The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Aura Sunada Newlin as its permanent executive director, which culminates a months-long, nationwide search. She is a fourth-generation Wyomingite, fourth-generation Japanese American, graduate of the University of Wyoming and former anthropology professor at Northwest College in Powell. She was the longtime Heart Mountain board secretary before agreeing to serve as interim executive director.
A descendant of Heart Mountain incarcerees, Newlin became the foundation’s interim executive director last June 1 upon the departure of Dakota Russell, who left to become the executive director of The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association in Salem, Mass.
Newlin was selected after a search committee led by Heart Mountain board vice chair Douglas Nelson and board member Lia Nitake reviewed applications from candidates from around the country. After interviews conducted by the committee, they selected Newlin because of her intense knowledge of Heart Mountain history, academic credentials and desire to build the foundation into a leader for education and social justice.
Shirley Ann Higuchi, the foundation’s chair, said Newlin’s “selection will take our museum and the Mineta-Simpson Institute to a whole new level. Aura’s family incarceration history, her commitment to Wyoming and her credentials make her the obvious choice to lead our foundation.”
“This is an exciting time for the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation as we grow to new heights and continue to establish ourselves as a nationally relevant institution,” Newlin said. “I am humbled to continue as Executive Director for this foundation that means so much to me.”