Meet the judges

Meet our Youth Story Contest judges for 2019!


Tracy Rector

Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole) is a producer, director, activist, and co-founder of Longhouse Media. She has made over 400 short films, and is in production of her fifth feature documentary. Her work has been featured on Independent Lens, Cannes Film Festival, ImagineNative, National Geographic, Toronto International Film Festival, and in the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian. She is a current Firelight Media Lab Fellow, a former WGBH Producer Fellow, Tribeca Grantee, and Sundance Institute Lab Fellow. In 2016, Tracy was awarded the Stranger Genius Award. Tracy lives in Tacoma.

Amy E. Ryken

Amy E. Ryken, Dean and Professor, School of Education at the University of Puget Sound teaches courses focused on classroom teaching and learning in nearby nature. Amy’s research include understanding and improving teacher learning, and partnerships with school and community resources. She researched industrial sites transformed into public landscapes on Tacoma’s Ruston Way waterfront to aid city officials in development plans through an understanding of visitor perceptions.  She is author of the Environment and Learning blog, and publications on diversity and gender identity.

Jamika Scott

Jamika Scott, Tacoma native, is a children’s advocate, activist, and writer. Her passion for writing has been burning since childhood, but she was drawn to film writing by a mentor in college and has been at it ever since. As a co-founder of the Tacoma Action Collective, she works toward building an equitable city as a community organizer, and often incorporates her love of film into her social justice work.

Damico Clark

A SeaTac area video producer, Clark started his production venture doing music videos by cofounding a collective named the Digggers, a platform for independent rap artists and their videos.
This fall, he’ll be premiering his directorial debut, Monk: a short film following a jazz musician who’s on a soul search during a weekend visit home.


William Kupinse

William Kupinse is associate professor of English at University of Puget Sound, where he teaches British and Irish literature, ecocriticism, and creative writing. His poems have appeared in The Fourth River, Green Letters, Cascade, and Cimarron Review literary journals. Kupinse was Tacoma’s Poet Laureate from 2008–09. A collection of his poems, titled Fallow, was published with support from the Tacoma Arts Commission in 2009.

Erin Tail

Erin Tail is a young Lakota and Northern Cheyenne writer living on the Puyallup tribal reservation. She is currently a student at the Evergreen State College, and is majoring in Native Studies and Psychology. Erin makes her own poetry chapbooks and mostly focuses on themes that both challenge and yet comfort readers, regarding Native lives, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and dreamscapes. A lot of her spare time is filled with writing, drawing, going to traditional ceremonies, and reading books. She hopes in the future to have a collective of Native writers, and wants to deeply encourage young writers to keep processing their world in a humble way.

Josh Rizeberg

Josh Rizeberg is a Spoken-Word Poet, Slam-Champion, M.C., Journalist, Educator, and Community-Advocate. He has been active in the Music, Literary, and Activist scenes since the 1990’s. Rizeberg has Toured North America as a Performer and has written for the The Facts, the Weekly Volcano, and the Tacoma Weekly.


Kendra Feinstein

Kendra Feinstein, Department Chair and Mathematics Professor at Tacoma Community College, teaches courses in statistics, college algebra, and developmental mathematics. She has a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Colorado and a M.S. in mathematics from Texas A&M University. As an avid SCUBA diver of more than 20 years, she is concerned about the impact that humans have on marine ecosystems and is interested in efforts to restore the health and integrity of our oceans.

Jennifer Lanksbury

Jennifer Lanksburyis a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with a team called the Toxics-focused Biological Observation System (T-BiOS) at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. She researches toxic contaminants in marine biota, including exposure patterns in the nearshore ecosystem, and manages TBiOS’ biennial Puget Sound Mussel Monitoring program, which uses mussels to monitor pollution. She has over 15 years experience in the field of marine ecology as a field researcher, data analyst and published author. She received her B.Sc. in Natural Resource Science from Washington State University, Pullman in 1996, and her M.Sc. in Environmental Science from Western Washington University, Bellingham in 2000.

Sandy Salivaras-Bodner

Sandy Salivaras-Bodner is a passionate public health professional with over 15 years of experience in analyzing and communicating public health surveillance data. She currently works for the Washington State Department of Health performing statistical analysis, program evaluation, GIS mapping, spatial analysis, and research related to the administration of the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program. She has a Master of Public Health from the University of Washington and a Master of Science in Spatial Analysis from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Apart from analyzing data, Sandy sees a big role in being the interpreter of data and recognizing that data visualization is critical to effectively communicate a message to any audience.

Jonni Walker

Jonni Walker is a Senior Data Artist with Tableau Software.  He is passionate about nature and conservation and his work reflects his passion via interactive data visualisations and infographics. He is based in the UK but works with organisations around the world to promote conservation of endangered species. His work is often published in the best of the visualisation web. See his work at

Robin Avni

Robin Avni is a creative strategist and advocate for arts  and culture with an extensive background in design and content creation. Throughout her career in the media and high-tech industries she has been engaged in high-profile projects for Microsoft such as MSN, , The Seattle Times, and Cornish College of the Arts. Most recently, as an Assistant Professor of Design at Cornish, she received a grant from the Microsoft HoloLens Strategy Team to leverage the creative, problem-solving disposition of creative artists to explore the artistic possibilities of mixed reality. Robin is a frequent speaker at industry conferences as well as serving on national and local boards and commissions; including the Knight Curriculum Advisory Committee at the Indiana University School of Journalism, where she received her BA in journalism. She holds a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington. Robin is also a member of the Pierce County Arts Commission.