Jenaia Johnson

Age: 27

6th Grade Science Teacher

Wenatchee School District/Pioneer Middle School

Jenaia Johnson is entering her fifth year of teaching middle school science at Pioneer Middle School, which is also the middle school she attended, growing up in Wenatchee.

She describes herself as “a Filipino-Indigenous woman on a mission to make science education more equitable and relevant to students.”

She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Hawaii, with a major in secondary education and biology and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in biology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The graduate program aligns with teaching science in pursuit of creating an equitable education that emphasizes conservation and inquiry.

She has conducted research in Baja California, Mexico, where she spent time collecting data on cactus species; and worked with the Vermillion Sea Institute collecting data on marine species and analyzing whale sharks.

In summer 2019, she was in Namibia doing research for the Cheetah Conservation Fund, learning about the human-wildlife conflict and how implementing relevant and real data and citizen science into the classroom creates a rich science learning environment.

This summer she was supposed to be in Paraguay, conducting her final research project, but COVID-19 changed those plans. Instead, she is partnering with Mahidol University in Thailand to create a campaign in bringing mindfulness to the west and specifically in education.

“This work has been enlightening learning about contemplative education and how these mindfulness practices align with restorative practices we have been using in public schools to really build and create a safe social-emotional learning school,” she said.

She is inspired by her students.

“To have even one student each year to build their own passion for the world around them is what drives me to continue to this path in education,” she said.

How have you responded in your personal and professional life during these uncertain times?

This time for me has given me insight on myself and how life prior to the closure was very stressful. I’ve been able to scale back and identify priorities and use my time when available for learning instead of being constantly on the go.

During these unprecedented times, I was able to really take a look at the inequity in education. Seeing how students and families responded to the transition to remote learning really showed me that we need to have a shift in education.

I was able to learn new platforms and apps in technology to further provide for my students' opportunities for learning, but also see how many families do not have access to the needs for survival in the 21st century. With current events with the Black Lives Matter Movement, it has truly opened my eyes to a lot of experiences I had growing up that I brushed off that was not OK, and to really start to deepen my understanding with everyone that makes up our own community as well.

I have been deeply moved to find other people with the same mission in creating more equitable opportunities for people of color within nature and the outdoors. It has been a period of growth and learning for me on compassion for the world, our community, and our people.

I am honored to receive a nomination for the 30 under 35, but after reviewing what I have written I really have so much more to grow and feel that these experiences are aligning to my goals only projecting me in the right direction to further make a difference within science education.

Sam Chapin

Age: 29

Business manager, developer

Mela Coffee, Foray Coffee

Sam Chapin’s vision for Wenatchee includes sustainable and smart business with integrity, which he has been putting into play as the business manager and developer for Mela Coffee and its new venture Foray Coffee.

Born and raised in Wenatchee, he returned after college to put his skills to use for the benefit of this community. Working at a local coffee shop turned into much more, filling roles at Mela Coffee Roasting Co. as the marketing and sales director and the café general manager. He then got the chance to help owner Kyle Hendrickson develop a new venture, Foray Coffee, serving as vice president of operations.

Chapin has a degree in business administration with a specialization in marketing management from Central Washington University. The first year after college, he worked as the marketing manager at Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort, helping establish they’re social media marketing program during one of the worst snow years in its history.

“It was a very difficult set of circumstances for a ski resort that didn’t have any snow but our team worked hard to come up with innovative events and promotions to encourage guests to come ski,” he said.

The next year, he started working at Cafe Mela, helping at first with rebranding and expanding the coffee roasting side of the business and building an e-commerce website.

Then came Foray Coffee, a tech startup centered on a novel concept of offering customers a café level experience for coffee and food without any waiting.

“This is made possible by a myriad of innovations we have made to the process of making specialty coffee drinks and food items and by a mobile app we built from the ground up that processes all orders and payments and uses customers GPS data to alert the barista when it is time to begin making the customer’s order so that it is ready for them when they arrive,” he said.

Helping start this business has been very challenging since it is a brand new concept that does not exist anywhere else and depends on software and concepts that did not previously exist, he said.

How have you responded in your personal and professional life during these uncertain times?

This has obviously been a very challenging season for all of us. One thing that has helped in this season, both personally and professionally, has been to remain positive rather than only looking at the negative and getting overwhelmed. It may sound cliché but this has made a huge difference for me. It has helped forge new and better habits, helped strengthen relationships and helped me to remain hopeful in such uncertain times.

It has also been important for me to respond with gratefulness. I am grateful for the health and safety of my family through trying times. I am grateful that I have been able to keep my job and that the business I work for has somehow been able to grow during this chaotic season. I am thankful for the community I live in and all the members that work tirelessly to protect it and give it the best opportunity to succeed into the future.

Although those two responses are quite simple and somewhat cliché, they have made a massive difference in my personal life and at work.

Brandt Cappell

Age: 34

Senior legislative assistant

Washington State House of Representatives

Brandt Cappell threw his hat into the ring for Chelan County Commission Position No. 3 this spring, a move that followed 10 years spent as legislative assistant, first to then-12th District Rep. Cary Condotta, and then for Rep. Keith Goehner.

He was edged out of a spot on the Nov. 3 general election ballot in final tallies from the Aug. 4 primary election, his first foray into seeking elected office.

The initiative to run, though, is part of what prompted his nomination for 30 Under 35.

“Brandt enjoys challenges, and making a difference in peoples’ lives,” according to the submitted nomination, which goes on to describe his leadership skills. “Brandt has a presence when he enters a room and is looked up to immediately.”

Cappell attended Wenatchee Valley College, going on to graduate from Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in natural resource policy and a minor in political science.

He started as Condotta's legislative assistant in 2011.

“A legislative office is usually the place of last resort for folks that feel wronged by their government,” he said. “While I can’t solve every problem that is brought to me, I work very hard to find the best solution possible for our citizens. Working to help make positive changes to our government is very rewarding.”

In addition to his day job, he is involved in his church’s leadership team and enjoys fishing and camping with friends and family.

How have you responded in your personal and professional life during these uncertain times?

About 20 minutes after I announced publicly I was running for Chelan County commissioner the media broke the news that restaurants were shutting down. I changed my whole campaign plan! During the following weeks, I used my campaign platform to help folks find ways to help serve our community’s needs. I am so proud of how the communities of our area responded to the call for action.

In my day job, I found myself as the place constituents would turn to for help with our failed unemployment system. I am still assisting folks that are calling or writing in desperation for the benefits they need to feed their kids and pay their rent. I am often the only person in the government who has actually answered their call. While it's a slow and frustrating process, it is rewarding to get that call from a single mother who finally had the funds in her account after 16 weeks of no payments.

Personally, my wife, Brittney, and I have used this time to grow our faith in God, which has strengthened our marriage and parenting. I’ve also used the time I had in quarantine to plan, plant, and grow garden veggies in our backyard. We anticipate having a lot more than we need and donating what we can to the Serve Wenatchee Community Grocery that is in progress. Giving back to the community that has been so good to me is something that never gets old.

Devin Lau

Age: 32

Assistant manager

Stan’s Merry Mart

Devin Lau is loyal, hard-working, caring, helpful, happy, and encouraging to her team of co-workers, according to those who nominated her for 30 Under 35.

Lau, a 2006 graduate of Eastmont High School, started working for Stan’s Merry Mart in July 2009.

“I had always wanted to be a part of a company that made a difference,” she said. “About my fourth year at Stan's Merry Mart I realized it was right in front of me.”

She became a supervisor in June 2016 and assistant manager in March 2018.

“I owe a lot to my parents for my work ethic,” she said. “They taught me that you show up to work and you give 100% everyday. I have Brandon Wright, the president of Stan's Merry Mart, to thank for my inner drive to be a leader.”

How have you responded in your personal and professional life during these uncertain times?

At this time this pandemic has changed all of your lives. At Stan's Merry Mart we are still doing our best to provide the best customer service every day. As we say, ‘Every customer every time!’

In my personal life I have had to do extra school work with my kindergartner. I have to say our relationship has become so much closer. We are playing in the backyard more and making memories. I am very thankful for the time I have shared with my kids.

Ana Gonzalez

Age: 30

Trueblood Jail Diversion manager

Catholic Charities

Ana Gonzalez recently moved into the role of Trueblood Jail Diversion manager at Catholic Charities after the tragic loss of her supervisor, Eric Skansgaard, to suicide.

She has worked to support a multimillion dollar program and maintain its presence in the community. She actively works with the court, jail, attorneys and law enforcement agencies to bridge the gap between mental health and government agencies.

Trueblood, established in March 2018 under Skansgaard's direction, helps individuals detained in city and county jails awaiting a competency evaluation or restoration services and individuals who have previously received competency evaluation and restoration services, who are released and at-risk for re-arrest or re-institutionalization.

After Skansgaard died in November 2019, Gonzalez became the interim lead for the program and ultimately the program manager in 2020.

Gonzalez was born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley. She is a first-generation college graduate and the first of her immediate and extended family to receive a master’s degree. She is a licensed mental health counselor, nationally board certified counselor, and designated crisis responder.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology, with a minor in psychology, from Central Washington University in 2014 and her master’s in mental health counseling in 2016. She is the youngest and only person of color in a supervisory role at the local agency.

How have you responded in your personal and professional life during these uncertain times?

Unflappable. Working in a crisis setting, I have always managed to remain calm. There have been major adjustments to my day-to-day operations, in my personal and professional life; from home schooling to Zoom conferencing in court.

Working in social services and crisis response has set me up to always “roll with the punches” and to be accepting of ambiguity.

With what is going on in the world, I am grateful to have great partnerships with our local law enforcement agencies.

I definitely believe that we are ahead of the game due to the co-responder model that Catholic Charities officially initiated in 2018. Together we have an outstanding relationship, where we trust and mutually respect each other’s professional opinions. We learn from law enforcement as much as they learn from us.

I have been thankful to work with an amazing, creative team and an agency with strong communication skills.

These assets have transpired to my interactions with the key members that make our programs operate in order to continue the golden thread of services for all stakeholders and individuals in our community.

Nevonne McDaniels: 664-7151