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:
Brendan Murphy, Treasurer
Ashley Carter, Secretary
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 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.
Brendan Murphy, Treasurer (board member since 2011)
[ brendan AT secularstudents DOT org ]
Brendan 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.
Ashley Carter, Secretary (board member since 2012)
St Louis, MO
[ ashley DOT carter AT secularstudents DOT org ]
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.
Frank Bellamy (board member since 2011)
[ Frank AT secularstudents DOT org ]
Frank Bellamy's involvement in the secular student movement started when he joined the SSA at the University of Delaware in 2006. After serving as that group's president for two years, he began graduate school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), where he founded the SSA at RPI and fought hard to get funding for it from the student union. In addition to his work leading SSA affiliates, Frank managed SSA's newsletter, the eMpirical, for almost two years. He greatly enjoyed being a counselor at Camp Quest Chesapeake during the summer of 2011, and hopes to continue his involvement in Camp Quest. In the fall of 2011, he began law school at the University of Virginia, where he founded the Secular Legal Society at UVA.
Alex DiBranco (board member since 2013)
[ alex DOT dibranco AT secularstudents DOT org ]
Alex 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.
[ phil DOT ferguson AT secularstudents DOT org ]
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.
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.
Nancy Martin (board member since 2013)
Palo Alto, CA
[ nancy DOT martin AT secularstudents DOT org ]
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.
[ ronald DOT millar AT secularstudents DOT org ]
Wake Forest, NC
[ harry DOT shaughnessy AT secularstudents DOT org ]
Ron Verstappen is a former software engineer and entrepreneur. As founder of Wombat Financial Software Inc., he grew the company from a one person consulting shop to a company of about 150 employees before selling the business to the New York Stock Exchange (NYX) in 2008. Ron now spends most of his time travelling and managing various investment opportunities. Ron lives in Incline Village, Nevada.
Lamar White (board member since 2013)
[ lamar DOT white AT secularstudents DOT org ]
Lamar is a Louisiana native, an award-winning writer and activist, a graduate of Rice University, and a second year law student at Southern Methodist University. After earning a degree in Religious Studies and English, Lamar moved back to his hometown of Alexandria and served for five years as a deputy chief of staff for Mayor Jacques Roy. Lamar worked with Mayor Roy to create and manage the city's largest-ever redevelopment initiative, an innovative and nationally-acclaimed crime prevention initiative, and a comprehensive resiliency plan.
Lamar is also an award-winning writer, blogger, and activist. In 2006, he launched CenLamar.com, which has since become one of the most influential and widely-read political websites in Louisiana. His work and research have been cited by numerous national and international publications.
During the last three years, Lamar has worked closely with science education activist Zack Kopplin on the repeal of Louisiana's creationism in the classroom law. Together, Zack and Lamar have exposed the ways in which voucher programs subsidize creationist schools. Currently, Lamar is helping Zack launch the Second Giant Leap, a non-profit organization that promotes increased funding for scientific research and development.
Lamar lives in Dallas with his golden retriever, Lucy Anna.