Carolyn’s Story

Carolyn remembers her father suddenly being hospitalized for two weeks while opening up their family’s small business, John’s Fresh Produce. Carolyn, in seventh grade at the time, had to miss school to help her mother open the store. Their family’s livelihood depended on it.

After her father returned, Carolyn returned to school and continued to work in the store part-time. Working at the store taught Carolyn the value of hard work, the importance of community, and the joys and difficulties of operating a small business.

“When I was helping out at the store, my father joked that he was teaching me a trade. I didn’t believe him at the time but he was right. I paid for college thanks to my union job at Safeway.”

“When I was helping out at the store, my father joked that he was teaching me a trade. I didn’t believe him at the time but he was right. I paid for college thanks to my union job at Safeway.”

After graduating, Carolyn decided to pursue higher education. To help pay for college, Carolyn started working at Safeway, first as a courtesy clerk and then running the produce department. As a proud journeyman with UFCW Local 555, she earned enough to pay for her education.

Carolyn has worked at WSU Vancouver for 24 years as a tenured professor and in several administrative and leadership positions. She is dedicated to helping the next generation of young people get the opportunities and skills they need to succeed. For decades, SW Washington’s young leaders have taken her classes in American Institutions, Public Law, Public Policy and Public Civility. Carolyn has written two books related to her Constitutional Law research, one on the First Amendment and one on the Fourth Amendment: Religious Freedom and Indian Rights: The Case of Oregon v. Smith, and Mapp v. Ohio: Guarding against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures, respectively.

Carolyn started dating Kevin in 1984, and after eleven years and a day, they married. They have one daughter, Tennyson, and a dog, Ljubica.

More on Carolyn’s Time at WSU Vancouver

In 2014 Carolyn started the Initiative for Public Deliberation

Carolyn started working at WSU Vancouver in 1995. She is a tenured professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs. Her research focuses on American Institutions, Public Law, American Public Policy and Public Civility. As a Fulbright Scholar, Carolyn has also taught in Slovenia at the University of Ljubljana School of Social Sciences.

In 2014 Carolyn started the Initiative for Public Deliberation

Carolyn started working at WSU Vancouver in 1995. She is a tenured professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs. Her research focuses on American Institutions, Public Law, American Public Policy and Public Civility. As a Fulbright Scholar, Carolyn has also taught in Slovenia at the University of Ljubljana School of Social Sciences.

For her work, Carolyn has been awarded the Washington State University’s President’s Award for Leadership and Engagement (2015), and the Washington State University College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Institutional Service Award (2014). In 2015, she was named the inaugural Distinguished Professor in Civic Education and Public Civility, housed in the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, a position she voluntarily left to run for office.

Carolyn has participated in a variety of community endeavors which focus on economic development, community partnerships and civic engagement. In 2017, Carolyn was awarded the Iris H-RoC Award, which honors women in Southwest Washington who have promoted civil discourse, teamwork, collaboration, and cooperation.

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