Board of Directors

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.

Emily Karr

Chair

Emily Karr is partner at the law firm Stoel Rives and practices in the areas of estate and financial planning, personal tax planning, and the administration of estates and trusts. She also serves on the boards of the Library Foundation and Northwest Academy, and is a past board member for Business for Culture and the Arts, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Northwest Earth Institute. She was elected to the board in 2014.

Robert Arellano

Vice Chair

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.

Justin Chin

Secretary

Justin Chin is director of career services at Eastern Oregon University. He has worked in education for over twenty years at high schools, community colleges, and universities as a teacher, advisor, mentor, coach, and administrator. He was elected to the board in 2018. He lives in La Grande.

Jacqueline Willingham

Treasurer

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.

Alicia Bay

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.

Javier Cervantes

The son of Mexican immigrants, Javier Cervantes is the first in his family to graduate from high school, community college, and university. His life and accomplishments are the embodiment of the dreams his parents set forth when they came to the United States. Born and raised in Oregon, he has had a unique transnational experience having lived in a two-country modality between Mexico and the US most of his life. Being from rural Oregon allows Javier to speak to the rural experience, and having lived in Los Angeles and Chicago, Javier can also relate to a distinctly urban existence. Currently, Javier serves as the Director of Institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Linn-Benton Community College and is the owner of OtroSol Diversity Concepts, LLC.

Christina deVillier

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 join the board in 2021.

Paul Duden

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.

Kate Lasky

Kate Lasky has been the library director of Josephine Community Library District since 2018 and was previously executive director of Josephine Community Libraries, Inc. Lasky is a board member of the Public Library Division of the Oregon Library Association and serves on the OLA's Legislative and Development Committee. She lives in Grants Pass and was elected to the board in 2016.

Ramycia McGhee

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.

Kerani Mitchell

Kerani Mitchell is a founding partner of Allyship in Action, an equity and inclusion consulting company in Central Oregon, and an accounting associate at Groundswell Fund. Her professional and volunteer work focuses on equity for communities of color and LGBTQ folks and the promotion of arts and culture. Residing in Bend, Kerani is also a founding board member of Bend International School and served as a contract facilitator for Oregon Humanities for three years before joining the board in September 2019.

Jennifer Parrish Taylor

Jennifer Parrish Taylor is the state affiliate political organizer for American Federation of Teachers, Oregon. Previously, she has worked for nonprofits (NARAL Pro-Choice America), political candidates (Senators John Kerry and Barack Obama), and unions (Working America, SEIU, and AFT-OR). She serves on the board of the Oregon Labor Candidate School, where she works with other members to identify and recruit labor-friendly candidates to run for office. She was appointed to the board in 2017 and lives in her hometown of Portland.

Tiffani Penson

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 Preus

Camille is executive director of the Oregon Community College Association, where she represents all seventeen of Oregon’s community colleges as the primary voice on legislative and regulatory issues at the state and federal level, advocates for state-level leadership for student success efforts, and fosters partnerships to further community college interests. 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 Women's Foundation of Oregon, the Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation, and several other organizations. She was elected to the board in 2018.

Anna Sortun

Anna Sortun is a partner and cochair of the litigation department at the Tonkon Torp law firm where she has an active business litigation practice in addition to a steady stream of pro bono matters. In addition to her law practice, Anna serves as a Commissioner on the Oregon Government Ethics Commission and serves on the Board of Directors of Emerge Oregon. Anna was elected to the board in 2021. She lives in Southeast Portland with her husband and two young children.  

Janet Webster

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

Kim Young is the business development manager at Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. (SOREDI) in Medford, where she provides primary support to the technology sector and drives regional growth around innovation and entrepreneurship. 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.