Oregon Humanities board members advise and support the organization's work in a number of ways. Board members serve renewable three-year terms and attend three general meetings per year that are held in various locations around the state. The Oregon Humanities board has financial oversight of the organization, takes an active role in fundraising, sets policy, approves new program initiatives, and promotes awareness of the organization.
Justin Chin is director of High School Connections at Lane Community College. Chin is the son of Chinese immigrants who settled in rural western Oregon in 1971, and honors his family's sacrifices in his work in K–16 education. Chin's background as a first-generation college graduate has influenced his focus on literacy, post-secondary access, workforce development, and career technical education in his broad-ranging career in rural, frontier-fringe, and urban centers in Oregon. Chin is an active board member for the Oregon Career Development Association and works with national and regional initiatives to elevate Asian and Pacific Islander communities. He was elected to the board in 2018 and resides in Eugene.
Kerani Mitchell is passionate about connecting across differences to foster thriving and innovative communities. With a background in nonprofits, education, and philanthropy, she has been a member of the Oregon Humanities Board since 2019.
Jackie retired from her insurance career as Vice President of Disability and Life Benefits in the Employee Benefits Division at Standard Insurance Company. She now enjoys working part-time as a freelance consultant and the opportunity that provides to pursue many interests. Raised in California, she is a graduate of Willamette University in Salem. Jackie’s most recent board experience was with Literary Arts in Portland; she completed her service with a two-year term as Board Chair and continues as a volunteer. She enjoys utilizing her career experience in new ways, both as a consultant and a volunteer, particularly in the areas of strategic planning, leadership development, engaging problem-solving teams and performing project work. She is energized by participating in her community in various ways, and especially enjoys travel, being a student as Portland State, reading, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. She lives in Portland with her husband, Bill, a historian and writer.
Renée Roman Nose, MAIS, is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. She is an activist, artist, actor, poet, painter, photographer, and cultural anthropologist. Her book Sweet Grass Talking (2017), was published by Uttered Chaos Press. Her paintings and photography have been featured in Oneida, NY, and Tacoma and Everett, WA. Her second book, Have War Paint, Will Travel, is currently with the publisher, and her third, as yet untitled, is a collaborative book of poetry with Suzan Harjo. Renée has spent her life advocating for those who cannot speak for themselves and was an active participant in supporting the change of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day in Seattle. She has provided public presentations to promote understanding of Native culture to community groups, elementary, middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities across the country and in Europe. As a motivational speaker, she has provided hundreds of presentations over the years, bringing cultural understanding and laughter to her appreciative audiences. She lives, and thrives, in the Pacific Northwest. She was elected to the board in 2021.
Robert Arellano is a professor at Southern Oregon University, where, in 2010, he directed a group of faculty in creating the Center for Emerging Media and Digital Arts. He is the author of six novels, including the recent Edgar Award finalist Havana Lunar and the Internet's first hypertext novel, Sunshine 69. His essays have been published in Tin House, the Village Voice, and Oregon Humanities. He was elected to the board in 2016 and lives in Talent.
Alicia Bay, a former middle school history and math teacher, is the executive director of Gilbert House Children's Museum in Salem. As the first college graduate in her family, the focus of her work at the Gilbert house has been to expand science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) programs and diversity outreach to give children opportunities to engage in compelling programs that spark their interest and curiosity. Prior to her work at the Gilbert House, she helped found Salem Harvest, a local nonprofit that helps donate tens of thousands of pounds of local produce to community food banks. She and her husband have two middle school daughters. She was elected to the board in 2020, and calls Salem home.
Leo Bialis-White is the chief strategy officer at Illuminate Literacy, which provides research-based, identity-affirming reading products for elementary and middle school students. Prior to joining Illuminate Literacy, Leo was a partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, and served as vice president of customer success and chief of staff for Schoolzilla, an education technology company. In addition, he has experience as a school psychologist, teacher, and research consultant spanning charters, traditional districts, and nonpublic schools. He has a PhD in educational psychology from UC Berkeley in addition to psychology and sociology degrees from the University of Georgia. He lives in Portland with his wife and two boys. He enjoys trail running, longform journalism, and concerts that start at a reasonable hour. He joined the Oregon Humanities board in 2021.
Christina deVillier is a writer, a gardener, and the Connections Coordinator for Greater Hells Canyon Council, where she works with a broad network of collaborators to improve ecological connectivity and strengthen social-ecological relationships in her spectacular home region. When she's not working, she can likely be found pollinating squash, swimming in cold water, exploring sideroads or backcountry, dancing, or settling deep into a conversation. She lives with her husband in the Wallowa Valley, in the heart of the Nimiipuu ancestral homeland. She joined the board in 2021.
Paul currently practices mediation and arbitration of civil actions, and has been a trial lawyer for more than forty years. He is an active member of the Oregon State Bar Association and Oregon Mediation Association. Paul is a founder of the Oregon Law Related Education Project and for twenty years has been a trustee of the Gordon Foundation, which awards grants to children. He was appointed to the board in November 2009 and lives in Portland.
Daniel Grant is a historian, writer, and educator. He has held appointments at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University, as visiting faculty at Middlebury College, and currently as courtesy faculty in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Edge Effects, and in scholarly journals, and he is currently at work on a book titled No Man's Land: Coexisting at the Edge of America. He cofounded a civic dialogue series on Building Multiracial Democracy in the American West and is currently working on a regional extension of this work focused on environmental justice in Oregon across rural-urban divides. He holds a PhD in geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BA in politics-environmental studies from Whitman College. He lives with his wife in Corvallis and was elected to the board in 2021.
CM Hall (she/they pronouns) is a proud lifelong Oregonian and serves on the Newport City Council. Professionally, CM is a nationally certified sign language interpreter and grant director for the DeafBlind Interpreting National Training & Resource Center, as well as faculty at Western Oregon University, teaching LGBTQ Studies courses. Linguistic access, equity, and inclusion are CM's passions, and she works to inform progressive organizations on the importance of diverse and representative engagement. CM curates an annual storytelling event, The Coming Out Monologues, to raise funds to elect pro-LGBTQ candidates across Oregon to office. CM joined the Oregon Humanities board in 2021.
Darci Hanning is the public library consultant and continuing education coordinator at the State Library of Oregon, where she has worked for over fifteen years. Her first initiative at the State Library was to transition a web-hosting pilot project to a full blown service for small and rural public libraries throughout Oregon. Since that initial project, her focus has moved to providing general consulting for public libraries and sharing learning resources for Oregon library workers. She has been the recipient of a number of awards and acknowledgements, including Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers award (2008). She is an active member of Washington County’s Community Participation Organization (CPO), serving as CPO12F’s Committee for Community Involvement representative and participating on the CPO Re-envisioning Committee. She lives in Forest Grove and was elected to the board in 2023.
Katie Harris Murphy is Wallowa Band Nez Perce, Cayuse, Umatilla, and Karuk. She runs the Tribal Health Scholars program, an internship for American Indian/Alaska Native youth at the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence at OHSU. She is passionate about increasing the number of AI/ANs in healthcare while elevating students and working with them to achieve their potential. Katie is a Native Oregonian and is a graduate of Blue Mountain Community College, Eastern Oregon University, and Oregon Health & Science University. Katie is an active board member for the Wallowa Nez Perce Homeland, an organization that is very important and dear to her family and heritage. She spends her time primarily between Portland and Eastern Oregon, but frequently travels around the state working with tribes. On the side, she helps run family businesses Harris Sisters Co. and Northwest Tree Co. Katie was elected to the board in 2023.
Georgia Lee Hussey is the Founder and CEO of Modernist Financial, a B Corp wealth management firm dedicated to helping progressive people structure their wealth around their values. Her mission is to build a world where smart, creative people feel permission to enjoy today while providing a stable financial base for our common future. Before launching Modernist, Georgia worked for national and local financial firms as a CFP. Prior to working in finance, she was a sculptor and writer. She was elected to the board in 2024.
Carol Matsuzaki is the coordinator of the Oregon Department of Educationʻs newly formed Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Student Success Plan Program. As a Native Hawaiian woman in the field of education, Carol has a strong passion for helping students of all backgrounds toward meeting their full potential and goals. She has over three decades of experience working with Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students, families and communities, and has operated several federal grants focused on education in Hawaiʻi and Oregon. She was born and raised in Hawaiʻi, earned a bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Hawaiʻi, a master's of business administration from Chaminade University, and a master's in higher education administration from Georgetown University. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and dog. Carol was elected to the board in 2023.
Ramycia McGhee is an instructor of English and literature at Linn-Benton Community College. Born and raised on the west side of Chicago, she holds an MS in journalism from Roosevelt University and an EdD from Cappella University and taught at City Colleges of Chicago before coming to Oregon. During her time at LBCC, she has taught courses at Oak Creek Youth Correctional Center and founded the college's Black History Essay Contest. She is a 2019 recipient of Oregon State University's Black Excellence Community Member Award. She was elected to the board in 2021.
Tiffani Penson is a native Oregonian and very involved in the community. She is currently the Supplier Diversity Officer for the City of Portland. Tiffani specializes in building valuable internal and external community relationships, creating and executing programs to improve youth engagement, improving government processes and creating outreach opportunities for bureaus which combined leads to successful sustainable city partnerships and programs. Tiffani was just recently elected to the Portland Community College Board Zone 2, and serves the board of Kairos PDX, and Oregon Native American Chamber and Architecture Foundation of Oregon. She joined Oregon Humanities board in September 2019.
Camille is recently retired as the executive director of the Oregon Community College Association, where she represented the seventeen community colleges in Oregon as the primary voice on legislative and regulatory issues at the state and federal level. Before joining the Oregon Community College Association, she was president of Blue Mountain Community College, where she served from 2013 to 2018. She also serves on the boards of the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education and the Eastern Oregon Women's Coalition, as well as several other organizations. She was elected to the board in 2018.
Sankar Raman is the founder and board president of The Immigrant Story, a Portland-based nonprofit which chronicles stories of immigrants and refugees in a variety of formats to advance a national dialogue about immigration and to dispel myths about new Americans. Raman has been instrumental in developing The Immigrant Story into a collaborative, community-oriented multimedia arts programming organization and a premier storytelling organization in the Pacific Northwest. Raman immigrated to the US from India to attend graduate school, earning a masters in physics, and a PhD in engineering from Purdue University. After a successful career in high tech, he now applies his technical knowledge, managerial skills, and pragmatic mind to leading the nonprofit organization he founded. Raman is an award-winning digital art photographer, storyteller, community leader and a motivational speaker. Sankar was elected to the board in 2023.
Susan Samek, a dedicated US Army veteran with ten years of service, holds a bachelor's degree in international studies from the University of Washington with a concentration in Latin American human rights, and a masters in business administration. With over two decades in higher education leadership roles, and her current role as tribal liaison for the Oregon Department of Education, Susan consistently showcases unwavering commitment to fostering leadership and community betterment. She brings a wealth of experience and a passionate commitment to community empowerment, emphasizing collaboration and inclusivity to ensure everyone has a voice in the conversation. Her visionary approach, rooted in servant leadership, positions her as a driving force for meaningful and positive change. Beyond her professional life, Susan is a proud wife, mother, grandmother, author, photographer, and gardener. She resides on the Oregon Coast and finds joy in spending time in nature with her husband and their beloved Basset Hound.
Anna Sortun is a commercial trial lawyer at the Tonkon Torp law firm, where she also serves on the firm's managing board. Anna has an active business litigation practice in addition to a steady stream of pro bono matters, primarily in the area of criminal justice reform. In addition to her law practice, Anna currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Oregon State Bar Litigation Section. She previously sat on the boards of Emerge Oregon, Northwest Professional Dance Project, and Photolucida. She also served as a Commissioner on the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. Anna was elected to the board in 2021. She lives in Southeast Portland with her husband and two young children.
Teresa Stover is a technical writing and project management consultant and owner of Stover Writing Services, an Oregon business since 2000. While several clients have been Fortune 500 corporations, she has gained the most satisfaction in working with nonprofit organizations, school districts, and community colleges. Teresa has authored fifteen books about business productivity software and project management. She serves on the board of Four Way Community Foundation, which supports nonprofits in the greater Josephine County area. Teresa was part of the group that formed Josephine Community Libraries, Inc. in 2007 to reopen the area’s library system, and also worked for the effort that formed Josephine Community Library District in 2017. She lives in Grants Pass and was elected to the board in 2021.
Hanako Wakatsuki-Chong is the executive director of the Japanese American Museum of Oregon in Portland. She holds a BA in history and BS in political science from Boise State University, as well as an MA in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University, where she serves as an adjunct faculty member for the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences' Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage Management Programs. Hanako was previously superintendent of the Honouliuli National Historic Site of the National Park Service. Prior to her superintendency, she served on special detail as the Acting Chief of Interpretation for the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Hanako has devoted the last sixteen years of her personal and professional life preserving the history of the Japanese American incarceration experience during World War II. Hanako was elected to the board in 2023.
Janet Webster was head librarian of the Guin Library at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport for over twenty-five years. She has served on the Oregon Library Association Legislative Committee and is a member of the Oregon Community Foundation's North Coast Leadership Council. She was elected to the board in 2012, and reappointed by Governor Kate Brown in 2020. She lives in Newport.
Kim Young is a business finance officer at Business Oregon, where she supports businesses in Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, and Lake counties. Kim holds a master of public administration and provides expertise in STEM, data analysis, and grant application and management. She is a Southern Oregon transplant who is actively engaged in OBOB and several Rogue Valley initiatives. Kim was elected to the board in May 2020.