Slam Program

Our Board

Noah Wood, Advisory Board Chair

Having earned degrees in German and Political Science and a masters in International Affairs, Noah has worked for the global law firm Mayer Brown LLP for 18 years, where he has held a broad-range of jobs and currently serves in the capacity of Operations Manager. Noah was first introduced to music in elementary school when he was given the opportunity to experiment with a variety of musical instruments before settling on the flute. Noah's other interests include mentoring inner city youth, volunteering as a suicide prevention counselor, swimming with a masters club in Los Angeles, world travel and spending time with his beloved Welsh Terriers.

Mark Loranger, Advisory Board

Mark Loranger is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Chrysalis, a Los Angeles-Based nonprofit dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. He recently led the organization’s expansion of its Downtown Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley centers, as well as the significant growth of its two Social Enterprises, which in 2014 employed nearly 500 clients in transitional jobs. He is a frequent speaker on the topics of Social Enterprise, homelessness and employment and is a contributing author to the book Succeeding at Social Enterprise: Hard-Won Lessons for Non-Profits and Social Entrepreneurs. Mark is also an Adjunct Faculty Member in Antioch University’s Masters of Nonprofit Management program.

Carolyn McKnight, Advisory Board

Carolyn McKnight is the founding principal of the East LA Performing Arts Magnet, an innovative, arts-centered public high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The school serves an impacted urban neighborhood, but has achieved an 88% graduation rate, produced outstanding performances, and is sending more than 80% of its graduates to college. She taught theatre at Marshall High School for many years and launched the school’s annual “Bach, Rock & Shakespeare!” performing arts festival at the Greek Theatre. She earned her BA in social anthropology at Bryn Mawr College, and her master’s degree in theatre from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Carolyn received the Disney Teacher of the Year Award in 2006.

John Nyboer, Advisory Board

John is the Creative Director for Render Media and an active percussionist in Los Angeles. As a volunteer instructor at Vista del Mar, he saw the language of music facilitate self expression and self confidence, and he is excited to be involved with SLAM!'s mission. Educated at UCLA as a writer (and a member of the marching band!), Nyboer sees music as an ideal way to engage young people in something that develops persistence, communication, and improvisation – tools that are essential to successful lives.

Jacquie Shabel, Advisory Board

Jacquie Shabel serves as the Director of Music Licensing and Marketing for Oovra Music, a catalog of music, custom scored by some of the top, award-winning and nominated composers today. Over the past decade, Jacquie has consulted record companies including Priority Records, Hollywood Records, EMI Music and Capitol Records spearheading digital and brand marketing projects for: The Beatles, Coldplay, Beastie Boys, Now That's Music and many other superstar artists. Jacquie's advocacy work also includes supporting My Friend’s Place and Big Brothers Big Sisters of LA and follows in her mother’s footsteps supporting local community activism in Hollywood.

Nellie Ponarul, Advisory Board

Nellie is a fourth year at UCLA studying applied mathematics and President of the UCLA chapter of SLAM!. Nellie has played the piano and violin for most of her life and is a SLAM! Piano and Voice Instructor. With a passion for keeping music education alive, she is grateful for the opportunity SLAM! provides her to pass on her love for music.

Thiago David, Advisory Board

Currently working towards a Bachelor's Degree in Composition at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA, Thiago is a folk-pop singer songwriter, SLAM! volunteer guitar instructor, and the current President of the SLAM! at MI chapter. He is very passionate about the program, and believes that the time and effort he invests in SLAM! is an essential opportunity to grow as an artist.

Matthew van Niekerk, Advisory Board

Matthew is Vice President of Recruitment for SLAM! at USC. He is working towards a major in Computer Science and minor in East Asian Languages and Cultures. His musical focus is on guitar and music production, and he has some experience in piano too. He is thankful for the opportunity SLAM! has provided to exercise his passion for sharing knowledge and the love of music.