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Meet our team

Cyekeia Lee | Director

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Cyekeia joined The Learning Network in November 2016 after serving as the Director of Higher Education Initiatives at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Youth and Children. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Eastern Michigan University and a master's degree in counseling education from Wayne State University. Says Cyekeia, "I am deeply committed to removing education barriers for vulnerable students and supporting access to high-quality education.

Who inspires you? Oprah, Michelle Obama and Viola Davis.

What are you passionate about? Removing education barriers for vulnerable students; giving back to others and serving the community.

What are the last three books you read? The Birds of Opulence, God Help the Child and Peace from Broken Pieces.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Gingerbread Brown

What were your favorite subjects in school? English, drama and science. 


Katie Paauwe | Coordinator

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Katie began working at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation in 2013, joining The Learning Network full time in 2016. Currently, she provides administrative and communications support to The Learning Network team. She has a bachelor's degree in English and psychology. Says Katie, "I am committed to philanthropy and volunteering to make the world stronger."


Who inspires you? People who are willing to learn and to change, at any age, pushing themselves to be better and to discover greater knowledge. That, to me, is real inspiration.

What are you passionate about? Grieving children –– I am a group leader with a grief counseling organization that focuses on working with children who are experiencing loss and grief; making people laugh; and living a life that makes a positive impact on others. 

What are the last three books you read? The Girl on the Train, Just Mercy and A Children's Illustrated History of Presidential Assassinations. 

If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Orange. It's bright and happy!

What were your favorite subjects in school? English, government and yearbook.


Jared Volz | Facilitator

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Jared came to The Learning Network in September 2015 from Washington, D.C. where he worked in organizing and campaign consulting. He holds bachelor's degrees in political science, government and history.

Who inspires you? Seneca, Schopenhauer, Lao Tzu and Kahlil Gibran.

What are you passionate about? Justice. Effectiveness. Winning. In that order.

What is the last book you read? Arnold Toynbee's A Study of History.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Blue.

What was your favorite subject in school? Government.