Dr. Jones is originally from Minnesota. He grew up in both Florida and Georgia, and attended college at Florida State University, where he obtained a B.S., an M.S. and eventually a Ph.D. in Neurobiology. After a two-year research fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, he came to Chapel Hill to attend medical school. After graduation, he stayed on at UNC for a five-year residency in Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery. He was then a faculty member in the Dept. of Surgery for seven years before starting his own practice in Chapel Hill, which he ran for 17 years before retiring in 2015. He has a daughter adopted from Guatemala, and has been involved in GSSG since 2010.
Bob Dermody graduated from Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY and has an MBA from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. He is retired from working in the financial operations at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill after almost 20 years of service. Prior to that he worked in public accounting and taught at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY. He and his wife, Julie, have been involved with GSSG since 2004. Along with others, he and his late wife, Julie, sponsored one of the current GSSG students, Blanca Guarcas.
Berkeley Grimball, Jr. is founder and owner of Grimball Jewelers, which opened in Chapel Hill, NC in 1985. Prior to opening Grimball Jewelers, he started and ran several other businesses. In 1973, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He served as a board member of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Chamber of Commerce from 2000 to 2006. He is married with two sons and one grandson.
While raising her three children, Debbie Lindsey volunteered in the community and worked part time as a substitute teacher and Catholic school music teacher. Her volunteer work with immigrants and love of the Spanish language and Hispanic people led her to earn a BA in Spanish Education and a certificate in ESL education from NC State University, After graduation, she worked as an ESL teacher in elementary schools for ten years. Debbie and her husband, Tom, hosted GSSG student Rafael in their home for three years. In the summer of 2017, she led a group of five volunteer ESL teachers to travel to Guatemala to teach English to local townsfolk through a GSSG partner, the John Bodoh English Academy. Debbie currently works as a teacher assistant.
Jorge Paque works as a consulting Director in the recruitment of new students and is responsible for obtaining health records, passports, visas, and transportation within Guatemala. He received his licenciado from Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala. He is a retired English teacher and an authority on the Guatemalan education system and conditions in Guatemala generally.
Cristina España, a Guatemalan born in Costa Rica, with strong community and government relationships, celebrates and empowers the value of immigrants. She is the newly appointed Deputy Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Office of Governor Roy Cooper, working for North Carolinians born outside of the US, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generations.
Cristina was a career diplomat for Guatemala for 12 years, served in Raleigh, Atlanta, and Madrid. She is part of a network of several local and nationwide groups working towards immigrant and refugee integration. She is a Board Member at L’Ecole French School, Women’s Business Center and Guatemalan Support Student Group.
Cristina holds a Master’s Degree on Neuromarketing and a Bachelor’s in Advertising from the University Latina of Costa Rica, and formal studies in Fine and Contemporary Arts in Costa Rica, Guatemala, California and the European University in Madrid. One of her art pieces was display at NCMA and SECCA. Music, dance, writing, and art are part of her family daily life, with her husband Nathanael Sperger, their 2 daughters, Isabella and Olivia, and her mom Eugenia Gallardo.
Byron Cap graduated three years ago, and has been involved in a number of projects since then. Byron seems to excel in developing businesses that both fill a need in his local community and at the same time provide jobs and income. His first venture was to organize a coffee cooperative that allows local growers to pool their product and resources so that they can scale up and sell their coffee to a much larger market. Byron handles the distribution and marketing, and now their coffee is sold in several places in Guatemala and also, through the internet, in the US and other countries. Check it out at “Byron’s Coffee” on Facebook, or order through Green Cafeen (greencafeen.com).
Consul General Jorge Archila was born in Guatemala City and is married to Elizabeth Archila. They have one daughter, Audrey. Mr. Archila graduated from North Carolina State University with a BS in Management and also has an MBA from Argosy University in Chicago. He entered the Guatemalan Diplomatic Service in 2005 and since then has been either Viceconsul or General Consul of consulates in Chicago, Providence, R.I., and Del Rio, Texas. He was placed in charge of opening the Raleigh, NC Consulate in 2017, which has now grown to become the sixth largest of the twenty-five Guatemalan Consulates in the United States.