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Student, Foundation board member chosen to represent community colleges
Photos and Story by James Hill
Portland Community College student Charlene Gomez of Lake Oswego and PCC Foundation Board Member Betty Duvall of Northwest Portland were chosen to represent community colleges around the state on the Legislature’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
The Oregon State Senate confirmed the executive appointments of Gomez and Duvall as members of the commission, which sets goals and accountability measures for colleges and universities, evaluates and approves their missions and degrees, and develops a finance model for them.
Gomez attends classes at the Sylvania Campus and serves as that campus’ student government director of legislation. She is pursing degrees in business and the ophthalmic field. She has primarily worked at PCC to organize voter registration and represent student interests at the campus and the college. She said she has learned the importance of voting, civic engagement and education through her experiences and has a lot to offer the commission.
“I am a first-generation American and the first in my family to go to college,” Gomez said. “I would have never imagined myself having the opportunity to work with state representatives and that’s why I am so excited and honored for the opportunity to serve my community and the state of Oregon. I am a non-traditional student finishing my second year with two more years to go in my program. My intention is to learn and to take my experiences and share them with my community and the state as a whole.”
Duvall has been on the PCC Foundation Board since 2006 and served as chair from 2009 to 2011. She is the former executive dean of the Rock Creek Campus at PCC from 1989 to 1994 and most recently was professor and director of the Community College Leadership Program in the School of Education at Oregon State University from 1995 to 2004. In addition, she served as the first Community College Liaison for the U.S. Department of Education in 1994-1995.
“I have a deep and binding interest in education and higher education and what it can mean for students and communities,” Duvall told the Senate Committee on Rules and Executive Appointments at the Capitol Building in Salem on May 21. “I worry about where we are now and I would love very much to work with you and with the governor and other people in the state in ensuring higher education remains a viable part of our opportunities for our citizens.”