Blog Post | November 5, 2018

A Stronger TICAS

Over the past 13 years of work on college affordability, TICAS has earned a strong reputation for policymaking expertise, an evidence-based approach, and commitment to putting students first. TICAS is known for climbing into the trenches alongside policymakers to impact public policy, and as a result of its work student loans are more affordable, scholarships are larger, and the financial aid process is simpler.

With student debt at $1.5 trillion and rising, TICAS’ mission has never been more important. Today, we are excited to announce new additions to our team that will help us carry forward this legacy and make college the reliable path to the middle class it has the potential to be.

Beth Stein is TICAS’ new vice president responsible for managing our federal policy team. Most recently, Beth was general counsel and chief oversight counsel for Assistant Democratic Leader Senator Patty Murray’s staff at the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. A twenty-year Hill veteran, Beth led Senator Tom Harkin’s two-year investigation into abuses in the for-profit college sector, as well as investigations into medical devices and campaign finance violations, and helped pass major legislation including the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act and the Affordable Care Act.

Patricia Balana joins us as chief operating officer and chief financial officer, where she will help chart TICAS’ strategy and manage all aspects of finance, information technology, and human resource functions. Patricia previously worked at Jobs for the Future, where she was COO and also directed JFF’s multi-state-level policy and advocacy network. Previously, Patricia spent four years at the American Institutes for Research, where she led the Regional Education Laboratory work on educator effectiveness across the mid- and southwestern states. She was the Chief Operating Officer at the Belfast Schools Authority in Northern Ireland for almost a decade.

The TICAS board of directors is thrilled to announce three new members: Frank Chong, Zakiya Smith Ellis and Kate Tromble. Frank Chong is the president of Santa Rosa Junior College in California. Zakiya Smith Ellis is the secretary of higher education for the State of New Jersey. Kate Tromble is the pastoral associate for social justice at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington DC. Frank, Zakiya, and Kate will bring important expertise, experience, and diversity to our board.

Last, but certainly not least, several TICAS staffers have earned promotions in recent weeks. After nearly 12 years of extensive contributions to all aspects of TICAS’ work, Debbie Cochrane has been named executive vice president. Three other TICAS staffers who have long been central to organizational success have also earned promotions this year: Jessica Thompson is now director of policy and planning, Diane Cheng is our research director, and Shannon Serrato is TICAS’ communications director.

Please join TICAS board chair, Richard Kazis, and me in congratulating these individuals on their new roles.