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Flowers overlooking the bay from Western Washington University.

2018  Retreat Participants

I am a faculty member with the Service Learning Institute at California State University-Monterrey Bay where I teach courses about service and social justice; leadership for social change; educational equity; and service learning pedagogy and design. Currently, I also advise students pursuing a Service Learning Leadership Minor, and from 2007 – 2014 I had the honor of coordinating the Student Leadership in Service Learning Program. My community involvements are focused on addressing the effects of oppression on youth through culturally responsive curriculum, art, and narrative.


A place I love in my home region: I love running and walking with my dog Eva through the oaks, chaparral, grasslands, and wildflowers of the Fort Ord National Monument, which is just a 10-minute walk from my house.

Deb Burke

California State University-Monterrey Bay

I currently serve as the associate director for public engagement initiatives for the five campuses of the University of Minnesota system. In my office, I am responsible for facilitating, coordinating, and managing a broad range of strategic initiatives designed to further the institutionalization of high quality community-based teaching, engaged research and scholarship, and community-partnered outreach. The Office for Public Engagement is somewhat unique in that much of our work is internally facing working on how to promote and support institutional culture change in order to build a truly community-engaged institution. Prior to working at the University of Minnesota, I was the associate director for the service-learning center at Carleton College in Minnesota.


A place I love in my home region: Our local lake, Crystal Lake. As a family, we have fun walking around the lake, going canoeing, and fishing.

Amber Cameron

University of Minnesota System

In my current role I serve as the Director of the Office of Community Engagement at Eastern Washington University. A lifelong educator, I have served in a variety of roles including professor and high school social studies teacher. Currently I serve on the board of the Northeast Community Center, Excellerate Success, and Partners in Campus and Community Engagement. Having been at EWU for just over a year, I am excited to see how community engagement is already growing and the direction it appears to be going. When I am not working I am loving spending time with my newborn daughter, Grace, and my amazing wife, Nika.


A place I love in my home region: The Flying Goat. I love pizza and theirs is the best!

Brian Davenport

Eastern Washington University

I am the Assistant Director of the Center for Service Learning at the University of Texas at Arlington, where I work with faculty and administration, and am the liaison between UTA and area nonprofits. I came to UTA from the corporate world to work in the service learning office in 2012, but fell so in love with higher education that I pursued an M.Ed. I became Assistant Director of The Leadership Center, where I directed the UTA Volunteers, Alternative Breaks, Leadership Honors, and Maverick Mentors programs before moving back into CSL in September 2016. I began by branding the Center and putting together a year-long campaign focused on bringing service learning awareness to the campus community through presentations, events, and promotions. CSL’s main programs and events include the Service Learning Faculty Fellows Program, Community Partner Breakfast, Volunteer Opportunity Exchange, and the Student Service Learning Showcase. I am also an advisor for Sigma Alpha Lambda. 


A place I love in my home region: My favorite places include most anywhere warm, with a body of water and lots of outdoor nature!

Susan Dequeant

University of Texas at Arlington

I am a sociologist first and foremost, with a passion for helping connect students to communities. At the University of British Columbia my position in the “teaching stream” allows me to develop courses that incorporate community based experiential learning opportunities. I am currently teaching the Urban Ethnographic Field School, which submerges students in the historic downtown neighborhoods of Vancouver and places them in service learning roles at local nonprofits. I also have incorporated service learning opportunities into my first year Introduction to Sociology course (among others!). In my role as the Undergraduate Chair I am exploring ways of incorporating more opportunities for experiential learning into our curriculum. In my past I was a Service Learning Fellow at Indiana University (where I completed my PhD), worked in the nonprofit sector, and have conducted research on nonprofit governance.


A place I love in my home region: Pacific Spirit Park. This 2,160 acre park surrounds the UBC campus and provides easy access to old growth Douglas firs with fantastic walking and biking trails throughout.

Kerry Greer

University of British Columbia

My commitment to building partnerships between adult learners and their community is a common thread throughout my educational and professional experience. I continue to facilitate this dynamic relationship in my current role at Western Washington University’s Center for Community Learning. I work with campus staff and community organizations to connect communities through Western’s 8-hours of Community Service and through professional development opportunities, and help host Community Engagement Fellows. I believe in the value of investing in our communities and I enjoy living in this beautiful corner of the country.

A place I love in my home region: I feel most at home at the top of a mountain in the winter months. The Cascade Range still takes my breath away. There is nothing quite like going East on Highway 542.

Laurel Hammond

Western Washington University

I have the pleasure of serving as the Director of Community Engagement and Service at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. My work is guided by the tenets of the Eagle Promise that ensures students, on their path to a four-year degree, will be provided with robust “Glocal” to global engagement experiences.


A place I love in my home region: A place that I love near Durham, NC is the Sarah P. Duke Gardens because of its serene landscapes, Japanese Tea House and the occasional lawn movie or concert for the entire family to enjoy.

Calleen Herbert

North Carolina Central University

I am the Director of the Center for Community-Engaged Learning at the University of Minnesota. I have worked with academic and co-curricular community engaged learning for over 20 years. I love connecting students to work that drives their passions and allows them to make positive change in large and small ways. I was part of a group of Minnesotans who launched the state's first self-governed school in an attempt to make language immersion education available to students and their families in my community which doesn't have easy access to these types of programs. I have served on several community boards including serving on the Board for the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) which offers place-based domestic and international immersive community-engagement programs for students. I chose to put down roots in North Minneapolis in 2006 within a mile radius of where my parents were raised. I live with my dog, Roxy, and enjoy gardening, various artistic pursuits, spending time with my Liberian children, reading, cooking, thrifting and catching up on National Public Radio.


A place I love in my home region: The Mississippi River. I've lived in several communities on the Mississippi and now I work on the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities' East Bank Campus which means that my office is on the east side of the Mississippi River. Not many people know our institution exists within the National Park Service's Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

Laurel Hirt

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

As the Director of Community Involvement & Service at Missouri State University, I have the opportunity to work alongside students, faculty, staff, and community learning partners to address social issues through service immersion trips, service learning courses, education, and advocacy.


A place I love in my home region: The Ozark Mountains are my favorite place to enjoy the outdoors, whether fishing on the lake or camping in the woods!

Alex Johnson

Missouri State University

Community colleges often prove to be challenging venues when it comes to creating a spirit of service and building meaningful connections to the broader community. As the Associate Director of Service-Learning and Community Engagement with the RISE Learning Institute at Bellevue College, I facilitate opportunities to do just this. Through faculty professional development , student cohort programs (proposed), collaboration-building, and general mischief-causing, I have slowly been bringing service-learning and other high impact practices to our community college. Prior to joining Bellevue College two years ago, I worked in India in non-profits, for-profit social ventures, and international service-learning.


A place I love in my home region: While driving on Interstate 5, there are a few places where, upon completing a curve, I can see Mount Rainier clear and huge in front of me. The sight of the mountain just in front of me in those places always takes my breath away.

Sapan Parekh

Bellevue College

For almost 20 years, I have enjoyed and honed my skills in community based engagement and experiential education through the lense of youth leadership development, outdoor education, social work/food equity work, and my passion for creating a liberated world. This has brought me to my current role as Community Engagement Manager at the Carlson Center for Leadership and Public Service at the University of Washington-Seattle Campus, where I run the service learning program. My favorite part of my work is in thinking about how to get our community partners and wider community connected the wide range of resources our campus has to offer relationship centered practices.


A place I love in my home region: The mountain forests and foothills on the stretch of highway 410 East , between the Greenwater River and the north entrance to Mount Rainier, where I cut my teeth on being an experiential outdoor educator and community-based engagement leader.

Chris Pearson

University of Washington-Seattle

For over 20 years I have been committed to social inclusion and building stronger communities, specifically in communities that are traditionally under-represented and typically marginalized. This has included frontline service delivery, as well as program development and strategic planning. Since 2012 I have been working as the Community Development Advisor at the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Community Engaged Learning where I focus specifically on partnership development and Centre wide community engagement strategies and resources that support the needs and priorities of our community partners and student learning. I am most energized and excited about my work when I am connecting with community and my hope is to build greater awareness across the University about the depth of knowledge and expertise found in community and demonstrate the value and impacts of strong community and university collaborations.


A place I love in my home region: As an outdoor person, and having lived in Vancouver most of my life, I love anywhere I can cycle in the summer and ski in the winter. Stanley Park in Vancouver and the Okanagan (4 hours away and a lot of wineriesJ) are at the top of my list.

Jill Porter

University of British Columbia

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


A place I love in my home 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

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 Community 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: Journal of 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 my home region: On the ferry. We always seem to make friends, and the passing scenery can't be beat.

Travis Tennessen

Western Washington University

I work at the Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center as a graduate student staff, where we are in charge of service-learning for University of Washington undergraduates. I'm currently working on a faculty toolkit for teachers who are thinking about incorporating service-learning in their classes to varying degrees. As a PhD student in Multicultural Education, my potential research is on the use of community engagement as a tool for positive identity formation among students, combined with historical consciousness and critical reflection. I constantly think about how our underlying assumptions dictate the way we think, speak, and behave, and how it is therefore crucial to question and examine our own beliefs and practices in the pursuit of social justice. My passion lies in the classroom in making students ponder about their own ways of thinking.


A place I love in my home region: Kerry Park--I never get tired of looking at the Seattle skyline!

Kriya Velasco

University of Washington-Seattle

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