Our collective Intelligence

Meet our Team

With the help of our partners from around the world, we are working to bring you a diverse array of languages to hear and learn. We are dedicated to the eco-intelligent design of the Lingua Bear™ toy, and to our mission of recording and helping to revitalize as many languages as possible, before they disappear.

It will take a conscious and continuous effort on many fronts to ensure their survival, and we are excited to make our contribution by providing a way to learn lesser-known languages while empowering their communities.

Talent Plus Dedication Equals

Board of Directors

Lingua Bear Leadership

Andrei Golub

Andrei Golub, a US immigrant since 1989 from the Soviet Union, recently completed his Public Administration studies at Evergreen State College, Washington. He’s now dedicated to integrating minor language communities into the Lingua Bear project, securing funding, and collaborating with the University of Utah’s Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. Previously, Andrei studied languages at the University of Utah, taught across Europe, and served with the Peace Corps in South America, reflecting his commitment to linguistic diversity and education.

Dominique St Clair

Secretary Dominique St. Clair co-facilitates meditation workshops all over the world. She joined the family business full-time in 2011 and has worked in The Netherlands, Ireland, India, Zimbabwe, Spain, Canada as well as all over the United States. She has volunteered countless hours of her time and paid the legal fees associated with acquiring our 501c3 status.

Mariessa Maughan

Board Member Mariessa Maughan, a University of Utah alumna and Lingua Bear’s founding Treasurer, has played a critical role in both the financial and creative aspects of the project, notably funding the design of the Lingua Bear toy and voicing the character “Pitulí”. Her work extends beyond this project; after aiding marginalized communities worldwide with eye care at the Moran Eye Institute, she now trains its employees, blending her passion for healthcare with her commitment to service. Additionally, Mariessa is dedicated to teaching her son about language and culture through Lingua Bear, demonstrating her deep engagement with cultural education and community betterment.

Rose Jakub

Board Member
Rose of Tábááhí (Edge Water Clan), born for Tódich’ii’nii (Bitter Waters Clan), has successfully completed the Navajo language package for Lingua Bear, with invaluable support from linguists Clayton Long and Charlotta Lacy of Blanding, Utah. Special thanks are also due to Charlotta’s husband for the background image of the Navajo virtual toy, adding depth and authenticity to the project. Beyond her pivotal role on the Lingua Bear board and her cultural contributions, Rose is deeply involved in her community, teaching Navajo and mentoring students in the Granite School District in Salt Lake City. Additionally, she extends her impactful work to the Salt Lake City, Utah Indian Urban Walking Center, further demonstrating her dedication to supporting and uplifting her community through education and cultural preservation.

Dmitri Smirnov

Treasurer Dmitri Smirnov, CPA and MBA, brings over 25 years of financial experience from corporate to non-profit sectors. Starting as an accountant in 1996 and retiring as Corp Controller in 2022, he now aids non-profits in Utah with financial oversight and reporting.

Fernando Rubio

Language Acquisition Consultant
Dr. Fernando Rubio, hailing from Santander, Spain, and the new Director of Yale University’s Center for Language Study, carries with him a wealth of experience from the University of Utah, where he distinguished himself as a leader in language education. Celebrated for his pioneering research in second language acquisition and technology-enhanced learning, Rubio’s work has earned him numerous awards, including the 2015 Teacher of the Year Award. Now at Yale, he aims to further develop language instruction and foster collaboration, using his expertise to create a vibrant and effective learning environment. His leadership is expected to propel Yale’s language programs to new heights of innovation and community involvement, showcasing his deep commitment to the excellence of language education.

Tatyana Platonova

Script Localization Specialist
Tatyana Evgenievna Platonova, a retired language teacher from the University of Utah and a translation/localization expert for our project, has contributed her extensive linguistic skills, particularly in the realm of dialects. She has served as the female voice for the Moscow dialect of Russian and is currently finalizing the Kyiv dialect of Ukrainian. Tatyana has been a crucial member of our team since the project’s early stages, playing a significant role in its development. Among her initial contributions was crafting the first Lingua Bear toy prototype, demonstrating her multifaceted talents and commitment. Presently, Tatyana is expanding her scholarly pursuits into the fields of etymology and genealogy, exploring these areas with the same fervor and dedication that have marked her career. Her engagement with these subjects enhances her contributions to our project and the broader field of academic research, reflecting a deep commitment to understanding language, history, and cultural connections.

Tamrika Khvtisiashvili

Language Revitalization Specialist
Tamrika Khvtisiashvili, earned her doctorate in language revitalization from the University of Utah. This academic achievement underscores her dedication to the cause of safeguarding endangered languages and cultures. Following her doctoral studies, Tamrika served as an English Language Fellow in Palestine, where she taught courses in Linguistics and Intercultural Communication. Before her fellowship, she was an assistant professor at Alfaisal University in Saudi Arabia, offering instruction in Linguistics and Anthropology, in addition to directing the University Preparatory Program. Beyond her impressive academic and professional pursuits, Tamrika and her husband share a passion for sailing, exploring the world’s waters while championing the aspirations of Lingua Bear’s mission. Their global travels are not only adventures but also missions to promote language preservation and cultural understanding worldwide, integrating Tamrika’s expertise in language revitalization with her personal endeavors.


Afsheen Fatemi

Language Processing
The language coordinator, Afsheen, expertly manages all language processing operations and provides training to recording managers, bringing over 15 years of experience in community organization and international relations to the role. In addition to contributing to the creation of our language processing manual, Afsheen also dedicates time to teaching at a school for children with dyslexia in Seattle, Washington. This commitment to education and support for students with learning differences underscores Afsheen’s passion for inclusive learning and language accessibility, further enriching his contribution to our team and the broader community.

Photo of Carroll

Carroll Wallace

Musical Specialist
Carroll, a multifaceted musician and educator, graduated from Denison University in Ohio with a strong conviction in the power of interdisciplinary education and the arts as a transformative force in society. Her diverse interests span informal education, inter-cultural knowledge exchange, movement arts, innovation, history, politics, ethics, acting, think-tanks, writing, and laughing, to name a few. Carroll’s passion for music is evident in her proficiency with the violin and her main instrument, the viola. She has enriched her musical journey by teaching youth music and language across the United States and internationally, showcasing her commitment to nurturing talent and fostering cross-cultural understanding. Additionally, her involvement in performance art, research, film, and music underscores her broad artistic and scholarly pursuits, illustrating her belief in the arts as a crucial element of societal progress.

Brad Vanderford

Business Advisor
Brad Vanderford brings a unique blend of venture capital expertise, international economic development experience, and management consulting prowess to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). An alumnus of Oxford Business School, Brad’s education has laid a solid foundation for his distinguished career. He currently offers advisory services to a diverse portfolio of clients, including impact investment funds, tech-enabled ventures with a focus on societal impact, and various organizations dedicated to international economic development. Brad’s comprehensive background and education enable him to contribute valuable insights and strategies to drive growth and positive change in the global economic landscape.

Aaron Garrett

Legal Counsel
Aaron is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Utah Nonprofit Legal Services. He graduated from the William & Mary Law School in 2009 and served as the Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Law Review. For the first four years of his legal career, Aaron worked for a commercial litigation boutique law firm.

Ryan Parrish

Digital Technologist
Ryan is a Utah native who’s drive runs in the vein of web development, political policy reform, and environmental sustainability. With over a decade of full stack development experience, he developed the virtual Lingua Bear and maintains this site.

Celtic Engineering

Sean O’Leary has 25+ years of experience working as an mechanical and electrical engineer and operates Celtic Engineering Solutions. He has designed a mock circulation system that flew on two space shuttle missions (STS-85 and STS-95), has developed pressure displays for use in medical research, and worked on various DARPA projects.

Peluches Alacrán

Toy Manufacturing Lead
Alfredo González is a Mexican Congressman and the owner of Peluches Alacrán, the factory where the Lingua Bear toy is fitted with electronic components and sewn. They are based in Xonacatlán, Mexico, a community located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains west of Mexico City.


Media Production
KNHO is a collective of filmmakers, photographers, designers and musicians based in Salt Lake City, and operated by Mike Eldredge (left). They helped us learn how to create and manage our media and we continue to collaborate with them today.

Be part of a Movement, Intern with Lingua Bear.


Thank you for providing beautiful imagery:

Walt Lacy, Iraitz Elguezabal Lejarcegui, Gayatri Malhotra, Jezael Melgoza,

Corinne Kutz, @grandriver, Marvin Meyer, Hannah Wright, Jet Dela Cruz,

Tiago Celestino, Ultrash Ricco, Clovis Wood, Wim Van T Einde, & Afaf Azzahiri