Board Members

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President: Theresa Dardar

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Vice President: Rosina Philippe

Treasurer: Evan Ponder

Acting Secretary: Louise Fortmann

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At Large: May Nguyen

Nguyen is the Community Outreach Director at Tulane Law School’s Environmental Law Clinic and practices law part time at Garcia Law Firm
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In 2013, Nguyen received the Rishwain Social Justice Entrepreneur Award for designing and implementing a novel “impact claims” campaign strategy to demand recognition and calculate damages for lost subsistence use due to the BP oil drilling disaster. After Hurricane Katrina, Nguyen created culturally competent small business assistance programs and organized partnerships among diverse stakeholders to attract over $4 million in grants and low-interest loans to rebuild neighborhood businesses in New Orleans east. Her work was detailed in “Coming Home to New Orleans,” published in 2013 by Oxford University Press. Nguyen is fluent in Vietnamese and proficient in Spanish.

J.D., UCLA Law School

M.A., Johns Hopkins University

B.A., Amherst College

At Large: Michele Companion


Team Members

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Alessandra Jerolleman

Alessandra Jerolleman is a subject matter expert in climate adaptation, hazard mitigation, and resilience with a long history of working in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
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Dr. Jerolleman is the Vice President of Louisiana Water Works where she works on projects related to integrated water management and resilience. She is also currently supporting the flood recovery efforts in Baton Rouge with FEMA and supporting climate adaptation efforts for local communities along the Gulf Coast with the Lowlander Center. She currently teaches for Tulane University, the University of New Orleans, and Jacksonville State University. Dr. Jerolleman’s experience includes the following: working as the lead grant writer and emergency planner for the First Peoples’ Conservation Council, working with the Lowlander Center on coastal community resettlement, community based resilience planning across the United States, 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. PHD, MPA, CFM



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Shirley Laska

Amy Lesen

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Dick Krajeski

Rev. Richard L Krajeski has served the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) and the ecumenical- interfaith community as an ordained pastor for over 50 years and the disaster response community as a scholar/advocate for over 30 years.
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He spent 40 years as a pastor in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky and West Virginia and 12 years in the delta - bayou area of southeast Louisiana – all places of ‘economic, environmental extraction and human exploitation’. He is actively engaged in environmental and social justice issues. Dick’s academic background includes degrees in philosophy, history and theology. His doctoral program was in applied technology, with concentration on 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. He led the country’s largest VISTA program as a response to massive plant and mine closures and then helped the program engage in disaster mitigation work following the 1985 flood. 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 and the Lowlander Center where he was the founding president. He is a Fellow in the Society for Applied Anthropology and was awarded the distinguish service award by Church World Service Disaster Response for his work in developing justice based community disaster response and mitigation programs particularly in large scale disasters. His present interests include exploring the nature of just resilience and just collaborative co-creation of knowledge (research).



Tony Laska


AmeriCorps VISTA Members

Katie Dehart

Kandi Dardar

Carmalita Sylve