Brandeis Alumni, Family and Friends
New Alumni Board Members Bring Leadership, Fresh Perspective, and Brandeis Pride
August 1, 2023
The new members, who attended Brandeis across four decades, are business leaders, scientists, activists, and more.
New Alumni Board Members
Senior Counsel, Steptoe & Johnson
David Coburn ’73, P’04, P’07, P’10, is a Senior Counsel at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Steptoe and Johnson, where he advises transportation and energy clients on regulatory and policy matters. In 2013, he and his wife Phyllis Brenner Coburn ’75, P’04, P’07, P’10 established the Coburn Family Scholarship Endowment Fund to help others attend Brandeis. Coburn’s family ties to Brandeis run deep. In addition to marrying an alumna, Coburn’s sons Avi ’04, Brian ’07, and Seth ’10 all attended Brandeis, as did Avi’s wife Shayna ’06, and Seth’s wife Marnina ’10. After graduating from Brandeis himself, Coburn went on to receive his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1976.
President of Alumni Club of Washington, DC.
Founding Principal at Officium
Edgar Ndjatou ’06 is an HR consultant and workers’ rights advocate and the new club president of the Alumni Club of Washington, D.C. At Brandeis, Ndjatou, who attended the school as a Posse Foundation Scholar, studied sociology and economics, served in various roles in the Student Union, participated in the Intercultural Center, and played rugby. He is the Founding Principal for consulting firm Officium and Executive Director of Workplace Fairness, an employee rights non-profit.
Michele Silber Kaish ’84, P’22, majored in history while at Brandeis and has been heavily involved with the university in recent years. She co-chaired her class’ 35th reunion committee in 2019 and established the Silber Kaish Family Endowed Scholarship with her husband, Harvey Kaish ’82, P’22, that same year. Her son, Harrison ’22, also attended Brandeis. She has been active in community service for over two decades, including charitable work and serving on her local school board in West Windsor, New Jersey.
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Representative
Vice President of Research and Development at Kriya Therapeutics
Chari Smith, GSAS PhD’89, is a biochemist and Vice President of Research and Development at North Carolina-based Kriya Therapeutics, a gene therapy development firm. Her research focuses on curing diabetes and metabolic disorders. She is also the principal consultant for PharmTeam Consulting. At Brandeis, she studied biochemistry and researched channel inhibitors from scorpion venom in the lab of professor emeritus Christopher Miller.
Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley
Alyson Tarr Popper ’90 is a Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor at investment management firm Morgan Stanley. With nearly 30 years of experience, she has been recognized by Forbes as a top wealth advisor for Massachusetts and a top female advisor nationwide. An economics major and writer for The Justice newspaper while at Brandeis, Popper has stayed involved with the university as a member of the steering committee for the Alumni Club of Greater Boston and served as co-chair for her 10th and 30th/31st reunions.
Partner/Head of the Corporate and Securities group in the Toronto office of Dentons
Ora Wexler ’04 is a partner in and the head of the Corporate and Securities group in the Toronto office of Dentons, the world’s largest law firm. Her legal practice focuses on capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and other complex corporate matters. Ora has received numerous accolades as a leading lawyer in Canada, including having been named a leading lawyer under 40 by Lexpert Rising Stars. From 2018-2022, Ora served as co-president of the Brandeis Alumni Club of Toronto. She was a member of her 5th and 10th year Class of ‘04 reunion committee, and acted as the co-chair of the committee for her 15th year class reunion.
– David Marino Jr., GSAS MA’19