More about our Great Board of Directors!
Richard Van Enk, Board President
Director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology, Bronson Methodist Hospital
Richard A. Van Enk, Ph.D. (he, him), is a microbiologist and hospital epidemiologist, the Director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology for Bronson Heathcare. Dr. Van Enk grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and his professional career has taken him to Bowling Green, KY; Kansas City, KS; Chicago, IL; Dayton, OH; and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Richard is a life-long amateur choral ensemble bass-baritone. He has performed with over 12 auditioned choral ensembles in a 45-year career and has been a singer in the Kalamazoo Bach Society for over 25 years. He is interested in the organizational and leadership areas of community arts ensembles and has served several terms as board member and board chair of our Kalamazoo ensemble. He enjoys performing in many musical styles, and also plays a variety of percussion instruments. His musical interests range from classical choral masterworks to jazz, worship music, world music, and music from marginalized communities; almost any music when voices join together to form community and communicate important things.
Karen Trout, Vice President
Community Engagement Librarian, Kalamazoo Public Library
Karen Trout is a graduate of St. Olaf College (B.A. in Fine Arts), Western Michigan University (B.M. in Music Therapy) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (M.S in Library and Information Science). She is the Community Engagement Librarian at Kalamazoo Public Library. Karen is also a musician and vocalist, having performed with The St. Olaf Choir, The Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Kalamazoo Singers, and the Bach Festival Chorus, and she has volunteered in productions by the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre and All Ears Radio Theatre. Previous board service includes YWCA of Kalamazoo, the Stulberg International String Competition, the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, and Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK).
Susan Wiersma Uchimura, Secretary
Susan Wiersma Uchimura graduated as class valedictorian with degrees in Theory and Piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with esteemed pedagogues Jack Radunsky and Eunice Podis. After receiving her Master of Music Degree in Pedagogy from the University of South Carolina, she moved to Kalamazoo to begin a career at Western Michigan University as Artist in Residence with the Merling Trio. In that capacity, she performed in over 40 states, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, and China. The trio appeared on prestigious series at venues such as Merkin Hall, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Columbus Museum of Art, to broad critical acclaim. Susan’s private students maintain a high profile in competitions such as the Grand Rapids Bach Festival, the Michigan Music Teachers Association, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Young Artist Competition. An avid reader, she founded Kalamazoo’s Knowledge is Power book club.
Laurel Palmer, Treasurer
Kalamazoo College Fund, Director
Laurel Palmer is a graduate of Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania (B.S. Business Administration, Marketing and Human Resources) and Michigan State University (M.A., Student Affairs Administration). She has lived in the Kalamazoo area for more than 20 years and is currently the director of the Kalamazoo College Fund at Kalamazoo College. Laurel is engaged in the community through board work and involvement in the lives of her 16 year old daughter and 7 year old son. Laurel grew up in a musical family and spent many nights sitting by the piano as her mom played, and she sang. She was also engaged in chorus and in the concert and marching bands, playing the flute
throughout the entirety of her high school years.
President, Board Member of PFC Grocery & Deli
Laurie’s roots in Southwest Michigan run deep. Raised in Marshall and a K College alum (K ’82) she learned to love the lower corner of the mitten. After 27 years in metro Indianapolis, where she raised two amazing daughters and not a little bit of hell, Laurie had the opportunity to move back to Kalamazoo and took it in a hot minute. Since returning she has worked in a volunteer capacity with Loaves and Fishes, Open Doors, The Kalamazoo Hunger Free Community Coalition, as well as other helping organizations in the area. Much of her Social Justice work comes from her association with her church, St. Martin of Tours Episcopal, where she preaches regularly and from which she serves as a deputy to the Episcopal Church National Convention.
Her career work was largely in publishing, where she was responsible for creating and managing the first tech support help desk for teachers at Pearson Education in the early 2000s.
President, Delphi Global Health Research, Adjunct Professor Kalamazoo College
Khady Brumblay is a Research Scientist interested in issues of racial, gender, socio-economic, and age inequities in the US and abroad. She is currently the President of Delphi Global Health, a small research consulting firm, and an Adjunct Professor at Kalamazoo College where she teaches Global Health, Epidemiology, and Public Health. She has volunteered for organizations since she was 14, in Senegal her native country, in Vermont, Ann Arbor, and now, Kalamazoo MI. Khady is a founding member of the Association of Africans Living in Vermont, a grass-roots organization that provides services and support to recent immigrants and refugees in Vermont, and of Orchestra Jammbo’Laya, a collaborative youth orchestra, which brings to the fore music by Black composers the world around. Khady is also the Chair of the Healthy House Board of Directors, which provides safe and structured housing to women whose lives were derailed by adverse life events. In her free time, Khady enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and friends traveling. She is also an amateur ceramist.
Attorney at Miller Johnson, Teacher at KVCC Police Academy
Richard (“Rich”) Cherry is a product of Kalamazoo Public Schools. Rich attended Kalamazoo College, receiving his degree in Political Science and Wayne State University Law School, for his law degree. Rich is an attorney at Miller Johnson in Kalamazoo and was the Deputy City Attorney for the City of Kalamazoo. Rich is both a member and former President of the Judge Charles A. Pratt Bar Association, member of the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, former Board President of the Douglass Community Association, and he has served on the board of directors for the Crescendo Academy. Rich has participated in several speaking engagements throughout the Kalamazoo community, including Kalamazoo College, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and Kalamazoo area high schools and teaches at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Police Academy. In his free-time, he likes spending quality time with his wife, Katie, and his three kids, Austin, Norah and Miles.
Psychologist, Director of Equity, Learning, and Culture at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation
Dr. Kenlana Ferguson is a licensed psychologist and the Director of Equity, Learning, and Culture at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF). She holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Western Michigan University. Before joining KZCF, she was the Director of Counseling at Kalamazoo College and served her last two years there in the dual role as Director of Counseling and Interim Managing Director at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. Kenlana’s 20-year career as a psychologist has taken her across mental health, criminal justice, and higher education sectors in Kalamazoo. In 2020, she co-founded the Kalamazoo Black & Brown Therapy Collective, an initiative that help individuals heal from racial trauma and eliminate mental health barriers by connecting BIPOC individuals with BIPOC mental health clinicians and providing funding for therapy. Over the last 5 years, Kenlana has built her own racial equity consulting practice and this work takes her into various government, private, and non-profit agencies and businesses across and outside of the state. Kenlana also serves on several other boards in the community and enjoys volunteering, sewing, machine embroidery, thrift shopping, and spending time with family.
Director of Communications, OutFront Kalamazoo
Grace Gheen is originally from the Detroit area. Her current position is the Director of Communications at OutFront Kalamazoo. She has an extensive background in education and nonprofit management. Her previous positions include Adult Education teacher for Kalamazoo Public Schools and the Director of Choral Operations and Donor Relations for the Kalamazoo Bach Festival. Prior to working in education, Grace worked for the University of Michigan in the CASL Development office. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in Anthropology and Psychology; a Masters's in Elementary Education from The Ohio State University; and an MBA in Nonprofit Management from Cleary University. Grace has been part of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival choir since moving to Kalamazoo in 2013 as an Alto. She enjoys performing choral music as well as secular pieces. Grace also enjoys performing sketch comedy, performing with local Kalamazoo musicians, and listening to live music. She is very thankful for her three sons and husband, and her two cats, Wednesday and Turnip for always supporting her in all her endeavors.
Author, Poet, Retired Kalamazoo College Professor
Gail Griffin is an essayist, memoirist, and poet. Her nonfiction book "'The Events of October': Murder-Suicide on a Small Campus" studies the deaths of two Kalamazoo College students in 1999. She explores the experience of traumatic loss in "Grief's Country: A Memoir in Pieces." Her first collection of poetry, "Omena Bay Testament," winner of the Wilder Prize from Two Sylvias Press, appears in 2023. Gail has offered community workshops on anti-racist whiteness and on writing memoir. She spent 36 years teaching literature, writing, and women's studies at Kalamazoo College, where she won awards for teaching, creative work, and long-term contribution to the college community. In 1995 she was Michigan Professor of the Year. .Gail is a Detroit native who has lived in Kalamazoo since 1977, after earning a B.A. from Northwestern and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. She sang for twenty years with the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus.
Copywriter, Marketing Specialist
Mickey Huang joined the Kalamazoo Choral Arts Board in 2023, just a year after moving to Kalamazoo from Chicago. Semi-retired from a decades-long career in sales and marketing, he is now a freelance copywriter working with several clients including a luxury international travel company and a Chicago-based real estate firm. He is also on the board of the Friends of the Portage Senior Center and serves on the Events Planning Committee for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU. Mickey is honored and excited to be joining KCA as the group begins a new chapter—with its new name and new mission statement. He and his husband Keith are both K-College graduates, and they are delighted to have come full circle back to the place where they met in 1982. Mickey is an avid pickleball player and both still love to travel as they are able: Jordan, Patagonia, Vietnam and New Zealand remain high on their bucket list.
Retired Public School Teacher
Christina Martinez is a retired Portage Public Schools teacher and longtime resident of both Kalamazoo and Portage. A graduate of Loy Norrix High School, she went on to study at Michigan State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Returning to Kalamazoo, she completed a Masters Degree in Counseling and Guidance at Western Michigan University. Christina has long pursued volunteer opportunities with both the Bach Festival and the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. She has participated in a variety of KSO choral productions under Maestros Takeda and Harvey, and has been a member of the Bach Festival Chorus since 2006, joining the board in 2020. Christina lives in Portage where, in addition to her roles as singer and volunteer, she continues to enjoy a wide range of activities and interests.
Senior Partner, Rosetta Consultants
West Nelson is originally from Hollis, Queens. He attended Kalamazoo College and, in his heart, he never left town. After graduating with a degree in theatre and a minor in sociology/anthropology, West had a varied career; gaining skills in food service and publishing (retail, sales, and production). He is currently the senior partner of Rosetta Consultants. Their focus is on computer consulting, corporate training, and book doctoring. His work has taken him to places like Detroit, Stamford, CT, Boulder, CO, San Francisco, Vancouver, BC, Sao Paolo, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. He was even an adjunct professor at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York for a couple of semesters. The irony of that was not lost on him. Interspersed throughout his studies and his work, West has also been a radio DJ, voice actor, fight choreographer and theater lighting designer. For nearly a quarter century, he served in various capacities (including all the offices) on the Alumni Association Engagement Board of Kalamazoo College as well as serving a couple of terms on the college's Board of Trustees. He is also a long serving member on the board of directors for Cori Teri/Wellspring and Dancers. His musical interests are eclectic and he's always interested in anything new and thrilling.
Past President, Retired from Non-Profit Leadership
Deb has lived in the Kalamazoo area since 1972 having attended and graduated from Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University with a Master of Public Administration degree and gerontology specialty. Her career was in nonprofit management and executive directorship. She worked for the area agency on aging followed by Kalamazoo County Human Services Department and Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, as a health access consultant, advocate and analyst, and director of an Early statewide project through The Arc Michigan. Her final career positions were as Executive Director of Widowed Persons Service of greater Grand Rapids and CEO/President of Community Advocates (The ARC chapter of Kalamazoo County for people with Developmental Disabilities). Her volunteer board work includes as a three terms elected school board member at Gull Lake Community Schools, appointments to the Kalamazoo community mental health board and human service department board, YWCA Children's Center advisory board, Governor-appointed Michigan Early On Council for handicapped infants and toddlers, as well as state advisory committees and task forces in the Departments of education, special education, public health, social services, and mental health and developmental disabilities. Currently, she is involved as a Vestry member and the Senior Warden at her local Episcopal Church and for the past six years as a board member of Kalamazoo Bach Festival.