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Board of Trustees

CWU alumna, Yakama Nation member named to university’s governing board

Governor Jay Inslee has appointed Emily Washines, a Central Washington University alumna and distinguished member of the Yakama Nation, to serve on the CWU Board of Trustees (BOT).

“I am committed to advancing higher education, especially with diverse and tribal communities,” Washines explained as to why she applied to join the BOT, which she considered a “respected voice on campus” dating back to when she was a university student.

At CWU, Washines received baccalaureate degrees in public policy and political science in 2006. She also minored in economics and served as president of the Native American Student Association, where she developed and coordinated yearly cultural and educational events. Prior to coming to CWU, she was Washington Governor Gary Locke’s education intern.

CWU hired Washines as an admissions counselor. She also was the university’s Native American liaison and led President James L. Gaudino’s Diversity Council before going on to earn a Master of Public Administration from The Evergreen State College.

“I stepped away from my university position in 2010 to finish my master’s degree and work at the Yakama Nation,” Washines said. “[But] I am still approached for insight on university best practices.”  

Gaudino said, “Emily’s experience in higher education, central Washington communities, and in state government brings a wealth of expertise to the Board of Trustees. These viewpoints, and her experience, will provide us with tremendous insight as we make important decisions about the development and growth of Central.”

Washines now works as a public relations specialist for Yakama Nation Fisheries, where she is responsible for communicating cutting-edge science locally, regionally, and nationally, such as about the reintroduction of a locally extinct salmon species.

“Much of the work is done in partnership with local, state, and federal officials,” she said. “The pace of the work highlights the abundant need for innovative technology and science in natural resources.”

Washines has presented before the National Social Science Association, Young Women’s Health Summit, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and at the Third National Conference on Women. She has been a frequent panel member, speaker, and volunteer for numerous organizations across the Pacific Northwest. 

She has also written extensively, including the internationally published book chapter “Indigenous Rights, Water, and Development: The Skokomish and the Yakamas,” which she co-authored with CWU political science professors Stefanie Wickstrom and Rex Wirth.

“Highlighting CWU collaborations that are inclusive of multiple perspectives supports the legacy of higher education,” Washines noted. “In a broader sense, sharing multiple perspectives in academics and student life has magnetic power.”

With more than 20 years of broadcast and video experience, she serves as president of—and coordinates a yearly film series for—the Yakima Environmental Learning Foundation. She also is on the advisory board of the CWU Museum of Culture and Environment, where she assists with exhibits and the annual Salmon Run.

Earlier this year, Washines launched a Native lifestyle empowerment business, “Native Friends,” which focuses on language, history, culture, and providing parenting resources. Washines said that these are all areas about which she is deeply passionate.

“We are always on the search for new tips for language learning, sharing our history or parenting—meaningful and fun ways to connect our core values,” Washines explained. “In order to combine learning and teaching language and traditions, we need tools, resources that we can share to connect our communities.”

A lifelong learner of Ichiskiin Sinwit, the Yakama language, English, American Sign Language, and Native American Sign Language, Washines also was a reading tutor at Arctic Village School in Alaska. She was selected as Miss NCAI (National Congress of American Indians) and Miss Yakima Nation in 2000.

Her six-year term on the CWU BOT will continue through 2023. 

Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

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