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. 


Rachel Homchick, Assistant Director (she/her)

I am an adventurer. I love exploring the world through traveling, backpacking, river rafting, reading, researching, and writing.

In my role at the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education, I provide support for both the planning and the execution of the Center's national events, regional workshops, and committee meetings. I am also the editorial assistant for the Learning Communities Research and Practice e-journal, and I provide ongoing support for the daily operations of the Center, including strategic planning, budget management, and staff leadership. As a graduate of the Evergreen State College, I am keenly aware of the importance of Learning Communities and just how powerful they can be when done well. I am very proud to be a part of a team that is furthering this pedagogical practice.


Ashley Williams, Program Coordinator (she/her)

I provide coordination support for the Learning and Teaching Commons and Washington Center’s national and regional programming. I bring a depth in art education, media, and coordination. I hold a BFA in Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Arkansas, and a PK-12 teaching certification in Art Education, also from the University of Arkansas. I earned an additional BA at Evergreen in 2016, with a focus on Media Studies and Production. I am a member of the Olympia Knitting Mills Artist Collective. In my art, I employ an interdisciplinary and inter-media approach, spanning the mediums of: 16mm film, digital video, animation, photography, painting, printmaking, ceramics, textiles, digital sound, creative writing, and multimedia installation. Prior to joining our team, I held the position of Instructional Media Coordinator, where I supported Evergreen faculty and students incorporate media in their programs, both by providing instruction and coordinating requests for equipment and staff expertise. 


Bonnie Walden, Fiscal Assistant (she/her)

I am an artist. I find beauty everywhere, and where there is little to none, I create it. I enjoy being in service to others and take focused, heart-felt and intentional steps into lifting others to attain their full potential. My previous career as a healthcare provider enables me to see through a more compassionate lens.

 I am in awe to be part of a team that is so passionate about creating, promoting and presenting engaging thought-provoking learning environments. I am deeply honored to work with those who assist students and educators alike to achieve their academic dreams and help make them a reality.

My role as Special Assistant to the Washington Center is to assist the Program Coordinator and Director in day-to-day operations, manage and maintain our document creating processes, departmental records, database, and filing systems, and fiscal support to monitor and document reconciliation of all income and expenses.  I provide office support to the Faculty Scholar and the Learning and Teaching Commons.


Kel Lane, Office Assistant (she/her)

I am currently an undergraduate student who will be dual enrolled in Evergreen’s Masters in Teaching program this Spring. I am passionate about transformative social justice movements, restorative justice in public schools, and educational reform. In my free time, you’ll most likely find me with a book in hand – typically speculative fiction or nonfiction. I’m a lover of music and can’t wait until we’re able to see live performances again, but more than anything, I enjoy being in nature with my wife and kiddo, camping and exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

In my role as Office Assistant at The Washington Center, I provide support to the Program Coordinator, Assistant Director, and Director in whatever ways I can. I’m often the person hacking away to update, edit and maintain our databases, or providing visuals, such as website structure and program scheduling, for the rest of the team. I love the work I do and the folx I work with, and I’m learning more everyday about the incredible breadth and reach of The Washington Center’s work.

Learning Communities Research and Practice E-Journal Team


Emily Lardner Ph.D, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs – Highline College 

I believe deeply in the power of collaboration, and that teaching and learning are best accomplished through trusting relationships and teamwork. I am passionate about the role education can play in helping students find their voices and their paths. 

For over two decades, I had the privilege to work at the Washington Center, collaborating with colleagues at Evergreen, across Washington State, and nationally on projects aimed at improving student learning and student success. Through the summer institutes, campus consultations, conferences, and national projects, I met faculty and staff committed to making institutions work better for students, particularly students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education. I also taught as an adjunct faculty member in Evergreen’s Evening and Weekend Studies Program.

I am currently serving as the interim Vice President for Academic Affairs at Highline College. Prior to that, I had the opportunity to serve as the Vice President for Instruction at Grays Harbor College. Prior to coming to the Washington Center, I worked at the English Composition Board at the University of Michigan, including several years as the Associate Director for Writing Assessment. 

I earned an MA and PhD from the University of Michigan in English Language and Literature, and a BA from Augustana College in Illinois.