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Board Member Profiles


Send an email to the entire board by clicking here: Email Board of Trustees


Bechtel: Betsy BechtelBechtel, first elected in 2003 and re-elected twice since then, is a longtime resident of Palo Alto. She served for nine years on the Palo Alto City Council, including one year as mayor and two as vice mayor. After earning master's and bachelor's degrees from Stanford University, she began her teaching career in the Peace Corps in Ecuador, then taught sixth grade in San Jose upon her return to the United States. Bechtel continued her work in the public sector for five years as a staff member for then-County Supervisor Gerry Steinberg. She later joined Citibank, where she held the position of vice president for 15 years, and subsequently became a vice president of J.P. Morgan. She is a former director of Borel Bank. In addition to serving six years on the Foothill-De Anza Foundation board, two as president, Bechtel's extensive community service has included leadership positions in the League of Women Voters, Palo Alto Rotary Club, YMCA of the Mid-Peninsula, the Los Altos and Palo Alto Chambers of Commerce, and the Committee for Green Foothills. She is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum. Her term on the board expires in 2016. Contact Bechtel at (650) 327-1824 or bechtelbetsy@fhda.edu.

PEARL CHENG, President

Cheng: Pearl ChengCheng, a program manager for self-sufficiency initiatives at United Way Silicon Valley, was appointed in 2008 to complete the term of Paul Fong, who was elected to the California State Assembly. She was elected without opposition in 2009. Cheng is a resident of Cupertino and served for eight years on the Cupertino Union School District Board of Education and held leadership positions with the the Santa Clara County School Boards Association. She has served on the
De Anza Commission, an auxiliary of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation that represents De Anza College in the community. She worked for many years at the NASA Ames Research Center, most recently as associate director for management operations in information sciences and technology. She holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor's in engineering from the University of Iowa. Her term expires in 2018. Contact Cheng through the Chancellor's Office at (650) 949-6100 or chengpearl@fhda.edu.


CasasFrier: Laura Casas FrierCasas was elected without opposition in 2007 after being appointed to the board in 2005, and was re-elected in 2012. She holds a law degree from Santa Clara University, and a bachelor's degree in political science from California State University, Northridge. Active at the state and local levels, Casas was elected by her peers in 2011 to the statewide Trustees Board of the Community College League of California, and is past chair of the League’s Advisory Committee on Legislation. She is a graduate of the HOPE Leadership Institute operated by Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, and serves on the boards of Children Now, a national organization that makes children a public policy priority, and ALearn, a grassroots organization dedicated to under-represented students’ success in college. For the past decade she’s mentored students through Puente, an academic preparation program focused on college success. Her past activities include the Foothill-De Anza Foundation Board of Directors; Santa Clara County’s 6th District PTA; and the Santa Clara County League of Women Voters’ Education Committee. She co-founded a transitional home for domestic violence victims in Los Angeles and has worked as a claims representative for an international commercial liability carrier. Her term expires in 2016. Contact Casas at (650) 949-6100 or casasfrierlaura@fhda.edu.

JOAN BARRAM, Vice President

Barram: Barram, was appointed on Aug. 31, 2009, to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of former trustee Hal Plotkin, and was elected to the board in 2012. A resident of Los Altos, Barram has had a 25-year association with the Foothill-De Anza Community College District. She served for nearly a decade on the board of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation, which raises philanthropic support for the district's students and colleges. Barram is a longtime member of the advisory council of the Euphrat Museum of Art at De Anza College, and was a member of the "Yes on Measure C" Campaign Committee, which supported passage of the district's 2006 bond measure. Her record of public service includes the Cupertino Union School District Board of Education, where she was elected to three terms; the boards of EdSource and the California School Boards Association; Women of Silicon Valley; and the program committee of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. She holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from Wheaton College. Her term on the Board of Trustees expires in 2016. Contact Barram through the chancellor's office at (650) 949-6100 or barramjoan@fhda.edu.


Swenson: Bruce SwensonSwenson was elected to the Board in November 2005 and re-elected in 2009. A math instructor at Foothill College for more than two decades, he subsequently served as dean of the Physical Science, Math and Engineering Division, retiring as vice president of instruction and educational resources. Since his retirement in 1999, he has been a member of the Foothill Commission, one of the two college-specific auxiliary organizations of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation. Swenson earned a doctorate in education from the University of California, Berkeley, a master's degree in math from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor's degree in math from Stanford University. His term expires in 2018. He can be contacted at (650) 326-4288 or swensonbruce@fhda.edu.


Evelynn Chun
Foothill College

Chun was born and raised in California and graduated from Cupertino's Homestead High School. She has served as a senator for the Associated Students of Foothill College and is currently president of the campus International Aid Club and vice president of the Foothill United Nations Club. She plans to transfer as an international development major. Elected by Foothill students, she represents her campus as student trustee for the 2014-15 academic year. She can be contacted at chunevelynn@fhda.edu.

Melissa Epps
De Anza College

Epps is a San Jose native who is now in her second-year as a French and Spanish major. Since attending De Anza, she has been heavily involved in student activism and helping the voice of the students be heard on and off campus. Epps is a mentor for ¡LEAD! (Latino/a Empowerment at De Anza) and president of the Rainbow Club. Elected by De Anza students, she represents her campus as student trustee for the 2014-15 academic year. She can be contacted at eppsmelissa@fhda.edu.



Last Updated: Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 8:45:32 AM
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