Board of Directors
Steven E. Kern, PhD is Deputy Director of Quantitative Sciences at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Quantitative Sciences group is focused on quantitative analysis to support program strategies for therapeutic projects that the foundation funds.
Prior to this, he was Global Head of Pharmacology Modeling at Novartis Pharma AG based in Basel Switzerland where he lead a team focused on providing model based drug development support to therapeutics in many disease conditions across all stages of drug development. He joined Novartis in 2010 from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah where he was Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics, Anesthesiology, and Bioengineering, and served as co-investigator for their NIH funded Pediatric Pharmacology Research Unit. He is married to Jennifer Hughes Kern and has two daughters, Emily (in the picture above) and Jane. When he is not traveling the world working on tropical diseases, he loves to hike, ride his bike, ski, and in a former time play ice hockey. Reading and NY Times Sunday crossword puzzles are also favorite less-active passions.
Nicole started volunteering with Minds Matter in fall 2014 as a mentor and served as Director of Sophomore Mentoring (2015-2016) and VP of Academics (2016-2018). She joined the Board of Directors in 2018. Aside from Minds Matter, Nicole has worked with students in many capacities, including undergraduate teaching at Bellevue College and lecturing through the University Beyond Bars (UBB) program. Nicole graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2012 with a B.S. in molecular bioscience and biotechnology and completed her Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Washington in 2019. Currently, she is an adjunct instructor in the biology department at Tacoma Community College and a volunteer instructor with the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound (FEPPS). Nicole is passionate about educational equity gaps and promotes the use of inclusive teaching methods to benefit all students.
Forrest has been a mentor with Minds Matter since 2014, and is currently acting as the Director of Finance on the Executive Committee. Forrest was born and raised in Franconia, NH, a small town of in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Forrest has an BA in Physics from Princeton University, and a Phd. in Neuroscience and Molecular Biology also from Princeton. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University before moving to Seattle to work at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, where he is currently an Assistant Investigator. His research presently focuses the patterns of how different neuronal cell types in the brain connect with one another.
Rissa is currently Program Manager for the Polio team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In this role she supports business operations, strategic planning, and ongoing portfolio management. She served in a similar role for the Foundation’s U.S. Advocacy team, focused on College Ready and Post-Secondary educational programs. Prior to joining the Foundation, Rissa served as Executive Director for Minds Matter for more than four years, during which time she focused on strategic growth, infrastructure development, and programmatic expansion. Rissa holds a B.A. in English and political science from Williams College, an M.A. in education from Stanford University, and an M.B.A. from the Johnson School at Cornell University.
Sonali is a Data Scientist in the Advanced Analytics department at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. She has also worked as a Senior Clinical Data Scientist at Virginia Mason Medical Center. Healthcare Data Science is a field that uses quantitative and analytical techniques to impact human lives very directly. This is the perfect nexus where Sonali likes to be. She has a Ph.D. in Physics, a Masters in Mathematics, and a silver medal from the Indian Institute of Technology. Prior to her transition into healthcare, Sonali worked in the academic sector, conducting research in Particle Physics and teaching at Hamline University, St. Paul, and at Seattle University.
Sonali has always enjoyed volunteering, including at Japanese and botanical gardens, as a judge at Science fairs, and as an Executive Board member at the Association for India's Development. Sonali believes that volunteering enriches a person as much as a volunteer contributes to an organization, and is excited to begin her journey with Minds Matter. On the personal side, Sonali loves to travel, paint, and best of all, share both silly and profound moments with her son.
Sara began her career in education as an elementary student, marching alongside her mother for education reform. Trained as a family therapist and later supporting youth and family empowerment through college and career access programs, Sara excitedly accepted the invitation to join the Minds Matter Seattle team. With a lens toward equity-driven, culturally relevant practice, Sara hopes to bring her dynamic personal and professional experiences to support our dedicated volunteers, scholars and families. Sara currently serves as Director of Human Resources for a local school district, and holds a BA from Washington State University, and Masters from Lewis & Clark College.
Ken Bugayong, CFA, CTP
Ken is the Chief Financial Officer of Rockstable Token, Inc. and Treasury Manager at Expedia Group. In these roles, he facilitates the modernization of the finance and investment practice through digital transformation initiatives. In 2019, he was honored with the prestigious Adam Smith Award and AFP Pinnacle Award, both for financial innovation and the advancement of the industry at large. Ken is also a former central banker in the Philippines, implementing the country's monetary policy and the international reserves management mandate. Prior to joining the foundation, Ken served as mentor and facilitator at Pathways to Higher Education, an educational nonprofit organization geared toward identifying talented but financially underprivileged public high school students and equips them with the necessary academic and soft skills to nurture them to become transformative leaders. Ken holds an MBA degree from MIT Sloan School of Management, a B.S. degree in Management Engineering (cum laude) from Ateneo de Manila University, a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Charter, and a CTP (Certified Treasury Professional) designation.
Tully has been involved with Minds Matter since 2012, when he started as a mentor in our New York City Chapter. Upon moving to Seattle in 2014, Tully led our early community outreach and mentee recruitment efforts, working with our great community partners. He joined the board in 2016, after serving on the Executive Committee. Tully is a private wealth advisor at AB Bernstein, a global research and investment management firm, where he advises executives and multigenerational families. He holds a BA from Stanford University.