Marilou’s heart-centered leadership style is guided by the belief that meaningful innovation and sustaining transformation requires a deep understanding of ourselves, and the communities around us. She co-founded Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare (a coalition of 30+ animal welfare groups) in 2009 and Leech Lake Legacy (an animal welfare organization serving Leech Lake Reservation) in 2011. She now serves as Vice President of Community Healing Programs for the Native America Humane Society.

Inspired by her spirit dog Ahnung (means ‘star’ in ojibwe) from Red Lake Reservation, Marilou created a moral compass. Her moral compass was the inspiration and guiding star for the two non-profits she co-founded, and continues to be her guide in connecting individuals, communities, building bridges and creating space for healing.

Marilou shares her home with her partner and their five dogs ranging from the ages of 4 to 16.5 years of age. She has a daily meditation and writing practice, and enjoys hiking, nature walks, learning, photography and working out.


Čhaŋtémaza (Neil McKay) is a Senior Teaching Specialist in American Indian Studies. He teaches advanced Dakota language, Dakota linguistics, and language for teachers, as well as indigenous history and cultures of Minnesota. He teaches a number of free language classes in the community and consults extensively with schools, non-profit organizations, and tribal communities on language instruction, curriculum, and teacher development. He is Bdewákhaŋthuŋwaŋ Dakhóta and an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota.

Joyce is committed to eliminating roadblocks, opening doors and empowering individuals to change their futures through education.  She is a passionate advocate for diversity, inclusion, equity, and excellence; she has over 25 years of administrative experience in higher education, serving as the Vice President of Student Services at Umpqua Community College; Bakersfield College’s Dean of Students; Dean of Instruction, Adult and High School Community Learning Programs at Mt. Hood Community College; Assistant Dean, Needles Center, at Palo Verde Community College; Education Director at Treasure Valley Community College; and the Education Coordinator, West Hills Community College.  She is currently the Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment management with Century College.    

Joyce earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Houston, and a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. In her free time, she enjoys biking, hiking, camping, reading, and thrift store shopping.

Elizabeth Dunens earned a M.A. in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development in Higher Education from the University of Minnesota with a minor in Integrative Leadership, and a B.A. in Art History/Arts Management from the University of San Francisco. She currently works at St. Catherine University as Assistant Director for the Center for Community Work and Learning and as an adjunct instructor. Her research/academic interests include: faculty and student motivations for community engagement; women and leadership in higher education; equity in experiential learning program design; and best practices for fostering community-university partnership. This will be her second time participating in a Campus Compact CoP, and she looks forward to continued discussion, reflection, learning and growth in community.

Susan Erickson has been a boundary spanner for much of her adult life, most recently with Community and Economic Development Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University.  She serves the people of Iowa as PLACE Program Coordinator for the College of Design, working at the interesting junction formed when Extension, university academic departments, and communities come together to make the world a better place.  Her scholarship has focused on community impacts of university outreach programs, and best practices for community-university engagement, boundary spanning, and interdisciplinary collaboration, particularly in rural settings.  Susan finds inspiration in the mutual learning that occurs when students share their academic experiences with community groups—and seeing the catalytic effects of that sharing manifest in community and economic development.  She is enthusiastic about the Campus Compact Community of Practice effort, as practitioners of community engagement work are often isolated and can draw strength from other like-minded individuals through the Communities of Practice.

Sophia Geng is an associate professor of Chinese at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University (CSB/SJU). She has served as the director of the Asian Studies Program on these two campuses since August 2014. Dr. Geng was a member of Minnesota Campus Compact’s Cultural Agility Collaboration form 2015 to 2016. She is also a Mellon Humanities cohort member at CSB/SJU which promotes new pedagogies that help build inclusive and equitable campus communities.

Dr. Geng has conducted research on high-impact storytelling and has directed digital storytelling projects on civic engagement and inclusive communities with different cohorts.  She is an experienced facilitator, having worked with students, faculty, and community groups on topics such as partnership building across communities and conversing across differences.

Sophia Geng earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and her M.A. from Beijing Foreign Studies University. In her spare time, she writes short stories and poems.

Susan Ann Gust is a community activist and small business owner of a 40+ year-old construction management, consulting and community development company. She was a 2003-2004 University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute Public Policy Fellow.  Susan  teaches, consults and does public speaking about community-institutional partnership and Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR).  In 2016, Susan completed her co-facilitation role on the Project Leadership Team for MN Campus Compact’s Cultural Agility Collaboration and was also inducted as a member of the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship (ACES).  Currently, she is a co-guide with her university research partner for a CBPR course involving community partners and graduate students at the University of Minnesota. Additional, local civic responsibilities include the Backyard Initiative, a partnership between the Cultural Wellness Center, Allina Health and the community.  Susan is also a planning committee member of the Cultural Wellness Center’s Community Research Ethics Board.    

Tina Kruse, is an educational psychologist who teaches in the department of Educational Studies at Macalester College, specializing in youth development, the social-emotional development of students, and community-based, experiential learning. She co-directs the Reflective Practice initiative on campus.

Laura Palombi, PharmD, MPH, MAT, is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy in Duluth; her teaching, research, and practice focus on substance abuse treatment and prevention.  Laura’s population-based practice focuses on Carlton County, where she has been a member of the Carlton County Drug Abuse Task Force since it’s inception, and has assisted with the planning of three Community Forums on Heroin and Opioid Abuse in Carlton County. She is also an active team member on the Carlton County Drug Court.  Laura works with rural coalitions in other rural counties, including St. Louis, Kanabec and Pine counties, to support community work to prevent and address substance abuse.

Julie Plaut has been Executive Director of Minnesota Campus Compact since 2009. She returned to Minnesota Campus Compact, which she previously served as Associate Director, after several years as Director of Academic Initiatives for national Campus Compact and an independent consultant to other state Compacts and nonprofit organizations. Julie received her Ph.D. in History from Indiana University, where she taught several service-learning courses and helped to establish and lead the campus office for community partnerships. She also holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from Stanford University. Julie’s work is grounded in an asset-based approach to collaboration and change and a deep commitment to lifelong learning and engagement that contributes to just, democratic, and sustainable communities.

Prior to coming to IACC in 2011, Emily served as Chief of Staff of the Rebuild Iowa Office, a state agency created to coordinate Iowa’s recovery from the 2008 disasters. She also served as the Senate Liaison and Policy Adviser to Governor Chet Culver. Emily also worked in field organizing and fundraising for campaigns including the Chet Culver Committee, John Kerry for President and for the Democratic National Committee. Emily has a Master’s in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development from the University of Northern Iowa and a Bachelor’s from the University of Iowa in journalism and political science. After graduation she spent a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.

Monica Siems McKay is Assistant Director of the Center for Community-Engaged Learning. Her work focuses on supporting curricular (course-based) community engagement opportunities for students – coordinating courses, providing pre-service training to students, and assessing the impacts of students’ experiences. She has studied and taught indigenous history and cultures and is a longtime Dakota language learner and teacher for community classes and camps. She is European-American and a descendant of German and Swiss settlers of Missouri and Illinois.

David Supp-Montgomerie is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. He received his Ph.D. in Communication Studies and earned a certificate in Cultural Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to his research and teaching on public voice and deliberation in American Democracy, David is the Founding Director of the Iowa Program for Public Life, a university-community partnership designed to help build local capacity for community-based discussion and problem solving.

Karin Trail-Johnson, Director of Civic Engagement at Macalester College, leads curricular and co-curricular community-based learning programs which claim reflective practice as an integral component of being a thoughtful, engaged and effective global citizen.  She co-directs the campus-wide Reflective Practice initiative.

Jane E. Turk is the Coordinator of High-Impact Learning Practices in Hamline University’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and serves as the director for the undergraduate Liberal Education as Practice (LEAP) requirement, which focuses on connecting the liberal arts and the world of work through reflective, experiential learning. Prior to joining the Center for Teaching and Learning, Turk served as Hamline’s Coordinator of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning. She has held teaching positions at a variety of colleges and universities including Hunter College (CUNY), Marymount Manhattan College, Lake Forest College, DePaul University, and Normandale Community College. Turk holds Master of Philosophy and Master of Arts degrees in Communications from Columbia University in the City of New York, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication & Media Studies and Humanities & Cultural Studies from Macalester College. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the School of Education at Hamline University.

Megan Voorhees is the Associate Director of Acara at Institute on the Environment at the University of MN Twin Cities campus. Working at the crossroads of experiential education, community engagement and social impact for more than 25 years, she has directed a variety of leadership development and education programs in the youth development and higher education sectors including as the Director of the Public Service Center at the University of California, Berkeley. She co-wrote a curriculum for a national non-profit called Spirit in Action to help groups explore the same questions that will frame the discussions in this community of practice. 

  • Initiatives