About Us


Vision: good scholarship.

Mission: to secure and manage gifts that provide scholarships and enhance education for students at Northwest College and the people we serve.

A committed group of 30 community leaders make up the board of directors for the Northwest College Foundation. A staff of five, including Executive Director Shelby Wetzel, manages the day-to-day affairs of the foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. You can view a list of board members here.

The organization was founded by Powell banker R.A. Nelson and incorporated on June 2, 1966. Its first priorities were acquiring land, raising funds for scholarships and capital construction projects. The first gift to the foundation was Nelson’s donation of 130 shares of Polaroid stock valued at $15,000.

Today the Foundation focuses on producing ongoing revenue for the college from both fundraising activities and investment income on endowments, which were valued at $37,774,904 as of Dec. 31, 2016.

Our Team

Shelby WetzelExecutive Director


The challenges. The variety. The people.

Those are things that Shelby Wetzel says are the best parts of coming to work every day.

“The variety of things I get to do makes me love my job,” she says.

She’s been with the foundation for more than 20 years, helping the organization grow and expand.

The work is full of exciting challenges, she says. And there’s a daily bonus: “I get to associate with amazingly generous people!”

Shelby says that nobody grows up saying, “I want to be a fundraiser.”  But her education in journalism and marketing prepared her to interact well with people in writing and in person.  Throw in her MBA degree and she has the necessary skills to manage the fundraising and financial operations of the foundation.

As a Powell native, Shelby feels connected to the local area and its people.

“I appreciate the significant role Northwest College fills educationally and economically for the region.”

Shelby says her family is “‘at the heart’ of everything I do – holidays when my three kids are home with my husband and me; Sunday night dinners with extended family; making memories in the mountains of Wyoming or on an exotic beach.  Nothing beats being together.”

After family, Shelby is passionate about education, serving the community and helping people.  Her parents, Dave and Diane Bonner, taught her to invest herself in activities that benefit the community and its future.

“I’m so lucky that my work combines many of the things I value dearly,” she says.

When not cooking up a way to help students, she loves to cook for family and friends.

“I also like to eat, so searching for great restaurants wherever I travel makes for entertainment as well,” she says. “And for now, brewing beer is my latest form of cooking fun!”


Carol BellDevelopment Manager


I love the people on campus.  They’re all dedicated to improving the lives of students, and they really want to support me in doing my job.  I have never felt so supported in my work, and I have never been a part of such a cohesive team,” says Carol Bell.

Bell grew up on a ranch in Shell, Wyoming, and she went to college at the University of Kentucky.  After 7 long and lonely years in Lexington, she finally convinced her husband to take a job in Cody, WY.  She’s been a part of the NWC community ever since, teaching as an adjunct in the English Department when she first moved back to Wyoming in 1992, then paying tuition for her daughter (an NWC graduate), and finally serving on the NWC Foundation Board during her years as a small business owner. “I saw firsthand what a huge difference our generous donors made in the lives of college students each year. When the opportunity arose to work for a cause that I was already passionate about, I just couldn’t pass up the chance,” Carol says. Raising money for NWC students and programs allows her to stay connected to friends and family from all over the region, and she also enjoys meeting new people. Helping them all to make a difference in the lives of young people makes working at the Foundation the most fulfilling job Bell has known.

When she’s not at work, Bell enjoys young people, especially her nieces and nephews. She’s passionate about cooking and eating, and has taught a kids cooking class off and on for over 20 years.  She loves reading, and she’s an avid cyclist and outdoorswoman.

When Bell first moved to Lexington, KY in the 80s, she worked as a carpenter’s apprentice in a custom furniture shop. Though she mostly sanded and polished the works of experienced carpenters, she finished one coffee table all by herself. “Somewhere in KY is a beautiful walnut table with my signature and the date on the bottom. Though I’ve lost my nerve for using a table saw, I still enjoy tackling home improvement projects. I can usually handle the demolition myself, and then I call for backup when it’s time to rebuild.”


Sue WoodsFoundation Analyst


Sue Woods counts herself fortunate to be in a position to witness the generosity of donors and work with talented colleagues on the foundation staff.

The candy dish in the office is also a big plus, she says.

Her family ties to NWC and the Foundation run deep. When Bill Woods took his first position teaching Biology and Life Sciences at NWC in 1961, it was for him a step along the way to an envisioned career somewhere else.

Thirty years later, he had served as dean of administrative services, as NWC’s first foundation director and as the college’s compliance Officer.  NWC was not just a place he worked, it was a place he and his family had come to know as a way of living.

During the years he and wife Dolores were raising their four daughters, Jane, Sue, Ann and Megan, the college provided space and opportunities for personal and community growth.  They spent countless hours in classrooms for 4-H meetings or fly-tying class, the faculty lounge for Mother’s Day teas and style reviews, in the auditorium for theatrical and musical performances and in the cafeteria and dorms on summer or work-study crews.

Eventually, all four girls would start or re-start their formal educations at NWC, and would continue to support the college as volunteers and faithful employees. And now a new generation of family connections to NWC is underway, with grandchildren enrolling as students.

Sue is passionate about many things, but two rise to the surface.

One passion is finding a good restaurant in the area or wherever she travels.

The other is her addiction to her shows.

“My secret single behavior is that I am addicted to reality TV, so I DVR all my shows and hope nobody looks at the queue before I can get them watched and deleted.

“I have to sneak around late at night or when nobody’s home in order to get see them. It’s exhausting to have this secret.”


Cindy JacobsFoundation Technician


Cindy Jacobs, Northwest College’s foundation technician, relies on her colleagues for information and support. They are one of the best parts of coming to work every day.

“My co-workers are very helpful and they don’t seem to mind all of my questions!” she says. “I look forward to learning more from them. I am finding out, very quickly, that there is a lot of variety in this position, and I look forward to the challenge.”

Cindy is a Wyoming native and graduated from Powell High School and attended the University of Wyoming. She returned to Powell and settled down, getting married and raising a family. Before joining the foundation staff at NWC, she spent 13 years in the banking industry and 10 years in education.

“I love working with kids,” she says. “It is a wonderful feeling to help them grow and spread their wings. I love it when a student comes back to see me after they have graduated just to say ‘hi.’ That’s when you know you have had an impact on them.”

Cindy also loves to clog. When her two now-grown daughters were still at home, she spent a lot of time traveling across the region to dance with clogging groups. For the last few years, clogging has been replaced by camping and four wheeling with her husband. They also spend time with family, including her “wonderful” son-in-law and “exceptional” grandson.

Tawnya PetersonDevelopment Coordinator


What’s the best part of coming to work at NWC every day?

The beautiful campus and friendly people! I’ve always said that I would love to go to college full-time if somebody paid me. Working for the Foundation is the next best thing! I can hear the English and Japanese classes right from my office. I’m new to Powell and to Northwest College and so far I feel right at home and look forward to being part of such an energizing work culture.

What experiences — upbringing, education, studies, travel — do you draw from?

I’m a Wyoming native, growing up in Thermopolis.   I loved growing up in a small community and was very active in 4-H. I learned everything from how to correctly measure flour, how to hem a skirt, and how to raise grand champion Mini-Rex Rabbits.

After high school I did a Rotary Exchange to Belgium where I gained my love of traveling. From there, I attended the University of Wyoming and received a dual major in Business Administration and French.

What are you passionate about?

My son. I love being a mom to a boy. I grew up in a house with all girls so he definitely keeps me on my toes and has opened my eyes to the world of superheroes.

I love spending time with my family, traveling to new places, and getting ideas from Pinterest for a new cooking dish.

What fun thing would you like people to know about you?

I can barely swim but I’m a certified scuba diver.