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Dion Gouws


Dion Gouws square
strategic planning, business management and entrepreneurship, accounting
mathematics, business decision science
ecology, botany, plant pathology
marine science, zoology, ecophysiology

Both fully online and in person students will be accommodated in our programs Fall 21, Winter 22 and Spring 22.

We are the changers, with the passion and potential to collaborate, create, and empower.

Do you want to direct your own learning as part of a team in a truly unique, innovative way?  Do you want to improve your soft skills, that all employers look for?  Are you interested in gaining expertise in biology, agriculture, applied math, and/or just business and Change Making?  Are you just trying to figure out what to do with your life? Are you interested in earning upper level science credits and learn the above? Become part of the Change Maker Lab (CML) and join millions of Changemakers in this international movement.

Students are admitted in all quarters. This can be a year long or multi year commitment. It usually takes three quarters to cover the operating cycle and get a holistic view of business fundamentals.

Three programs will be collaborating as one program starting this fall quarter.  This will provide all participants with more study options and variety as we are working to democratize your education. We try to accomplish learning by doing as much as possible and allow a variety of ways for students to follow their passions. This fall the choices will be: 

Changemaker Lab: Business Fundamentals, Team Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Systems and Innovation

Changemaker Lab: Ocean Business and Science – Coral Reefs Clams and Entrepreneurship

Changemaker Lab: Farm and Garden Design and Management

“The world has not been given to us to contemplate but to transform and we do it as Team-entrepreneurs, learning by creating in teams.”  Here we develop competencies that bring success in life such as; Self-Awareness, Self-management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management. Our democratic method of education cultivates the development of these life competencies.

This Changemaker Lab Program is an inter-disciplinary hands-on opportunity for students interested in learning how to start or develop sustainable enterprises  as knowledge creating companies; to learn how to become collaborative innovators; for aspiring leaders to learn how to lead the innovation of organizations as servant leaders; to learn how to communicate effectively in business and personal settings and develop an understanding of making change and considering and planning for change systemically so that the change may be scaled. You will direct your own learning in a very structured and accountable manner, you are encouraged to do so around passion and also to learn tools discover that passion if that is what you are seeking.  Together we will learn interesting things about dynamical systems, how to use dynamical systems knowledge to innovate and also create keywords and #hastags that work for internet media marketing. We learn to develop marketing information strategically and learn the technical aspects of web development, search engine optimization and social media marketing that enables us to innovate and market our ideas and launch businesses and projects. We learn how to model a business as a for profit, not for profit entity or just a life project.  We learn about credit, income taxes, planning and forecasting for a business or a project or a cause and learn how to determine if that idea of yours is practically feasible. We learn how to change the future starting today. We learn it by doing. We have many such examples, the learning is dynamical, you decide. We have found a way to democratize education and are applying that to our programming.

Changemaker Entrepreneurs Creating Shared Visions

Our #MillionsOfChangemakers creating shared visions

Ashoka #millionsofchangemakers


The Evergreen State College Changemaker Lab was one of only 6 institutions around the world to be recognized as a semi-finalist for the Ashoka U #MillionsofChangemakers award. The award recognizes intiatives that have significant potential to spark #MillionsofChangemakers if adopted across higher education.

The program features a faculty that combines Evergreen’s pedagogy and the local environment with the Tiimiakatemia pedagogy and -entrepreneurs experience. It further introduces neat tools and resources to support the start up, web design, marketing and development of any project or business.

Our counterparts in the United Kingdom Learning Team Entrepreneurship – it is a making change movement

The Changemaker Lab also offers students the opportunity to participate in international projects and learn international business such as with the University of Iringa in Tanzania.

The Importance of Providing a Multi-Cultural Experience according to The Chronicle of Higher Education
Global perspective continues to be a critical piece of a 21st-century college education to help prepare students for their future careers. In a work world where crossing cultures and time zones are often the norm, graduates’ ability to communicate and collaborate with colleagues from different backgrounds isn’t just prized; it’s expected.


Training Session in Action

There is an African saying that goes: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. Most of our time in program will be spent working in teams and teams of teams to create a learning organization that will facilitate learning about many business concepts. We will learn about the development of strategic business plans around actual sustainable businesses, social enterprises and projects in general. Time spent outside of program hours is spent with your project team. For a project team you create your own project idea around your passion or join another. You will learn to innovate and market your idea and learn how to decide whether or not to launch your idea. We will utilize some amazing business planning tools used for startups  learn about innovation, strategic visioning and planning, business leadership, creating value, marketing, accounting, tax, search engine optimization, and web development. The business tools we use are used in some of the top business and leadership schools in the world. We will learn how to use and utilize business software applications as well as scientific instruments and applications.

Our Agriculture  Entrepreneurs getting real doing business experience presenting the Myco Ethos company at the South Sound Business Expo.

Our Agriculture Entrepreneurs getting real doing business experience presenting the Myco Ethos company at the South Sound Business Expo.

This program is designed around a set of unique ingredients that seeks to promote and empower the entrepreneurial spirit of its participants. It offers a time and space for student entrepreneurs to work on real projects together.

See our very unique classroom A MTA Evergreen Change Maker Lab



 Entrepreneurs providing valuable feedback to the business models of project s.

Entrepreneurs providing each other with valuable feedback to the business models of project s.


 Entrepreneurs from all ov er the world presenting their models and plans and receiving feedback from s.

Entrepreneurs from all over the world presenting their models and plans and receiving feedback from teams.


 Entrepreneurs are having a  Company training session learning collaborative management principles in the beautiful North West

Entrepreneurs are having a Company training session learning collaborative management principles in the beautiful North West

Last year the Changemaker Lab at Evergreen State College joined 65 other higher education innovators in 14 countries who are working together to spark and accelerate more than 200,000 changemakers.

Our beginnings with expert Entrepreneur Coaches/Facilitators Ane and Martin getting ready to guide us and help us shape this program which they did so well.

Faculty Institution Faculty Role    
Dr. Dion Gouws Fall/Winter/Spring Evergreen Faculty Business and Entrepreneurship Evergreen Team Coach  

Dr. Melissa Nevala


Evergreen Faculty Business, Entrepreneurship and Mathematics Evergreen Team Coach

Dr. David Muelheisen –


Evergreen Faculty Sustainable Agriculture, Entomology Evergreen Team Coach
Dr Raja Singaram Evergreen Faculty Evergreen Team Coach  

Dr. Anthony Zaragoza


Evergreen Faculty Evergreen Team Coach  
Bee Pfanenstiel Evergreen Teampreneur Evergreen TA / Assistant Team Coach  
Edwin Bliss Evergreen Career Counselor Career and Team Formation Counselor  

Dr. Dion Gouws, CPA,  Evergreen Coach

Dion is a member of the business management and entrepreneurship faculty at Evergreen. Highlights of his life from activities over the world include “chaperone” of the President of  the National Health and Allied Workers Union during apartheid South Africa; starting and operating a management consulting firm for many years; wildlife restoration and conservation and being appointed by the South African government for several years to address the representation of all members of society in the aviation sector by developing an employment equity training plan for the defense and civil sector.

In Angola he was appointed to coordinate and manage a project involving the capture of family groups of elephant and other wildlife families in South Africa and relocated these, for the first time ever by airlift, to Angola. As Director of a 1.2-million-hectare park in Angola he established its wildlife management and tourism infrastructure and drafted enabling national parks legislation.

In 2001 he immigrated to the United States, obtained a CPA license and started and operates a public accounting firm in California. He worked in the US Virgin Islands for seven years as an Associate Professor of Accounting and held the positions of Chair of the Department Accounting and Finance and Assistant Dean of the School of Business. In 2016 he received the SBA- SBDC Small Business Champion of the year Award.  He was awarded a Certificate of Special US Congressional Recognition for his contribution to society.

On his academic path he prepared himself as a professional accountant, obtained an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, a Doctoral Degree in Strategic Management from the University of Johannesburg and a Master’s Degree in Accounting and Finance from Keller Graduate School. In his other profession he is an avid Scuba Diving Instructor.

He is keen to share his experiences through mentoring with learning communities that are discovering how to deliver their value in the GIG economy through community building and creating enterprises that have a larger sense of purpose.

Dr. Melissa Nevala

Melissa Nivala holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Washington, Seattle.  Her academic journey focused deeply on dynamical systems theory, which seeks to describe complex behaviors such as cycles, chaos, self-organization and pattern formation.  Her knowledge of dynamics now takes on new meaning in terms of human and organizational behavior as she coaches teams of teams in the Changemaker Lab.

Growing up in a low income, mixed race household and being the first in her family to attend college, she is especially interested in helping all students navigate the college environment and use their education to create a better future.  She is overly enthusiastic about quantitative literacy and strives to provide all students with mathematical skills that are relevant and useful to their pursuits.

Dr. David Muelheisen

Dave has been a member of the Evergreen State College faculty since 2007, where he teaches Sustainable Agriculture. Dave left Evergreen in 2009 to become the Education Director and Farm Manager at 21 Acres in Woodinville, WA. He returned to Evergreen as a permanent faculty member in 2010. Before coming to Evergreen in 2007, Dave was the Research and Outreach Coordinator for the WSU Small Farms Program. While at WSU, his research focused on alternative nontoxic control of cabbage maggot and carrot rust fly. He also started the now very popular Farm walk series while a member of the Tilth Producers of Washington Board of Directors.

He received his BS in Zoology and MS in Botany from Clemson University and his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Entomology with a focus on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Toxicology. Before joining the faculty at The Evergreen State College, Dave worked for the WSU Small Farm Program, headquartered at the WSU-Puyallup Experimental station. Before joining WSU, Dave was an Associate Professor of Biology at The University of Utah teaching Human Physiology, Entomology, and biochemistry. Prior to that, Dave was a National Institutes of Mental Health Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, working on Insect Developmental Neuroendocrinology.

Dr. Anthony Zaragoza

Was born and raised in NW Indiana (Hammond, Gary, and East Chicago) the son, grandson and great grandson of steel workers. One side of his family came from Mexico and the other from Ireland–both to work in the mills. As our economy in Northwest, IN wilted and as factories and jobs moved to lower wage areas or were automated, the entire region collapsed into a cannibalizing scramble of gangs, drugs, casinos, and prisons. This process of deindustrialization and the resulting economic transformations have been at the heart of his academic work. He was the first in his family to go to college. This set the stage for him completing a Ph.D. at Washington State University in American Studies. Since, he has been teaching and learning political economy, popular education, and cultural studies at Evergreen Tacoma and Olympia. While at Evergreen, he worked as the Gateways faculty for five years and taught at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. He was an exchange faculty in Kobe, Japan where he taught a future studies course and conducted research on robotics and automation. He was able to build on this with a research sabbatical in Milan, Italy as well as summer faculty research grants in 2017 and 2018. This research then fed into his project “Neoliberalism in the Neighborhood,” which examines economic, political and social changes in local communities over the last 50 years as a way for each of us to tell and examine our own economic stories.

Edwin Bliss

Edwin obtained his B.A. at Western Washington University Sociology
M.A. St. Martin’s University Counseling Psychology.
Career Counselor/Adjunct Faculty (Current)
Workshop Facilitator
The Evergreen State College Olympia, WA
Deputy Assistant Commissioner
The Washington State Employment Security Department Olympia, WA
Manager/Career Counselor
Press SUED LLC Tumwater, WA
Book: YOU ARE YOUR CAREER: Reflect Who You Are in the Work You do by E. Charles Bliss

Dr. Steven Scheuerell

Dr. Erik Theussen

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Study business and entrepreneurship and earn your degree learning entrepreneurship by doing in Washington State and Learn by Doing

 Evergreen is located in beautiful PNW Olympia, State of Washington.

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#evergreenstatecollege #entrepreneurship #theevergreenstatecollege #teamentrepreneurship #millionsofchangemakers #ashoka #entrepreneurshipeducation #leadershipeducation #universitydegree #nogrades #alternativeeducation #degree #degreecollege