Seattle U Magis Medal Winners

Joe Cotton (Seattle University ’13)

Joe Cotton is the Director of Youth Ministry at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, having also served at St. Luke and St. Anne Parishes. He was previously a social worker with Youth Advocates, a non-profit agency serving at-risk youth in the foster care system.  In 2005-06, Mr. Cotton served as an international volunteer in Nicaragua, working for a home that cares for over 300 orphaned and abandoned children.  From 2007-12, he served as Catholic Chaplain for the King County Juvenile Detention Center and Echo Glen Children’s Center.  While there, he coordinated and recruited Seattle University students to be youth mentors.  He additionally worked with judges and probation counselors to create the Kid’s Closet which provides court-involved youth with new, or fairly new, clothes and shoes. 


Kimberly Whalen (Seattle University ’12)

Kimberly Whalen landed a teaching internship in Zambia for her senior teaching practicum. At the Chikuni Girls School, located on a Jesuit mission, she taught one class per day. While speaking with a priest from the local parish about ways she could be of assistance, he mentioned a grant he was writing to help fund Chikuni Radio. The community radio station is the main source for disseminating news, school lessons and reminders for people living with HIV/AIDS to take their medications. The grant would fund an upgrade to digital broadcasting equipment, especially critical because the national regulatory organization mandated a switch to digital broadcasting. Ms. Whalen drafted the grant proposal, and her efforts paid off in a big way. The station was awarded a grant totaling nearly $125,000, providing the necessary funding to buy the equipment and train the DJs and technicians on how to use it. Ms. Whalen’s connection to Zambia did not end with her teaching and grant writing efforts.  She returned for a year-long job as the assistant director of Home Based Care, which assists people living with HIV/AIDS, and Taonga, a program that provides free primary schooling to marginalized youth through lessons broadcast over the radio. Now a teacher at Yellow Wood Academy on Mercer Island, she is an advisory board member for Kristy's Cape Academy in Muhuru Bay, Kenya.


Louise Ryan (Seattle University ’82)

Louise Ryan is the Ombudsman Program Specialist for the U.S. Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging.  Her primary duties include providing support to states on Long Term Care Ombudsman data collection, training, and assistance with policy interpretation of the Older American’s Act as it relates to the operations of LTC Ombudsman Programs. She has served as the Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and the Assistant State LTC Ombudsman prior to coming to Washington, D.C.  Ms. Ryan’s previous work focused on establishing ombudsman program policy and operations including volunteer management; promoting systems advocacy by working with state agencies and with the legislature to improve regulations and legislation to strengthen consumer protections and the quality of care for residents of nursing homes, assisted living and adult family homes. Ms. Ryan has worked legislation cracking down on the adult-family home industry, creating tougher oversight and enforcement policies, and worked in partnership to improve training standards for the long-term care workforce and adult family home operators.