Meet the Staff

Catherine Game – Executive Director

Catherine Game is the Executive Director of Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods. Catherine ensures that the legacy of Brushwood Center thrives through strong partnerships and inspiring programs that connect art, nature, and wellness. Prior to joining Brushwood Center, Catherine served as Director of Communications and Engagement for Chicago Wilderness where she oversaw the organization’s communications, member engagement, and efforts to cultivate a diverse conservation constituency. Catherine has held previous positions in communications, program evaluation, and education with conservation groups in Michigan and Illinois. She holds a Master’s degree in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Art from Albion College. Catherine is the recipient of the Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship and a Morris K. Udall Scholar. She is also an artist and uses homemade, natural paints to bring visibility to urban nature. Catherine hails from the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan and loves exploring the outdoors with her husband, daughter, and courageous dog, Crux.

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Julia Kemerer – Director of Arts and Administration

Julia joined the staff of BCRW in 2006 and oversees arts exhibitions in the Brushwood gallery and arts programming as well as the administrative elements of the entire organization. Julia brings to BCRW a wealth of art management skills including past curatorial and artifact collection management experience and a passion for the creation process. Also a mixed media artist, Julia sculpts with paper, found objects, fabric, wood, and clay and paints in oil and watercolor. Julia attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and holds a degree in Art History from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her artwork has been shown in several area galleries and can also be found online. Julia lives in northern Lake County with her husband and daughter.

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Dani Abboud – Program Coordinator

Dani Abboud is the Program Coordinator of Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods. Dani plans and facilitates all art and nature based programming at Brushwood, and manages volunteers and social media. She is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability, where she studied Environmental Science and Sociology. She brings a wealth of experience in community engagement, environmental justice issues, and qualitative research. Dani is a lover of all things art and nature related, and spends her free time baking, doing yoga, and exploring her community in Rogers Park with her goofy dog, Max.

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Nanci Sarmiento – Community Engagement Fellow

Nanci Sarmiento is Brushwood Center’s new Community Engagement Fellow. She helps to build and maintain new and existing relationships with Brushwood’s community partners, as well as assisting in the programming of events. Nanci is sophomore at College of Lake County studying Political Science, with a concentration in Law. She is also an alumni of the National Hispanic Institute, and won the NHI Collegiate World Series in 2017. She is a passionate community leader, having served as a volunteer for multiple non-profit organizations and tutored students K-5th grade at Nuestro Center’s after-school program in Highwood. In her free time, she enjoys going out to eat with friends, spending time with her little brother, and writing on her blog.

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