. Since 1992, he has been faculty member at the University of Louisville Medical School and has frequently participated in teaching conferences to several universities in his native Guatemala.  Besides research and teaching, Rafael’s other passions are languages (especially French), reading (in French, English and Spanish), classical music and cooking.  Rafael joined the AFL board in 2018 and became Vice-president in 2022.

Jennifer Reifert

Jennifer Reifert

Jennifer Reifert became a member of the Alliance Française de Louisville in 2019 and has been the Treasurer since 2021. She currently has over 8 years of experience in the Healthcare industry and Client Success. Currently, Jennifer resides in Louisville with her husband, Brian, and their two Corgis, Gatsby and Daisy.

Jennifer’s interest in the French language and culture has a long history. She is a Canadian, Taiwanese and US Citizen.  One of her first memorable experiences with French was when she lived in Canada as a young child and was taught basic words and phrases that she still remembers to this day. Her passion was re-ignited during her international travels to Montreal, Paris, Cannes and Normandy several years ago. Although she is still a beginner, Jennifer hopes to continue learning French, stay involved in the community and meet new people at the AFL.

Carole Wolak

Carole Wolak

Carole is a retired English and ESL teacher who has been enjoying classes and activities at AFL for several years.

Mandela Gapala

Mandela Gapala

Mandela Gapala is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo but is now a U.S. Citizen. He earned a BA in Foreign Languages and International Studies with a minor in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from Bellarmine University. He is the Employment Services Manager at Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM). In this position, he coordinates local employers to help them understand the special needs of Refugees and Immigrants in the workforce and advocates for advanced job opportunities. Besides his full-time position at KRM, Mr. Mandela is a community volunteer.

Anne Harlan

Anne Harlan

Anne worked as an orthoepist for many years and is now retired. She has been a board member since 2018 and was secretary for several years. As a member of the Events Committee, she welcomes any suggestions for activities for AFL.

James Natsis

James Natsis

James J. Natsis is a current faculty member at West Virginia State University. He is a former Peace Corp volunteer who served for two years in Chad, Sub-Saharan Africa, conducted his doctoral research in North Africa, and traveled the length of South America for 7½ months overland by backpack. He holds a BA degree in French, an MA in International Affairs—African Studies, and the Ph.D. in International Education from Ohio University.  He has published a monograph, journal and special interest articles, a number of op-eds, and presented papers at many regional and national conferences. He has directed grant projects in Benin, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada and the Czech Republic, and served as external evaluator to a project in the Ivory Coast.

Natsis currently co-hosts the French-language podcast “Récits francophones au Coeur de L’Amérique.” He is fluent in French, and speaks Spanish and several other languages. He married the former Kenya Hurt and they have two sons, Ashton and Aidan. Both of his sons speak French.

Julien Marechaux

Julien Marechaux

Julien is a French citizen who was born in Lyon but grew up in St Germain en Laye, the city where Louis XIV was born, about 20 min away from Versailles in the Parisian region.

When Julien was in middle school, he and his family moved to Madrid, Spain for 5 years. They then moved back to France where Julien finished high school and attended university. After graduating with his undergraduate degree, he moved to Edinburgh Scotland where he met his wife (who is from Lexington, KY). Together, they lived for a little bit in Rouen, Normandy where she took French classes at l’Alliance Francaise while Julien was getting his Masters in Management and Marketing.

They moved to Kentucky in 2014, where Julie received his MBA in Accounting and started a financial career. They have 3 boys that are Franco-American and are trying to raise them with both cultures. Julien is a huge sports fan (always ready to talk about football (soccer), rugby or any other sport) and he frequently returns to France. When stateside, Julien loves sharing French culture with others.

Ronda Reed

Ronda Reed

Ronda was born and raised in Louisville.  After graduating from Bellarmine with an accounting degree, she went on to become a CPA working for KPMG.  Once she met her husband, they began relocating and travelling around the US and Europe with their two children.  This travel sparked Ronda’s interest in learning the French language.  She and her husband moved back to Louisville and now Ronda enjoys taking French classes, biking in France, and promoting the French culture.  She is honored to be a new AF Louisville board member.

Matt Straub

Matt Straub

Originally from Louisville, KY, Matt brings a diverse business background and international perspective to the AFL. Matt’s affinity for France and international business started at the age of 14 when he traveled to France with his high school French club.  This prompted Matt to study French for 9 years, including five months at the Université de Haute Bretagne in Rennes, France.

Matt earned a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, with minors in French and Economics from the University of Kentucky, and an MBA from the University of Louisville.  He started his career at Brown Forman Corporation where he spent 15 years working in Finance, five years in Corporate Strategy, and five years in Sales Operations. Matt spent 15 years of this time focusing on International Business, including four years living overseas in the Czech Republic and England. He later relocated to Florida for five years, before returning to Louisville.

After leaving Brown-Forman, he has leveraged his broad business background over the past seven years to do Merger & Acquisition work focused in the dental industry, and works along-side his wife in managing their family business “European Splendor,” which imports and sells European furniture, home accessories & gifts.  Happily married to Susan for 25+ years, Matt is an outdoor enthusiast, loves traveling, cycling, fine dining, and time with family & friends.

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Galina Vayerman

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Madeline MacKersie

Madeline MacKersie

Madeline MacKersie is the office manager at AFL. She has a long-standing passion for the French Language. Growing up, her mother spoke French with her and she introduced Madeline to many invaluable experiences within the language and culture. Madeline loves languages; she speaks English, French, Spanish, and her latest venture is Arabic. Madeline’s mother was a part of the Alliance Française de Dijon-Bourgogne and she is so excited to carry that passion here with AFL!