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Sculpture by Crystal Schenk
and Shelby Davis
Photo by John Urang

Alder College’s mission is to create challenging intellectual environments where a diverse group of students feels they belong and knows they can thrive.

The health of our communities depends on dynamic thinkers who can approach complex systems with curiosity, creativity and nuance. In order to create a more equitable and inclusive future, we will also need leaders drawn from a wide range of backgrounds. Alder’s work is to increase the diversity of Oregon students who have access to a liberal arts education and the broad range of careers to which these degrees lead. We focus on the importance of the first two years of college because they are the most critical for college completion, especially for students of color, first-generation students, and students from low SES households.



The Alder Early College Course (AEC) provides high school students at David Douglas High School the opportunity to take an intensive college level course with local university and college faculty. The free course runs for four weeks in the summer and the admissions process prioritizes students who have been historically underserved in higher education.

Students study literature, U.S. history, philosophy, and visual culture. Upon successfully completing the summer course, students earn three college credits that they can transfer to any two or four-year college or university.

The AEC Course is a partnership between Alder College,David Douglas High School,Clemente Coursein the Humanities, Oregon Humanities, and Bard College.



Alder College began with a group of people reimagining the first two years of college. We remain committed to this mission, but at this time we do not plan to open a stand-alone college. We continue to explore ways to breathe life into our vision and welcome you to learn more about the original Alder College here.




Taizoon started in consulting with Booz & Co.  He then joined Intel in product marketing and rose to General Manager of the WiFi division.  He left to buy out a cellular business from Intel and form Xovix Inc.  Taizoon was also founder and Executive Director of Volved, is a web-based nonprofit that enables users to generate money and stay engaged with a cause they care about. Taizoon holds a BS from University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia University.  He serves as treasurer and board member for Outside In and SEUplift, and is a board member for Alder College.


Janine Gates currently works for the City of Portland. She has also worked for Multnomah County, Self Enhancement Inc (SEI) and other nonprofit organizations and schools in her hometown of Portland, OR and in Atlanta, GA. As a volunteer, she has assisted high school and nontraditional students receive access to and resources for college. Janine holds a B.A. in Political Science and Social Justice from Spelman College.


Colin is currently the grants manager at The Collins Foundation, leading process improvement, data analysis, and compliance across the foundation’s $10m grantmaking portfolio. His prior work across the social sector – with colleges, advocates, campaigns, and foundations – has focused on deepening and institutionalizing organizations’ equity and inclusion practices. Colin serves as secretary of the board of governors at the City Club of Portland and the finance & operations committee of the Partnership for Safety & Justice. Colin grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii and moved to Oregon in 2007 to pursue his BA in Political Science from Linfield College.


Manuel Padilla is currently the Executive Director of Portland Meet Portland, an adjunct professor at Marylhurst University, and a conversations project leader with Oregon Humanities. He is a teacher and consultant in the areas of dialogue, conflict transformation, restorative justice, intercultural competency/communication, social change, and international development. Manuel holds a BA in philosophy from Portland State University; an MA in peace, conflict, and development studies from the UNESCO Chair for the Philosophy of Peace; and does peace building and human rights work both domestically and internationally. His professional interest is rooted in his deep desire to use group processes to foster cultures of encounter and vulnerability and build civil society.


Robyn Steely (Board Chair) is a Training and Organizational Consultant and former Executive Director of Write Around Portland, a nonprofit providing creating writing workshops to communities across Portland. In her consultant work, she provides creative, relationship-based training, facilitation, and organization development for nonprofits, NGOs, social change, advocacy, and mission-based organizations. Current and previous clients include: The Wilderness Society of Australia, Wellstone Action, the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, Oregon Labor Candidate School, Five Keys Charter School and Programs, Human Services Council, Oregon Child Development Coalition, Oregon Walks, Momentum Alliance, and College Possible. Robyn holds a BA in African-American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis.


Deborah Walsh is Dean of Students at Oregon Episcopal School and teaches Constitutional Law, Modern Social Movements, and U.S. History. She currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for Bitch Media and is a member of the Education Advisory Board for the World Affairs Council. Before her career in education, she worked as an associate attorney at Stoel Rives and as a judicial clerk for the Oregon Court of Appeals. Deborah holds a B.S. in History and Religious Studies from Saint Mary’s College and a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law.





Dr. Jennifer Schuberth comes to Alder College after three years as a senior business strategist at the ICA Group, a non-profit consultancy that provides financial modeling and business and policy consulting to nonprofits and businesses focused on creating sustainable jobs, especially for low income individuals. As an assistant professor at Portland State University, she started a popular program in the academic study of religion that grew to more than forty minors in two years. She also taught in the Freshman and Sophomore general education program at PSU, as well as trained and taught in the University of Chicago’s College Writing Program. She has taught at the University of Chicago, Portland State University, Oakton Community College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and in Oregon Humanities’ Humanity in Perspective Program, a college program for low-income individuals. She holds a doctorate in Philosophy of Religion, as well as an M.A. in Humanities, from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis with majors in literature and financeEmail.




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