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Pamela Blumenthal

Board chair

Pam believes in the life changing impact of international travel. A trip to Europe in the 4th grade ignited her own passion for travel and led her to seek out more opportunities. These included studying abroad in both high school (Finland) and college (France), teaching English in Japan, studying Spanish in Mexico, and taking a family trip to Israel.

Pam is the Director of Links Programs at Portland Community College. PCC Links is comprised of four programs: two serving high school age, at-risk students and two supporting first generation, low income college students. Pam has a background in counseling and has worked in education for more than 17 years. Before working at PCC, Pam worked in K-12 education as a counselor and administrator. Pam is committed to creating opportunities and supporting the success of under-represented young people.  

Pam lives in NE Portland with her husband Patrick, and daughter Georgia. In her free time she enjoys cooking and gardening.

Rick Thomas

former board chair 

International travel and experience has always played an influential role in Rick’s life. A native of Southern California, his love of travel was originally planted by the frequent camping trips his family made into Mexico’s countryside in their wood-paneled station wagon. His interest in travel was further inspired by a transformative experience in a Peace Corps family program. By his tenth birthday, Rick had lived in South America and Africa, as well as visiting multiple countries in between.

Rick’s desire for travel continued during college and after, frequenting Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean countries on business and pleasure. Rick has since passed on his love of diverse culture and experiences to his children, encouraging study abroad experiences to broaden their life perspectives.

Rick has equally had a diverse career in engineering, leadership development and wealth management. He is a partner and business advisor at Pilot Wealth Management, Inc. in Portland and resides on his property in Washougal, Washington with his wife of twenty-seven years. In between his travels, he enjoys stalking the local rivers for steelhead and sails competitively on the Columbia.


Damian Sanchez


Alumni board member

My name is Damian and I’m a Carpe Mundi Alumni and one of the newer board members to join this past year. I traveled to Central America with the Bala cohort in 2014 while still at PCC. Truth be told, I had never really left the country prior to joining Carpe Mundi and I never considered traveling abroad until I heard about the journey that previous students had with the program. I wasn’t the most confident student and I was unsure whether or not I could succeed in the program but after meeting with the rest of my cohort I was certain that this is where I needed to be.

Needless to say, my time with Carpe Mundi made a positive impact in my life and the experiences I had during my travels helped when it came time to transfer to a four-year university. I recently finished my bachelor’s degree at Lewis and Clark College and I’m now looking for ways to continue to help Carpe Mundi and their mission to help first generation, low-income students study abroad. What better way to pay it forward than joining the board of directors?


Geoffrey Garner


I’m Geof Garner and I was born at a very young age. After that, I grew up in Astoria, Oregon and have lived in Portland since 1993, (with a few years traveling in Germany and Europe and studying in Eugene, Oregon at the U of O). In my travels I’ve learned that chocolate doesn’t ask questions, chocolate understands. I earned a masters of arts in teaching from Lewis and Clark College.

I’ve used my 20 years of teaching experience and directing educational programs to help homeless and low-income/first-generation college students graduate with a bachelor’s degree. There’s nothing better as a profession than being part of a great team and working with resilient students toward the goal of equity through higher education and life long learning. I wake up happy knowing that my team and students are crushing their goals. 


Bradford McKeown

Bradford McKeown is the sixth generation of his family to grow up on the Southern Oregon Coast. He was a swimmer and singer at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, OR, graduating in 1997. He traveled to New Hampshire for college, and earned his B.A. in English Literature from Dartmouth College in 2001. After living in Boston for several years, Bradford returned to Oregon in 2009, and earned his M.B.A. from Willamette University in 2011. He moved to Portland at that time, and worked in the sustainable consulting world for a number of years before becoming a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley. 

Volunteerism and public service are a proud tradition in Bradford’s family, and he has previously served on advisory boards for the Oregon Environmental Council (the Emerging Leaders Board), and Multnomah County (the Advisory Committee for Sustainability and Innovation), in addition to volunteering for a wide variety of non-profit organizations over the course of his life. 

Bradford lives in Northeast Portland, and is the fairest of fair-weather bicycle commuters. He is a heavily caffeinated individual, and enjoys exploring the craft beer and cocktail scene in Portland and around Oregon. He’s a slow runner, a decent skier who doesn’t get up to the mountain often enough, and really, really wants a good dog.

Ethan Knight

Founder emeritus

Ethan is the founder and Executive Director of the American Gap Association - a nonprofit standards, equity, and resource hub recognized by the US Department of Justice, for Gap Years.  Ethan is also the founder of Carpe Diem International Education and its sister nonprofit, Carpe Mundi. He has been working in the International Education sphere for the past 15 years, and worked with more than 3,000 domestic students on their journeys. He is also a Gap Year taker who, at the age of 19, traveled to India, Nepal and Tibet for 7 months... much to his mother's initial chagrin (his mother is proud now though, oft he time he took and the impact it's had on his life). 

Ethan has been invited to speak at the City of Portland's Tri-County Diversity Conference; is a founding Board Member of the Wayfinding Academy (a two-year college in Portland); has been a guest speaker in the UK and Canada, and at more than 30 conferences around the country. He holds certificates from the ManKind Project and Byron Katie, and has received formal training in Drs. Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks and Gary Zukov's works. He is a graduate of Willamette University in Portland, Oregon, with a degree in English and Philosophy. 


Karen Ehn

Hi, I’m Karen. I am a native Oregonian. I did venture out of Oregon for awhile and lived in San Francisco and Boston- but I came back.

I have a work background that includes sales and marketing positions for various companies and a stint as the Executive Director for OrCAN, an organization which championed first generation and minority student post secondary education and opportunity. I’ve also worked for Multnomah County in Human Resources, and I’m very interested in health and fitness.

I live in Southeast Portland and have 2 sons, one entering college next year and one at Sunnyside Environmental School. I was on the board of NAYA and the Sunnyside Co-op and Swap Shop. My family is big into travelling. My parents had a tour business to Greece and my brother is an international school teacher so we get around!

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Marshawna Williams 

Marshawna was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and graduated from the University of Portland with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing Management. As a Portland native, Marshawna enjoys trying new restaurants, volunteering in the community, and connecting new people to all that Portland has to offer. As a first generation college student, Marshawna is determined to help all students find their path to higher education. She believes that learning is connecting. In the Office of Admissions and New Student Programs, Marshawna is committed to multicultural recruitment, outreach and finding new community partnerships to connect more life learners to PSU.


Mikki Nutt

Raised in a small, blue collar town with all the benefits of raising animals, knowing everyone in her school, and holding several leadership roles, Mikki went on to be a first-generation college grad.  She worked for a year prior to entering community college.  It was there that she discovered her desire to explore the world.  It was 1986 and she saw a poster to do “service learning” in England. Repeatedly dreaming about it with a friend, her friend finally helped her wake up and said “just do it”.  And so, she did.  Her first flight ever was Seattle to London and she was exposed to so many new cultures and experiences.  Loving the growth and learning, she extended the four months to 20 months. She continued working with the homeless population and set up a six-bed home for alcoholic, homeless men. Her life was changed forever!

Following her return, Mikki went on to obtain a graduate degree in counseling psychology and completed post-graduate work in business administration and organizational development.  During the course of  her career she has held a variety of roles, serving in restaurants and the airlines (flight attendant and management), to social work and psychotherapy.  Since 2005 she has supported a wide range of organizations in human resources, coaching, and advising managers on matters of employee relations, performance and organizational optimization.  On the side, she coaches people interested in their personal growth and development, and who dream of exclaiming “I love my work!” 

Mikki continues to be passionate about travel and exploring the diversity of cultures near and far.  So far, she has visited 5 continents.  She loves new adventures and feels spiritual inspiration during her time out in nature and with the animal kingdom. She is a lover of continual learning, the power of yoga and meditation, stand-up comedy and is especially in love with her fur baby, Norman.