Center for Leadership and Community Engagement

CLCE Staff

Joanne Perez

Joanne PerezPhone: (509) 963-2187


Hafa Adai! I am the Program Support Supervisor for the Center for Excellence in Leadership. This is my ninth year with Central Washington University, but my third with CEL exclusively and I am so excited with what we have planned for the year. Please stop in and let me know how things are going with you, or if I can be of any assistance. I'm here to help you!

I'm originally from the small island of Guam in the huge Pacific Ocean, but moved to Ellensburg in 1998. I am married to my wonderful husband, Mark, who is an Assistant Professor in the HHPN Department, and we are blessed with 3 energetic and healthy children - Miah, 13, Taylor, 7, and Chase, 5. Our children's soccer and volleyball practices and games have got our weekends and evenings pretty busy, but in addition to that we love reading books, playing board and card games, and baking cookies!

I wish that you could achieve some great good for mankind, but have nobody know about it except you.~Anonymous

Makaiya Simmons: Program Leader

Makaiya SimmonsHi, my name is Makaiya Simmons. I am a Junior, soon to enter into the Public Relations major and hopefully a minor in Spanish. Sounds like I know what I’m doing, right?

If I had to pick one place to say I am from, it would be Sacramento, CA. However, I was born in Hawaii but have lived in Washington for the last 9 years. Having moved around a lot has given me a little bit of a different view on the world and the people in it. Talking to and meeting new people was something I had to do often, which is why I have finally chosen Public Relations - what better way to use my communication skills.

Since day one of my time here at Central Washington University, my passion has been getting involved. From my time as an ELP’er to getting my first board position freshman year, to working with CEL this past year. I love to make a difference on our campus anyway I can.

A few more fun things that make up my everyday life are watching tons of movies, arts and crafts, and watching snow fall in winter. There are also those not so secret shames like bustin’ a move to really loud music in my room or that really great first stretch when I wake up. But by far, my favorite activity is to laugh. Laughing is a universal way to make others smile.

Leadership and the effects it can have are hard to explain, it is truly something that must be experienced. Through my work with CEL and other involvements on campus, I have gained a better understanding of myself and ways to make a difference at Central, in Ellensburg, and in general. I just found this quote this summer and it has absolutely had a quick and drastic effect on me.

“To lead is difficult when you are a follower of fear” ~ T.A Sachs

Ryan Gregson: Program Leader

Ryan GregsonHi Central! My name is Ryan Gregson and I am a junior at Central Washington University. For years my passion has been to work with kids, which is why I came to Central to receive my teaching degree. I also love to learn about history which is why I am currently working on becoming a sixth grade history teacher. It seems to be the right fit.

I am from a very small town in Eastern Washington called Coulee City. How small, you ask? Well my town had no stop lights and I graduated from a class of twenty-two. Still, I loved growing up there because I got to be so involved. Through high school I played three years of basketball and a year of baseball. I also played four years of football and was a captain my senior year. Outside of sports I was the President of the ASB and the Honor Society.

Since I have moved to Ellensburg, I have been volunteering at the Kittitas County Youth Coalition. It has been a great experience as I have been able to help put on events such as the Youth Leadership Academy and attend events such as the Spring Youth Forum.

I have loved every minute of my time here at Central and have found that with everything I have done I have grown and really found what I enjoy. The CEL is something everyone should take advantage of, so come stop by anytime. I will be working extensively this year with the Kennedy Leadership House as well as working as the liaison to RHA. Hope to see you around campus and don’t hesitate to introduce yourself!

"We must become the change we wish to see in the world." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Hillary Matson: Program Leader

HillaryHi! My name is Hillary Matson (Pelley) and I’m a junior here at CWU from Yakima, WA. I am currently studying cultural anthropology and ethnic studies because I love learning about people from all different walks of life. I am hoping for a future working in the field of peace activism and conflict resolution. My goal is to spread positive social change that benefits and brings equality to all people.

Irish step dancing is one of my favorite hobbies. I have been performing and competing for about 8 years now. I also love to draw and operate a portrait studio from my home called Portraits for Peace. I am married to my best friend Carlos who is also a student here at Central as well as my support and inspiration.

I sincerely encourage everyone to get involved with the CEL even if you’ve never been involved on campus before. You’ve always had potential to be a leader; we’re just here to guide you in discovering the many ways in which you can.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”~Lao Tzu

Kimberly Jellison: Program Manager

As the Program Support Supervisor II I am currently working with The Bonner Foundation AmeriCorps program located out of Princeton University. Bonner Leaders have the opportunity to do 300 hours of community service work during a one-year commitment receiving a $1,175 education award upon completion. I conduct all in-person orientations, process applications and ensure compliance with the AmeriCorps programs




Derek Whittom

I transferred to CWU at the beginning of fall quarter. It seemed like something interesting to do. I'm working toward a computer science degree.







Patrick Hassaries

As a senior majoring in Writing Specialization and as the Civic Engagement Center's resident technical writer, my job is to create and/or edit the documents that represent our office. My tasks include helping others with their writing; creating instruction manuals, templates, and training modules; producing press releases and intranet ads for upcoming events and activities; and researching grant opportunities to increase funding for our Center.




Austin Holloway: Graphic Designer

I am a senior graphic design student here at Central and am very excited to be joining the staff at the Civic Engagement Center. Currently, I am working with the design team to give the Center a new visual vibe. I look forward to learning more about design in a great office outside of school.






Curtis Beach: Graphic Designer

I am a new member to the staff but more specifically a new member of the graphic design team. With graphic design being my chosen major I am excited to contribute my creativity on various projects that are presented to us over the course of the year. Recently I have worked on the Currier Creek Cleanup where I designed door hangers that were intended to inform the neighborhood about the upcoming event.




Arturo Arellano: Program Leader

My name is Turtle, and I am a third year Law and Justice student at CWU. I am also pursuing minors in Africana & Black Studies and Non-Profit. It’s exciting to be working as a Program Leader this year at the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement. I look forward to facilitating and fostering the growth of student leaders throughout campus.





Sean Wanigasekara: Program Leader









Grace Miller: Volunteer Administrative Assistant

I recently graduated from CWU with a B.S. in Accounting. Now, I want to get more involved with the community. It is nice to be back to CWU, and I look forward to making the campus a better environment for Central’s students.







Clark Wentworth: Service Learning Fellow

After several years of event coordination, leadership training, student club activity, and management experience, I am proud to be testing my leadership skills and knowledge through the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement. It is great to be working with the CLCE during my final year at CWU. I will be graduating with a B.A. in Sociology this spring and then moving on to a Master’s in leadership theory/organizational leadership.




Shannon Lowry: Service Learning Fellow

I am a Junior majoring in Communication and looking to help my community as much as possible. My current project is the American Red Cross’s Real Heroes benefit ceremony, which will celebrate and recognize community members who have demonstrated life-saving and life-changing qualities in the community. I’m excited to begin a new adventure here at the Civic Engagement Center and look forward to meeting new people who have the same passion for service as me.



Samantha Monterry: Service Learning Fellow

I am a sophomore majoring in Public Relations with minors in Spanish and Advertising. Working with the CEC is a great opportunity, and I look forward to getting involved with projects such as Fright Fest and Holiday Extravaganza as well as projects that bring awareness to social justice issues. Currently, I am working on House of Hope and the May 2012 American Red Cross Blood Drive.





Braden DenHerder: Service Learning Fellow

I am a sophomore majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Non-profit Management. As a Service-Learning Fellow at the Civic Engagement Center, I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to work on some amazing projects.

Currently, I am involved with CWU on the Farm, Yakima River Clean Up, World AIDS Day and a variety of other projects.





Giselle Lai: Service Learning Fellow

My name is Giselle, and I am from Hong Kong. This is my senior year at Central Washington University. I major in ITAM (Information Technology Administrative Management) and minor in Business Administration.  It is thrilling to be a part of the Civic Engagement Center and to be helping raise student awareness about social, civic, economic, political and environmental injustice.





Carol Edris: Volunteer Administrative Assistant

This is a new adventure for me. I am retired from 25 years with the Seattle Police Department. Working in such a positive atmosphere with such positive thinking people is quite different from working with the not so nice public that would frequent the Seattle Police Department. After retirement I worked for 6 1/2 years in a small jewelry store and now I am in a completely different field. I was raised in Ellensburg and moved to the Seattle area in 1962 and returned to Ellensburg 2009.




Krista LaComb: Service Learning Fellow

I'm a sophomore this year at Central! My major is undeclared, but I am thinking about Sociology or English Education. I have been employed at the Civic Engagement Center since the spring of 2010. I worked on the Olmstead Park Spring Fling, where we provided farm-based arts and crafts for children k-5 in order to raise awareness of the Olmstead Place State Park.




Jeanette Genson: Service Learning Fellow

Hello! I'm a junior transfer student majoring in Journalism and minoring in Marketing. I am thrilled to be involved on campus and with the community. I became a Service-Learning Fellow near the end of Spring 2011, and since then I have been involved with events such as You and the Law and Summer Bash, and I am currently working on events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.





Amber Plotke

Hello, my name is Amber, and I am super excited to be a new member of the CEC as a Service-Learning fellow! I am a freshman this year, and my intended major is Special Education and minor in ASL. I can't wait to get started on a new project, and learn exactly how all the magic happens. I want to help put on new programs that get the attention of this beautiful diverse community of CWU!




DeAndre Baines

I am a sophmore majoring in Business and Marketing, and I am very excited to get started at the CEC! Being a new Service-Learning Fellow, my current tasks involve shadowing several veteran event coordinators. I look forward to learning more about the needs and wants on campus and working toward a better community.






Edward Agag: Service Learning Fellow

I am a freshman majoring in Aviation to become an Airline Pilot. I joined the Civic Engagement Center becuae I wanted to get involved with my community.  Although, I am new, I am willing to work on all kind of activities and will work hard on what I am suppose to do.  I look forward to working in the Civic Engagment Center and meeting new people.





Amanda McClure: Service Learning Fellow

I am a Junior majoring in Public Relations/Communications with a minor in Non-Profit Administration. This will be my first quarter working with the Civic Engagement Center, and I am very excited to get involved with its numerous projects. The CEC does the same type of work that I hope to get involved in after graduating, and it will be great to get some hands-on experience. It will also be great to meet and work with people who enjoy volunteering and helping the community as much as I do.