Our Team

JuliA Metzker, Director

Julia Metzker headshot
Julia Metzker

JuliA received her first degree from Evergreen, where she learned firsthand the value of a transformative liberal arts education. She obtained a doctoral degree in inorganic chemistry from the University of Arizona and completed a postdoctoral appointment at the University of York in the United Kingdom. In her 10 years as a chemistry professor at Georgia College, she discovered the power of community-based learning to engage students in learning that matters. After serving as director of community-based engaged Learning at Georgia college, she moved to Stetson University as the founding executive director for the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence. During her journey of discovering herself as an educator, she was fortunate to find a cohort of like-minded university educators who cofounded the Innovative Course-building Group (IC-bG)—a grassroots social network for learning that supports teaching faculty and staff across disciplines.  Recently, she co-authored a book (1) with colleagues from this group that takes a fresh approach to designing learning experiences for the 21st century. JuliA believes in reimagining and reclaiming the democratic potential of assessment, work she champions as a member of the Imagining America’s “Assessing the Practices of Public scholarship” research group. She and her partner, Joe, raise chickens and bees with the help of an unruly Australian shepherd in the Pacific northwest.
(1) Zehnder, C., Alby, C., Kleine, K., & Metzker, J. (2020). Learning That Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education. Myers Education Press.

Jaime O’Connor, Assistant Director

Jaime O’Connor
Assistant Director

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

Emily Johnston
Program Coordinator

Emily Johnston (she/her) is a returning alum of The Evergreen State College (BA ‘15), and thus, she knows how valuable 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.

Faculty Scholars

John Caraher, Fall 2022 – Spring 2023

John Caraher
Faculty Scholar

John Caraher started teaching as a physics graduate student at the University of Michigan in 1999, where he took advantage of the Preparing Future Faculty program offered by UM’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. He taught physics and related subjects full time beginning in Fall 2003 as a visitor at Wabash College, as a tenured faculty member at DePauw University, and since 2017 as a faculty member at Evergreen. Caraher’s graduate work was in experimental atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physics, and he has mentored many undergraduate research students, including three SURF awards at Evergreen. While at DePauw, he also served as co-director of the Environmental Fellows program, working successfully with his co-director to expand the program and improve the diversity of new student Fellow cohorts. Caraher also led faculty adoption of a Power, Privilege and Diversity graduation requirement, created in response to student demand. At Evergreen he has been active in faculty governance, serving two years as Faculty Chair, and has helped students learn physics and mathematics at levels ranging from conceptual to advanced undergraduate physics, and mathematics from algebra to intermediate college level topics. He is inspired to be at Evergreen by the students he has seen develop from a low level of confidence in mathematics and science ability to success at advanced levels including entering graduate programs in physics.

Anthony Zaragoza, Fall 2023 – Spring 2024

Anthony Zaragoza
Faculty Scholar

From a steelworker and poker-playing family, Anthony Zaragoza has worked at The Evergreen State College since 2004 (nine years at Olympia and eight at the Tacoma campus). Zaragoza has been teaching and learning political economy, popular education, and cultural studies inside and outside academia including inside prisons as well as various public and community spaces. He taught and researched in Kobe, Japan and Milan, Italy. Recent teaching and research projects include “Neoliberalism in the Neighborhood,” which examines economic, political, and social changes in communities over the last 50 years, including his own neighborhood in Hammond, East Chicago and Gary, Indiana. This work evolved into gathering, sharing and teaching through political economy stories from his family while helping students develop their own families’ political economy narratives. In these multimedia, story-gathering programs the learning communities discovered some important things about what they know and how they learned it, which led to Zaragoza’s most recent project “Shit You Should Know,” which gathers participants’ most significant knowledge from throughout their lives.

Eric Stein, Fall 2020 – Spring 2021

Eric Stein headshot
Eric Stein
Faculty Scholar

I started teaching as a graduate student in anthropology and history at the University of Michigan in 1997; since coming to Evergreen in 2007, I have had the opportunity to co-teach with, and learn from, 21 faculty members from across the college. My earlier research and publications considered public health–especially hygiene and family planning–within the histories of colonialism, decolonization, and nationalism in twentieth-century Indonesia. In my ongoing, visually-oriented book project on oral history, archival studies, and ethnography, I am thinking through ways to engage students in ethically grounded, self-reflexive, collaborative research that aims to have an impact in their own lives and communities. As the Learning and Teaching Commons Scholar, I plan to uplift the collective experience and wisdom of faculty, staff, and students from each of Evergreen’s campuses, and draw on current insights and innovations within Higher Education, to help address the challenges we face as a university.

Joli Sandoz, Fall 2018 – Spring 2020

Joli Sandoz headshot
Joli Sandoz
Faculty Scholar

Joli Sandoz has facilitated Evergreen classroom learning communities since 1995. She teaches primarily in the humanities and social sciences, focusing on writing, analog game design, and community studies. Before coming to Evergreen, Joli coached intercollegiate track and field and taught recreation administration. She also has worked professionally outside of academia, taking on tasks ranging from policy analysis, program management, and community outreach in healthcare and public health settings, to the management of her own consulting practice providing writing and organizational development services to non-profits and government agencies. Joli was accepted to attend Evergreen as a student, but life took her elsewhere first. She counts herself as extremely fortunate now to be at Evergreen as a member of the faculty. She is honored to serve as the 19-20 Learning and Teaching Commons Scholar.