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About NATI

NATI was established in 1998 and formally incorporated as a 501(c)6 association in 1999 with our final bylaws ratified and signed on July 4, 2000. Since then, our membership has grown from 8 very dedicated members of a steering committee to over 200 independent contractors, NGO's, government employees, businesses, volunteer language access activists, ESL instructors and healthcare providers. Our members speak numerous languages and dialects, have widely varying personal and professional backgrounds, hail from states around the US and generously share their cultural knowledge and multinational expertise.

The NATI Board of Directors is made up of active and dedicated NATI members who may be practicing interpreters and translators, language bureaus, students, public agency staff, and private organizations who utilize language service providers. We meet the first Sunday of every month from 1-3 PM. If you would like to attend a Board meeting as an observer, please email us at info@natihq.org.


Board of Directors

 

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Karina Ruiz-Vargas, President (2017-2019)

Tel: (402) 318-3612

karinav7@gmail.com

(English and Spanish)

Karina is currently preparing to become a certified Medical Interpreter. She received a BA in Psychology from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently is Spanish interpreter at Health 360, a partnership with People's Health Center and Lutheran Family Services. In the past, she has worked at an Immigration Law office. In the near future, she will be purusing her Master's Degree in either Social Work or Child, Youth, and Family Studies in order to help children through counseling services

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Wei Whitbeck, Vice President (2016-2018)

Tel: (402) 960-4689

wei.whitbeck@gmail.com

(Chinese and English)

Wei arrived in Omaha as a College of Saint Mary exchange student, obtaining a BS in Business Administration. From there she attended the Monterrey Institute of International Studies. Upon graduation, she worked as e-Bay's Chinese Language Specialist for a year before returning to Omaha. She has also served as Chinese assistant professor at Offutt's Defense Language Institute. A freelance interpreter and translator since 2001, she designed the 2-year Chinese curriculum for UNL's online high school, launched Learn Chinese through Martial Arts after-school and summer classes at various private schools and churches. Finally, she provides group and individual Chinese lessons and serves as teaching director at Omaha Chinese School.

jennifer v. photo

Jennifer Verhein, Director (2016-2018)

Tel: (402) 471-8854

jennifer.verhein@nebraska.gov

Jennifer Verhein holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.After practicing law with Iowa Legal Aid and with the Office of the Des Moines County Attorney, Jennifer came to the Administrative Office of the Courts in October 2015 with the extensive legal and administrative experience necessary for her to return to her true passion: advocating for access to justice. It is now her privilege to use her legal and administrative skills to foster language access to Nebraska courts and probation services. Because she devotes her attention to the challenges of language access, Jennifer recognizes that the NATI Board plays an important role recruiting, developing and retaining Nebraska interpreters. She sees serving on the Board as a way to enhance communication and collaboration between this professional organization and the Nebraska Judicial Branch; inviting, educating and advocating for qualified interpreters to serve as essential conduits for limited English proficient participants in Nebraska courts and probation services offices.

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Edie Cruise, Treasurer (2017-2019)

Tel: (402) 805-5024

edie.cruise@gmail.com

(English and Spanish)

Edie Cruise is currently a State Certified Court Interpreter (Spanish) and Interpretation Program Adjunct Professor with Metropolitan Community College. Edie earned her BA in Spanish, International Studies and Latin-American Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, after which she participated in a bilateral exchange with the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. During her six years in Spain, Edie taught English at the University level for four years and also earned an International Doctorate in Psychology. She has returned to her native Nebraska where she  worked in the Child Welfare field before becoming a freelance Certified Court Interpreter. She greatly enjoys assisting those in language access and interpreter instruction as well as continues to publish original research in the area of Social Psychology focusing on parent-child relationships and outcomes. Edie is currently working to become a Federally Certified Court Interpreter.

Annabelle Abisset, Director and Co-Treasurer (2017-2019)

Tel: (402) 415-4173

avabisset@unomaha.edu

(English and Spanish)  

Annabelle is in pursuit of her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Spanish Language with an expected graduation date of May 2018. She became passionate about community development when visiting her family in Peru from a young age. Through volunteer opportunities in Omaha with Spanish immigrant families in teaching bilingual children lessons in Spanish and teaching beginning violin in Spanish, she became more interested in the language and using it in her career. Annabelle currently works at ONE Omaha as the Community Development intern and has experience working in Spanish speaking neighborhoods and translating documents from English to Spanish. Once she graduates, Annabelle hopes to work in the international field working on community development and using her languages to communicate and encourage residents to make positive changes in their communities.

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Emma Lockard, Secretary and Webmaster (2016-2018)

Tel: (402) 536-3519

elockard@lfsneb.org 

(English, Spanish and French)

Emma Lockard is Nebraska born-and-bred; her hometown is North Platte. She holds a degree from University of Nebraska-Kearney in Spanish Translation & Interpretation, and a minor in French.  Additionally, Emma studied ESL and secondary Spanish education and international studies. Here's an interesting fact about Emma: she reports, " I did my first translation at the age of 13—I translated all the Spanish songs on Shakira’s album “Laundry Service” into English. I felt like I was breaking a secret code..." To this day Emma loves to interpret and translate, although her current position overseeing Lutheran Family Services' language services program prevents her from interpreting and translating as much as she would like.  However, she continues to keep up on new trainings and skill development by coaching the interpreters she supervises.

 Judith Gutierrez, Director (2017-2019)

Tel: (402) 830-0268

judith.gutierrez@nebraskafc.org

(English and Spanish)

Judith Gutierrez is a native Nebraskan. Her Grandparents came to central Nebraska from Mexico in 1915. She has followed her Mother’s legacy of being an Advocate for the Latino Communities and families of other countries and cultural backgrounds. Judith serves as a Community Interpreter to insure families have a clear understanding of their rights and helps educate others to build understanding and appreciation of Immigrant and Refugee families. She belongs to North Omaha Community Care Council and serves on the Youth and Outreach Committee; South Omaha Community Care Council, Outreach and Advocacy Committee; Operation Youth Success, Family Group committee; JDAI Collaborative, Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee. She previously worked for Tyson Foods as a Community Relations Manager and also worked for the Nebraska Migrant Education program. She currently serves families in her position as Cultural and Community Liaison for Nebraska Families Collaborative.

 

 

 

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