Board of Directors
The Secular Student Alliance is governed by a Board of Directors. All members of the SSA are eligible to apply for the Board of Directors, which is elected to four-year terms by the current Board of Directors. You can become a member here.
Two seats on the Board of Directors are reserved for students or recent students to ensure their representation in the governance of the Secular Student Alliance.
The Secular Student Alliance's current Board of Directors is:
Alex DiBranco, Chair (Board Member since 2013)
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 is currently a Ph.D. student in sociology at Yale.
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. Alex was also deeply involved with campus activism while graduating with a degree in English/creative writing.
Evan Clark, Vice Chair (Board Member since 2011)
Evan is an entrepreneur, consultant, and community organizer in the greater Phoenix area. He was previously the Outreach Director for the James Woods for Congress campaign and co-founder of the Humanist Community of Ventura County in Southern California.
Evan was a founder of the Secular Student Alliance at California Lutheran University. Evan's group was the only SSA affiliate group in the country on a religious university at the time, and he served as their President for three years. In 2010, Evan was also elected by his peers as California Lutheran University's Student Body President, making him the first open atheist ever to hold the position.
Nancy Martin, Ph.D., Treasurer (Board Member since 2013)
Nancy Martin is currently an independent consultant and volunteer, having retired gracefully at age 65. She is also member of the Board of Directors for the Evolution Institute and the Advisory Board for the Red Butte Gardens.
Outside the commercial sphere, Nancy was a founding professor of Software Engineering at the Wang Institute of Graduate Studies as well as holding tenured positions at other universities. She also founded the New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering (still going strong after over 25 years) that mentors young women. Nancy also served as a trustee with Prep for Prep, a New York-based charity aiding gifted youths to meet their full potential. Nancy has two daughters and four grandchildren.
Ashley Carter, J.D., Secretary (Board Member since 2012)
Ashley Carter is a 2012 graduate of the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, currently working as a lawyer in Illinois. During law school, she founded and led the Secular Legal Society, one of the first SSA law school affiliate groups. Also during law school, she 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 2008-2009. 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 her SSA affiliate group 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.
Nick Freeman (Board Member since 2014)
Nick Freeman is an undergraduate student at North Carolina State University, double-majoring in aerospace engineering and computer science. He has a special interest in science communication and the development of sustainable urban environments and systems of mass transportation.
Nick Freeman has served as President of the Secular Student Alliance at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina since 2012. During that time he has enjoyed creating a close-knit campus community for freethinkers and nontheists and has planned a wide variety of events that engage the campus community.
In 2012 Nick co-founded the Carolinas Secular Student Summit (CS3), a regional leadership training conference built specially for student leaders of secular groups in the Southeast. He continues to serve as co-director of the annual Summit and is an active member and volunteer of the Triangle Freethought Society.
Barry Markovsky, Ph.D. (Board Member since 2014)
Barry Markovsky was the first, and is still the current, faculty advisor of the Secular Student Alliance at the University of South Carolina (one of the SSA's flagship affiliate groups). In 2010 he was named the Student Group Advisor of the Year at his university, and the next year won the award for SSA's Best Advisor in the United States. While at the University of Iowa in the 1990's he served on the state board of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Barry's field of study is sociology, and he devotes the majority of his work time to research in areas related to social psychology, as well as advocating making sociology more scientifically rigorous. For his efforts he was recently elected into the Sociological Research Association an exclusive (but non-elitist!) honor for the most active researchers in the field. He has also served as a visiting Program Director for Sociology at the National Science Foundation. His teaching at the University of South Carolina includes a course especially popular among SSA student members: Sociology of the Paranormal. That course emphasizes critical thinking and scientific research skills/tools that no good secularist should be without.
Ashley F. Miller, M.F.A. (Board Member since 2014)
Ashley F. Miller is a writer, activist, and communications scholar from South Carolina, who has worked for LGBT, secular, and women's rights for over a decade. Since 2013, she has worked as the Communications Officer for Provide, Inc., an organization dedicated to improving abortion access for women in low-access states.
Ashley is one of the leading young women in the secular movement, speaking regularly at schools and conferences across the country about feminism and communications. She has written for dozens of publications, including Salon, Freethought Blogs, and the academic journal CrossCurrents, and has run local communications campaigns for law firms, news websites, and secular organizations. Her scholarship is featured at length in the leading women's studies anthology textbook.
Ashley is currently completing her Ph.D. in mass communications at the University of South Carolina, where she has focused on women and minorities in the media. Before returning to school for her Ph.D., she worked in film and television in Los Angeles. She has a Masters in film production from Florida State University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Emory University in film studies.
Brendan Murphy (Board Member since 2011)
Brendan Murphy is a graduate student in civil engineering at the University of Minnesota. His first step into the secular movement was through serving as the Finance Director for Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists - CASH from 2009 to 2011. There, Brendan continued some of the annual funding legacies laid down by Joe Foley, and assisted in large event organization including debates, panels, and presentations with PZ Myers, Greta Christina, and others. He has also served as a lead organizer for the Skeptech conference.
Brendan is also a photographer and musician, having played both drums and piano in numerous orchestras and jazz combos in the past. He also hosts a weekly two-hour radio program dedicated to instrumental music.
Harry Shaughnessy (Board Member since 2013)
Harry Shaughnessy is the current President of Triangle Freethought Society in Raleigh, North Carolina. 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.