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WCC’s recent National Endowment for the Humanities grant receives New York Times recognition

College’s “Situating Ourselves in the Salish Sea” project awarded $100,000

Post Date:01/24/2020 10:33 am

Bellingham, Wash. – Whatcom Community College has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the highly-competitive National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a project titled “Situating Ourselves in the Salish Sea: Using Experiential Learning and Storytelling to Inspire Critical Thinking about Place.” The College’s grant is one of 188 awards totaling $30.9 million dollars distributed across the country that support research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. WCC’s Salish Sea project was featured in a recent New York Times article.

The Salish Sea is an international marine ecosystem from Olympia, Wash. to Campbell River, British Columbia. It encompasses the Puget Sound, Strait of Georgia and Strait of Juan de Fuca. The NEH grant will enable WCC to leverage digital mapping technology to investigate and contextualize the cultural heritage of the Salish Sea region. The project will benefit students, faculty, and the community in several key ways including the creation of digital story maps and a series of new cross-discipline Salish Sea courses. Course material will help prepare transfer students interested in Western Washington University’s newly-approved Salish Sea Studies minor. The completed digital maps will be accessible to the general public for free.

“We are especially enthusiastic about immersing students in place-based learning techniques that help them to make sense of their surroundings,” said project director and WCC history faculty Anna Booker. “Faculty from WWU and WCC will co-lead field trips in and around the Salish Sea, including an overnight on San Juan Island, with opportunities to engage in service-learning projects and to connect with indigenous communities and policy makers in both Canada and the U.S.,” said Booker.

The College has received numerous federal grants in recent years from funders such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, and the National Security Agency, but this is the College’s first National Endowment for the Humanities award.

About Whatcom: Whatcom Community College in Bellingham is regularly recognized as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute. The College, a destination for cybersecurity, healthcare and business studies, offers a bachelor of applied science degree, transfer degrees, career preparation, online courses, and community education classes. WCC’s accomplished faculty and staff serve 11,000 students annually. For more information, visit

Contact: Marisa Ellis, Whatcom Community College PIO, 360.383.3310,

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Media inquiries: For photos and other media resources, please contact the Public Information Office at 360.383.3310 or Thanks for your interest!



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