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Caltech Y Appoints New Leadership and Board Members

Published on Friday, November 11, 2022 | 5:59 am

The Caltech Y, an independent nonprofit that empowers Caltech students to become responsible citizens of the world, welcomed new members and leaders to its volunteer board of directors. Caltech students, alumni, faculty, and staff as well as local community leaders make up the board’s 24 members. Together, they will ensure the Caltech Y fulfills its mission and will strategically map its future.

Guided by five pillars—leadership, service, civic engagement, adventure, and perspective—Caltech Y members travel the world, tutor local students, dialogue with elected officials, and more. Established in 1916, the Caltech Y was founded by Caltech students and continues to be affiliated with the Institute.

“Our new leaders and members bring a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to enriching the lives of youth and young adults,” says Athena Castro, executive director of the Caltech Y. “As the Caltech Y seeks to expand our community partnerships, we will benefit from their ideas and network.”


Cindy Bengston, President

After 30 years of holding leadership positions with ARCO/BP, Bengston retired to devote her time to community service. At 25, she created Big Sisters of Los Angeles, and 41 years later, the organization merged and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. It continues to serve 1,000 “high risk” children throughout Los Angeles County. Bengston is also involved in 15 other organizations, including Leadership Pasadena and Los Altos Auxiliary for Hathaway Sycamores. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in consumer economics from Purdue University and completed numerous professional certification courses in employee benefits, taxation, and gerontology.

Mary Wahl (BS ?08), Vice Chair

Wahl is a data scientist at Microsoft who specializes in computer vision on overhead imagery and has previously studied genomics and experimental evolution. Wahl is a Caltech alumna and former Caltech Y member.

Nick Von Gersdorff (MS ?06), Secretary

Von Gersdorff started his career in hydropower as an undergraduate student at Harvey Mudd College and is currently Southern California Edison’s chief dam safety engineer. He is passionate about traveling and fostering green energy internationally and is working to develop hydropower in the country of Georgia.

Kevin Maxwell, Treasurer

Maxwell is an accounting executive who has worked at FabFitFun and Warner Bros. He began his career in PwC’s assurance practice, attaining the title of director. Maxwell has a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s in accounting from the University of Arizona.

Board Members

Katie Clark

An administrative assistant to Nobel Laureate David Baltimore and Caltech Senior Faculty Associate Alice Huang, Clark is the former president of the Caltech Women’s Club. She also volunteers with the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and the South Pasadena Booster Club. Clark earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a master’s in French literature from UC Berkeley.

Debra Dison Hall (BS ?74)

A retired attorney and partner at Allen Matkins, Hall is a volunteer judge for the local court system. She is also a Caltech alumna who remains actively involved with her alma mater. Hall has served as president of the Caltech Alumni Association and chair of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships board and was later named a life member. This is Hall’s second time on the Caltech Y board. She previously served from 2013 to 2015 and sat on the governance committee. Hall is also a board member for YMCA of the Foothills.

Michael B. Noll

Noll is president of Michael Noll & Associates, an investment management firm in Pasadena. Previously, he worked as a financial accountant and was the Caltech Y’s accountant for more than 20 years. Noll has served as treasurer, assistant governor, and club president of the Rotary Club of Altadena and is past president and treasurer of Pasadena’s Convalescent Aid Society and High Point Academy in Altadena.

To learn more about the Caltech Y, please visit or follow us on social media, @CaltechY on Instagram and Facebook and @Caltech-Y on LinkedIn.

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