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Meet our 2019 - 2020 MPA Student Ambassadors!

MPA students graduating

We are excited to have three student ambassadors work with us this academic year! Student ambassadors welcome, answer questions, and share their experience as MPA students with prospective students, community members, and alumni. 

The Ambassadors  

Sherwanda Beck-Atkinson - 1st year student, Public Policy concentration, MPA Tacoma cohortSherwanda Beck-Atkinson

My name is Sherwanda Beck- Atkinson and I am delighted to serve as an ambassador for the MPA program. I was born and raised in Chicago. I’ve lived in Texas, Kentucky, Japan, South Carolina and Washington State twice. 

I earned my undergraduate degree from Evergreen- Tacoma. During this time I served as the Student & Activities Event Coordinator and student ambassador. I enjoyed meeting new people, planning events, advocating, gathering data and resources for students to ensure their academic success. I worked with an amazing team to initiate a food pantry and we provided free hot meals for day and evening students. During a class project, my teammates and I designed a program to ensure formerly incarcerated individuals were provided adequate resources that would increase their chances of graduating college. 

During my undergraduate studies at Evergreen I’ve met amazing alumni, current student and staff that have published books and marched in protests. Everyone has truly inspired me to advocate and work hard for others. Many people have shared their stories that have inspired me to continue despite the obstacles I encounter. 

In my free time I enjoy traveling, volunteering, attending various community and cultural events, plays, comedy shows and concerts in Tacoma and occasionally Seattle and Olympia. 

Lindsay FujimotoLindsay Fujimoto - 1st year student, Public & Nonprofit Administration concentration, MPA Tacoma cohort

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Lindsay Fujimoto brings a unique perspective to the MPA program. Passionate about social justice and the small, open curriculum, liberal arts experience, Lindsay attended Grinnell College, majoring in sociology. As an alumna, Lindsay now serves Grinnell College as a Grinnell Regional Admission Support Program (GRASP) Fellow.

Lindsay’s dedication to service led her to complete a yearlong service fellowship through Grinnell Corps, a Grinnell College-run program that promotes community service, leadership, and social integrity, as well as a year of national service through AmeriCorps VISTA, a federal program that focuses on fighting poverty.

Lindsay now advocates for others to join the national service movement and promotes community engagement as the Volunteer Engagement Coordinator at United Way of Thurston County, where she manages the AmeriCorps VISTA program, coordinates Day of Caring, and leads other volunteer engagement initiatives. Additionally, Lindsay serves as the “Chief Wellness Officer,” leading employee wellness and self-care programs for her organization.

Outside of work, Lindsay is an avid volleyball player and occasional softball player after playing both sports in college. She also coaches girls’ youth volleyball for South Sound Volleyball Club. If she’s not on the volleyball court, you can find Lindsay at her hula hālau, Nā Hanu ‘O Ku’uleialoha, or hiking one of the many PNW trails.

Nettie Rhea - 1st year student, Public & Nonprofit Administration concentration, MPA Olympia cohortNettie Rhea

In 2016, I decided to leave my five-year career in Corporate America as an Executive Assistant to the CEO of a Multi Finance Real Estate company in Bethesda, MD. I made a choice to trade in my corporate, pointed-toe shoes for my beaten-up, black Chuck Taylors to do what I love most: inspiring others. As the owner of my own business, Nettie Rhea Fitness, LLC I’ve become a recognized indigenous personal trainer, public speaker, and rising matriarch.

It is through my business that I am able to fight for improved health conditions for the Native American population. I utilize my platform as a motivational speaker to share my own mental health journey and lead robust dialogues on sexual assault. I am an advocate of the #MeToo movement and the Missing Murdered Indigenous Women coalition.

During my first year of business, I collaborated with my tribe, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, to promote salience towards living a healthy lifestyle. Through this partnership, I was able to give a heartfelt motivational speech to the students of the Yakama Nation Tribal School. I presented myself as a returning member of the tribe, a motivational speaker, mother, personal trainer, sexual assault survivor, business owner, and college graduate. I was the first person to present an authentic learning experience with tribal students.  This speech opened up a door to become a visible contributor in the public service sector of Indian Country. My presentation at the school was later published on the front-page news of the Yakama Nation Review on March 18, 2018.

On March 2, 2019, I presented a similar workshop titled “Make Indian Country Healthy Again” to an Indigenous student group, “Healing Feathers,” at Portland State University. I was honored to share my story as an indigenous entrepreneur and for the opportunity to motivate and inspire college students in a rare context that would provide light for students still finding their way. As a struggling college student myself, I lacked role models in business, fitness, sexual assault advocacy, and general life skills, so I became one for the generations to follow.

On April 30, 2019, I gave my first sexual assault awareness speech at Grays Harbor College. Through this workshop, I shared my vulnerable story that led to my strengths today. I saw tears, smiles, and women become uplifted after hearing my story. My presentation detailed my experience as a sexual assault survivor/plaintiff in the justice system. I fought as a rogue for over a year to listen to the words “…we find the defendant guilty” among 14 jury members in the Maryland circuit courtroom. Since then, I have found myself in vocal roles that are hard for anyone to lead. I have found my gift of public leadership through the pain I endured from my trauma and abuse.

Currently, I am collaborating with non-profit and Native American operated organizations “Beyond Survival” and “First Nations Athletes.” On May 10, 2019, I was invited to join the largest team of First Nations Athletes (FNA). The FNA roster consists of over 120 athletes from over 60 First Nations tribes across Canada and the United States. Through my involvement with this team, I plan to increase my influence with tribal youth on isolated reservations and inner-city communities.

I grew up a ‘protector’ looking after my own siblings, so it is natural for me to become an even stronger version of that as an adult. Caring, loving, and protecting others is my passion and have ultimately led me here to the Master of Public Administration program at Evergreen State College.  My academic objective is to learn how to design a non-profit of my own, sharpen my vision, and build upon my capabilities to lead in tribal socialism. My passion in the non-profit sector focuses on prevention and the movement towards improving overall health conditions for indigenous populations.