Laura Dammer Hess

Laura Dammer Hess has an interdisciplinary academic background in art, community-based education and Spanish, which serves as a source of inspiration for her participation in and support of applied, creative and collaborative learning experiences. For the last 12 years, Laura has had the pleasure of working with college students at the University of Minnesota who have a deep commitment to community work. In her own journey of lifelong education and exploration, Laura is most inspired by outdoor adventures with her family, travel, growing/cooking/eating great food, practicing yoga, and conversation about “big ideas.”

Dave Ellis

Dave Ellis is the owner and Principal Consultant at Dave Ellis Consulting, LCC, a group dedicated to using Worldview Intelligence and the Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter for training, strategic planning and community engagement. He is a former Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow, looking at the impact of toxic stress on the neurobiology and brain development of children prenatal through three years of age and implications across the life course with a special emphasis  on African men and boys. He is also a Certified Master Trainer and Community Resilience Coach. He is a local, national and international speaker/trainer on topics including the impact of trauma, trauma informed care, worldview intelligence and community engagement strategies.

Elaine Eschenbacher

Elaine Eschenbacher is director of the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College. She has worked in higher education for nineteen years, first at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School with the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, then moving to Augsburg. Her work focuses on democratic education, youth organizing, the role of higher education to develop citizens and equipping people to have strong civic agency – the capacity to act, for the public good.

Adrienne Falcon

Adrienne Falcon is the founding Director of Academic Civic Engagement program at Carleton College in the Center for Community and Civic Engagement.  She is also a lecturer in sociology with a PhD from the University of Chicago where she studied community organizing and youth programs in a diverse immigrant neighborhood.  She has extensive experience in assessment of civic engagement and supporting faculty to develop projects over time and space in response to community identified needs and strengths.  She recently returned from Ecuador where she spent 8 months studying a new national civic engagement and higher education initiative.  

Gloria Honda

Gloria Honda, a second generation US-born Korean-American, shares her husband’s Japanese surname. Raised in CA, Gloria moved to MN in 1989 and has a daughter who lives in San Francisco. Gloria’s career has been dedicated mostly to teaching in public schools. She has also provided training and resources in K-12 and university communities in CA, NC, TX, and MN. She has degrees from University of California, Davis and University of NC, Chapel-Hill. Gloria is a racial equity activist and member of Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative ( As consultant with Side by Side and Associates, Gloria assisted in the 2013 MN Department of Health’s launch to Advance Health Equity. She served on the Facilitator’s Advisory Board of the YWCA Racial Justice & Public Policy Department. She is a member of a multi-congregational discussion group on white privilege in the church. A lifelong learner, Gloria practices Taiji and qigong.

Marla Kanengieter

Marla Kanegieter is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Co-Coordinator of the American Democracy Project at St. Cloud State University. Professor Kanegieter received her PhD from the University of Oregon in Rhetoric and Communications. She teaches courses in the areas of rhetorical theory, persuasion, and critical approaches to public communication. Professor Kanegieter’s work with SCSU American Democracy Project focuses on civic education and public deliberation.

Kara Lindaman

Kara Lindaman is a professor of political science/public administration at Winona State University. Earning her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, she primarily teaches courses in public administration in the fields of public service, public budgeting and finance, and public policy. Since 2009 she coordinates the American Democracy Project, through initiatives as Economic Inequality, Civic Health, Campus Votes Project, and deliberative polling. Through her work with the Kettering Foundation, she has focused on democratic deliberation in finding common ground across differences. Her primary interest is empowering students as citizens to be active in their communities.

Awale Osman

Awale Osman is an Academic Success Coach in the TRIO/Student Support Services program at Normandale Community College. TRIO/SSS is a federally funded program that supports the academic and personal development of low to moderate income, first generation college students and students with disabilities to build strong foundations to stay in college, transfer and/or graduate. Mr. Osman earned his bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies with a minor in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Augsburg College. Mr. Osman also contributes to the development, growth and community outreach for the Somali Debate Initiative through his role with the Minnesota Urban Debate League, a program of Augsburg College.

Erin Slattengren

Erin Slattengren is a doctoral student and research assistant in the Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development in Higher Education program and the Coordinator for the University District Engagement Zone project in University Relations at UMN-Twin Cities. Prior to this she served as the Assistant Director of Research and Sponsored Programs at St. Catherine University. Much of Erin’s career has been spent in positions with state and local government. Early on, she managed constituent concerns for the Governor of Minnesota in an array of policy areas. She served as a project manager for a public housing authority in Pittsburg, coordinating a HUD funded revitalization project; and as a project manager for the Wisconsin Supreme Court for six years, managing project-focused committees and external partnerships for the state court system. Erin has a BA from the University of St. Thomas and Masters of Public Administration from Gannon University in Erie, PA.

Karin Trail-Johnson

Karin Trail-Johnson is employed by Macalester College as Associate Dean, Institute for Global Citizenship and Director, Civic Engagement Center. I have 27 years of experience in the civic engagement field and have also served as a consultant and evaluator for numerous community-based learning programs around the country. I aim to inspire and support others for meaningful work and contribution, creative collaborations and positive change. I am awed by (and learn from) art, nature, travel, college students, people’s stories and my children.




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