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2018-2019 FELLOWS

We are a diverse community of educators in northwestern Washington who contribute to our campuses and communities in multiple ways--through teaching, research, leading community organizations, working through local government, and volunteering. We are also friends, neighbors, parents, and more.


We are life-long learners seeking to improve our campus-community collaborations through shared dialogue, cooperation, and reflection.


We know we need each other, and the support of the broader community, to do our best work.

I am a passionate Pacific NWer! I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and attended the University of Oregon. After 6 years in New England, where I received my PhD in Biochemistry from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, my now-husband and I returned to the west coast for our postdoctoral fellowships. We spent 3 years in the Bay Area, where I worked at UC Berkeley, before heading north in Fall 2017 to Bellingham. I am beginning my second year as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Western Washington University, where I teach and conduct research. Broadly, I am a structural biologist who is interested in deciphering the selectivity determinants of peptide-binding domains. This information can be applied to any protein domain family that recognizes a small number of residues in target ligands, however, I am particularly interested in using the PDZ domain as a model system for my investigations.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The Sehome Arboretum! The running trails in the region are all great, but this one is convenient to campus and has plenty of trails to keep every day interesting.

Jeanine Amacher

Western Washington University

Amy began working at Whatcom in 2014 and has worked within the Community and Technical College system since 2010. In 2014, Amy completed a Master of Education, Instructional Design degree; her capstone project included the creation and delivery of curriculum for white, program gatekeepers to better understand and unpack their power and privilege to support systemically non-dominant groups’ navigating the seam between high school and college. She is also a graduate of the 2017 Social Justice Leadership Institute, the program’s third cohort.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Anywhere near water. 

Amy Anderson

Whatcom Community College

I serve as Bellingham Technical College’s (BTC’s) executive director of institutional effectiveness. Our department supports the college community in identifying and achieving its goals through self-analysis, resource development, and planning. My professional background (and passions!) has centered on post-secondary education access and success, collaborative process design and implementation, community engagement and partnership-building, and identity development within broader social structures. These threads also emerged in my dissertation research, through which I explored how college students who participate in international service-learning programs aimed at developing global citizenship competencies perceive and describe their experiences as they transition back home. I have an amazing husband and two sweet kiddos who I hope, above all else, will be kind human beings.

A place I love in the Salish Sea Region: Sinclair Island

RaeLyn Auxlund McBride

Bellingham Technical College - Institutional Effectiveness

I’m a coastal Midwesterner – originally from Ohio, I’ve lived on the Pacific Coast for over ten years. I completed my Masters and PhD in cultural anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and I lived on Orcas Island while I wrote my dissertation. From 2014-2016, I lived in California as a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I’m glad to be back in the Salish Sea region, where I now work as the Assistant Director of Canada House Programs: The Salish Sea Institute, the Border Policy Research Institute, and the Center for Canadian-American Studies. I’m committed to facilitating place-based learning and connecting across borders and boundaries.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: One of my (many) favorite places on the Salish Sea is Snoring Bay on Sucia Island.

Natalie Baloy

Canada House, WWU


Upon graduating from WWU with a master’s degree I was fortunate to find love, opportunity and acceptance in Bellingham and have made it my home for nearly two decades. I’m continually inspired by the natural beauty of this region and as a Bellingham City Council member have found it my charge to protect that beauty and ensure all have access to it. As a substitute educator in the public schools and an elected official, I am reminded daily of the inequities in our community, and that not everyone experiences love, opportunity and acceptance in Bellingham. It’s my deepest commitment and passion to learn about and acknowledge our twisted and gnarled past that has informed the polices and land use of today. I’m inspired daily by my own children and the youth in our community to ‘just keep swimming’ in the direction of a just, inclusive and sustainable community and by all means always “smile and wave”.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Locust Beach when the tides out

April Barker

City of Bellingham

A native of the US southwest, I relocated to Seattle in 1980, and settled in Bellingham in 1989. At Western, I had a role in developing the student and employee bus pass programs and conservation marketing and programming in support of the University Climate Action Plan. As a 10-year member of the Mayor's Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, I took part in the City of Bellingham Transportation improvement planning processes, and continue to participate as a member of the WTA Citizen Advisory Committee. Recently retired from Western, I am working to find the flow of a multi-faceted practice focused on textiles and handweaving, and eager to collaborate in support of a climate-beneficial regional fibershed. I believe that when we get personal satisfaction from things we grow or make, we consume less and live in greater balance with the planet.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: I feel happy in my Bellingham backyard, and exploring Farmer's markets in Bellingham and the surrounding towns.

Carol Berry

Retired from WWU Office of Sustainability, Campus Conservation and Sustainable Transportation Program Manager 2006-2018; currently President of the Whatcom Weavers Guild, and affiliated with the Textiles Group of the Jansen Art Center.

I am passionate about energizing others to do extraordinary things through conversation, collaboration and community building. In 2017, I graduated from Fairhaven college at WWU with a degree in Creative Communications and Entrepreneurship and spent the following year serving as an intern at the INN. During the summer of 2018, I married my best friend, Jack, and started a new full-time position at the INN as the Ministry Coordinator. My work in this community includes mentoring and learning alongside young adults to discover understandings of calling and vocational discernment, identity, and sense of belonging. It excites me to help connect people with their passions so they may bring positive and impactful cultural influence to Bellingham and beyond. For the past seven years, I’ve also worked as a freelance photographer and love telling stories through creative avenues.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Woodstock Farm... where we had our first date and signed our marriage license!

Jessie Bloss


I am happy to have been Washington grown. Raised in Olympia, I headed north in the early 80s to WWU. My husband was raised in Bellingham and it is where we have raised our son. I spent 20 years in the theater production world, locally with the Mt. Baker Theatre. The last 16+ years I have been with the Bellingham School District, working with middle and high school students. My recent work with under-served students has opened my eyes to many un-voiced issues here in Bellingham. I am happy and excited to expand my role in the community.

Most places along the water's edge are grand. East Sound on Orcas is a family favorite.

Amy Brewster

Sehome High School

Hiya folks. My name's Steve and I teach a bit at Whatcom Community College. I have worked at WCC in a number of capacities, currently as adjunct faculty in Business, Accounting, and Co-operative Learning. My interests lie in creating and utilizing curriculum that is relatable directly to student's lives and interests, and developing a worthwhile academic space for students of all abilities.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Does my house count?

Steve Bridges

Whatcom Community College

Retired educator (elementary, pre-school, gifted and talented, educational director of a Unitarian Universalist congregation, ESL, educational work in the Peace Corps 67-69). A lifelong activist dedicated to working for understanding and social action around sovereignty and treaty rights. Regionally playing a supportive role in many tribal-led efforts such as: Paddle to Lummi Canoe Journey in 2007, and efforts towards supporting Lummi again hosting the 2019 Canoe Journey, Healing Totem Pole Journeys 2004-2018, and collaborative work with tribal and community efforts to defeat the proposed coal terminal.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: my back yard

Beth Brownfield

Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, Native American Connections

I am a father, husband, lawyer and amateur musician. My law practice covers the range of civil law, from appeals to property disputes to advising non-profit boards and government agencies. In my free time, I play violin in the Bellingham Community Chamber Orchestra and the Bayshore Symphony. I am also on the Board of Bellingham's Community Food Coop.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Two bike rides: Chuckanut Drive and from Glacier to Artist Point.

Phillip Buri

Buri Funston Mumford & Furlong - Partner

I happily am relocating to Bellingham and Whatcom Community College's Engineering Department, after 13 years of instruction and department chair at Edmonds Community College. I have been performing STEM Outreach shows for K-12 system, professional organizations, and youth organizations for over a decade. I also served as a co-principal investigator for the RiSE NSF grant which focused on supporting non-traditional students earn their STEM degrees. I earned my MS in Physics from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, and a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois of Urbana-Champaign. I was recognized as the Echelbarger/Sherman Exceptional Faculty for 2015-16, and the New Service Learning Faculty Member of the Year.

A Place I love in the Salish Sea region: My friends deck on Holmes Habor, Whidbey, Island.

Patrick Burnett

Engineering - Whatcom Community College

I am the Branch Manager at the Deming Library, a branch of the Whatcom County Library System. It is a privilege and pleasure to serve my community in this capacity. I work to ensure that the Deming Library is a welcoming and inclusive space open to all. I have the opportunity to share library resources with all ages, plan and host programs and participate in community outreach among many other duties.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: South Fork of the Nooksack River

Katrina Carabba

Whatcom County Library System

I came to Bellingham to work at Western. Under the heading of ‘arts advocate’ – I’m the flack for the College of Fine and Performing Arts. I’ve worked in nonprofit theatres and community organizations off and on since I was a teenager. I volunteer when I can for the Washington Trails Association, and I’m a representative on the Executive Committee of WWU’s Professional Staff Association. I may be on the board of Common Threads by the time you read this. I’m the parent of a kid in Sunnyland Elementary. 1200+ Smarttrips.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: This spot:,-122.4678476,3a,75y,180h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sWKkrtViY4gTGwnn32fFSlg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Chris Casquilho

College of Fine and Performing Arts - ​Western Washington University  

I am the Rural Advocacy Coordinator with Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services. My job is to ensure that survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault can access support anywhere in Whatcom County. I provide direct client services to rural residents and I also do outreach work to raise awareness of DVSAS outside of Bellingham. As a multilingual person, I have been privileged to get to know many of the distinct cultural groups that make up our diverse area. I would love to see more agencies investing in rural outreach services so we can continue to support our county's rural population and better meet their needs.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Silver Lake Park. I remember staying in one of the cabins with my extended family as a child. We went fishing, rode in a paddle boat and took many long walks around the park. It took me many years to return to Silver Lake, but it's just as beautiful as it was in my memory!

Devin Connolly

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services

I moved to Bellingham with my family in November of 2014, arriving on Thanksgiving Day. I came because of the job I was awarded and have stayed because we love it so much here! My title at WWU is Club Activities Coordinator, which means I have the privilege of supporting all of the AS clubs on campus and managing our online involvement platform called Western Involvement Network (WIN). I am also lucky enough to coordinate the yearly Summer Noon Concert Series that happens in July. I have a masters in College Student Personnel and have learned a lot through the years about managing university systems but also, most importantly, the growth and development of students in this critical times in their lives. The students at Western have taught me incredible lessons about myself, how I interact with the world, and what it means to be a part of their journey.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Anywhere spent with my family exploring this beautiful area!

Jenn Cook

Student Activities - ​Western Washington University 

I am a teacher-scholar focused on understanding and addressing environmental injustice, by examining smelter activism in El Paso del Norte, food provisioning in rural Pennsylvania, public transit access in Baltimore, water scarcity in Northern Arizona, and food insecurity among students at WWU. Much of my current efforts center on developing and sharing pedagogies and strategies for centering social justice in environmental studies and related disciplines. Over the last two years, I have been facilitating a student-led process to create a new Environmental Justice minor in Huxley College.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The Chuckanuts - I so value having this network of trails in my backyard.

Kate Darby

Environmental Studies, Western Washington Univeristy 

I am in my 15th year teaching developmental mathematics at Whatcom Community College. I am committed to helping my students discover and strengthen their abilities to learn and use mathematics. Earlier in my career I was a coordinator for the Tutorial Center at Western Washington University where I trained and supervised tutors and acted as a liaison to the mathematics department. In that position I tutored students in mathematics and study skills. I am a Bellingham native and much of my past community engagement has been in conjunction with my sons' schools and activities and my church. I have been an empty-nester for several years now and am ready to find new avenues to connect with my community.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Sucia Island. I have not been to Sucia for several years, but have memories of visits there throughout my lifetime, including some of my earliest memories.

Jody DeWilde

Developmental Education Mathematics - Whatcom Community College 

I currently work for the Area Health Education Center for Western Washington at Whatcom Community College, as the Associate Director. This role follows a stint at WCC as a student navigator, and registration advisor. AHECWW work combines my passion for student services and behavioral health--projects we are working on range from youth pipeline programs to statewide health workforce education initiatives.

I also have background in writing, and hold an MFA in creative writing (poetry emphasis) from the University of Montana. I was born and raised in Bellingham but spent 13 years in Montana working to become a better writer and writing teacher. My husband and I returned to Bellingham to raise our two young children, and deeply miss the access to wild spaces. I'm interested in intersections between the humanities and STEM citizenship and professional identity...and in just making it through the week while holding space for meaningful engagement with my kids, with the outdoors, and maybe a poem or two.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Washington

Kate Di Nitto

Area Health Education Center for Western Washington - Whatcom Community College

I am a public health nurse at the Whatcom County Health Department and have been working for the past 4 years in communicable disease surveillance. More recently I have been focusing on sexual health in Whatcom County and started facilitating a Sexual Health Task Force in the beginning of 2018. I’m hoping to bring our community agencies together and promote better sexual health services. Outside of work you’ll find me hiking in the Mt. Baker area, frequenting breweries, running through trails, and trying to tame my springer spaniel.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Cypress Island. I had a magical camping experience there with orcas, seals, and otters.

Zac Doobovsky

Whatcom County Health Department - Communicable Disease

I am the AmeriCorps Team Leader at Washington Campus Compact and I am a graduate student at Western Washington University. My professional focus on food security and universal access to education inform my academic pursuits in language literacy (and vice-versa). I have a background in experiential education and lived in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest before moving back to Bellingham, the city of my heart. The people in my life have made my adventures worth the risk and from sharing in our stories, I think we have learned more about who we are and what we are made of. Storytelling is as essential as water and I am guided by the belief that everyone should be able to share.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The Fairhaven Train Station

Sarah Dorfler

Western Washington University

Washington Campus Compact AmeriCorps

I serve as the Director of Orchestral Studies at WWU, where in addition to overseeing the orchestral program, I teach courses in music theory, history, and conducting. I also work closely with the Whatcom Symphony, Bellingham Festival of Music, and Marrowstone Music Festival. While my primary professional and academic focus is on the performance of classical music, I am also deeply committed to making this art form accessible and relevant to new audiences by giving concerts in non-traditional settings, speaking informally from the stage, and creating interdisciplinary, mixed-media programming.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Excelsior Pass

Ryan Dudenbostel

Music - Western Washington University 

I made Bellingham home in July 2017 after living on the East Coast for 6 years and growing up in CA. Currently, I am the Recruiter/Navigator for the Chemical Dependency Professional Program at WCC. I also do life coaching through my coaching business, Raw Motherhood. I love being active and outdoors, running, and exploring the PNW. Community and connection is at the heart of everything I do.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Orcas Island and the Interurban Trail

Gina Ebbeling

Whatcom Community College

I am the Director for Communications & Marketing at Whatcom Community College. I have been in various roles at WCC for six years. At Whatcom, I have enjoyed participating in the strategic planning steering committee, strategic enrollment management team, marketing and publications work group, emergency communication team, and advising the Phi Theta Kappa student honor society. Every day at WCC is different. I love that I am able to wear different hats and express my creativity in a multitude of ways. I earned my master’s degree in adult and higher education from Western Washington University. For me, the program reaffirmed my passion for higher education and helping students succeed. During my undergraduate studies, I studied art history and journalism, which eventually led me to a career in marketing and public relations. In my free time, I enjoy frequenting Bellingham’s vibrant brewery scene with my husband, learning how to parent our four-month-old, and running with my dog Triscuit.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

Marisa Ellis

Whatcom Community College

I teach media studies in the Communication Studies department at WWU. I am passionate about fostering a critical understanding of media, and this critical thread runs through my teaching and research. Much of my research focuses on media industries, with special attention to independent film/TV producers, regional media, and gender. I founded the Pacific Northwest Media Research Consortium, an international network of scholars who study media in the region. I would love to see the Consortium grow in activity and capacity in order to highlight the great media work (both scholarly and professionally) that’s being done in the region. I hope to continue making more connections with scholars and community members who want to champion a vibrant media landscape in the Pacific Northwest.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Marine Park in Fairhaven on a sunny day, rainy day, blustery day, foggy day, partly cloudy day...

Mary Erickson

Communication Studies - Western Washington University 

A graduate from Western, AmeriCorps, and many community education programs, I'm excited to be a part of the 2018-19 Fellowship! I've spent the majority of my career working and volunteering in the non-profit environmental education sector, the closure of People For Puget Sound, led to transitioning to Western as an employee. My work in career services focuses on employer services, promoting career opportunities to the campus community and supporting students as they peruse volunteer, internship and career possibilities. I have a "second career" as a dedicated volunteer with the Lincoln Theatre, RiverSong Farm and the Mount Vernon Police Department, and supporting a variety of community events and projects. She has a 23 year old daughter, Noelle, a 6 month old grandaughter, Davina, who primarily reside in Stanwood, and an extended family of Montmorency cherry trees being cultivated in her back yard.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The majestic views of mountains and farmland from the CSA farm I have been volunteering at for 15 years.

Britta Eschete

Career Services Center - Western Washington University

One of my favorite quotes comes from Charles Darwin: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." As a serial entrepreneur I have embraced change by repeatedly identifying new opportunities that will help make the world a better place and building a business around that opportunity. Not all of my endeavors have been successful in the common definition of that term, but I have certainly expanded my knowledge and experience every step of the way. My philanthropic work is also very change-centric. As the founder of an innovation-focused nonprofit known as Innovate Bellingham!, I work with a wide variety of stakeholders, partners and volunteers to help our city evolve in the best way possible. From sustainable economic development to city-wide carbon neutrality, my work with Innovate Bellingham! is geared to help make our local community a place where both people and planet thrive!

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Lake Whatcom. I love feeling the wind and sun on my face as I sail on it's beautiful waters!

Ryhs Faler

Innovate Bellingham!

Born in downtown Gary, Indiana, I spent most of my youth in Tucson, Arizona. I’m an alum of the University of the Pacific in the fields of Political Science and International Relations, with a specialization in Latin American Studies. My work history has varied from retail and travel agency management, to training bank tellers in the southwest region of Arizona. It’s been fascinating to see how I’ve been able to draw upon many of these past experiences for 22 years working with the Whatcom County Library System, the last 15 of which as Blaine Library Manager. I’ve served 8 years on the Blaine Tourism Advisory Committee, and am a member of the Blaine Chamber of Commerce, and the Semiahmoo Women’s Club. My passion is to promote library resources to help enrich the lives of the Blaine/Birch Bay community residents, and in how the library can play a part in the revitalization of Downtown Blaine. I’ve been married to Neal for 36 years, and am the proud mama of 2 sons and “Grammy” to darling granddaughter Iris. My husband and I have loved living in Birch Bay for 29 years, and are part of the Birch Bay Bible Community Church family.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Semiahmoo Spit

Debbi Farmer

Whatcom County Library System

Katie lives on San Juan Island with her family and is passionate about exploring, enjoying and protecting the Salish Sea ecosystem. Katie’s background is in sustainable community development and environmental education. She holds a Masters in Natural Science Education from Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University and a BA in Telecommunications from Indiana University. As the Community Engagement Director at Friends of the San Juans, Katie manages membership and community relations, marketing, media relations, school outreach, and special events. She has been with Friends since 2012, and was the Youth Program Manager at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities in Bellingham for 8 years prior to that. Katie is on San Juan County's Solid Waste Advisory Committee. She is also a adjunct instructor at Huxley College and teaches environmental studies and sustainability courses in the College Quest and Viking Launch programs.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Lime Kiln State Park

Katie Fleming

Friends of the San Juans

Originally from the East coast, I have called WA state my home for over 25 years and wouldn't have it any other way! I currently serve as the volunteer coordinator for Bellingham Public Schools where I place community volunteers in our highest needs schools. I enjoy my work and engaging community members in our schools where students truly benefit knowing their community supports and believes in them. Prior to moving to Bellingham, I worked in Seattle in a variety of non-profits serving students, schools and families. The common thread throughout my professional career has been in promoting educational equity and access.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Lake Padden is where I return throughout the year. I like to put in my kayak or paddle board or dog-love its versatility!

Jennifer Gaer

Bellingham Public Schools

I am the Associate Director of Admissions at Western, where I have worked since 2002. While my responsibilities are wide-ranging my passion lies in working directly with transfer students and informing the advisers whose knowledge and dedication sets them up for success. I graduated from Fairhaven College and have earned a BA in Human Services and an M.Ed in Student Personnel Administration from Western. My community involvement includes nine years on the Board of Directors for the Whatcom Literacy Council.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: So many come to mind but I frequent the North Lake Whatcom Trail, Whatcom Falls Park, Larrabee State Park and Oyster Dome most regularly. I also enjoy crossing the Salish Sea to get to beloved Tofino, B.C.

Jeanne Gaffney 

Office of Admissions - Western Washington University

I am a senior instructor (NTT) in the Adult and Higher Education (AHE) Graduate Program at WWU. This provides me and our learners with a variety of opportunities to engage and serve our communities. My PhD thesis included service-learning and transformative learning and I am interested in experiential pedagogy and andragogy. I am looking for ways to help people ‘wake up’ to their own power and enhance their contributions, especially in current issues of transition. My research focuses on how people learn in cooperative organizations. I have a background in career services and I am interested in learning from/with indigenous communities.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: I so love this area I get to call home. I say I am Cascadian. Today I think I will say I love the Blaine Marine Park, as I get to visit it as much as I like. From there I can see Canada, where I am from. The sunsets over the ocean are spectacular and there are so many birds to watch.

Gail Goulet

Adult and Higher Education Graduate Program - Western Washington University

As Director of the School Counseling graduate program at WWU, I have the great privilege of working with a small group of faculty members to train exceptional counselors. We strive to maximize our students’ development as ethical, culturally-competent, reflective, data-driven practitioners. One of my favorite aspects of the job is participating in internship site visits and immersing myself again in the vibrant and nurturing soup of the public schools. It is especially inspiring when I get to witness our alumni making a difference in the lives of children. I enjoy partnering with local districts to promote social-emotional skills and college/career readiness and working on national initiatives to support the school counseling profession. My husband Peter and I are avid sports fans and our two favorite athletes to watch are our teenagers who play soccer, tennis and other sports.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The seashore at Decatur Head in the San Juan Islands where I have been going since 1973.

Diana Gruman

Psychology, School Counseling - Western Washington University

I work at the Center for Community Learning at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. This will be my third year as a CE Fellows program participant. This past summer, I co-led the first annual CE Fellows North American Retreat and I will be one of several people convening the CE Fellows Affinity groups this year. If you are new to the program, please feel free to reach out and connect with me. The program partnerships and personal connections created through CE Fellows is what makes this program so valuable. This year I am partnering with campus staff and community organizations to provide Non-Profit Board Service training opportunities.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: On the border of the Salish Sea region is Mount Rainier My family has started a tradition celebrating my son’s birthday on top of a mountain. On his first birthday we hiked Mount Rainer, so it holds a special place in my memories. We drove up to Paradise Inn late at night. In an effort to, “keep the night dark,” there are no street lights on the mountain. For this reason we could barely see the road in front of us. When we woke up to the sweeping views of the Pacific Northwest, we were speechless at the beauty of this region. My son just turned three years old. Age 1: Mt. Rainier (Paradise Loop), Age 2: Mt. Baker (Skyline Divide), and Age 3: Mt. Saint Helens (Ape Caves and Johnston Ridge Observatory). Where should we go next year?!

Laurel Hammond

Center for Community Learning - Western Washington University


Through careers including elementary teacher, science museum educator, and faculty member, I've made my way from the East Coast to the Midwest and in 2017 year landed in the PNW at WWU. I currently work to prepare future elementary teachers in science. My research explores models and strategies for teacher education and professional development, including partnerships with schools and informal science education organizations.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: I'm still getting to know the Salish Sea region, but it helps that my spouse grew up on the Olympic Peninsula and is a WWU alum!

Debi Hanuscin

SMATE and Woodring - Western Washington University

Nini Hayes (pronouns: they, them, Nini) was born and raised in Washington and is a first-generation college student. They are an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Education program in Huxley College at Western of which they are also a ’03 alumna. Their teaching, learning, and research is centered on equity, justice, and education. They are a former fifth grade teacher (The Seattle Girls' School) and environmental educator. They are partnering with a local youth stewardship program and looking forward to making many connections.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Ozette and the view from West Seattle

Nini Hayes

Environmental Studies, Huxley College - Western Washington University

I grew up in Bellingham, although as a kid, didn't fully appreciate how lucky I was to call Bellingham home. I attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA where I earned a Bachelor's in biochemistry. I then moved to Baltimore MD where I earned my PhD in neuroscience. I've been back in Bellingham for 10 years and can't imagine ever leaving! I've taught chemistry at Whatcom Community College for 10 years and love the challenge of continuously improving my courses by trying new things. I have two children at Roosevelt Elementary School and have become very involved with the PTA, as well as Roosevelt's Annual Science Night. I have helped to revamp Science Night to involve families in fun science activities with the involvement of Whatcom Community College students. My hope is to build on this practice of bringing college students together with school-aged children to explore how fun teaching and science can be.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The trails in and around Whatcom Falls Park hold a special place in my heart!

Jennifer Henderson

Chemistry - Whatcom Community College 

I am native to the Pacific Northwest and just moved to Bellingham after spending most of my career abroad. My work has focused on environmental conservation, international development and cross-cultural education in various roles in Japan, Vietnam, Morocco, and the United States. In my new position at the Institute for Village Studies, I am interested in continuing to explore how international education can be a tool to work to address complex global challenges at the local level through interdisciplinary, cross-cultural engagement. And ideally, I would like to create more opportunities for young leaders to use the skills they learn abroad when they return home.


A place you love in the Salish Sea region: I'm new to the area! So always looking for recommendations :) 

Ashley Hollenbeck

Institute for Village Studies 

I moved to Whatcom County from North Carolina in 2017. Since moving here I have taken a Americorps VISTA position with WFCN Whatcom Family & Community Network as a community capacity builder in the Birchwood, Roosevelt and Columbia Valley communities. I have a Bachelors of Psychology degree and a Doctorate of Oriental Medicine. I have been very active in expanding community resources and organization in my target neighborhoods.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Desperation Point Whigbey Island

Rochelle Hollowell

Whatcom Family & Community Network

I have been teaching academic English classes for international students at Whatcom Community College since 2015. In 1987, I began teaching English as an International Language and participated in program development and administration in China, Korea, Puerto Rico and Mexico. In China I helped students prepare for study abroad, so at WCC I really enjoy working with students who have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams to learn and live in a new culture, just one of the many ways that WCC has helped me grow as a teacher. While in Mexico, I worked on design and administration of educational tours and faculty-led study abroad programs in language, history, psychology and architecture. Returning to the US to live and work after many years abroad has been a professional and personal challenge that ultimately presents me with unique opportunities. When I’m not teaching or providing parental care and support, I enjoy walking, going to movies, and relaxing with friends and a glass of wine at one of the many interesting restaurants around Bellingham.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Around the Salish Sea region, I enjoy anywhere that I can see the mountains and the water. My main time to appreciate the beauty of this area is walking along the Bellingham waterfront, especially in the evenings or mornings of Spring and Fall.

Myra Ingmanson

ESLA - Whatcom Community College 

I have enjoyed my role as an instructor in the early childhood education program as part of the social sciences department at Whatcom Community College since 1998. I currently teach Health, Safety, and Nutrition; Math and Science Exploration; and Observation and Assessment. I also work with Child Development Associate candidates through Bellingham Technical College. As a community member, I am an avid fan of my children's youth sports teams and attend multiple games per week. I enjoy running and hiking our many trails and I participate in taekwondo where I have a black belt through the Ferndale studio.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: My favorite spot in the region is anywhere on Lummi Island, rain or shine, any time of year. I think it is the brightest gem in our many-jeweled crown.

Cindy Johansen

Whatcom Community College 

I am the Associate Director for Outreach at Whatcom Community College. Promoting academic options and helping students discover and pursue their dreams has become both my passion and purpose. I am currently serving on the board of directors for FuturesNW, a community-based nonprofit that strives to level the playing field for all students, particularly those who are first-generation, students of color, and low-income. I also teach an Educational Planning course at Whatcom Community College. My educational background includes an AA from Whatcom Community College, a BA in Communication and M.Ed. in Adult Higher Education from Western Washington University.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The Bean Café on San Juan Island (and the ferry ride to get there)!

Grace Jones

Outreach - Whatcom Community College 

I moved to Bellingham in January of 2000, to attend the College of Business & Economics at Western Washington University. Gladly, I never left. I fell in love with the region from the word go and I enjoy its cities, lakes, sea and mountains. I serve the students, faculty and staff of WWU leading the team that manages Office 365, Telecommunications, Cloud and Identity services. I am excited to work with other Community Engagement Fellows to extend my team's participation in the broader community.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Active Pass, Galiano Island, especially when the tide changes.

Jon Junell

Enterprise Infrastructure Services - Western Washington University 

Professionally, I'm a tenured associate professor of management with Western's College of Business and Economics. My PhD is in organizational psychology, and I've been with Western (and lived in Bellingham) for 12 years. My research focuses on interpersonal relationships and interactions in the workplace. In particular, I study the dynamics of suffering and compassion in organizations, and I'm also interested in people's experiences of connection and disconnection within their work relationships. I teach courses on organizational behavior and management topics including motivation, teamwork, negotiation and conflict management, relationship development, and diversity/inclusion. I am also a volunteer mediator with the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center. In my personal life, I love rock/folk music, and I play guitar and sing in a local band. I also love gardening, cooking, eating locally, camping, and doing whatever else I can my wife and two amazing young children.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Anywhere with a view of the water and islands, Fairhaven, and the many beautiful campgrounds in the region.

Jason Kanov

Management Dept. (CBE) - Western Washington University 

I am currently the CEO of ActionSprout a Bellingham based software company that builds tools to help nonprofits use Facebook more effectively. I serve on the WWU Alumni Association board and Chair the Western Engaged committee. I was on the board of Sustainable Connections for 6 years, I started the BIG Idea Lab startup business incubator that ran for 4 years and is now Invent Co-working. I am passionate about building the resiliency and sustainability of our local business community while continuing to make this a great place to live.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Anyplace with trees or water ;)

Shawn Kemp

ActionSprout & WWU Alumni Association Board of Directors

I am a social entrepreneur at heart. I love to work with others to build even healthier communities and to solve problems through meaningful change. At the IDEA Institute at Western, I teach entrepreneurship and innovation and support student projects for change. The IDEA Changemaker Fellowship is my current dream community; they inspire me everyday.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: From Orcas to Bow, I'm still blown away by what a gift it is to live here.

Danica Kilander

IDEA Institute - Western Washington University

I grew up in Memphis, TN and moved to Dallas, TX, but in 2001 I was ready for a change. I spent the summer with a friend who lived in Seattle and immediately fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and found employment in Bellingham. I joined Unity Care NW in 2016 and I’m currently the Director of Planning and Development. I have over 20 years of fundraising, public relations, and marketing experience. Prior to my current position at UCNW, I helped built a nationally-recognized development, public policy, and community education team at Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood. Before moving to Washington, I was an independent filmmaker and owned and operated a turn-key marketing agency in Dallas, Texas. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: There is so much to love - the ferry to the San Juan Islands, Artist Point, the inner urban trails, Chuckanut Drive. I feel fortunate to live in such a wonderful place.

Chris Kobdish

Unity Care NW

I am new to Whatcom County, having moved here from Vancouver, WA in 2016. I've worked professionally with children and their families for decades. My recent focus is on fostering resilience and empowering children who have suffered from adverse childhood experiences. I enjoy supporting parents who strive to give their best selves to their family.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: My family enjoys water skiing at Lake Whatcom

Keri Krout

AS Child Development Center

I teach Biology courses and one Environmental Science course at Whatcom CC. I earned a Ph.D. from the University of Louisiana in 1994. Although I am not currently involved in research, I previously focused on Community Ecology and Behavioral Ecology using reptiles and amphibians as model animals. I serve on the college's Sustainability Committee and have been involved with the Sustainability Club at Whatcom CC for over 10 years. I attend regional meetings or rallies related to environmental issues in Whatcom County when they fit my schedule. I also have my students in Environmental Science complete a group Service Learning Project related to Sustainability.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: I have not found an undeveloped area in the Pacific Northwest that I do not love

Debbie Lancaster 

Biology, Science - Whatcom Community College

I am a northwest native who returned to Bellingham and higher education after eight years in the Nevada desert. I worked as an archaeologist for several years, but most of my career has been in the field of education including university admissions, teaching, working with Upward Bound (TRiO program) and now advising university transfer students. I spend my days with a traveling archaeologist and a bossy tuxedo cat who rules our roost. I am a transfer advisor at Whatcom Community College and work primarily with STEM and social science students. I love working at a community college and am passionate about helping students navigate the higher education system.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Whidbey Island, specifically Ebey's Landing. It's magic.

Jessica Larson

Whatcom Community College

I believe there are exciting and elegant ways to help people use fewer resources, while at the same time increasing their happiness, comfort, and prosperity. As the Energy Advisor & Program Coordinator at Sustainable Connections, I am proud to work at an organization that embodies this goal. My day-to-day work involves performing energy audits for businesses participating in the Community Energy Challenge program. I love helping local business owners understand the opportunities they have to reduce their energy use, and I love removing barriers to make it easier for them to do so. I have a passion for connecting people and I convene several groups including Energy Club (a networking group for energy efficiency enthusiasts and professionals), a Sci-Fi Book Club, and a monthly local ladies’ night.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: I have lots of fond memories of hiking Oyster Dome with my husband and I’m excited to take our daughter when she’s older!

Emily Larson Kubiak

Sustainable Connections

My playful energy and curiosity are devoted to experiential education where the active process of learning by doing is tangible. I’m filled with gratitude to practice this with the Bellingham School District Family Partnership Program providing an alternative learning environment for students in Kindergarten through 8th grade encouraging voices, choices, and ideas. As a teacher and community collaborator, I seek connections and relationships which support the students and families I serve. My continual hankerings and inspirations include anthropology, ecology, skiing, biking, climbing, family, friends, and dogs.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Snow flaked mountain tops deep in the North Cascades

Randy Leventhal

Bellingham Family Partnership Program

I have been an academic advisor at Whatcom CC for 13 years and previously taught Spanish and ESL. I work with all students, but primarily those planning to transfer to a 4-year university or college. I enjoy working at the community college level because I get to meet and support such a wide variety of students and the opportunities for students to pursue their education no matter what their starting point is.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: I love the whole area, but especially kayaking in Bellingham and Chuckanut bays.

Sharon Link

Entry & Advising - Whatcom Community College 

I've been here in WA just since January of 2017. My wife and I are active in the local native plant society chapter and in the Mt. Baker hiking club. I've begun to get to know the public health system here and the many community orgs that support various vulnerable populations. I've also gotten to know some of the undocumented students on campus via the Blue Group. I look forward to learning more through the CE Fellows.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Lummi Island

Bill Lonneman

RN-to-BSN Nursing program - Western Washington Unoveristy 

Mary Loquvam Director, York Community Farm Bio Mary Loquvam is the Founder and Director of York Community Farm, a non-profit farm based in Bellingham. Mary has managed YCF since its inception in 2012: bringing 10,000 square feet under agricultural cultivation; developing a paid, resume-building internship for under-served members of our county; overseeing daily operations and an annual budget of approximately $50K; fundraising; and, turning a community eyesore (a weed-infested, litter-strewn, derelict DOT property) into a community asset. Prior to retiring and founding YCF, Mary worked as Regional Coordinator on coastal wetlands acquisition and restoration with the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project; a five-county, government-funded, community-based collaboration. Most recently, Mary was the Executive Director of Los Angeles Audubon Society where, among other projects, she launched the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's inaugural Schoolyard Habitat Program. Early in her professional career, Mary started two successful recycling companies; one a non-profit and one for profit. Mary holds an M.Ed. in TESOL from Temple University and a certificate in Municipal Solid Waste Management from UCLA. Mary is a thought leader extraordinarily capable of implementing her ideas. To wit, Mary wanted to incorporate WWU students via a work study program in the farm’s internship program. She collaborated with Travis Tennessen, the Center for Service Learning, and the Community Fellows program to create and launch the university’s first off campus work study program. Mary has also teamed with Engineers Without Borders, an international organization, and three senior WWU engineering students on a pilot aquaponics project preparatory to YCF’s expansion into this area. Mary is also teaming with Bellingham Technical College's Marine Fisheries Department to develop an internship for BTC fisheries students to assist with management of the aquaponics enterprise. Mary sees aquaponics as nothing less than an emerging industry offering blue collar, living-wage, low-to-building-skill jobs for Whatcom County. Mary has donated her time and creativity to YCF thus far and will continue to do so.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The High Divide Trail

Mary Loquvam

York Community Farm

Serving on the Strategy and Community Health team for PeaceHealth is a daily reminder of the incredible community of caregivers here in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties. Their care, resilience and compassion amaze me. I find inspiration in partnering with leaders and teams who share a deep commitment to enhancing the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve. I have long been motivated by the question of how can we nurture engagement in the workplace and support caregivers to connect their work with what's deeply meaningful. The complex dilemmas of leading in healthcare today coupled with a deep desire to make a difference in community health led me back to school in 2016 to pursue a PhD in Healthcare Leadership and Change through Antioch University in Ohio. Outside the office and classroom, I’m a committed partner and mother of two daughters.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Canyon Creek, where it flows into the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River. The home of my youth, countless adventures with the neighborhood kids, and where I learned the meaning of community.

Rachel Lucy  

PeaceHealth Strategy & Community Health          

I am passionate about leadership development for sustainability, and am particularly interested in sustainable food systems as an avenue for this work. Although from Minnesota originally, the North Cascades mountains and surrounding communities now feel like home. I coordinate Sustainable Communities Partnership at Western Washington University. This program connects community sustainability needs and desires to WWU faculty expertise and student energy. I also teach a campus sustainability course.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: I love the mountains around Cascade Pass

Lindsey MacDonald

Sustainable Communities Partnership, Office of Sustainability - Western Washington University

I have been a part of the Bellingham community since 2011, and I work at Western Washington University as the Organizational Development Specialist. This work includes leadership development, workshop design and facilitation, and managing the professional development program. I consider myself first and foremost to be a coach. The formative experience of my career, what I believe led me to the work I currently do, was my experience in the Peace Corps, where I saw that community development and individual development go hand-in-hand, as reciprocal processes of transformation.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Whatcom Falls Park

Ron Marks

Western Washington University

At this time my professional and community rolls are intertwined to help the Kendall community. I am currently a Water Commissioner, Parks Commissioner, a member of the Mt Baker Coalition, Community Connections, PTA, CE Fellows, Foothills Communication Hub, and several other volunteer positions. I have raised my Children and currently raising some of my Grand children. I enjoy being involved in the community and using my skill sets to improve the area.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The Salish Sea area is so diverse that it is hard to pick one place. I love the hikes and wild life of the foothills, as well as the parks on the beaches. If I had to choose I would say the slower life on some of the smaller Islands like Shaw or Friday Harbor.

Carl McDaniel

Neighborhood Nuisance

I have taught reading and language arts at K-12 urban Indian schools and Native American Studies and academic and professional writing at two and four-year colleges and universities. I have also worked closely with various community-campus projects such as the Prison Humanities Project culminating in I currently serve as a member of the faculty in the Tribal Governance and Business Management program as a guest of the Lummi Nation. I am a a descendant of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Little Squallicum Park

Michael McDaniel

Tribal Government and Business Management - Northwest Indian College

I currently work with Common Threads Farm, a local organization that connects kids with healthy food by gardening and cooking with them in schools and at camps. We work with schools in Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, and Mount Baker school districts. I am involved in a lot of the "behind-the-scenes" work, and am particularly interested in evaluating/storytelling our impact and continuing to figure out ways to improve logistics for our ever-growing team. I have a personal interest and prior work experience in supporting immigrant and refugee kids as they settle into a new community. I also am a mom of two and spend a lot of time exploring kid-friendly parks and trails.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Any trail in the summertime with thimbleberries, huckleberries, and salmonberries

Jessica Moerman

Common Threads Farm

I currently work at the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, a small nonprofit in Bellingham now in its 15th year. As the sole staff member, I handle administrative work and oversee educational programs. The Center hosts speakers and trainings on active nonviolence and international solidarity. We also seek to share information on alternatives to military service with teenagers for whom higher education is not an immediate option after high school.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The woods where we forage for mushrooms in the fall.

Neah Monteiro

Whatcom Peace & Justice Center

I am an Assistant Professor of Voice/Acting in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Western Washington University, and Artistic Director and Founder of American Theater Northwest. As a theater-maker who is also a specialist in Voice & Speech for Actors, I have a passion for helping theater artists develop their voices as a powerful tool for individual expression, and inspiring these artists to explore the way they can use voice and language to inspire others. I have a lifelong love of theater, and am passionate about the way theater creates a collaboration between artist and community. As a teacher, director, producer, or actor, I am always looking for ways the theater can unite artist and community in the creative struggle to make a meaningful contribution to our cultural landscape.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Exploring the San Juan and Gulf Islands in those rare and peaceful moments with my family.

Evan Mueller

Western Washington University: Theater & Dance

I am newly in the role of the Interim Student Life Director at Bellingham Technical College. Previous to this, I served as the Assistant to the Vice President of Student Services. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Communication Studies from Western Washington University in 2013 and I’m back in school again in the MBA program at Western Governor’s University. In another life I spent 15 years in the service sectors focusing on superior customer service, leadership, and conflict resolution strategies. My areas of expertise, and what motivates me to go to work each day, are applying problem solving, human-centered design methods, deepening relationships with my coworkers through communication, and facilitating fun and effective meetings. I strive every day to be the person my dog and kiddos believe me to be.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The McMillin Mausoleum on San Juan Island or the bowl on Church Mountain

Melisa Nelson

Bellingham Technical College

I am WCC’s Parenting Education Program faculty and coordinator and teach in the Early Childhood education department at WCC and Skagit Valley College. I have a Master’s of Science in Early Childhood Studies with specializations in Teaching and Diversity. I am a certified instructor of Washington State University’s Strengthening Families program as well as a certified social services Spanish interpreter. Connecting with and helping parents and families become stronger through access to quality parenting education is my passion.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Sydney, BC

Carolina Olza-Kelsh

Parenting Education /Early Childhood Education - Whatcom Community College  

I was born and raised in this beautiful corner of the country. I love to travel and experience other places and cultures around the world, but grateful to call the Salish Sea region home. I am the department manager for Communication Sciences and Disorders and recently completed my M.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education. I have been at WWU since 2011. Prior to moving to Bellingham, I had worked in the state legislature and King County Executive office. My family and I enjoy boating in the island, skiing in the mountains, and hiking/backpacking around the Pacific Northwest. We are so lucky to enjoy the abundance of nature that surrounds us.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Center Island and Reeds Bay between Decator and Lopez Islands. I enjoy the tranquility, sunsets, and bioluminescence on warm summer nights.

Karen Peila

Western Washington University

I am an English Faculty member at Bellingham Technical College and alumni of WWU. I teach Composition and Technical Writing, along with forming BTC’s very first Creative Writing Club and co-sponsor the Gender & Sexuality Alliance Club. Working with students beyond the classroom is my goal, as I see education as a community experience and valuable well beyond graduation. My passion is challenging students to think past their constructions of the world around them, to ask important questions and explore the life they’ve been given on a deeper level. I want them to leave my classroom with a broader sense of not only who they perceive themselves to be, but to evaluate what they believe in and why that matters. Ultimately, I see myself more as a coach than a writing instructor – someone who challenges students and motivates them to reach for more within themselves. In my spare time (what is that, again?) I write creative nonfiction, dabble with charcoal sketches, quilt, obsess over film-making, and read anything non-academic.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: My front yard – I live on Drayton Harbor in Blaine

Jan Richards

English - Bellingham Technical College

As a Community Health Specialist with the Whatcom County Health Department I am fortunate to work with residents of East County to foster sustainable, community driven responses to local concerns and identify opportunities for growth and investment. I have so enjoyed getting to know the independent, committed, and thoughtful members of East Whatcom County through my new role. In addition, I am a full time Master of Public Health student at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Before transitioning to the Health Department in the summer of 2018 I worked with the Opportunity Council’s Low Income Weatherization Program, focusing on maintaining healthy, safe, and energy efficient housing for Whatcom, Island, and San Juan residents.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Vancouver Island, especially Hornby Island on the East side and Port Renfrew on the West.

Aly Robinson

Whatcom County Health Department

Despite being raised in Maine, I have called Bellingham home for the better of 20 years. I am currently a Project Manager at RAM Construction, working primarily on remodeling and new construction projects for non-profits. Before working for RAM, I became certified as a Minority Woman Owned Business with WA State and ran a landscape construction company, specializing in creek, wetland and roadside restoration. My public service and education includes Certification as a Climate Steward at Padilla Bay, urban forest project lead for the Happy Valley Neighborhood Association, and PTA member and volunteer in the public schools. I have three children, all in various phases of the late teenage/early adult years. We enjoy the immense beauty of the Pacific Northwest by skiing, hiking, walking, biking and roaming the beaches.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The Cascades

Sarah Rose

RAM Construction General Contractors

This year marks my 25th year of college teaching and my 15th year teaching percussion at Western Washington University. I am a determined music educator and a multi-faceted performer who enjoys all types of music. I am grateful that my career as a freelance classical percussionist gave me opportunities to perform with the major professional symphonic organizations in Seattle and the Northwest including five seasons as the principal timpanist of the Bellingham Festival of Music. I like to perform Beatles songs on the vibraphone and West African music on my gyil, a traditional xylophone from northern Ghana. As a local leader in the arts, I am active as a member of the board of the Whatcom Symphony and the Whatcom Wind Ensemble and am a proud supporter of the Bellingham Traditional Jazz Society and the Whatcom Jazz Music Arts Center (WJMAC). In 2015, I started the Global Spice World Music Series to bring world music and culture to WWU and the Bellingham Community.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: It's difficult to pick only one place I love in the Salish Sea Region but if I had to choose it would be the waters of Lake Whatcom near my home.

Patrick Roulet

Western Washington University

I’ve lived in Bellingham in the same house since 1992. During that time I taught highly capable elementary students in Ferndale, raised my two kids, and got my MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When I stopped teaching in the year 2000, I became a solo entrepreneur creating educational content for a variety of clients. Three years ago, I joined an international startup team to create a literacy app for low-literate adults. Our app is one of five finalists in the Adult Literacy XPRIZE. When I’m not in front of my computer writing, I love to be outside in the beauty that is Whatcom County. Woods, water, mountains. Oh yeah.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Hiking up to and around Fragrance Lake

Dana Rozier


In graduated from Western Washington University in June 2017 with my Master's degree in history. While a student I worked as a teaching assistant in the Woodring College of Education and I worked part time as an admin assistant at the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention. I am now the program coordinator at SPARK Museum coordinating our education, volunteer, and membership programs. Currently I am working on bolstering and diversifying our volunteer program and our education program. I am also working on building an informal educators network to provide support for smaller institutions in Whatcom county that serve our community through informal educational experiences. I believe Whatcom county has the immense capacity to serve our youth and local educators in amazing ways and the more we come together as a community the more people we can reach.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The stretch of the Interurban trail from Old Fairhaven Parkway to the bridge crossing Padden Creek in Arroyo Park will always feel like home to me.

Abigail Russell

SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention

I am starting my second year as an Assistant Professor in the Institute for Energy Studies and Department of Environmental Sciences at Western Washington University. I teach a variety of classes related to energy, power systems, and the environment. I also advise a group of students who are designing and constructing a net-zero energy tiny house (Project ZENETH). My research focuses on how to optimally decarbonize residential space and water heating systems to meet long-term emissions targets—and I am interested in helping the region think about how we can reduce emissions from the heating sector.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Clayton Beach at low tide

Imran Sheikh

Environmental Sciences - Western Washington University  

I have spent my career passionately leading organizations to build capacity and community around critical youth work. My professional focuses have been wrapped around teen leadership, service learning, social and emotional mentoring and serving homeless youth. I am energized around creating opportunities for youth to be their authentic selves, build leadership skills and achieve their goals. I love spending my work life supporting first generation college students like myself in the TRIO Upward Bound program at Whatcom Community College. When I am not working I love to tend to my cut flower garden, sew and cook up yummy food to share with friends and neighbors.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: On a ferry boat to Orcas Island. The moment I get on a boat Orcas bound a rush of calm and joy fall over me.

Sarah Simpson

Upward Bound - Whatcom Community College 

Howdy. I currently serve as the registrar at Whatcom Community College and previously worked at WWU, UW Bothell, and UW Tacoma in various, non-instruction, roles. I've also worked in private industry and have served in the US Navy. In my community, I am a dad, husband, and a volunteer. I regularly meet with friends to discuss unsolvable world problems and books we've read or want to read.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Any coastline.

Michael Singletary

Admissions & Registration - Whatcom Community College  

Hi! This is the start of my 5th year at Whatcom Community College. I currently teaching Biology 260: Microbiology (with an emphasis on human infectious diseases) and Biology 222: Cell and Molecular Biology. I've become passionate about CUREs (curriculum based undergraduate research experiences) for my students. To this end, I'm hoping to involve my students in the development and implementation of a prevalence study on tick borne pathogens in tick populations in Whatcom and Skagit counties. With this baseline data, we will also be able to examine the possible relationship between global climate change and impacts on human health as tick habitats and ranges change. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, skiing and hanging out with my rad family.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: I have a long and treasured history with Orcas Island. 

Tealia Slagle

Science/Biology - Whatcom Community College 

I am happy to call Bellingham my home, having lived here since 1986 when I arrived to attend WWU. I graduated from WWU with a psych degree and continued at WWU to get my school counseling certification. Since my Western days, I have been working as a school counselor at lummi Tribal School, Nooksack Valley Middle School, Bellingham High School, and currently at Sehome High School.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: San Juan County Park (Hiker/Biker camp site)

Jeff Smith

Bellingham School District (Sehome High School)

I am the co-facilitator of Community Engagement Fellows, and WCC's Service-Learning Coordinator working to connect WCC students and faculty with over 30 community partners in Whatcom County.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The Sehome Arboretum. It offers shade in the summer and shelter from the wind and rain in the winter. It’s our go-to spot for a walk or run.

Kristine Smith

Parenting, Human Development,

and Service-Learning Coordinator



I believe that youth are inherently resilient and the support of positive adults allows their resilience to grow. I serve as the current suicide prevention specialist for M.A.D. ~ H.O.P.E. and I bring a strong youth serving background in conflict resolution, social & emotional learning, restorative practices, trauma informed practices, leadership development, and rites of passage. I am a graduate from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University where I found a passion in supporting the social & emotional development of people through experiential education. In my free-time I coordinate Joy State Productions - a community capacity building production company helping local event producers collaborate and make visions reality. Our most recent project is the Amrita Lounge - a pop-up elixir bar catering to local events where we provide non-alcoholic and rejuvenating tea infusions in an elegant bohemian setting.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Anywhere water finds its form, whether sailing on Lake Whatcom, ferries to the San Juan Islands, or snowboard/skiing at Mt. Baker.

Daniel Soloff

Suicide Prevention Program, M.A.D. - H.O.P.E.

I am a historian and a tenured faculty member at Whatcom Community College. Although my academic training is in American environmental history, the opportunity to teach across multiple fields at a community college has allowed me to explore a much wider range of interests than I once thought possible. My focus this year is building our geography program, including the use of GIS in introductory survey courses.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The east side of the Olympic Mountains

Ian Stacy 

History - Whatcom Community College  

I provide social work on the college campus through the Basic Food Employment & Training (BFET) program. I also facilitate workshops for Whatcom Community College and Excellence Northwest. During my undergraduate degree in Psychology from WWU I focused on neurology and cognition. I am passionate about mindfulness, addressing efficacy and oppression and contributing to our community. I love hiking, dancing and spending time with family and friends. I completed my masters in Adult & Higher Ed at WWU this summer and loved the collaboration it offered across campuses.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: There are so many beautiful places in the Salish Sea region... especially along Chuckanut...

Monique Stefens

Whatcom Community College

Originally from Nevada, Bellingham proved to be too lovely to leave following graduation from Western. After teaching middle school humanities for nearly 15 years, I transitioned into leadership at the elementary level, where I now serve as the principal at Geneva Elementary School. Education is the motor of a democratic republic. The core of my work has been to engage students with his or her community, to advance equity through access, and to inspire students and adults to dream big. Some of my favorite non profits are Bellingham Dollars for Scholars and the Whatcom Center for Philanthropy- what we do in Whatcom County to support one another matters! 

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Guemes Island

Sharece Steinkamp

Geneva Elementary - Bellingham Public Schools 

I am a Speech-Language Pathologist and the Director of the Speech-Language Clinic in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD). I earned my master’s degree from the University of Kansas in 1993. I have been a clinician and worked in medical settings for 20 years before becoming employed full time at Western Washington University in 2014. My clinical expertise includes working with children and adults with acquired communication, cognition, and swallowing disorders. I am thankful for a profession that allows flexibility to work in a variety of settings and I enjoy teaching students to become excellent clinicians. As a clinic director, my goal is to strengthen partnerships in the community, train graduate students in CSD, and assist in providing quality patient care in our clinics at WWU. When I am not working, I try to be running somewhere on the trails or cycling the roads in Whatcom County.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Stimpson Family Nature Preserve

Lesley Stephens

Communication Sciences & Disorders - Western Washington University 

I manage a project called Safe Futures that partners with community organizations and three rural school districts to address and prevent relationship and sexual violence. I work directly with young people, community members, administrators, and other change-makers to create creative solutions to these issues. I am also a mother of three who loves to play, garden, make art, engage, experiment, and participate in conversations. I am in love with the spirit of people, social justice, and the magic that happens when we come together to share our gifts.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: My garden and the forest

Liz Stuart

Bellingham - Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence

As a member of the WCC Art department, I teach a variety of on-campus and online classes in studio arts, art history, and art appreciation. Not so secretly, I encourage students to closely observe patterns and overlooked aspects of their environment while also considering a broad view. My community involvement is largely focused on arts and literacy organizations.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The coastline is a restorative place for me. I have a weakness for tide pools and madrona trees.

Katherine Taylor

Art - Whatcom Community College 

I am the conference chair for the Chuckanut Writers Conference, which is produced in partnership by Whatcom Community College and Village Books. I also teach writing at Western Washington University. I am grateful to be part of the literary arts community here in Bellingham and strive to support community around engaging in creative practice, storytelling, inquiry, and meaning-making.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: A dream day for me is spent hiking in the Chuckanuts, followed by a visit to Edison for food, art, and birdwatching on the slough.

Kaitlyn Teer

Community and Continuing Education - Whatcom Community College 

I am a geographer and community educator fascinated by the evolution of human-environment systems through time, and our species’ struggles to live more peacefully and gently. Through my work in Western Washington University’s Center for Service-Learning, I seek to infuse an ethic and practice of place-based learning throughout the university and the region. I created and co-facilitate Community Engagement Fellows, and was a founding member of Salish Sea Neighbors, a group that facilitates place-based learning opportunities for newcomers to the region. I also serve on the editorial board of the journal Archipelago: Perspectives on Life in the Salish Sea. I moved to the region with my family about 3 years ago, and have enjoyed becoming involved in the many good things happening.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: On the ferry. We always seem to make friends, and the passing scenery can't be beat.

Travis Tennessen

Center for Service-Learning, WWU


In 1985, I relocated from San Francisco to Bellingham in search of radio work, having just learned the audio arts at the Columbia School of Broadcasting. Previous academic endeavors included Religious Studies and Anthropology at UC Santa Barbara, and the Episcopal ministry at Yale Divinity School. Clearly, I had no sense of personal direction. Hence, the Pacific Northwest. I wound up owning a small business in Bellingham, and eventually found my way (thanks to my wife Donna, who was raised in Deming) to the hinterlands of eastern Whatcom County. I call it “Bucolia,” because, well, you’ll have to read my book! Here, everything has fallen into place: I serve as the Communication Coordinator for the South Fork Valley Community Association, alleged station manager at KAVZ-LP FM, instructor at Whatcom Community College, writer, political gadfly, and wedding officiant (huzzah for Yale!). I am now, at long last, home.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The South Fork Valley, including beautiful downtown Van Zandt.

Matthew Thuney

South Fork Valley Community Association

My family and I moved to Bellingham in 2016 after years of moving around the country with my former career. Bellingham is a place my wife and I have always loved and we knew it would be a great place to raise our two daughters.


For more than a decade, I worked in operations management and marketing for BNSF Railway at numerous locations in the western United States. After moving to Bellingham, I worked as a mentor for Wild Whatcom, a local non-profit that provides outdoor education to children. Since then, I have worked at Western as the department manager for Art & Art History. It seemed like an odd fit at the time, given that I cannot claim any artistic talents, but I have very much enjoyed the opportunity to stay involved and engaged with students and education.

In our community, I try to stay involved through volunteer opportunities as much as possible. I serve as a board member for the Birchwood Neighborhood Association and have enjoyed the interesting connections across town that have resulted from that service.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: I enjoy so many places in this region that it's hard to narrow down the list! One of my favorites is the Ridley Creek trail on the western slope of Mt. Baker. The combination of different terrains makes for great exploring!

Glen Tobosa

Department of Art & Art History - Western Washington University 

I am a multi-disciplinary artist & teacher. I make dance-theater shows, stop-action animated music videos, creative prompts, music, pants, and community gatherings. Creating is my favorite thing. I teach classes on the creative process out of my home in Bellingham, artmaking classes open to artists and aspiring artists working in any discipline.


I co-run The Workshop Workshop, an adult summer camp retreat at which every attendee teaches one workshop, on just about anything they want. With everyone taking on both roles, we get to erase the line between "teacher" and "student," honoring and getting curious about what each person has to offer.


And I am the creator and host of The Not-Creepy Gathering for People Who Are Single and Want to Fall In Love, a structured, participatory event designed to facilitate connection. I hold an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts & Creative Inquiry from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: A camp in the woods on the Kitsap Peninsula, nestled around a guitar-shaped lake

Jenna Bean Veatch

The Not-Creepy Gathering, The Workshop Workshop

I’m a student success coach for TRIO Student Support Services at BTC. TRIO is a federally-funded program that aims to address educational inequality and specifically serves first-generation students, low-income students and students with disabilities. In my role I provide direct support to students, oversee tutoring and peer mentorship programs, and work collaboratively to develop and deliver programing aimed to support student persistence and success in college and beyond. Before coming to BTC I worked as a program coordinator for Bellingham Public Schools. I’m also connected to WWU as a former M.Ed. graduate, teaching assistant for Biology, and instructor for Extended Education. I currently teach (very) part-time for Huxley College and First-Year Programs. I grew up in New Mexico and have a B.S. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Point Doughty, Orcas Island

Kelly Vogel

TRIO Program - Bellingham Technical College

Huxley College - Western Washington University

I am a (relatively) new assistant professor in WWU’s Biology department, and was so happy to be able to return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest for my career. My lab at Western uses fruit flies to study neurodegenerative diseases, with the hope to be able to contribute to society’s knowledge of disease causes, susceptibility, progression and potential therapeutic targets. It is also a place where student researchers are able to get direct experience in scientific research and to hone their skills in communicating science to their peers and beyond. I am a (relatively) new assistant professor in WWU’s Biology department, and was so happy to be able to return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest for my career. My lab at Western uses fruit flies to study neurodegenerative diseases, with the hope to be able to contribute to society’s knowledge of disease causes, susceptibility, progression and potential therapeutic targets. It is also a place where student researchers are able to get direct experience in scientific research and to hone their skills in communicating science to their peers and beyond.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Lummi Island

Adrienne Wang

Biology - Western Washington University

I am an associate professor of journalism and this is a second career; I spent 25 years as a reporter and editor, both covering and using technology. I continue to edit and write in order to stay close to the profession, and I enjoy coaching high school journalists as well as our Western students. I teach media law and writing courses and work in journalism and civic organizations on legal issues, including First Amendment rights and government access laws. My recent research has focused on public records and “sunshine” laws to promote government transparency.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: The Interurban Trail and some of its tributaries, especially the paths that oversee the Bay.

Peggy Watt

Journalism - Western Washington University 

I grew up in Western New York State and I'm a graduate of Oberlin College and Chicago Theological Seminary. After working in community organizing and church ministry in Chicago for about a decade, my partner and I moved to Bellingham in fall of 2015. These days I serve as the Pastor for Youth, Young Adults, & Mission at First Congregational Church of Bellingham. I'm a past chair of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, the national Baptist LGBTQ organizing non-profit. I like Dungeons & Dragons and my cat. I want to show you pictures of my kid, so feel free to ask.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Lafeen's Donuts

David Weasley

First Congregational Church of Bellingham

My traditional name is Ku se maat and I am an enrolled member and resident of the federally recognized tribe of Lummi Nation. I am a Community Medicine RN and Co-Founder of Whiteswan Environmental, WE (One Mind for the Purpose of the Work). WE are the organizers of the “Coast Salish Mini University” – A hands-on field program that builds upon the spirit of cooperation between treaty tribes and the federal government, non-government and academic institutions. As well as the Lummi and Saanich Nation Storyboard Dedication to the San Juan Island National Parks Service 100th Anniversary. WE are also the vision keepers for the "Coast Salish Tribal Heritage Field Institute" and Interpretive Center. As a measure of ecological health protection, WE have been working on short to long-term restoration projects with an interdisciplinary team who are committed to supporting community healing through the natural, cultural and historical restoration to the Salish Sea for the next seven generations, as a measure of ecological health protection.


A place I love in the Salish Sea region: I love all the regions of the Salish Sea, as this has been the ancestral homeland of my people since time immemorial.

Shirley Williams

Whiteswan Environmental


After moving to Bellingham in 1989, getting settled, I earned a master's in Psychology from the WWU. Immediately after graduating I began teaching at WCC which I still do. Some of my community work involves (or involved) advocating for those with developmental disabilities, working with the WCCFT, being the guardian of an elderly woman with dementia, and volunteering at the Hospice House.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Whatcom Falls Park

Carol Wilkinson

Whatcom Community College 

I recently relocated to Bellingham from Blaine where we spent 3 years following stints in Santa Rosa, CA and Denver, CO. As Vice President of the Hearing Loss Association of America-Whatcom County Chapter my role is to help others like me that have significant hearing loss. Our group provides, information, education, advocacy and support to Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: While still exploring the wonderful area of the Salish Sea to find a "favorite," I walk with my dog daily in Whatcom Falls park and love serenity I find there in the midst of the city.

Larry Wonnacott

Hearing Loss Association of America - Whatcom County Chapter

First Midway then Spanaway next Seattle now Bellingham, my life has been a journey up and down I-5. Growing up, I was a latchkey kid who became the first in my family to earn a college degree. I graduated from Federal Way public schools in 1996 then served the district through AmeriCorps, the national community service organization. Following brief stints at Pierce College and Highline Community College, I transferred to Western Washington University in 1999. As an undergrad I gravitated toward the American Cultural Studies program where I studied U.S. history, sociology, and political science. In 2007, I earned a master's degree in teaching from Western’s Woodring College of Education. I have been teaching in the Bellingham Public Schools ever since. Currently, I work at Options High School, an alternative high school that aspires to implement project based pedagogy, trauma-informed care, and wraparound social services.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: When I’m not working, you’ll find me out and about. Either I’m up on Galbraith, down by Bellingham Bay, or somewhere in the Hundred Acre Woods.

Joe Wooding

Social Studies - Options High School 

My preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. I have been an instructor at WCC for eight years and am in my third year as a full-time tenure-track faculty member. I teach General Psychology, Child & Adolescent Development, and Abnormal Psychology and mentor learning contracts for independent study projects. I currently serve on the college’s Student Success and Achievement Committee and the Behavioral Health Advisory Board.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Baker Lake

Melanie Zabel

Psychology - Whatcom Community College 

Brainstorming solutions, implementing game plans, and supporting others’ success are things I love to do. My background includes design, advocacy, planning, theater, singing and a lot of kayaking.


After eight years designing and running teams for Committee for Children, a non-profit dedicated to helping children thrive, I’m happy to join the Bookstore team at Whatcom Community College.


I’m excited to team up with others and see what we can create this year.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: Bellingham Bay!

Amber Zipperer

Whatcom Community College 

I am an anthropological archaeologist in my fifth year of teaching at WCC. Originally from Whidbey Island, I have spent much of the past 20 years living in the midwest and southeast of the United States while conducting research in South America. When I returned to the Salish Sea region, I wanted to expand connections in the local area for research and teaching experiences. I participated in CEF in its first year, developing a small-scale project using archaeological methods to map litter in a local neighborhood. This year, I hope to explore additional undergraduate research experiences on the anthropology and archaeology of the Salish Sea.

A place I love in the Salish Sea region: All of it! Anywhere I can be outside, from the ocean to the mountains. When we drive over Deception Pass bridge, I've taught my kids to say, 'We live in the most beautiful place in the world!"

Jennifer Zovar

Anthropology - Whatcom Community College 

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