President: Theresa Dardar
Vice President: Rosina Philippe
Treasurer: Evan Ponder
Evan is currently a graduate student in Social Work focusing on Community Health and Urban Development at the Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago. Evan works at the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA).
Acting Secretary: Louise Fortmann
At Large: May Nguyen
J.D., UCLA Law School
M.A., Johns Hopkins University
B.A., Amherst College
At Large: Michele Companion
Shirley Laska, PhD, completed 35 years of academic work, principally as a research manager at the University of New Orleans, before retiring in 2009 and transitioning her efforts to full-time applied research.
Shirley co-founded the Lowlander Center with Kristina Peterson in 2009. Their goal was (and is) to commit their time fully to the support of coastal and bayou communities of Louisiana through service to community goals and applied research similarly to support their successful sustainability. The challenge of supporting communities so threatened by land loss and powerful riverine flooding, coastal storm inundation and oil spills is that sustainability adjustments may in the end be inadequate to these communities being able to remain in place. The Lowlander philosophy is that the sustainability skills developed in their effort to remain in place can be used to resettle inland if conditions warrant, i.e. “between now and then.”
Shirley was educated at Boston University, Tulane University and a Post-doc with the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in Cali, Colombia. She has taught at Dillard University and the University of New Orleans where she created two research centers, one directed toward environmental sociology and the other applied disaster mitigation and served as Vice President of Research for eight of the 35 years. She is (almost) a lifelong resident of coastal Louisiana.
Anthony Laska has combined formal education in Louisiana coastal ecology, more than two decades of training and experience in environmental planning, building performance and energy management and a deep understanding of natural system elements and processes to support innovative and sustainable projects and programs to enhance community resilience.