About the Speakers

Hear great talks and participate in sessions run by Evergreen alumni, faculty and staff.


Emily Adams

Instructor AND Classroom Support Technician

Emily Adams is the Printmaking Technician for Evergreen’s Printmaking studios as well as a multimedia and installation artist. She earned her BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin. 

She is a recipient of the David and Edith Sinaiko Frank Woman in the Arts Award and her work has been featured in New American Painting Magazine. She has a breadth of printmaking experience and has worked with artists and master printers at the highly respected Pace Editions and Tandem Press.

Session: Hands-on Screen Printing Workshop

Len Balli.

Len Balli

Len Balli moved to Olympia, Washington, from Brownsville, Texas, in September 1994 to attend Evergreen, which she read about in Sassy Magazine. After experimenting in a variety of subjects, she finally focused her studies in history. After graduation she started working for a small environmental consulting firm. In order to fulfill her interests in history and education she started volunteering at the State Capital Museum.

Her volunteering turned into gainful employment working in the education department giving tours and helping develop public programs. Throughout her career she has worked creatively and collaboratively to develop programs like Movies at the Mansion: A Classic Film Series and History After Hours Pub Trivia. In 2016 she curated A Revolution You Can Dance To an exhibit on the Olympia music scene and in 2017 collaborated on the exhibit Loyal Opposition.

She currently resides in Olympia and can be seen walking her dogs around the eastside.

Jon Balsley ’19

Composer and Music Educator

Jonathan Balsley '19 is a composer and music educator in Olympia, Washington. He studied classical and electronic music composition at Evergreen and music performance at Hillsong International Leadership College. He gives private music instruction at Jammin’ Music Studios and his work has been featured on numerous albums.

Session: How to Write an Opera and Save the Planet

Jonah Barrett ’17


Jonah Barrett '17 is a filmmaker, writer, and multimedia artist. His writing can be found in Creative Colloquy, Everyday Genius, Lit.Cat, OlyArts, and the bestselling Portland anthology City of Weird. He has worked as both a literary magazine and anthology editor, as well as a marketing director, journalist, and art conservator. His favorite genres are creature features and romantic comedies, and he has found they are pretty much the same.

Session: Station 93 Looking Back: A Film About the Evergreen Student Firefighters

Andrew Buchman ’77

Member of the Faculty

Andrew Buchman ’77 is a composer who has taught at Evergreen since 1986. He has learned a lot about dramaturgy—the study of dramatic composition—from his teaching partners in theater, especially Sandie Nisbet and Rose Jang. As a scholar of American musical theatre, he has contributed to the Oxford Dictionary of American Biography and two Oxford Handbooks. An article he wrote on the film version of Hair was just published. He holds an MM and DMA from the University of Washington School of Music.

Session: How to Write an Opera and Save the Planet

Spider Burbank ’77

Executive Director and Founder of the Economic Opportunity Institute

Spider Burbank ‘77 is the founder and executive director of the Economic Opportunity Institute (EOI).  He has a MPA degree from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington and a BA from Evergreen. Before founding EOI, he was project manager of the Sand Point Community Housing Association, political director of the Washington State Labor Council, staff coordinator for the Washington State Senate, and director for the Community Labor Coalition in Rhode Island.

He speaks conversational Finnish and has published in the Journal of Finnish Studies. He is a clinical instructor at the School of Public Health at the University of Washington.

Session: Building Our Way Out of Crisis: Hope, Action, and Systemic Change

Amira Caluya

Trans & Queer Center Coordinator

Amira Caluya is a queer, non-binary, generation 1.5 Philippinx immigrant of Bikolano and Ilokano ancestry and a first generation college graduate. They grew up Caloocan City in the Philippines and migrated to Las Vegas, Nevada when they were 10 years old.

Their commitment to equity and social justice was ignited through their work as a student organizer in community college, where they advocated for the DREAM Act, tuition equity for undocumented college students, and gender neutral restrooms in all public colleges and universities in Oregon.

They hold a MSW from the University of Michigan and became part of the First Peoples team in 2016.

Session: Student and Alumni Art Show at the Student Equity and Arts Lounge

Stephanie Coontz

Emeritus Faculty; Author; Historian

Faculty emeritus Stephanie Coontz has taught history and family studies at Evergreen since 1975. She is the Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families. Her publications include The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap; The Way We Really Are; Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage; and A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s

She has been published in every major national newspaper and is a frequent radio and television guest, including appearances on The Colbert Report and Oprah.

Session: Unfamiliar Territory: The Shifting Landscape of Close Relationships

Ross Cowman ’01

Game Designer; Founder of Heart of the Deernicorn

Ross Cowman '01 is the award-winning designer of Fall of Magic, Life on Mars, BFF!, Night Forest, and Serpent's Tooth.  His workshop, Heart of the Deernicorn, hosts game-related events and an artist-in-residency program.

Session: More Than Just a Game: The Social Impact of Game Design

Jim Cox ’76

Feature Animation Screenwriter and Producer

Jim Cox '76 was among the first students admitted to Evergreen. He has over 30 years of experience as a feature animation screenwriter and producer, including co-executive producer of the 2006 DreamWorks animation Over the Hedge.

Other credits include Producer/Screenwriter on FernGully, original story adaptation on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and screenwriter on Oliver and Company and Rescuers Down Under

He was also co-founder of RingTales, a new media company that produced and distributed over 1,000 short animated versions of famous cartoons such as Dilbert, The New Yorker Cartoons, Over the Hedge, Bloom County, and Pearls Before Swine.

Session: From Concept to Story: An Interactive Exploration of Animation

Ahniwa Ferrari ’02

Evergreen Library Associate Dean of Operations

Ahniwa Ferrari ’02 is a Pacific Northwest native who came to Evergreen as the Associate Dean of Library Operations in December 2017. Prior to Evergreen, he worked in library roles at many institutions, including Grays Harbor College, WebJunction, Saint Martin’s University, and the Washington State Library.

In 2008 he received his MLIS degree from McGill University in Montreal. In his spare time, Ahniwa enjoys playing games of all kinds.

Session: More Than Just a Game: The Social Impact of Game Design

Karen Fraser

Evergreen Board of Trustees Chair; Former State Senator

Karen Fraser served as an elected member of the Washington State Senate for 24 years, and in the Washington State House of Representatives for 4 years.

While in the Senate, she held numerous senior leadership positions, including Caucus Chair, Capital Budget Chair, chair of committees pertaining to environment and energy, and Ways and Means Committee member. 

She was elected the first woman President of the Washington State Association of Counties.

She also served as Mayor and City Council member in Lacey, the first woman in each position.

She was recently appointed Chair of The Evergreen State College Board of Trustees.

Session: Politics 101

Jeanne Hahn

Faculty Emeritus

Jeanne Hahn has been a full-time member of the Evergreen faculty from 1972 to 2014, and in winter 2019 completed a five-year post-retirement contract.  Over the past decade, her teaching has focused on political economy and history, particularly probing the nature and logic of capitalism over time and across cultures. 

She has taught programs such as 500 Years of Globalization, Political Economy and Social Movements, The Formation of the North American State, Crisis and Transformation in the U.S., and various programs on contemporary India.

Session: Building Our Way Out of Crisis: Hope, Action, and Systemic Change

Liza Harrell-Edge

Library Archivist and Digital Scholarship Manager

Liza Harrell-Edge is the Library Archivist and Digital Scholarship Manager at Evergreen, where she is responsible for managing over a million historical documents, images, and audiovisual recordings related to programs, campus events, faculty research, and student life. She previously worked for the Washington State Archives, The New School, and New York University where she processed materials in the Riot Grrrl Collection started by Evergreen alum Lisa Darms '93. Over the next year, she will be launching a new institutional repository and digital collections platform to make current scholarship and digitized historical materials from the archives more accessible.  

Session: Explore Evergreen’s Evolution Through Stories and Archives

Steven Hendricks ’97

Member of the Faculty

Steven Hendricks '97 is an Evergreen alumnus and has taught writing, literature, and book arts at Evergreen since 2002. His work has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, Conjunctions, “Fold: The Reader, and The Encyclopedia Project, Volume 3” (forthcoming). He earned his MFA in Writing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His novel, Little is Left to Tell, was first published by Starcherone Books in 2014 and is being republished by Campanile Books.

Session: Hands-on Exploration of Letterpress Printing

Dave Humphreys

West Central Park Project Board of Trustees

Dave Humphreys is a founding board member of the West Central Park Project and Thurston County Washington State University Extension Master Gardener. A native West Olympian, Dave grew up with and around Evergreen, where his father, Will Humphreys, was a Planning faculty member. He has a passionate interest in seeing the sustainable values that are fostered at Evergreen applied to community-building projects in Thurston County and beyond.

As a Master Gardener, Dave specializes in water-wise growing cultures and land management. 

Session: Resilient Systems at West Central Park

LaTonya Kadar '19

Evergreen-Tacoma Graduate

LaTonya Kadar is a Tacoma native. She graduated from Mt Tahoma High School in 1990, completed initial undergraduate studies at Pacific Lutheran University in 1993, and later returned to college to become a 2019 graduate of The Evergreen State College—Tacoma program.

Evergreen—Tacoma created an environment for LaTonya to flourish academically and socially. The interdisciplinary approach to coursework assisted in further developing her specialized skillset as a certified corporate trainer. With over 15 years of training in the banking and staffing industries, LaTonya’s academic emphasis on sociology at Evergreen—Tacoma combined well with training adult learners. LaTonya’s Evergreen experience sparked her desire to learn and glean from the brilliance around her and become more involved in social justice efforts within her Tacoma community.

Focusing on work and life balance for now, LaTonya is considering pursuing a Master’s degree in Adult Education at City University or Seattle University, and considers herself a forever Sankofa!

Sandra Kaiser

Vice President of College Relations

Serving as an American diplomat from 1986 to 2013, Sandra Kaiser managed U.S. embassies and directed public affairs operations around the globe and at the U.S. Department of State, working with presidents from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. 

More recently, she served as Communications Director for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. The proud parent of a 2018 Evergreen grad, she joined the college as Vice President for College Relations in January 2017.

Session: Telling Evergreen's Story

Sam Kaviar ’12

Owner - Kayak Nisqually Puget Sound Adventures

Sam became interested in kayaking to support his Evergreen animal behavior and zoology studies. He landed his first sea kayak guiding gig largely for his naturalist interpretation work. He later launched his first professional biology career after graduating, in part, due to his kayaking skills. Sam worked for the US Geological Survey helping research the Nisqually delta restoration before pursuing a Fulbright Scholarship in tropical wetlands studying miniaturized sloths, and eventually launching his own sea kayak-based, eco-tourism company in Thurston County.

Session: Evergreen Field Trip: An Exploration of South Sound History

Stefan Killen ’88

Author, Photographer

Stefan Killen ‘88 grew up in Zurich, Switzerland and now lives in Brooklyn, NY where he runs Red+Company, a design studio near where the Brooklyn ferry once operated.

He is a pinhole photographer and has photographed New York City since 1991.

His work was included in the award-winning book Out of Focus: Pinhole Cameras and Pinhole Photographs and has been featured in television shows such as Girls, American Odyssey, Power, and Billions, as well as on numerous cultural blogs.

Stefan is working on several books of pinhole photography, including an interdisciplinary meditation on Walt Whitman’s poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”

Session: “What Is It Then Between Us?” Celebrating Walt Whitman

Nancy Koppelman ’88

Member of the Faculty

Nancy Koppelman ’88 teaches American Studies at Evergreen where she has been a member of the faculty since 1996.  She earned her MA in History from the University of Washington and her PhD in American Studies from Emory University. Her dissertation was nominated for the Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize of the American Studies Association. 

She led the Teaching American History Project in the South Sound region of Washington for four years, and served as a Humanities Washington speaker and as visiting faculty in Taraz, Kazakhstan.

Session: “What Is It Then Between Us?” Celebrating Walt Whitman

Alicia LeDuc MPA ’12

Attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP

Alicia LeDuc MPA '12 is an attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP. Their MPA capstone project was titled The Impact of Catholic Social Teachings on HIV/AIDS Programs – a Case Study in Chipole, Tanzania.

Session: Theory to Practice: Graduate Alumni on a Capstone Shaping a Career

Mingxia Li

Member of the Faculty

Trained as a physician in Beijing China, Mingxia Li (Zhang Er) moved to New York City in 1986 to pursue her graduate degree at the Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University. She obtained her PhD in Molecular Pharmacology in 1992. 

While studying at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute and Cornell Medical Center, she was involved in the New York poetry scene hosting bilingual poetry readings, writing poetry, and editing literary journals. She is the author of six collections of poetry in Chinese, most recently Closest to You (2017). She teaches human biology, public health, and Chinese cultural studies at Evergreen.

Session: How to Write an Opera and Save the Planet

Andrea Martin MES ’13

MES Assistant Director

Andrea Martin MES '13 has served as the Assistant Director of Evergreen’s MES program since January 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from San Francisco State University and an MES from Evergreen.

She is passionate about environmental education and has worked for Northwest Youth Corps, Montana Conservation Corps, and Washington Trails Association. She completed her MES thesis on the long-term influence of conservation corps participation on environmental attitudes. She feels her work supporting MES students is the next phase of her career as an educator and facilitator.

She currently serves on the board of directors at Capitol Land Trust.

Session: Theory to Practice: Graduate Alumni on a Capstone Shaping a Career

Hilary McGowan MES ’17

Associate Planner for Snohomish County Planning and Development Services

Hilary McGowan MES ’17 is the Associate Planner for Snohomish County Planning and Development Services. Their MES thesis was titled Perception of Green Spaces and Suburban Identity: The Aesthetics and Safety of Naturalization in Everett, WA.

Session: Theory to Practice: Graduate Alumni on a Capstone Shaping a Career

Korbett Mosesly '11, MPA '17

Board of Governors, The Evergreen State College

Korbett Mosesly has more than a decade of experience working in both the non-profit and government sectors on a broad range of issues including education, housing, and workforce development.

Korbett served on the City of Tacoma’s Vision 2025 Steering and Advisory Committee for the city's strategic plan. He also served on the first board of directors of the Puyallup Watershed Initiative, and currently serves on the board of governors for the Evergreen State College Foundation. As the first Director of Family Stability Initiatives for United Way of Pierce County, he was responsible for launching the Center for Strong Families (CSF) that created a network of providers to respond to the problem of persistent poverty, financial instability, and low-wage stagnation among families. He recently joined the City of Tacoma’s Office of Equity and Human Rights as a senior policy analyst working to address disparities with historically underrepresented communities and identifying gaps and barriers in policies, programs and community involvement. Korbett has provided consulting services for the City of Tacoma’s Neighborhood Council Program and Neighborhood Business District Program. He launched the Hilltop Action Journal newspaper, a volunteer-organized publication focused on community priorities of Tacoma’s Hilltop residents. He is a long-time member of the Pierce County Black Collective and a Senior Fellow (class 18) of the American Leadership Forum.

Korbett has a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from The Evergreen State College and currently lives with his wife and three boys in Tacoma, Washington.

Kyle Noble ’78

Former Evergreen Student Firefighter

In the spring of 1976, I became the first woman student firefighter at Evergreen’s campus Fire Station 93. This experience opened unexpected doors and helped shape a future focused on service. After serving in the Peace Corps in Nepal, the majority of my career was spent working on the Olympic National Forest in a variety of capacities including that of wildland fire. Along with my family, we make Olympia home and enjoy and support our community and surrounding environment.

Session: Station 93 Looking Back: A Film About the Evergreen Student Firefighters

Annie Pocklington MPA ’18

Program Associate for Student Support Services at the Washington Student Achievement Council

Annie Pocklington MPA '18 is the Program Associate for Student Support Services at the Washington Student Achievement Council. Their MPA capstone project was titled Avanti High School Beekeeping Club: Project Implementation, Student Advocacy, and Grant Writing.

Session: Theory to Practice: Graduate Alumni on a Capstone Shaping a Career

Sam Porter MPA ’17

Legislative Analyst for King County Council

Sam Porter MPA '17 is the Legislative Analyst for King County Council. Their MPA capstone project was titled Public Administration, Policy, and the Social Service System for Vulnerable Elders

Session: Theory to Practice: Graduate Alumni on a Capstone Shaping a Career

Susan Preciso​

Member of the Faculty

Susan Preciso came to Evergreen in 1992, and taught one of the first interdisciplinary programs in Evergreen’s evening and weekend studies catalog with former faculty member John McCann. As a returning adult student herself, she has focused on providing a rich humanities curriculum for evening and weekend studies students. Her focus on American and British literature has always been framed in a historical and cultural context, and she continues to explore and expand her pedagogical approach. She holds a BA and MA in English from Portland State University.

Session: Lessons from the Age of Irony

Merrill Pusey '18

Multicultural Initiatives Coordinator

Brooklyn native Merrill Pusey '18 is a fierce, queer advocate for social justice.

She is a graduate of South Puget Sound Community College and Evergreen’s Tacoma program.

In 2017, she became a student leader and activist and was an intern for State Senator Bob Hasegawa. Merrill’s real superpowers are her love for community, her warmth, her intellect, and her commitment to radical inclusion.

She is a survivor of an abusive relationship, drug addiction, and homelessness. As a mentor for countless students in her journey through college, she shares her story of recovery to give hope to others.

Session: Student and Alumni Art Show at the Student Equity and Arts Lounge

Tom Rainey

Emeritus Faculty

Tom Rainey served as a member of the faculty at Evergreen from 1972-2000 and is now a faculty emeritus.  He still teaches Russian and Eurasian studies at Evergreen and has taken almost 25 research trips to Russia and Siberia, often with Evergreen students.

He has two monographs and many articles in popular and scholarly journals on Russian history and culture, most recently dealing with Russian and Siberian environmental history. He earned a BA in History from the University of Florida and holds an MA and a PhD in History from the University of Illinois.

Session: Vladimir Putin’s Judo Match with the West

Anna Rhoads MES ’16

MPA Assistant Director

Anna Rhoads MES '16 has served as the Assistant Director for the MPA program since October 2017. She received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy from Humboldt State University and her MES from Evergreen.

As a student at Evergreen, she was a member of the Clean Energy Committee and worked as a recruiting assistant for the MES program. She focused her thesis research on transportation management and its impact on communities in transition. Upon receiving her MES degree, Anna worked for Thurston County Public Health as an environmental health educator and Evergreen’s Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education.

Session: Theory to Practice: Graduate Alumni on a Capstone Shaping a Career

Maggie Roberts ’91

Former Evergreen Student Firefighter

Maggie Roberts ’92 was one of the first women in the country to become a professional firefighter.  She has also worked as a health educator and ceramics artist. Her Evergreen experiences continue to be a significant influence in her life.

Session: Station 93 Looking Back: A Film About the Evergreen Student Firefighters

Sarah Ryan '92

Member of the Faculty

Sarah Ryan '92 has taught labor studies and history at Evergreen for 25 years. A labor union activist in the American Postal Workers Union, she was drawn to Evergreen as a returning adult student through the college’s Labor Education and Research Center. She was an organizer and founding member of the United Faculty of Evergreen union and holds a Master’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Rutgers University.

Session: Lessons from the Age of Irony

Natalie Sahli MES ’16

Research biologist at the Pacific Shellfish Institute

Natalie Sahli MES '16 is a research biologist at the Pacific Shellfish Institute. Their MES thesis was titled Nutrient Cycling Between Cultivated Manila Clams (V. Philippinarium) and Green Macroalgae (Ulva Spp) on the Northern Hood Canal.

Session: Theory to Practice: Graduate Alumni on a Capstone Shaping a Career

Joli Sandoz

Member of the Faculty

Joli Sandoz teaches board game design, creative nonfiction writing, and community engagement through Evergreen’s Evening Weekend Studies. Her interests range from game design for meaningful play to the role of hope in enabling transformative community resilience.

She is currently serving in a faculty fellowship in the Learning and Teaching Commons at the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education, on the Olympia campus.

Session: More Than Just a Game: The Social Impact of Game Design

Erica Schisler ’91

Artist; Filmmaker; Founder of the Forty Elephants Production Company

Erica Schisler ‘91 is an artist, filmmaker, and founder of the Forty Elephants production company. She produced and co-directed Spokanarchy, winner of Best Documentary at the L.A. Punk Film Festival. 

During 25 years in tech, she has developed many products, including the screenwriting software Adobe Story. She is currently the Engagement Liaison for Adobe Character Animator.

She has a passion for storytelling in many mediums, including printmaking, illustration, zines, and experimental film and she holds a Masters of Communications in Digital Media from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts from Evergreen.

Jayne Schmidtke ’19

Evergreen-Tacoma Graduate

Jayne Schmidtke is an Evergreen-Tacoma Alumna, class of 2019. While at Evergreen, Jayne focused on public health with an emphasis on sex education and healthy relationships. She was able to create several films while studying at Evergreen, one of which will be featured today. Jayne has utilized her creativity, education, and advocacy to show the community stories through the art of film.

Dave Siemens ’82

Former Evergreen Student Firefighter

Dave Siemens ’82 came to Evergreen when it opened in 1971 with an interest in becoming a teacher. While his academic focus was in the social sciences, his experiences in the student fire fighter program caused him to change direction and become a professional firefighter with the Olympia Fire Department in 1974.  He became active in the firefighters union, finished his undergraduate degree in 1982, and attended Cornell’s labor studies program before returning to the fire service with Tacoma Fire Department. After he retired, he and Maggie Roberts started Kennedy Creek Pottery in 1998. 

Session: Station 93 Looking Back: A Film About the Evergreen Student Firefighters

Aurora (Krista) Sonenshine

Evergreen Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Student

Aurora Sonenshine is an archaeology student in her senior year at Evergreen. She has participated in an archaeological dig in Sinop, Turkey with Dr. Krotscheck in 2017 and was Dr. Krotscheck's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) student in the Summer of 2018. The work of the SURF project included finishing digging at the Bush Homestead and processing the finds, as well as presenting a paper of these finds at the Society for American Archaeology's annual conference this past Spring. Aurora has also completed independent projects concerning research of textiles in the Ancient Mediterranean and intends to pursue the study of archaeological textiles in graduate school.

Oscar Soule

Evergreen FOUNDATION Board of Governors; Emeritus Faculty

Oscar Soule is a faculty emeritus who helped open Evergreen in 1971. He taught environmental studies and was the former Director of the MES program. He is currently a member of The Evergreen State College Foundation Board of Governors.

Session: Explore Evergreen’s Evolution Through Stories and Archives

Eirik Steinhoff

Member of the Faculty

Eirik Steinhoff has been a visiting member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College since 2013. He teaches and co-teaches intensive interdisciplinary programs with titles like, How to Do Things with Words, Forensics, A New Middle East,  Words/Woods, and Gateways for Incarcerated Youth: Critical Literacy + Critical Numeracy. He has also taught Shakespeare, critical theory, rhetoric, poetry, and poetics at the University of Chicago (where he received his PhD in English), Bard College (where he received his BA), and Mills College. In the early 21st century, he edited Chicago Review, and in 2009 his translations from Petrarch’s Rime Sparse appeared as Fourteen Sonnets from Albion Books. In 2010, he taught at Green Haven Correctional Facility under the auspices of the Bard Prison Initiative, and in 2014 he co-facilitated a week-long reading and writing seminar with faculty at Al-Quds University in Palestine.  He works with incarcerated teachers and students in collaboration with the Black Prisoner Caucus’s T.E.A.C.H. program (“Taking Education and Creating History”). The bulk of his study in the classroom (and beyond) revolves around two questions: “What needs to be the case for things to be otherwise?” and “How do we make our knowledge common?”

Session: Classic Evergreen Field Trip into South Sound History

John C. Stocks '81

Former NEA Executive Director

John C. Stocks ‘81, a national leader in the fight to transform public education, is the former Executive Director of the National Education Association (NEA) — the nation’s largest union.

NEA represents 3 million teachers, education support professionals, higher education faculty and staff, school administrators, retired educators, and students. For more than 160 years, the NEA has been a powerful advocate for opportunity and justice for all Americans and has given voice to some of the defining issues of our times.

John served as the Executive Director from 2011 to Aug 31, 2019, and oversaw the operations of NEA’s $350 million annual budget and 477 staff. He has been at the center of the union’s efforts to champion an Association-led movement to ensure great public schools for every student — one that empowers NEA’s members to lead the drive for educator excellence and fights for every child’s fundamental right to a quality public education. NEA’s ongoing efforts to demonstrate its unyielding commitment to students and the educators who serve them has earned it a place as a respected authority on what it takes to help students succeed.

As NEA’s Deputy Executive Director from 2004-2011, Stocks spearheaded NEA’s policy, political and membership priorities. Under his leadership, NEA charted a new course: mobilizing its ranks in support of improving the federal No Child Left Behind law, transforming its political organization, and building new strategic alliances to champion public education. Stocks served as Assistant Executive Director for Public Affairs at the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), with oversight for the Association’s public relations, legislative, political action, and teaching and learning departments. Prior to joining WEAC, Stocks served as a state senator in Idaho — winning a seat that had been previously occupied by a four-term incumbent.

An unmatched drive for social justice and positive change in education has been the signature of John Stocks’ career. In 2014, Stocks received the Cecile Richards Progressive Leader Award from America Votes — a national network representing 300 state and national partner organizations that advance progressive agendas. The Campaign for America’s Future honored John Stocks with its Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award in 2011.

John currently serves as a Senior Advisor to NEA, Chair of the Democracy Alliance and Co-Chair of the Strategic Victory Fund (SVF).

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Stocks is a graduate of Evergreen State. John is married to Connie Hutchison, and has two children, J. T. and Emily.

Session: Station 93 Looking Back: A Film About the Evergreen Student Firefighters

Sanyu Tushabe MPA ’18

Recruitment Supervisor at the Washington State Health Care Authority

Sanyu Tushabe MPA '18 is the Recruitment Supervisor at the Washington State Health Care Authority. Their MPA capstone project was titled An Evaluation of the HCA Recruitment Program; Specifically Quality of Hires.

Session: Theory to Practice: Graduate Alumni on a Capstone Shaping a Career

Laura VerMeulen

Assistant Directory of the Longhouse

Laura VerMeulen is the Assistant Director of the Longhouse and member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. She is from the Gaanax.ádi clan. Before she came to Evergreen in 1994, she worked in Multicultural Affairs at Kansas State University and was the Assistant Dean of the University Graduate School at Indiana University-Bloomington. She has a MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs and a BA in Sociology from Indiana University.

Session: Experience the New Carving Studio at the Indigenous Arts Campus

Miriam Villacian '07

Executive Director West Central Park Project

Miriam Villacian ’07 is the Executive Director of the West Central Park Project. She has a Masters in Sustainable Business from Pinchot University. Previously, she worked at Joint Base Lewis-McChord as the Sustainability Outreach Coordinator, helping JBLM become a more sustainable community. 

She is passionate about building sustainable, resilient communities and she loves to garden, kayak, read, and have fun with her husband and two daughters.

Session: Resilient Systems at West Central Park