Kay currently serves as the Director of Special Initiatives at Heritage University in Toppenish where, as Director of the Center for a New Washington, she oversees and coordinates the varied activities of the Center for a New Washington. In addition Kay provides leadership for starting new or short-term projects at the University. Most recently she developed the Office of Institutional Research and led the redesign of the University web site.
Off campus, she is involved with several non-profit organizations including the Downtown Yakima Rotary Club and board memberships on Northwest Harvest, the United Way of Central Washington, EPIC and the Yakima Symphony Orchestra.
Before coming to Heritage, she and her husband John were at Clark University in Worcester, MA, where he was president for 10 years. While in Massachusetts Kay was active on campus and in the community where she served on the Boards of the American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts, Music Worcester, Foothills Theatre, the Ecotarium (Museum of Science and Nature) and the YWCA. She was a founding member and second chairperson of the Women’s Initiative of the United Way of Central Massachusetts. She also chaired the Colleges of Worcester Consortium’s Community Engagement Committee and Worcester’s Cultural Coalition, was active at the Worcester Art Museum and was a member of the Worcester Rotary club. Prior to her time in Massachusetts she enjoyed a 17-year career in technology management, most recently at the NASA John Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She holds an MBA from Wayne State University.
Sarah Augustine is the Assistant Director at the Center for a New Washington, and Assistant Professor of Sociology. At the Center for a New Washington, Sarah directs the One Voice for Higher Education project, a partnership between Heritage University, Yakima Valley Community College, and the Yakima Valley Community Foundation. The aim of this project is to build a rigorous coalition of community leaders to identify critical interventions that will significantly increase educational attainment in Yakima County.
As a teacher, Sarah is passionate about connecting with Heritage students. The first person in her family to attend college, Sarah is devoted to the values of student-centered education and social justice that are nurtured at Heritage. The focus of Sarah’s scholarship is community directed research and intervention and public engagement in science. A trained mediator, the focus of Sarah’s practice is in group conflict transformation, community engagement, and racial justice.
Beyond Heritage, Sarah is the Co-Director of Suriname Indigenous Health Fund, a private international charity. Sarah led a team of Indigenous and church leaders to draft the World Council of Churches Statement on the doctrine of discovery and its enduring impact on Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted on February 17, 2012. Sarah advocates for the health and rights of Indigenous Peoples in the international arena.
Daniel Peplow is the Project Director for the Communities of Health Planning Grant at the Center for a New Washington. His background is in microbiology, zoology, and public health. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Washington in 2003. His doctoral research focused on the effects of contamination from abandoned gold mines on public and environmental health in Washington state. He worked at the American Embassy in Suriname where he served as environmental advisor, studied the impacts of mercury from gold mining on environmental and public health, and studied the contribution of environmental health research to the formation of U.S. foreign policy. Since 2009, Dr. Peplow has been funded by the Wellcome Trust International Engagement Fund to study the community health effects of international economic development activities in Suriname using a collegiate form of community-based Participatory Action Research. Since 2003, he has published 11 peer-reviewed journal articles related to global health and numerous non-peer reviewed articles and book chapters.
Katherine Bell is the Project Liaison for the Communities of Health Planning Grant at the Center for a New Washington. She grew up on the Yakama Reservation, which ignited her passion for social justice on both the community and international levels. At the community level, Katherine has directed summer literacy programs for underprivileged children in the Lower Yakima Valley and has worked within the Mount Adams School District with at-risk students, introducing international social justice topics and issues that pertain to their own community and struggles. She received a B.A. in English Language & Literature at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA and a M. Phil in International Peace Studies at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Katherine hopes to continue advocating for low-income communities on both the national and international level, focusing on children’s rights, health and education.
Melissa McCoy joined us in June 2014 as the Administrative Assistant for the Center for Native Health & Culture and the Center for a New Washington. She was raised in Toppenish, Washington and she relishes the diverse cultures in the Yakima Valley. Her heritage, passion for the communities, as well as the four seasons which brings out the excellence in its community members, keeps her here. Melissa is a descendant of the Yakama and Shoshone tribes.
Julia Silberman is the outgoing Administrative Assistant for the Center for a New Washington and the Center for Native Health & Culture. She has been involved in many aspects of both Centers including research projects, event planning, coordinating and the day to day operations. Julia’s interests include culture, collaboration and campus life. We are so grateful for Julia's service and will miss her!