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About FIUTS and the FIUTS SUSI Program Partner Organizations

 About the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS)

FIUTS is the host institution for your SUSI programming in Seattle, Washington, where you will be from June 22-July 21. FIUTS is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) located on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, Washington. FIUTS’s mission is to connect students with local and global communities through programs that build international awareness, cross-cultural communication and informed leadership. FIUTS is a place to meet people, share experiences, and make friends from around the world. We work with thousands of students each year, and are excited to welcome you to our community.

Be sure to explore our website to learn about the programs that we produce and read the FIUTS blog before you arrive to get a sense of who we are and what we do.

 The FIUTS SUSI Staff Includes:



Era joined FIUTS in 2006, and brings many years of nonprofit and international experience to her role. Era has traveled extensively in Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean and served with the US Peace Corps as a Community Agriculture Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. In addition to her role at FIUTS, she is a volunteer for Seattle Works, The Beacon Hill International School PTA, and Girl Scouts. Her interests include cross-cultural leadership development, team building, nonprofit strategy and planning, and the use of social media for social change. 



Ellen grew up in New York, Germany, and Virginia. She joined FIUTS in 2012 as Manager of Community Programs and became Manager of Education Programs in 2015. Her international experience includes teaching English in Germany, Ecuador, and Thailand, and coordinating a human rights education program with journalists in Cameroon. In the US, she spent ten summers teaching German at Concordia Language Village in Minnesota, and has worked for nonprofits in Washington DC and New York City. She holds an MA in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University. Ellen is passionate about promoting social justice and global citizenship through cross-cultural exchange and collaboration.



Kailyn grew up in Olympia, WA and completed both her BA in International Studies and M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Washington. She also completed a certificate in Education for Environment and Community at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, WA. In addition to her deep love of the Pacific Northwest, Kailyn is passionate about building a global community through meaningful personal connections. She has studied in Prague, worked as an English teacher in Marseille, France, led high school service-learning programs in Northern Thailand, and has had the pleasure of visiting friends across Europe, South and Southeast Asia.



 Samantha grew up in the great state of Alaska. She earned a BA in Global Studies from ASU, where she studied or interned abroad in China, Argentina, and the Czech Republic. After an AmeriCorps term of service in Seattle and a 4,000 mile roadtrip throughout many Western states, she came back to Seattle to earn her MPA at the Evans School of the University of Washington and joined the FIUTS staff in April 2017. Samantha is passionate about creating strong vibrant communities, and enabling nonprofits to work to their fullest potential through good governance and strong systems.

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Joe is a recent graduate of the University of Washington’s Evans School where he earned a Master’s degree in Public Affairs. He has lived in Seattle for many years, and has also served three times in the U.S. Peace Corps, in Georgia, Liberia, and Cambodia, where he gained extensive experience assessing, designing, and implementing community development projects and education programming. Joe worked with FIUTS in July and August 2018 as a Program Assistant for our three summer youth programs, and is looking forward to being a part of the SUSI team.

Learn more about the full FIUTS staff team here.

About the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center

The mission of the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center is to use the best practices of adult education to design programs to help working women and men develop the skills, confidence, and knowledge to be leaders at work and in their communities. Staff at the Labor Center will be delivering most of your academic classes on the program theme of “The History and Future of Work in a Changing World.” The Labor Center is based on the Georgetown campus of South Seattle College, one of the Seattle Colleges. As the largest community college district in the state, Seattle Colleges serve 45,000 students annually with more than 135 professional and technical programs, including nine applied baccalaureate degrees.

Your classes at the Labor Center will be taught by:

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David West, Labor Center Researcher, came to the Labor Education and Research Center after wide-ranging experience as a leader with local community organizations and labor/community coalitions. He leads our efforts to explore policy issues facing Washington's workforce, with a particular focus on low-wage workers. David's work includes analyzing the impacts of public policy options for Washington's changing workforce, health insurance and other employee benefits,  and identifying new policies to benefit today's workers and their organizations, while reducing economic inequality.

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Daniel O'Donnell grew up in a family of teachers and union activists in Michigan, which probably influenced his decision to become a Labor Educator.  After several years as a construction worker, his union activism led him to attend the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute in 1998.  Since then, Dan has worked for the Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, United Auto Workers, and several affiliates of the Carpenters Union.   Much of Dan's previous union organizer and representation work was in the Southern United States and other open shop environments, often working with immigrant workers. He is convinced that workers can strengthen their union bargaining power, grow their union membership, and win more dignity, rights and respect on the job through comprehensive organizing and contract campaigns.  Dan speaks Spanish and is available to teach workshops in both English and Spanish. He has worked as a journalist and human rights observer in Mexico, and he has coordinated human rights delegations to meet with Colombia trade unionists South America. He once lectured on US Labor History in Guangzhou, China, and has marched with workers on their picket lines in Portugal, Guatemala, Argentina, Uruguay, and the United States.

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Adair Dammann comes to the Labor Center with extensive experience and a deep commitment to advocating for workers, especially immigrant workers, women, and those in low-wage jobs. She helped organize the first union of office workers at the University of Washington, and over the next 35 years, served as an organizer, lobbyist, political director and elected officer within SEIU.  Her work has taken her throughout the US, particularly the Western states.   Adair has also worked for Planned Parenthood Votes and the Sierra Club, and caries a broad commitment to cross-movement organizing to her work at the Labor Center. Her passion for women’s education and economic empowerment led her to spend a half year in Tanzania, teaching English in a business school for low-income adult women and learning from her students.  Adair holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

About the Consulting and Business Development Center

The Consulting and Business Development Center at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business accelerates student careers and grow businesses and jobs in communities where they’re needed the most. By engaging students in solving complex, unstructured, real-world challenges students learn to think strategically, develop leadership skills, and integrate knowledge across business disciplines. Through the work of student consulting teams and faculty-led business education courses, we grow business revenues and jobs with a focus on businesses owned by people of color, women, LGBTQ, veterans, and those located in under-served communities. Staff at this center will be delivering two of your academic classes during the program.