STAFF & BOARD
Who We Are
Rev. Kristina J. Peterson, PHD, Facilitator, former Senior Research Associate with the Center for Hazards Assessment Response and Technology (U.N.O.- C.H.A.R.T.) at the University of New Orleans, conducted research on historic and contemporary efforts of successful community resilience. She helped create safe venues for participation and discourse on coastal issues with and for traditional and indigenous high-risk coastal communities in Southeast Louisiana. Peterson coordinated a N.O.A.A. resiliency project in the Jean Lafitte region and was the project coordinator of a grassroots planning engagement effort in Plaquemines Parish funded through the Greater New Orleans Foundation targeting traditionally excluded populations. A summer project with N.S.F. and N.C.A.R., enabled Peterson to place three physical science students in community-based projects to help build knowledge in addressing land and cultural loss utilizing Participatory Action Research and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. A recent grant received from the Praxis Project is enabling communities to build upon the N.S.F. – N.C.A.R. work to have a more robust presence in food policies as they pertain to the Gulf Coast, especially with regard to threatened subsistence seafood and garden harvests with four indigenous and one rural Afro-American communities. A current project with U.S.D.A.- N.R.C.S. supports the recent development of the First Peoples’ Conservation Council (LouisianaFPCC.org). She pastors the Bayou Blue Presbyterian Church.
Alessandra Jerolleman, PhD, MPA, CFM, Treasurer. Alessandra Jerolleman is Vice President of Louisiana Water Works, and also a Senior Emergency Management and Hazard Mitigation Planner for JEO Consulting Group Inc. She currently teaches for Tulane University and Jacksonville State University. Dr. Jerolleman’s experience includes the following: serving as a Program Specialist in the Gulf Coast with Save the Children USA, working on a resilience initiative around children’s needs in emergencies; hazard mitigation planning at the local, state and campus level; community education and outreach regarding mitigation measures and preparedness; development of collaborative networks and information sharing avenues among practitioners; and, delivery of training and education to various stakeholders. Dr. Jerolleman is one of the founders of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA) and served as its Executive Director for its first seven years. She is involved in various aspects of planning and policy and the national and local level, including participation in several workshops each year. Dr. Jerolleman speaks on many topics including: hazard mitigation and climate change; campus planning; threat, hazard and vulnerability assessments; hazard mitigation planning; protecting children in disasters; and, public/private partnerships.
She is a member of the Community Resilience Advisory Group to the Louisiana Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority, and sits on the Executive Committee of the American Society of Public Administration’s Section on Emergency and Crisis Management. She previously served as one of the Tri-Chairs for the National Hazard Mitigation Collaborative Alliance and sat on the board of the Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership. She is the co-author of a textbook, “Natural Hazard Mitigation,” published by CRC Press in 2012, with a second textbook, “The Private Sector’s Role in Disasters,” due to be published by CRC Press in 2015. She obtained her doctoral degree at the University of New Orleans in 2013 for her dissertation titled: The Privatization of Hazard Mitigation: A Case Study of the Creation and Implementation of a Federal Program. Dr. Jerolleman has acquired wide-ranging experience in the private, non-profit, and academic sectors.
Alessandra presented at the - A Community Conversation on Flood Risk as a
Panelist, Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative 2015 ~
Her recent publications:
106 Sandalwood Dr.
Gray, LA 70359
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Lowlander Center Board
THERESA DARDAR, is a strong leader for her region and a tribal council member of the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe. She is a powerful voice for her community, serving as a representative and spokesperson for her tribe at local, state, national and international forums, such as the United Nations’ Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples Conference. She has participated in the Intertribal Agricultural Network and has represented the Gulf Coast Fund in various capacities. She works as a Native American liaison and in Safe Environment (Pastoral Service) at the Houma-Thibodaux Diocese. She is also President of St. Charles the Roch, Kateri Circle, which is a branch of the Tekakwitha Conference. Theresa also serves on the St. Charles Pastoral Church Council and is a board member of Go Fish. She is a member of the Grail, a Catholic lay movement supporting the human rights of women. Theresa has been a participant/leader in Church Women United an ecumenical women’s movement that fights against racial prejudice. She spends most of her time traveling between political, professional, academic and organizational realms to voice justice concerns for her tribe and for the greater native community. When she does find herself at home, Theresa enjoys cooking special local bayou dishes and being out on the water and shrimping with her husband.
LOUISE FORTMAN, is Professor of Natural Resource Sociology, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California at Berkeley. In 2008 she edited, Participatory Research in Conservation and Rural Livelihoods: Doing Science Together (Routledge), including contributions from both conventional scientists doing participatory research and the village experts (civil scientists) who collaborated in the research. She has done research in California and East and Southern Africa where her inability to milk a cow has amused many villagers.
REV. RICHARD KRAJESKI, has served the Presbyterian Church and the ecumenical community as an ordained pastor for over 40 years and the disaster response community for 30 years. He spent 40 years as a pastor in the mountains of Kentucky and West Virginia and now lives and works in the delta area of Southern Louisiana – all places of ‘economic, environmental and human extraction’. He is active in environmental and social justice ministries. Dick’s academic background includes degrees in philosophy and theology. His doctoral studies were in the area of applied technology, sustainable development, and ethics. He has been instrumental in introducing the concept of mitigation, vulnerability and resilience to the disaster and mission ministries of the religious community. Rev. Krajeski is a founding member of the international Gender and Disaster Network as well as a founding board member of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association. He is a Fellow in the Society for Applied Anthropology.
SHIRLEY LASKA, is Professor Emerita of Sociology and Founding Past Director of the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology at the University of New Orleans (UNO-CHART). Her specialties include hazard mitigation, environmental sociology, long-term recovery and enhancement of community resiliency through community engagement processes. Multiple powerful hurricanes, the catastrophic BP oil spill and massive coastal land loss all occurring in the coastal Louisiana area occupy her applied research time as has the tornado which struck her Massachusetts hometown in 2011. She recently was a member of the team that completed research on a project to introduce Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to scientific coastal restoration decision-making, another on an analysis of the role of live talk-show hosted radio in disaster recovery and response and also research on the impact of the BP spill on Gulf coast residents three years after, especially as another ‘layer’ of impact with the multiple hurricanes, coastal land loss, and other events. She is beginning a project on the enhancement of interdisciplinary collaborative research capacity with Kristina Peterson and Maxine Atkinson, North Carolina State University. She has co-created the applied non-profit organization, the Lowlander Center, with Kristina Peterson and works with her on the challenges which the Native American communities in coastal Louisiana face due to climate change and the other damage-inducing dynamics of the coast such as oil and gas exploration and production. Finally, she is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Natural Hazards Mitigation Association, and serves on the Science and Engineering Advisory Committee (SEAC) of The Water Institute of the Gulf and the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the National Flood Insurance Program prompted by the Biggert/Waters Act.
EVAN PONDER, an Oregonian, joined coastal Louisiana efforts in 2010 upon graduation from Grinnell College, Iowa. He became engaged when he accepted a year appointment as a Presbyterian Young Adult Volunteer (YAV), a community engagement opportunity for young church members. He remained in Louisiana following this appointment and has been continually involved in both urban and small town initiatives. He is currently Community Liaison for Project Homecoming (http://projecthomecoming.net/our-role/meet-the-team/), a center founded in 2007 to gut and restore homes for working class residents in the Greater New Orleans Area post Hurricane Katrina. He supports the efforts of coastal communities, especially those with significant minority membership, by serving as a grant writer to acquire needed resources for such communities’ sustainability. His efforts have included the funding for the Coastal Communities Collaborative participation in the EAT4Health Project as well as numerous other projects.