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Community Engagement Fellows is an intergenerational, collaborative effort, and honors and celebrates the leadership of youth, elders, women, and the valuable and diverse ways of knowing of our planet's many cultures. We also celebrate the facilitation efforts of numerous others during our events; your contributions are profoundly appreciated.


Photo of person with traditional Lummi tribal ceremonial outfit looking at the photographer from under a hat.

Kwastlmut ~ Sadie Olsen is an advocate for community healing as she writes in her academic studies about how boarding schools, disconnect from sovereign territories, resources, and languages continue to contribute to the near genocide of her Native culture. Her goal is to educate society by publishing her writing, as she works collectively with other scholars.


A Community Engagement Fellow since 2018, Kwastlmut initiated and continues to co-facilitate the Nexw Xwlemi Tengexw Cohort meetings at Northwest Indian College, which focus on bridge-building between indigenous and non-indigenous community members. In 2018, she served as the first CE Fellows intern, co-facilitating the Bellingham cohort meetings and working to infuse indigenous ways of knowing into the programming. She also took a lead facilitation role at the national CEF State-of-the-Art Conference in February 2020.  

Kwastlmut is actively involved in many programs that prepare her to become a future leader who remembers a healthy future through the wisdom of the past.  As a co-founder of Whiteswan Environmental, she is involved with the Coast Salish Youth Stewardship Corps and Whatcom Intergenerational High School.  She is also a Tribal Youth Delegate for Lummi Nation on the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board.  Such programs help her learn more about who she is and where she comes and how to preserve heritage through academic curricula development and policy of today.


Person smiling next to a traditional story pole carving

Ku se maat ~ Shirley Williams, RN is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Native-led 501(3) Whiteswan Environmental, WE.  WE have been partnering with Western Washington University's Center of Community Learning since 2018.   Our co-sponsored events include three community forums focused on Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation in Washington State and three place-based “Learning Together in the Salish Sea” retreats (San Juan Island, Tacoma, Galiano Island.)  Since 2019-2020, we have been co-leading the Nexw Xwelemi Tengexw Cohort of Community Engagement Fellows meetings at Northwest Indian College and online. 


I believe the collaboration with Community Engagement Fellows is in alignment with Whiteswan Environmental’s mission and vision for community healing in the Salish Sea Region.  It is very meaningful to work with a team who are willing to bridge indigenous-settler educational divides by weaving indigenous and western methods and mindsets into the meeting facilitation and hosting methods; supporting venues for indigenous voices, histories and present-day environmental and socio-cultural challenges to be heard; and especially empowering indigenous youth as educators.


Person with glasses sitting at a desk next to a stack of books looking directly at the camera

Katrina Carabba works for the Whatcom County Library System as the Branch Manager at the Deming Library. Katrina has been a Community Engagement Fellow since 2018, and and has contributed as a convener since 2019 - co-hosting the Cascade Foothills Cohort of Community Engagement Fellows and numerous Community Engagement Forums.


Born and raised in the South Fork Valley along the Nooksack River near Acme, Katrina brings a strong sense of place to her work.  Katrina is a WCC and WWU Alumni and is dedicated to raising her family and serving her community through public library work.


Laurel Hammond

Laurel Hammond works at the Center for Community Learning at Western Washington University as a Program Specialist with the Community Engagement Fellows program.


Originally from Colorado, Laurel came to Washington to attend WWU as an undergraduate. After graduation, she worked for several years with the Vice President of Educational Service at Whatcom Community College. Laurel launched the WCC Service-Learning program with the help of many mentors and several well-timed grants. Laurel returned to WWU to earn her Masters in Adult and Higher Education.  She went on to serve as a teaching assistant for Woodring College of Education and joined Western's Center for Community Learning in 2014.


Since 2018 Laurel has been a Community Engagement Fellows convener and enjoys making meaningful connections between the community and WWU.


Person looking out to the water with a tree behind them.

Dominic Savio Nkuubi is a social worker and community leader from Kampala - Uganda. He attended Kyambogo University for his undergraduate degree in Economics and Uganda Martyrs University for a Master's Degree in Monitoring and Evaluation.


Dominic began community engagement through volunteering while at the University and later started a community-based organization called Akili Pana Initiative where he serves as the team leader and director. He serves as the Program Director - Youth Volunteer Corps Uganda.


Dominic has participated in several community engagement programs like CEF: Beyond Boundaries, Community Engagement Exchange Program and Community Engagement Fellows: Africa which he currently co-facilitates.


Dominic is dedicated to positively impacting communities through continuous community projects.


Man kneeling down holding up a cell phone to show the people on Zoom the person talking to a group of people at Northwest Indian College.

Travis Tennessen has served as the lead convener of Community Engagement Fellows since it began in 2015, and is the Director of the Center for Community Learning at Western Washington University. He is an honorary member of the Wenger-Trayner Social Learning Lab.

Before coming to Western Washington University, Travis taught at Penn State-University Park and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His courses focused on sustainability, environmental conservation and environmental history. He also directed the Quest alternative break program in Madison, and Tennessen Treks while at Penn State.


Travis received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his research explored the histories of conflicts over natural resources in the American West. William Cronon served as his advisor, and he was an active member of UW's Center for Culture, History and Environment.

Many social movements and philosophies contribute to Travis's efforts with Community Engagement Fellows, including permaculture design principles, Sri Lanka's Sarvodaya movement, Unitarian Universalist Small Groups, and the Wisconsin Idea.

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