Election for the 2020-2021 PLATO Board of Directors

  • Online voting will take place between Wednesday, April 22 through midnight on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.
  • An email with a link to the online ballot will be sent on April 22.
  • Election results will be announced at the Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 and on the PLATO website.


Kathy Brown – President

Kathy Brown is currently on the PLATO Board of Directors serving as Vice President.  She joined PLATO in 2014 and has been a member of the Curriculum Committee since 2015, where she served as Co-Chair for several years.  Kathy retired from SSM Health/St. Mary’s Hospital where she worked in the Human Resources Department with primary focus on new employee orientation.  Kathy also co-founded a small computer training business which operated for 25 years where she helped employees with their software skills.  She also taught at the high school and college levels.  Kathy received her B.S. from Northern Illinois University and her M.S. in Continuing and Vocational Education from the U.W. Madison.  Kathy has 2 children.  Her only grandchild lives in Boston, so she can often be found in the Northeast and enjoying travels with her son and his family.  Kathy is an active advocate for the disabled, speaking for the needs of her daughter and others.

Rod McKenzie – Vice President

Rod McKenzie is currently chair of the PLATO Fund Development Committee. He has been a member of PLATO since 2016. Rod retired from a career in materials research, engineering and operations management at Rayovac, later known as Spectrum Brands. Coming to Madison from Southern California for graduate studies in Materials Science, he decided it was a good idea to stay. Not bored in retirement, he volunteers with American Red Cross, as well as with taking PLATO courses, and working on committees. There has been plenty of travel as well. Rod, and his wife Paula, keep busy with adult children and grandchildren in Madison, and in the Pacific Northwest.

Patricia Herrling – Secretary

Patricia Herrling is a retired librarian from the UW-Madison and a certified Braille transcriber, translating print into braille for the blind and visually impaired. She has also been the library coordinator for Braille Library & Transcribing Services (BLTS) in Madison for the past 10 years. Patricia has been a PLATO member since 2008 and has taken several PLATO courses throughout those years. She also co-coordinates a course held in the fall of each year on the Sacred Feminine in various religions. Patricia is a member of the the PLATO Website Committee. Her hobbies include reading, walking and knitting.

Scott Kolar – Treasurer

Scott Kolar grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia.  After graduating from Jacksonville University, he served for nine years in the US Navy as a Naval Flight Officer.  He earned a master’s degree in management information technology from Boston University and then worked in the information technology industry for over 20 years while his wife, Mary, pursued her career in the Navy.  Scott and Mary moved to Madison in 2008 when she retired after 28 years.  They were drawn to Madison for the wonderful quality of life.  Scott has been a PLATO member since 2009.  He chaired the Website Redesign Taskforce in 2010.  He was an At-large member of the Board of Directors from 2013 until he was elected Vice President in 2015.  Elected President in 2016, he completed two terms and was elected as Treasurer in 2018. 

Alan Capelle – At-Large

Alan has been a PLATO member since 2018, and he is in his 4th year serving as a Coordinator of a variety of Earth Science topics as an Instructor. Since 2013, he has been semi-retired working mainly at Madison College and Marian University as a part-time Adjunct Professor. He  serves on the Institutional Effectiveness Council at Madison College, and at People's Church in Oregon on their Leadership Board. For over 14 years as Director of the Upper Iowa University Campus in Madison, he welcomed PLATO classes to be held there as part of its community outreach mission. He brings an extensive  array of professional experience in the Earth Science, environmental, and history related areas with over 6 major awards at the regional and national levels. He lives In Oregon with his wife Sue and often travels to Green Bay to visit his 3 grandchildren and oldest daughter Laura.

Dr. Jatinder Cheema – At-Large

Dr. Jatinder Cheema, a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has served in multiple countries managing and overseeing USAID programs in energy, economic growth, health, and democracy, rule of law and conflict preventions.  Cheema served as the USAID Director in Central Asia, Armenia, West Africa and Eritrea as well as serving as an advisor in Afghanistan. Prior to joining USAID, Cheema worked as a technical consultant with the World Bank, UNICEF and the University Research Corporation. After retirement Cheema made Madison Wisconsin her home and remains active in local issues as a board member of neighborhood associations. She also established a community space called A Place to Be on Williamson Street in Madison to hold discussions on issues affecting local needs. She has a PhD in Social Sciences and a MPH from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Social Work from the Delhi School of Social Work.  Dr. Cheema is passionate about sharing her experiences in development as well as life changing stages as we get older.  She is currently working on a book about her life and work. 

Updated: 3/16/2020

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in association with:

For more information about PLATO, contact:

Edie Urness-Pondillo
UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715
Email: info@platomadison.org
Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

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