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Curiosity Club
caption: KUOW's 4th cohort of Curiosity Club will come together following the 2020 election to reflect on the last four years and to look ahead to 2021.
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KUOW's 4th cohort of Curiosity Club will come together following the 2020 election to reflect on the last four years and to look ahead to 2021.

After tense election, 10 strangers come together for a nerdy (Zoom) dinner party

KUOW's fourth cohort of Curiosity Club will reflect on the last four years and imagine what's next for 2021.

As our nation grapples with how to come together, here at KUOW we’re literally bringing folks from different perspectives to the (virtual) table.

On Thursday, November 19, 10 community members from different parts of the political spectrum will come together for an online dinner party to reflect on the last four years and look ahead to 2021. This will be our fourth cohort of Curiosity Club, our nerdy supper club grounded by one simple question: Can a shared meal and surprising stories transform a group of strangers into a community?

I will serve as the evening’s facilitator, and two of our KUOW editors, Isolde Raftery and Liz Jones, will also join for the conversation. All participants will receive gift cards for food delivery of their choice, and will be assigned homework ahead of the dinner in the form of KUOW stories. Those stories will fuel our conversation.

The best way to follow along with our curious experiment and to be in the loop for our next call for Club members is to keep an eye on our series page at and follow us on Twitter @KUOWengage. You can email us at with questions or feedback.

And now, meet Curiosity Club Cohort 4.

caption: Seattle School For Boys Co-Founder Jerome Hunter
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Seattle School For Boys Co-Founder Jerome Hunter
Credit: KUOW PHOTO/Kristin Leong

Jerome Hunter is co-founder and the head of academics at Seattle School for Boys, a middle school in Seattle’s Central District rooted in problem-based learning and social-emotional growth. Jerome is a contributing member of the Institute for Connecting Neuroscience with Teaching and Learning, and he is also in his fourth year as a mentor with My Brother’s Keeper. Jerome continues to find many opportunities to learn and expand himself through art, basketball, book clubs, travel, and writing.

caption: Biggest Carbon Loser contestant Bernadette Merikle, center, reads with her children, Julia, 4, and John, 2, on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, at their home in Snoqualmie.
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Biggest Carbon Loser contestant Bernadette Merikle, center, reads with her children, Julia, 4, and John, 2, on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, at their home in Snoqualmie.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bernadette “B” Merikle is senior director of strategy for racial equity impact at Equal Opportunity Schools where their work focuses on de-centering whiteness in schools and increasing access to robust educational engagement for Black, Indigenous, and Brown students. A native of El Paso, Texas by way of the Deep South, Bernadette’s worldview is proudly shaped by race and the joyously pleasurable ways we can get unhooked from social constructs that no longer serve us.

caption: Jini Palmer
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Jini Palmer
Credit: Jini Palmer

Jini Palmer is the Digital Media Manager for Town Hall Seattle, where she hosts and produces four podcasts and manages the video team. She is a multi-instrumentalist, a nature lover, enjoys good food and conversation, and believes that storytelling and media have the potential to create empathy and positive change.

caption: Mellina White
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Mellina White
Credit: Mellina White

Mellina White is the Libertarian blogger behind The Seattle Conservative where she writes about how politics and culture impact society. In addition to KUOW, Mellina’s work has been featured by The Evergrey and DapperQ, a queer style fashion website where she has twice landed on their list of Top 100 Most Stylish DapperQs. Previously, Mellina served as Campaign Director for Christopher Rufo for City Council.

caption: Uly Rivera
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Uly Rivera
Credit: Andrew Millspaugh

Uly Rivera migrated from Alaska and has called Seattle home for the past decade. He has worked in many diverse industries from transportation to biotech. Currently, Uly supports startups focused on life sciences through the University of Washington’s CoMotion Labs. Uly’s interests range from fashion to sports to comic books and beyond.

caption: Marrene Franich
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Marrene Franich
Credit: Kristin Leong

Marrene Franich is a secondary English teacher in Bellevue. She previously served with the Peace Corps in Romania. She loves talking with teens about big ideas and is in awe of their intellectual potential and inspired by their earnestness. In addition to being an aspiring crone, Marrene can also be spotted volunteering with the Seattle Art Museum. She is passionate about progressive politics, especially those focused on women's issues.

caption: Hee Yon Sohng
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Hee Yon Sohng
Credit: Hee Yon Sohng

Hee Yon Sohng is a wannabe city planner, chronic crossword puzzle cheater, and physician who has called Seattle home since the age of nine. She loves learning about the surprising details of her patients’ lives that don't make it into the medical record--their fourteen siblings, their quirky holiday decorations, or the book they hope to write someday. In her free time, she likes to cook for friends, come up with excuses not to exercise, and rewrite song lyrics for her daughter.

caption: Todd Myers
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Todd Myers
Credit: Todd Myers

Todd Myers is the environmental director at the Washington Policy Center, a free-market think tank in Seattle, and he serves as a member of the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council. Previously, he served as the communications director for the Seattle Storm as part of the group that brought women’s basketball to Seattle. Myers is a beekeeper and has a master’s degree in Russian/International Studies from the University of Washington.

caption: Ishea Brown
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Ishea Brown
Credit: Ishea Brown

Ishea Brown is a lifestyle content creator who combines her love of storytelling and digital media to engage online communities in thoughtful conversations. She currently co-hosts a relationship podcast with her husband called Just the Tip and works as a marketing manager for a startup where she helps businesses engage, incentivize, and reward customers and employees. Previously, Ishea hosted the first personality-driven digital series for on PeopleTV.

caption: Don Sheu
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Don Sheu
Credit: Don Sheu

Don Sheu was born stateless in Seoul to a Korean mother and Chinese father. After immigrating to Seattle, he grew up in Seattle's Yesler Terrace public housing project. For the past seven years he has served as a leader and conveener in the Python programming language community. He is currently building a venture fund where profits are invested in supporting new software professionals from underrepresented communities.