Combining expertise in higher education, college access, student support, community development, curriculum design, academic research and information technology, the Degrees of Change staff team is uniquely positioned to help communities and colleges build partnerships that help students succeed and communities thrive.
Alyson Atwater

Alyson Atwater


Alyson earned a bachelors degree in Education from Whitworth University. She is an Act Six alum and after graduating, she worked as the Act Six Site Director in Spokane, WA before relocating back to Tacoma with her family. Alyson has a passion for working with students and helping them reach their potential. After a few months of transition, she rejoined the Degrees of Change staff as the Administrator.

Kelly Bay-Meyer, Ph.D.

Kelly Bay-Meyer, Ph.D.

Director of Research and Evaluation

Trained as a political scientist focused on education politics and direct democracy in Latin America, Kelly returned home to WA in 2010 to give back to her local community. She taught courses in research methods and social justice at Seattle University before serving as Senior Research and Evaluation Officer at the College Success Foundation. She holds a doctorate in Political Science from Brown University.

Jerry-Lee Bulala

Tacoma-Seattle Campus Success Coordinator

Growing up in a military family, Jerry-Lee lived in many places but was raised in Washington where he graduated from Graham-Kapowsin High School. A recent graduate from Pacific Lutheran University, Jerry-Lee received his B.A. in Sociology while also minoring in Chinese Studies. His journey to be with Act Six began when he discovered his passion for leadership, higher education, and helping youth.

Francis Chau

Francis Chau

Communications Specialist

Francis is an Act Six alum from the third cadre at Gonzaga University, where she completed a dual Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice and Sociology. Working as the Communication Specialist, she helps with programmatic communications through our social media network. She also serves as the Act Six Program Supervisor for the Spokane area.

Tommy Glasser

Tommy Glasser

IT Specialist

Tommy is An Act Six alum from Whitworth University, where he majored in computer science and mathematics. Passionate about integrating technology and computer programming in educational and non-profit efforts, Tommy joined Degrees of Change staff as the IT Specialist. He is also currently working at a charter school in Spokane, WA where he provides computer science curriculum support and data analysis.

Bill Hanawalt

Development Director

Bill leads fund development at Degrees of Change and is passionate about connecting individuals and organizations with meaningful opportunities to give generously. Previously as the initial Executive Director of Peace Community Center, Bill grew the organization into a leader in youth development, culminating in recognition as a White House Champion of Change.

Anna Helberg-Sather

Ready to Rise WWU Campus Coordinator

Anna is a Bellingham native and an alumna from Washington State University where she studied Psychology, Sociology and French language. She has spent the last 5 years in agency recruiting in Seattle, and was recently working with small to Fortune 500 companies helping staff their accounting and finance departments. In the past, she volunteered as a Chapter Advisor for WSU Alpha Kappa Psi.

Tim Herron, Ed.D.

Tim Herron, Ed.D.


As an urban high school math teacher in Tacoma, WA, Tim developed the Act Six initiative in 2002 to help his students succeed in college and return to lead in Tacoma. He now guides Degrees of Change as we work to help communities across the country develop diverse, homegrown community leaders. He holds a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from the University of Washington.

Marcia LaSalle

Act Six and Ready to Rise Program Support

Marcia is a Wisconsin native with a degree in Cultural Anthropology and Communications. She most recently came from Anchorage, Alaska where she served an AmeriCorps term working with First Generation and Low-Income High school students. She has come to Seattle-Tacoma to earn her Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Seattle University and continue her work, increasing access to higher education.

Nalani Linder, M.A.

Nalani Linder, M.A.

Managing Director of Community Cohorts

Nalani leads our new project to expand Degrees of Change’s reach to students at 2- and 4-year public universities. Fiercely committed to equity at all levels, Nalani has a background in child welfare system reform, private consulting around public/private collaboration for systems change, and working at the regional level to improve equity for early learning. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational & Systems Change Leadership from Antioch University.

Naticcia McNamara

Naticcia McNamara

Program Operations Director

Naticcia is a first generation college student and Act Six alum from Whitworth, where she earned a bachelors degree in Sociology. Passionate about social justice and educational equity for marginalized communities, she taught second grade in Southern New Mexico for Teach For America before returning to the Northwest to join Degrees of Change, where she provides programmatic support for our partners.

Mindy Nash


Mindy is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University with a degree in Educational Ministries and a minor in Business Administration. She moved to Tacoma in 1999 and has found a deep love for the city of Tacoma. Mindy is involved locally with Trinity Presbyterian Church and its Outreach Programs in the Hilltop neighborhood.

Lori Parrish

Ready to Rise Tacoma Site Director

Lori is a Tacoma native and graduate of Lincoln High School. She brings with her 8 years of experience in non-profit organizational leadership, higher education and social policy. Lori has a passion for connecting people and creating access to resources for student success. Lori is a first generation student, Achievers alumni and loves her city, which makes her uniquely suited for this work.

Kamila Rinderknecht-Mahaffy

Program Intern

Kamila is a rising senior at the University of Puget Sound, pursing a double major in Chinese Language and Culture and Business Administration. After recently returning from a nine month study abroad program traveling and learning around Asia, Kamila is joining the Degrees of Change Central Office team as a Program Intern, where she assists with various projects along with administrative duties.

Magdalena Stickel

Act Six and Ready to Rise Program Support

Magdalena is a recent graduate from Pacific Lutheran University, where she earned her bachelors degree in Economics and Global Studies. While in college, Magdalena served as our Administrative Intern, and now she is back with us as our First Year Program Assistant through AmeriCorps. Magdalena is excited to help provide support to Act Six and Ready to Rise Tacoma-Seattle’s recruitment, selection and training of new program Scholars this year.

Taylor Tibbs

Act Six Tacoma-Seattle Site Director

Taylor is a native of South Seattle and graduate of Seattle University. Because of a passion for higher education and supporting underrepresented students, Taylor served two years of AmeriCorps through the Urban Leaders in Training Program in Tacoma. In addition to directing the Act Six Program, Taylor facilitates training on cultural competency, preparing for the transition from high school to college, and advocated for diversity in education spaces.