Washington Center Staff

Julia Metzker, Director (she/her)

I believe in the power of a liberal arts education to transform individuals and heal communities. 

I have experience in many aspects of building effective learning environments and assessing student growth. I am thrilled to be able to continue this work as the Director for the Washington Center. Prior to joining Evergreen and the Washington Center, I served as the founding Executive Director for the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence at Stetson University.

I received my first degree from The Evergreen State College where I learned first-hand the value of a transformative liberal arts education. I obtained a doctoral degree in inorganic chemistry from the University of Arizona and completed a post-doctoral appointment at the University of York in York, UK. In my 10 years as a chemistry professor at Georgia College, I discovered the power of community-based learning to engage students and was selected to champion the institution’s Quality Enhancement Plan as the inaugural the Director of Community-based Engaged Learning at Georgia College in 2016. During my journey of discovering myself as an educator, I was fortunate to find a cohort of like-minded university educators and we co-founded of the Innovative Course-building Group (IC-bG) – a grass-roots social network for learning that supports teaching faculty and staff across disciplines.  Our most recent endeavor, Course Design for Essential Learning, helps faculty build courses that use dilemmas, issues and questions (DIQs) to inspire students and facilitate transformative student learning. I am also particularly proud of my recent work with Imagining America’s Assessing the Practices of Public Scholarship, a research group that is reimagining and reclaiming the democratic potential of assessment.

I hold many identities. I am a life-long learner. I am a faculty developer. I am cis-gender. I am a feminist. I am a scientist. I am a humanist. I am a knitter. I am a wife. I am a Gemini. I am addicted to podcasts. I am a citizen. I am an educator. I am a daughter. I am an occasional farmer. 


Jaime O'Connor, Assistant Director (she/her)

Jaime joined the Washington Center in 2022, bringing higher ed experience spanning instructional and administrative roles from academic advising to general education curriculum design to program assessment to institutional accreditation. In her prior role with Georgia Southern University, she developed extensive faculty development resources and programming to support the assessment of course and program level outcomes with a focus on improving student learning and success.

Jaime’s teaching philosophy has been shaped by the thinking of Paulo Freire, Nel Noddings, John Dewey, and Parker Palmer and infused with contemplative practices gained through the completion of her M.A. in Contemplative Education from Naropa University. Her thesis research explored the emotional dynamics of grades through the experiences of faculty and students and contrasted various models of grading and non-grading. Jaime remains fascinated with alternatives to traditional grading, such as Evergreen’s narrative evaluations, that provide a more holistic record of student learning and development.

Jaime thrives in collaborative environments and enjoys the challenge of unravelling complex problems to discover core issues and propose solutions that simplify, clarify, and lighten paths to more meaningful teaching and learning engagement. She believes in the essential role of public education in the preservation of democracy and in the power of education to inspire personal transformation and social progress.

Emily Johnston, Program Coordinator (she/her)

Emily Johnston is a returning alum of The Evergreen State College (BA ‘15), and thus, she knows how e good education and good educators are. Her years of experience as a Project and Event Manager for a large non-profit instilled in her a Can-Do Attitude. As the Program Coordinator for The Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education, Emily brings passion, innovation and organization. Being part of a team that helps bring better education to all students will keep her cup full.

Emily is known as a maker of many things. Sewn apparel, knitted sweaters, and patchwork quilts are ongoing projects at all times. Outside of the office you are bound to find her in a yarn shop, at her sewing machine or on the water with her partner and dog. She has lived all over the U.S., and is very happy to land back in the South Sound.