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Board of Directors


The SSA is governed by a Board of Directors which is elected by the SSA's members. [ Become a member ]

Board members are elected for two-year terms by the members of the SSA.

Currently they are:


Evan Clark, Chair (board member since 2011)
Thousand Oaks, CA 
evan AT secularstudents DOT org ]

Evan Clark is currently the Chair of the Secular Student Alliance Board of Directors.  

Evan ClarkEvan Clark was a founder of the Secular Student Alliance at California Lutheran University. This was the first SSA affiliate officially recognized by a parochial university in the country, and he served as their President for three years. During that time, his group grew to be one of the most recognizable clubs on campus, and in 2011 was featured in an article by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

In 2010, Evan successfully was elected by his peers as California Lutheran University's Student Body President, making him the first open atheist ever to hold the position. He simultaneously continued to serve as his club president, also making him the first SSA affiliate president to simultaneously serve as a student body president.

Evan currently manages The Humanist Community, a local secular group in Thousand Oaks, CA, and works full time as a marketing specialist for LYC Mortgage, LLC.

Kathy Goodman (board member since 2012)
Kathy GoodmanKathy Goodman is assistant professor of student affairs in higher education at Miami University. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in May 2011. Her dissertation, The Influence of the Campus Climate for Diversity on College Students' Need for Cognition, focused on relationship between diversity and learning. While at Iowa, she was a research assistant at the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education. Prior to that, she held an administrative position at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Kathy’s research and teaching interests include the impact of college experiences on student development; diversity and equity in higher education; spirituality, life purpose, and atheist college students; and incorporating critical perspectives into quantitative research.

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Brendan Murphy, Treasurer (board member since 2011)
Minneapolis, MN
brendan AT secularstudents DOT org ]

Brendan MurphyBrendan Murphy was a graduate in mathematical biology, class of 2011, from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and currently continues academic research in nonlinear dynamics, deep brain stimulation, and epilepsy. His first step into the freethought and secular movement was through serving as the Finance Director for Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists - CASH from 2009 to 2011, continuing some of the annual funding legacies laid down by Joe Foley, and assisting in large event organization including debates, panels, and presentations with PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, Greta Christina, and others.

Brendan is also a photographer and musician, having played both drums and piano in numerous orchestras and jazz combos in the past, and hosts a weekly two-hour radio program dedicated to instrumental music.

He plans to attend graduate school at Boston University, pursuing a PhD in computational neuroscience in the fall of 2012.

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Ashley Carter, Secretary (board member since 2012)
St Louis, MO
ashley DOT carter AT secularstudents DOT org ] 

Ashley Carter

Ashley Carter is a 2012 graduate of the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. During law school, she founded and led the Secular Legal Society, one of only a few SSA law school affiliates. During law school, she also led an active chapter of the American Constitution Society and spent one summer interning at the Federal Communications Commission. In 2009, she graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Political Science and Philosophy. She served as President of the Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers (now the Illini Secular Student Aliance) in 2008-09. During the summer of 2008, she served as an intern for the Secular Student Alliance. In that position, she contributed to an update of the Group Running Guide and made a service trip activity packet. In 2008, she was Outreach Chair for AA&F and planned an unprecedented week-long service trip to New Orleans for her group accompanying a campus religious group, a project which earned an SSA Best Award.

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Seráh Blain (board member since 2013)
Flagstaff, AZ
Seráh BlainSeráh Blain is a full-time mom and activist, working on community development in the nontheistic movement and spearheading advocacy initiatives around issues including: solutions to homelessness; veterans support; workers' rights; LGBTQ equality; and reproductive justice.

Seráh has been a Humanist and active member of the Arizona nontheistic community since moving to the state in 2009. She co-founded the Prescott Freethinkers that year, the Flagstaff Freethinkers in 2011, and the Sedona Verde Valley Secular Freethinkers in 2012. Seráh also began volunteering for hospice in 2010 and provided training around supporting nontheists throughout their end-of-life care. Seráh served on the Board of Directors at the Prescott Pride Center from 2010 to 2012; founded the Secular Student Alliance at Prescott College in 2011 where she studied Social Ethics; and was elected to the Board of Directors at the Arizona Interfaith Movement in 2013.

Seráh served from 2010 to 2013 as a board member and Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for Arizona where she lobbied for Arizona’s atheists, agnostics, Humanists, and other freethinkers at the State Capitol. She has done a great deal of public speaking throughout the country building coalitions and promoting secular government as a vehicle to social justice. Her efforts have garnered extensive positive local and national media.

Seráh lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her two children and rescued dog.

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Alex DiBranco 
(board member since 2013)
Medford, MA
[ alex DOT dibranco AT secularstudents DOT org ]

Alex DiBrancoAlex DiBranco has written about gender and sexuality, atheist and interfaith issues, immigration, education, and the Christian Right for outlets including The Nation, Alternet, and Campus Progress. She currently is Communications Director at Political Research Associates, a social justice think tank that studies the right-wing, where she is building communications infrastructure, developing brand identity, and supporting research initiatives.

During her tenure as a Change.org editor and later senior organizer, Alex helped the company grow from six people to more than a hundred employees globally. She provided support for a variety of issue areas, with a focus on campaigns related to women's rights, especially sexual assault, and immigrant rights. She has also served as COO for a technology start-up, and researched human intelligence networks and incidents of torture in Iraq and Afghanistan for the book None of Us Were Like This Before.

While a student at Dartmouth, Alex served as editor-in-chief of the Dartmouth Free Press, a progressive counterpoint to the infamous right-wing Dartmouth Review; was deeply involved with campus activism; and graduated with a degree in English/Creative Writing. Alex will be starting a PhD in Sociology at Yale in fall 2013.

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Phil Ferguson (board member since 2012)
Urbana, IL
phil DOT ferguson AT secularstudents DOT org ]

Phil Ferguson

Phil Ferguson is a long time skeptic/atheist and avid supporter of those movements.  He is a former board member of the SSA (Secular Student Alliance) and AAI (Atheist Alliance International).  He is also the founder of Champaign Urbana Freethinkers.

Phil is also an investment advisor represetative with 16 years of experience.   He owns his own investment company – Polaris Financial Planning.   Polaris Financial Planning LLC, is a “fee-only” registered investment advisor and does not receive money from anyone other than the paying clients.  Phil Ferguson is an investment advisor representative with 15 years of experience and president of Polaris.  Polaris Financial Planning is committed to supporting the growing secular movement in the United States and donates at least 10% of all (gross not net) revenue to support this cause.

Mark D. Hatcher 
(board member since 2013)
Washingon D.C.
Mark D. Hatcher
Mark D. Hatcher is a PhD candidate of Neurophysiology at Howard University and CFO of Black Atheists of America. He started Secular Students of Howard University (SSHU), the first officially recognized secular organization at a historically black college or university. Mark has given talks for the Center for Inquiry, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington Area Secular Humanists and more.

Nancy Martin (board member since 2013)
Palo Alto, CA
[ nancy DOT martin AT secularstudents DOT org ]

Nancy Martin

Nancy Martin is currently an independent consultant and volunteer, having retired gracefully at age 65.  She is a member of the BOD for the Evolution Institute and the advisory board for the Red Butte Gardens. She was a Partner with Warburg Pincus where she was responsible for technology due diligence prior to investment and periodic reviews and trouble shooting after investment. Nancy was a trustee with Prep for Prep, a New York based charity aiding gifted youths to meet their full potential.  She was Vice President for R&D for MCI Systemhouse; Executive Director for Advanced Technology for Melville Corporation; and a Partner with Coopers & Lybrand. She was CEO and Founder of SoftPert Systems. SoftPert was sold to Coopers & Lybrand.  Nancy was founding professor of Software Engineering at Wang Institute of Graduate Studies as well as holding tenured positions at other universities. She was founder of the New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering (still going strong after over 25 years) that mentors young women.  Nancy has two daughters and four grandchildren.

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Chana Messinger (board member since 2013)
Pittsburgh, PA
Chana MessingerChana Messinger has been a high school mathematics teacher in Pittsburgh since she graduated from the University of Chicago in 2013. She studied mathematics and ran the University of Chicago's Secular Student Alliance for two years, bringing in speakers like Jesse Galef and Greta Christina, and making the SSA a primary supporter of the University of Chicago's first ever Sex Week. She has spoken at the Secular Student Alliance national conference, Chicago Skeptics, Chicago Skepticamp and on a panel at Skepticon. She is looking forward to getting involved in the secular movement through her board position. 

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Ron Millar (board member since 2012)
Ronald MillarRon Millar has been involved in progressive politics for over thirty years working on a variety of social justice issues (affirmative action, LGBT equality, voting rights, corporate regulation, abortion rights, and housing and homelessness).  From 2005 to 2009 he was the associate director of the Secular Coalition for America, where he helped transform this all-volunteer advocacy group into a professional organization with a full-time staff of five and a physical presence in Washington. Ron has a PhD in public administration and policy from Virginia Tech and a BA in Political Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Harry Shaughnessy (board member since 2013)
Wake Forest, NC
[ harry DOT shaughnessy AT secularstudents DOT org ]
Harry ShaughnessyHarry Shaughnessy is the current President of Triangle Freethought Society in Raleigh, NC. Harry has shown his creativity and enthusiasm for doing whatever was necessary to help build the organization. Through his work in various roles with TFS, Harry has been able to bring in nationally known speakers, hold successful events, rally for important causes and build a net reserve of funds that makes planning future events much easier. In addition, Harry’s leadership has played a key role in growing the membership of TFS every year since its inception in 2009. During the day Harry also runs a successful software consulting practice.

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