Our Staff & Board

Committed to student success.

Oregon MESA’s staff and advisory board are committed to reaching more schools, strengthening existing programs, and developing partnerships in order to fulfill our mission for underrepresented students.

Staff


Tong Zhang, Ph.D.

Tong Zhang, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Tong comes to Oregon MESA with a background in working with organizations to create meaningful and sustained social impact. She was most recently a founding staff member and COO of Thread, an organization providing wrap-around support to underperforming students in Baltimore. She has a Ph.D. in Immunology from Johns Hopkins University, a B.S. in Biochemistry from University of Washington, and was recognized by the Maryland Daily Record on it's VIP list. Tong is passionate about the MESA mission of engaging underserved students in STEM in her home state of Oregon and beyond.


Kelly Cousineau

Kelly Cousineau

Assistant Director

Kelly started working at Oregon MESA during her undergraduate program at Portland State University. Upon graduating with a dual degree in film and University Honors College, Kelly joined MESA as their Program Coordinator and is now the organization's Assistant Director. She manages the MESA regional center model and strategic MESA events including MESA competitions and family engagement. Kelly also holds a Masters in Public Administration from Portland State University.


Tamara DePue

Tamara DePue

Program Manager - Curriculum & Training

Tamara brings over 20 years experience in education, science and research to MESA programming. She earned her B.S. in biology from Southwestern College and a M.St. from the Center for Science Education at Portland State University. Prior to her position at MESA, she worked for the Girl Scouts managing a STEM program that encouraged girls to attend college and major in a STEM career field. Since joining MESA in 2008, she has steered the curriculum towards a more project‐based and invention themed curriculum.


Bernard Rahming

Bernard Rahming

Program Coordinator

Bernard oversees the outreach including alumni, volunteers, families, and mentor recruitment. He will also lead the coordination of MESA Day. His career to date has been focused on underserved and marginalized populations through various non-profit organizations. He holds a B.S. from Marquette University in math and psychology and is completing his M.A. in community psychology from Concordia University.


Miriam Petersen

Miriam Petersen

Parent Coordinator

Miriam Petersen has 20 plus years experience working with Hispanic parents in the Portland, Hillsboro and Salem-Keizer areas. She has worked very closely with Portland Public Schools to implement the first Multicultural Curriculum of the district. Miriam is passionate about supporting parents and students in the Hispanic community advance in STEM, and skilled at helping families new to the US navigate the education system. Miriam, herself, emigrated from Peru more than 30 years ago and has raised two children in the United States. She has a degree in Hospitality from the Escuela Nacional de Turismo in Lima, Peru, and a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Shoreline Community College in Seattle. Miriam joined Oregon MESA as a Family Coordinator more than nine years ago. Her dedication and enthusiasm come from discovering that she can make a difference in the lives of students and their families.

Advisory Board


DAVID SQUIRE

Chair

Dave Squire offers 45 years of executive leadership experience in Oregon high tech, and 30 years of active involvement in education, workforce and economic development. He has served on the boards of the Oregon Community College A Association board, Lintner Center for Advanced Education, the Oregon Quality Initiative, Worksystems Inc., the Leadership & Entrepreneurship Charter High School and Moyo Jasiri. He served 6 years as an elected member of the Portland Community College Board of Directors. David now serves on the boards of Oregon MESA and Saturday Academy and is a Fellow at Oregon Learns.


KEVIN BELL

Vice-Chair | Bonneville Power Administration

Kevin Bell is an attorney with the Bonneville Power Administration, practicing in the areas of federal contracting and procurement policy. He has previously worked with Comcast Cable Corporation. He has lived in the Pacific Northwest for eleven years with his wife Theresa Bell and their two sons, Morgan and Mason. Kevin has been involved with MESA for 9 years.


DR. TIMOTHY ANDERSON

Advisory Member | Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, Portland State University

As a member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Tribe, Dr. Anderson is one of the few Native American engineering faculty members in the U.S. He is a fellow of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society as well as the Portland International Center for the Management of Engineering and Technology. His current research focuses on applications of productivity analysis, technology forecasting, quantitative benchmarking, and new product development in diverse areas. He has worked with and consulted for a range of companies including the U.S. Postal Service, Oki Electric Corporation, Honeywell, CenturyLink, and Nike.


CHRIS BOZZINI

Advisory Member | Manager in Portland General Electric's Environmental Group

Chris is a manager in PGE's environmental group responsible for site cleanup and other support within the company. He manages a staff of eight working on multiple issues including environmental cleanup, waste management, permitting, avian protection, and terrestrial biological resources. Previous to PGE, he worked in consulting at firms including CH2M Hill. Chris is a Professional Engineer with a BS in Chemical Engineering, an MS in Civil Engineering, and an MBA. Chris has been with PGE and in Portland for the last four years. He is married with two children and two dogs.


ROMANNA FLORES

Advisory Member | Enterprise Business Solutions | Intel

Romanna Flores has spent 25 years creating innovative, digital interactions in a variety of industries (education, finance, and high-tech). Her formative education at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago couldn’t have been more well-timed for experimenting with emerging technologies - focusing in areas such as computer design, 3-D modeling, animation and programming. Her passion for re-purposing electronic gadgets is currently being shared with her precocious son and very understanding husband.


FORD MORISHITA

Advisory Member | University Supervisor PSU College of Education

Ford Morishita served as a science educator in the North Clackamas School District for 33 years. Ford has also worked a Regional Science Coordinator in Washington, a STEM Consultant for Discovery Education, and currently supervises teacher candidates for PSU College of Education. He has previously served as a founding member of the Teacher Advisory Council for ODE and continues to serve as an original member of the Chalkboard Project Advisory Council. Ford was the 1997 Oregon Teacher of the Year, received the 1997 Milken National Educator Award, and in 2008 was designated as a lifetime National Associate by the National Academy of Science. Ford received his MAT and BS in Biology from Lewis and Clark College.


JACKIE MURPHY

Advisory Member | Program Officer at The Collins Foundation

Jackie currently serves as a Program Officer at The Collins Foundation. Her past roles include serving as the first full-time executive director of Airways Science for Kids, After School Program Manager for Self Enhancement, Inc. in Portland and Director of Student Services at Heritage University on the Yakama Indian Reservation. Jackie is deeply committed to connecting youth of color and under-served youth to education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Jackie has a strong background in culturally-specific and culturally-responsive education, holding a master’s in education from Heritage University.

JENNIFER RUWART

Advisory Member | Agency Director at Roger That Agency

Jennifer Ruwart is Agency Director of Roger That, a brand development and design agency. She loves working with companies who are in business to do good. With a career that spans two decades, four continents and multiple industries, Jennifer’s depth and breadth of experience serves Roger That’s clients well. Today, whether helping clients articulate their brand promise or unique value proposition, she has an uncanny ability cut through fluff and jargon to get the heart of the matter painlessly.


MICHELLE YORK

Advisory Member | George Middle School AVID & STEM Coordinator

Michelle York offers 17 years as an educator. Her approach integrates career and technical education into classroom curriculum. She has supported school-wide programs such as MESA, Science Fair, and Pentagames to increase student awareness of and participation in STEM related activities. Her interest and passion for engineering and math problem solving comes from a childhood spent in an engineering family and she continues to share the joy of discovery with the next generation.