Our Team – Oregon
College Possible Oregon Executive Director Emielle Nischik joined the organization in 2015 and previously served as their director of development and communications, helping to triple the budget and expand programming and students served across the state.
Nischik brings more than 15 years of experience in business development, nonprofit leadership and fundraising. As a first-generation college graduate, she believes strongly in the power of education and is honored to be able to meld her personal experience and passion to further the mission of College Possible. She holds a Masters of Public Administration and a certificate in nonprofit management from Portland State University and volunteers with several community based organizations focused on educational equity in Oregon, including KairosPDX, Ninety-nine Girlfriends Women’s Giving Collective and on the Partnership Council with All Hands Raised. The greatest joy and challenge of Nischik’s life is being a mother to two small children and teaching them to love all the outdoor adventures her home state offers.
President, AT&T Oregon
George Granger, President of AT&T-Oregon, has focused his career on the wireless industry and made a remarkable commitment to community service. His work focuses on community partnerships and working with elected officials throughout the state. Granger’s wireless career started at Cingular Wireless, where he became the company’s Director of External Affairs. After Cingular merged with AT&T Wireless, Granger managed AT&T’s relationship in an important region of California that included Silicon Valley. In 2013 Granger was promoted to President of AT&T-Oregon and has embedded himself in the community ever since.
Granger is passionate about driving innovation in education and investing in local communities. For nearly 20 years, he was an elected member of the Castro Valley School Board in California, serving as president of the board three times. Granger was an activist president, leading three successful campaigns to pass school bonds that funded more than $100 million in facility improvements. Granger has continued his dedication to innovation in Oregon, serving as a current board member of Friends of the Children, College Possible, and the Technology Association of Oregon, along with supporting dozens of worthwhile efforts across the state.
Managing Director, Intel Corporation
Clark Haass brings twenty-five years’ worth of marketing and business development experience to the Portland Board. After working for Extended Systems for eight years, including serving as director of product marketing, he moved to Portland to work for Intel. For the past 22 years, Haass has been with Intel and is currently a Managing Director in Corporate Business Development. He is eager to bring his knowledge of strategic planning and marketing to the Portland Board. Haass has also worked with Graph It Forward Today, a nonprofit providing test prep and graphing calculators to low-income youth. Haass is the author of the cookbook Hashcapades: The Art of the Perfect Hash Adventure and donates a portion of the book’s profits to GIFT. Haass received both a Bachelor and Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wyoming and the University of Washington, respectively, and an MBA from Boise State University.
Vice President, The Standard
Anne Hoot is a Vice President responsible for Corporate Development activities at The Standard. During her 25 year career at the company, she has performed a variety of roles, from actuary to leading the fixed income investment portfolio to heading up a personal finance start-up venture for the company. She began her career as an actuarial student in Dallas, Texas. Landing in Portland in the 80’s she has achieved the designation of Fellow, Society of Actuaries and is a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
Sona Karentz Andrews
Professor of Geography and Provost Emerita, Portland State University
Dr. Sona Karentz Andrews is a Professor of Geography and Provost Emerita at Portland State University. She grew up in New England and has lived in Portland for ten years. Sona began her college studies at the Nishan Palanjian Armenian College in Beirut, Lebanon and completed her bachelor’s degree in geography from Worcester State College in Massachusetts. Her master's and Ph.D. are from Arizona State University (also in geography). Sona has held faculty appointments in Geography at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Boise State University, and Portland State University. She has held administrative appointments at a number of the universities, including served as Portland State University’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice Chancellor of the Oregon University System, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Boise State. Sona also serves on the Portland Opera Board. Her previous board service includes Oregon Humanities, Planned Parenthood Willamette Valley, the City Club of Boise, Wisconsin Women in Higher Education Leadership, and the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. Sona is bilingual (she speaks English and Armenian).
Market Credit Administrator and Manager, US Bank Equipment Finance
Sung Lim is Market Credit Administrator and Manager for US Bank Equipment Finance. He primarily manages a credit team, overseeing all aspects of contract modifications and credit reviews of small businesses to large corporations. He has been in the banking industry over 10 years, since graduating from the University of Oregon with a B.A in Business Administration - Finance. He was born in South Korea having immigrated to the United States when he was eight years old. Sung currently resides in Sherwood, OR with his wife and daughter.
Attorney, Alterman Law Group
Sarah Mathenia is a long-time supporter of College Possible Oregon. As well as giving financially, Sarah has spent time with staff understanding and championing the College Possible model. Her interest in getting more involved on the board stems from her experience growing up. Daughter of a single mom, she was not financially privileged, but her mom’s dedication to her growth and the privilege of attending a good high school cleared Sarah’s path to college. She wants that opportunity for all students.
Sarah graduated from college and law school at University of California - Davis. She is a member of the bar in Oregon and Washington. With expertise in real estate and business law, she practices with Alterman Law Group PC. in Portland. She expects to bring career experience, practical business sense and industry partnerships to her board work and looks forward to working on the development committee.
Sarah balances her career with family time, currently juggling at-home learning for her two young children with her external obligations. She is fluent in Spanish and briefly owned a boutique which offered artisan-made clothing, jewelry and textiles from Central and South America and Mexico. If you have an interest in criminal and forensic psychology, you will find a curious partner in Sarah.
Environmental Manager, Portland General Electric
Tom Nilan is an environmental professional with 25+ years of experience in engineering consulting, trade association, and electric utility industries. Tom joined the College Possible Oregon board in 2018, where his interest in helping youth without a family higher education history/financial means navigate the myriad of challenges of the college process, with the aim of a level playing field for all. He has served on the boards of the Deschutes River Conservancy (water conservation and habitat restoration) and Post 15 (outdoors experiences for high school youth). Tom has degrees in Chemical Engineering (Penn State) and an MBA (UCLA). He has lived in Portland since 2002, where he and his family (one of whom is still in college) enjoy the Pacific Northwest’s great outdoors at every opportunity.
General Manager, Nike, Inc. Global Sustainability Center of Excellence
Agata Ramallo-Garcia leads integration of sustainable businesses practices for Nike, Inc. Her team supports business functions across the company in their sustainability strategies and efforts. Ramallo-Garcia also oversees strategic planning and annual business planning process, including business case development and financial valuation of sustainability, performance management of sustainability targets, predictive analytics and the development of tools to measure business impact of sustainability. Ramallo-Garcia, a 15-year Nike veteran was previously responsible for strategic planning, change management and program/project management at Nike in the US and Europe, managing various functions including corporate responsibility, supply chain, finance and information technology. Before joining Nike, she worked at IBM in The Netherlands.
Attorney, Charese Rohny Law Office, LLC
Charese Rohny has represented individuals as an attorney for over 16 years. Since she started her legal career as law clerk in 1993 at Barton & Strever, P.C. and Rosenthal & Greene, P.C., she has dedicated herself to promoting positive change for individuals. She has had the privilege of working with and being mentored by some of the most respected, honored and successful trial lawyers who have relentlessly fought for individuals and social justice. Charese graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 1995, was admitted to the bar, and began working in Salem, Oregon at Vick & Conroyd, P.C. a well-respected high volume practice representing physically and emotionally injured individuals. There she was able to build and manage a large case load that allowed her to gain a substantial amount of trial, arbitration and deposition experience in her first six years of practice. Her practice has always included employment discrimination and civil rights cases. In 2001, she moved to Portland, Oregon to work on more complex commercial litigation and to focus more on employment law at Markowitz, Herbold, Glade and Mehlhaf, P.C. She then left to become a partner at Crispin Employment Lawyers where she was able to exclusively handle cases involving employee’s rights. She started her own firm in downtown Portland in March 2006.
Director, Xerox US Channel Sales Operations & Business Development
Natasha Shauger is the Director responsible for National Sales Operations and Business Development for Xerox’s US Channel Sales organization. During her tenure with Xerox, she has held various roles within channel sales, supply chain and engineering. Natasha comes from a lineage with a strong commitment to philanthropic work in the education space – specifically college prep and cultural enrichment; and has a passion for seeing underrepresented students flourish academically by enabling them with tools, confidence and community support. Natasha has a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and an MBA from Portland State University. Originally from California, Natasha is a 19-year resident of Oregon and enjoys her free time exploring life’s adventures with her husband, daughter and son.
Retired Chair & CEO, Compli
Ken Thrasher, retired as chairman of the Board of Alternative Legal Solutions Inc. (dba Compli) in December 2018, and was its chairman and chief executive officer from 2002 through December 2009. Prior to joining Compli, Ken served 19 years in executive positions with Fred Meyer Inc., including serving as president and chief executive officer from 1999 to 2001, as executive vice president and chief administrative officer from 1997 to 1999, as senior vice president and chief financial officer from 1987 to 1997, and as vice president and treasurer from 1982 to 1987. In addition College Possible, Ken also serves on the boards of directors of NW Natural, The Jensen Quality Growth Fund, Children’s Public/Private Partnership, and is on the OSU College of Business Dean’s Council of Excellence. He is also a senior director on the Oregon Business Council. Prior to 2020, Ken served as a member of the board of directors for GSL Solutions Inc, Children’s Institute, Friends of the Children, Education Northwest, the Portland State University Foundation, the Cradle to Career Council of All Hands Raised, Albertina Kerr Centers, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and is past chair of Oregon’s Quality Education Commission. Ken has a B.S. in business administration from Oregon State University and in 2012 was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Portland State University.
Advocacy & Partnership Associate, Children’s Institute
Amy joined Children’s Institute in 2019 as another step in a career of public service. She worked as a policy advisor in Portland City Hall and then as a youth programs coordinator in various schools across Portland. Amy’s current work at Children's Institute is focused on embedding community engagement practices into policy advocacy. She is grateful for all the students and families who have shared their lives with her, and in turn, she hopes to elevate their voices at the policy table. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton College in sociology and anthropology with a concentration in educational studies.