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Bonnie Cottle: Fascinated by What’s Worthwhile—and What Works

Online Learning Specialist Bonnie Cottle discusses why she's passionate about social justice, fascinated by how people interact and learn, and compelled to apply her skills to her work at NWCPHP.
Bonnie Cottle: Fascinated by What’s Worthwhile—and What Works

Bonnie Cottle

Online Learning Specialist Bonnie Cottle discusses why she's passionate about social justice, fascinated by how people interact and learn, and compelled to apply her skills to her work at NWCPHP.

May 18, 2017

Bonnie Cottle describes herself as an obsessive learner who is wildly curious, a characterization supported by her wide variety of interests and reflected in the creativity and passion she brings to her work. Bonnie, an Online Learning Specialist at NWCPHP, develops training modules and coordinates the monthly Hot Topics in Practice webinar series.

She brings to her job the skills that come from a career that has taken her through a progression of connected areas, including nonprofit work, marketing, grassroots organizing, biotech, and events management—including collaborative conferences, arts events, concerts and more. These diverse paths fed her passion for and skills in the various ways of taking things apart and putting them back together with a deeper understanding. Bonnie is also an artist and writer, producing painting, mixed media, illustration, and poetry. She spent years competing in the slam poetry scene.

Bonnie is as drawn to science, research, and data as she is compelled by art and culture. She was drawn to NWCPHP because of her particular interest in health care and health sciences, and her commitment to how these topics connect to social justice. “All the jobs I've had that felt important and worthwhile are linked to social justice and community, or have a human connection,” said Bonnie.

Public libraries instilled in her a deep belief in the value of free and accessible information. “I like that you can learn how to do almost anything,” she said. This makes her particularly passionate about her work at NWCPHP, creating resources anyone can use to expand their skills and knowledge at no cost.

Bonnie identifies as “a bit of a nomad,” fascinated by what new places have to teach her. She grew up in Rhode Island, and its small size and proximity to other states drew her to explore other places. She spent time in Chicago, Boston, a variety of small New England towns, and New York City before coming to Seattle last summer. She said Seattle reminds her of New York in the late '90s, an era and place she remembers as active culturally and politically, with neighborhoods and communities engaged in art and involved in creative and meaningful endeavors. She fell in love with Seattle, with its community projects, arts, and gardens. “Cities have personalities, and they are constantly changing,” she said.

Asked for something that might surprise her colleagues, Bonnie shares that she reads tarot cards. “Sometimes I have daydreams of running away with an old-time circus caravan to be their fortune teller,” she said. But as far as what the future holds, her passion for her new home and work keeps her settled in the Pacific Northwest. As someone who is “constantly learning,” Bonnie finds her curiosity is fed in other ways.

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