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.
Tong Zhang, Ph.D.
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.
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.
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. She coordinates the MESA Mentor Program, the East Side Portland-Metro MESA Schools Program, MESA Day state competition, and develops college access, professional preparation, and STEM programming for MESA students and their families.
College & Career Coordinator
Stephanie oversees the Oregon MESA College and Careers program. She began her work at Oregon State with Precollege Programs and the College of Engineering. There, she served as a Mobile Science and Engineering Camp Coordinator for students all over the state of Oregon. After earning her B.S. in Chemistry from Oregon State, she served for a year with AmeriCorps as a College Access Coordinator here at MESA. During that time, she developed a college and career readiness program for underserved students. She is now pursuing a Master's in Secondary Science Education at Portland State University.
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.
Board President | 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.