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.
On an annual basis, the current Board of Directors elects new Board Members to fill those seats that are up for election. We reserve two seats on the Board of Directors for students or recent students to ensure their representation in the governance of the Secular Student Alliance. Further details about the nominations and elections process may be obtained by contacting our Secretary.
The Secular Student Alliance's current Board of Directors is:
Alex DiBranco, Chair (Board Member since 2013)
Alex DiBranco has written about reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, atheist and interfaith issues, and the Christian Right for outlets including The Nation, Alternet, and RH Reality Check. She is currently a Ph.D. student in sociology at Yale.
As a Change.org editor and later senior organizer, Alex helped the company grow from six people to over a hundred employees globally. She supported a variety of issue areas, focusing on campaigns regarding 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.
As an undergraduate, Alex served as editor-in-chief of the Dartmouth Free Press, a progressive counterpoint to the infamous right-wing Dartmouth Review. Alex was deeply involved with campus activism at Dartmouth 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. He also recently led the re-branding and website redesign process for the International Darwin Day Foundation.
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's professional experience and expertise is extensive. She held Partnerships at Warburg Pincus and Coopers & Lybrand, was the Vice President for R&D at MCI Systemhouse, the Executive Director for Advanced Technology for Melville Corporation, and founded SoftPert Systems (later sold to Coopers & Lybrand).
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, an organization that has successfully mentored young women for the last twenty-five years. Nancy also served as a trustee with Prep for Prep, a New York-based charity aiding gifted youths to meet their full potential.
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 her university’s SSA affiliate group in 2008-2009. Part of her campus leadership included planning an unprecedented week-long service trip to New Orleans for her group accompanying a campus religious group (earning her group a national award from the SSA). During the summer of 2008, she served as an intern for the national offices of the Secular Student Alliance.
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 served as President of the SSA affiliate group at NCSU from 2012-2014, and currently serves as an advisor. 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 SSA affiliate group at the University of South Carolina. In 2010 he was named the Student Group Advisor of the Year at his university, and the next year won a national award from the SSA for his advising support. While at the University of Iowa in the 1990's he served on the state Board of Directors 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 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.
Ashley F. Miller, M.F.A. (Board Member since 2014)
Ashley F. Miller is a writer, activist, and communications scholar 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 speaks 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. She has also led 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. She previously worked in film and television in Los Angeles. Ashley also holds an M.F.A. from Florida State University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Emory University.
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 the SSA affiliate group at the University of Minnesota from 2009 to 2011. There, Brendan continued the affiliate group’s annual funding legacy, and assisted in large event organization including debates, panels, and presentations with PZ Myers, Greta Christina, and others.
With his return to his alma mater for graduate school in 2014, Brendan has again taken a financial leadership role with his SSA affiliate group. Brendan has also served as a lead organizer for the Skeptech conference in 2013 and 2014. Brendan also takes a leadership role in advocating for sustainable transportation options — including bicycles — in the Twin Cities area.
Harry Shaughnessy (Board Member since 2013)
Harry Shaughnessy is the current President of Triangle Freethought Society in 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.
In 2015, CNN featured Harry and his family in a front-page piece entitled "the friendly atheists next door." During the day Harry also runs a successful software consulting practice.