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 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 was born and raised in Thailand and is Thai/Filipinx. She came to the U.S. when she was 16 years old. Marilou shares her home with her partner and their 3 rescued dogs: Missy and their 2 Leech Lake reservation pups, Legacy and Ishkode. She has a daily meditation, writing and centering practice; she is a certified somatics coach and believes in the power of somatics as a path to embody transformation, individually and collectively. Marilou is committed to holding a vision of a just world where all beings are treated with honor, respect and dignity. In her free time you will find her hiking with her dog Ishkode.


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.

Dr. Julianne Gassman is the Director of Community Engagement and Associate Professor in the Division of Leisure, Youth and Human Service’s at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). She also serves as the Campus Executive Director of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.  Dr. Gassman has taught in the area of nonprofit management for the past twenty years, is the author/co-author of five books and has numerous publications in the area of nonprofit management, youth development and community engagement. Her research interests include service-learning, community engagement, nonprofit management and student debt. Recently Julianne has co-chaired UNI’ Strategic Planning Committee and chaired the Civic Action Planning committee. Julianne spends her free time with her husband and four children and enjoys cycling, golfing and traveling.


Lena Jones (MA, Political Science, MS, Experiential Education) is political science faculty member at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), where she has been teaching since 2002.  In addition to teaching, she coordinates the Community Development A.S. Degree Program at MCTC and serves as the Minnesota and Mississippi Site Coordinator of Community Learning Partnership (CLP), a national network that aims to create pathways into community change careers.  For over 15 years, Lena has been deeply involved in civic engagement work at MCTC and has presented and written about ways to bridge the civic and workforce missions of community and technical colleges.  In 2013, Lena received a Bush Leadership Fellowship to explore ways to build effective higher education/community partnerships to support the development of students into leaders equipped with the knowledge and skills to tackle the challenges faced by their communities.

Kayla Lyftogt is a Higher Education PhD student in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development at the University of Minnesota. From 2011-2018 she was the Director of Community Engagement at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA. There, she focused on building equitable and sustainable community partnerships and assisted faculty across disciplines to develop service-learning courses. Kayla’s personal community engagement interests involve collaborating with survivors of trauma to construct pathways for healing and person-centered success. She has worked in the areas of Sexual Assault, Homelessness Prevention Services, Suicide Prevention and Support, and most recently, assisted in launching credit-bearing coursework at the Oakdale Correctional Facility through the University of Iowa Liberal Arts Beyond Bars Program. She is excited to co-lead the Community of Practice on Engaged Research methods as preparation for her dissertation research.

Victoria works at Minnesota State Community and Technical College as the Interim Director of Housing and Residential Life. She and her partner Shawn live on campus in the residence halls with their dog Pinkie.  Victoria is a doctoral student at Concordia University – Portland and is interested in understanding the role that campus housing plays in community college student success. She completed her undergraduate degree at Eastern Oregon University and graduate studies at UND.

Victoria is committed to community service, and served three terms as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She currently is in her eleventh year on the Youth Advisory Council of the Workforce Area Board, serves on the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota Young Women’s Initiative Committee, and the Fergus Falls Human Rights Commission. She is an Art of Hosting practitioner, and Respectful Conversations Project Lead Facilitator.

Larissa Minicucci is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine.  She also directs the DVM/MPH program in collaboration with the School of Public Health.  This program reaches veterinary students across the United States at over 20 veterinary schools.  Dr. Minicucci utilizes experiential learning as a core component of her teaching in the veterinary program.  She partners with over 15 community organizations to bring students out of the classroom to engage in conversation with their future colleagues and clients.  As the advisor to the Student Initiative for Reservation Veterinary Services (SIRVS), Larissa supports service learning opportunities for students.  She has facilitated partnerships with four Native American communities in Minnesota to deliver access to veterinary care and youth education.  The collaborating communities provide opportunities for learning and cultural discussions.  Dr. Minicucci is the primary point of contact with the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife on wildlife veterinary issues and project collaboration, contributing significantly to Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance efforts in the state.  Her research interests include infectious disease epidemiology, zoonotic disease prevention, cultural competence, and community health.  To investigate these topic areas, Larissa works with state and federal agency partners, other universities, and animal owners to provide resources and practical information that can be applied to challenges affecting the health of both humans and animals.

Emily Oliver is the Interim Associate Director for Academic Civic Engagement at Carleton College’s Center for Civic and Community Engagement. Before coming to the CCCE, she designed and taught civically-engaged pedagogy as a lecturer in the English Department at Cornell University. She has also taught courses through the Cornell Prison Education Program at Auburn Correctional Facility and in the Telluride Association Summer Program, where she co-designed “Public Poetry in the Digital World,” a hybrid writing seminar and digital humanities lab that examined how politically-conscious poetic movements use new publishing platforms. Emily founded Knox Writers’ House, a digital audio map of contemporary poetry, stories and essays. Thanks to a 2017 Queens Council on the Arts New Works grant, she recently created A Poetry Walk of Jackson Heights, an immersive, geo-sensitive, audio-poetic mural. Emily’s poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, OmniVerse, DIAGRAM and elsewhere.

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.

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.