Who We Are

The Evolution Institute is governed by many individuals from the professional and scientific communities.   We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  The co-founders were David Sloan Wilson and Jerome Lieberman, who are both active in the organization and on the Board.  The Board members serve as officers  and are: David Wilson, President;  Peter Turchin, Vice-President;  Jerome Lieberman, Secretary/Treasurer.  We also utilize many individuals as advisors, both organizationally and scientifically.

"The Evolution Institute is a bold and imaginative way to place the central issues of evolution--crucial to biology and to human self-understanding--into the mainstream of public affairs. " --Edward O. Wilson, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

Board of Directors
Our organization is governed by a Board of Directors.
David Sloan Wilson

This View of Life Editor in Chief, President of Evolution Institute

David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He applies evolutionary theory to all aspects of humanity in addition to the rest of life, both in his own research and as director of EvoS, a unique campus-wide evolutionary studies program that recently received NSF funding to expand into a nationwide consortium. His books include Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society, Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives, and The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time and Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others. .

Peter Turchin

Vice President

Curriculum Vitae

Peter Turchin is an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Connecticut who works in the field of historical social science that he and his colleagues call Cliodynamics. His research interests lie at the intersection of social and cultural evolution, historical macrosociology, economic history and cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Currently he investigates a set of broad and interrelated questions. How do human societies evolve? In particular, what processes explain the evolution of ultrasociality—our capacity to cooperate in huge anonymous societies of millions? Why do we see such a staggering degree of inequality in economic performance and effectiveness of governance among nations? Turchin uses the theoretical framework of cultural multilevel selection to address these questions. Currently his main research effort is directed at coordinating the Seshat Databank project, which builds a massive historical database of cultural evolution that will enable us to empirically test theoretical predictions coming from various social evolution theories.

Turchin has published 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including a dozen in Nature, Science, and PNAS. His publications are frequently cited and in 2004 he was designated as “Highly cited researcher” by ISIHighlyCited.com. Turchin has authored seven books. His most recent book is Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth (Beresta Books, 2016).

Jerry Lieberman

Secretary/Treasurer

Jerry is the co-founder and secretary/treasurer of the Evolution Institute. Prior to the establishment of EI as a non-profit in 2010, he served as president of the Humanists of Florida Association, which is affiliated with the American Humanist Association and was EI’s initial umbrella organization in 2008. Jerry presently serves on the boards of the Secular Student Alliance, Florida Consumer Action Network (FCAN) Foundation, and Project Now Inter-generational Outreach. The lattermost is a neighborhood-based organization in East Tampa, FL with one of the state’s lowest income populations. EI collaborates closely with Project Now – providing technical assistance and organizational capacity building.

Jerry concluded his formal education in 1973 when he was awarded his PhD from New York University. Prior to his retirement in 2002, he was founder and director of the Florida Community Partnership Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The center harnesses the massive human and technical resources within a large, comprehensive state university to improve the quality of life in impoverished neighborhoods in the Tampa Bay region. Before his retirement, he successfully created an endowment for his center, and it is now named the Jim Walter Partnership Center – as a result of a large donation from a family well known for affordable housing development.

Before Jerry moved to Florida in 1989, he was a professor of political science in New Jersey for 25 years at Essex County College in Newark and at William Paterson University in Wayne. While at the former institution, he founded the Urban Institute and served as a dean. Governors of the state appointed him to serve on several boards that impacted NJ higher education as well as its electoral process.

His background also includes extensive political campaign experience in the Democratic Party and experience as a professional consultant (including for the Meadowland Chamber of Commerce) and as a principal in an investment bank and import export company. In addition to teaching, research, and deep community engagement, he has been active in fundraising for organizations and political candidates that share his progressive values.

Michelle Shimberg

Evolution Institute Director

Michelle Shimberg has been a school policy activist for nearly twenty years, helping to shape policy and programs for the 8th largest school district in the country. During this time she has built effective relationships with elected officials as well as administrators and parents that led to important changes.

In addition to her work on education, Ms. Shimberg serves on the Board of Starting Right, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness through multiple strategies.  She also serves as an officer of Men of Vision,  a group that provides support to at-risk males.

She is twice the past president of Delta Delta Delta Fraternity, an organization of more than 200,000 women.

Julie Seaman

Evolution Institute Director

Curriculum Vitae

Julie Seaman is an Associate Professor of Law at Emory University, where she teaches courses in evidence, constitutional law, and freedom of speech. After earning her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1989, she served for two years as a law clerk for federal district court Judge Robert J. Ward and then took ten years off from her professional career to stay home with her three young children. She began teaching at Emory Law School soon after moving to Atlanta in 1998. Her research interests include issues at the intersection of law and neuroscience and the application of social, cognitive, and evolutionary psychology to the problem of hate speech in various institutional contexts.

Julie holds a B.A. (summa cum laude) in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard University, where she was on the editorial board of the Harvard Law Review.

Alphonso Mayfield

A union leader for more than eight years, Alphonso Mayfield is an emerging leader in the labor movement who, in a very short time, changed the direction of the labor movement in Florida by bridging the gap between communities and unions.

Additionally Mr. Mayfield is an Executive Board member of SEIU International and Secretary Treasurer for SEIU Florida State Council. He is also an Executive Board member of Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, and Hip Hop Congress. He is also a Board of Trustee of the Florida Democratic Party.

Mr. Mayfield has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Alcorn State University and is an aspiring Master’s degree candidate in Public Relations from Jackson State University.

Nina Witoszek

Professor Nina Witoszek is currently Research Director at the Centre for Development and the Environment at Oslo University. Prior to her work at SUM, she taught comparative cultural history at the National University of Ireland in Galway (1995-1997) and the European University in Florence (1997-1999). She held fellowships at the Swedish Collegium of the Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Uppsala (1993), Robinson College, Cambridge (1995) and Mansfield College, Oxford (2001) and visiting professorship at Stanford University (2010).

Nina Witoszek is also a fiction writer (under the pen name Nina FitzPatrick). She is best known for the infamous collection of short stories, Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia (1991), which won the Irish Times-Aer Lingus Award for fiction in 1991. The prize was subsequently withdrawn when she couldn’t prove her Irish ancestry. Until 2001 her fictional work – including The Loves of Faustyna (1995) and Daimons (2003), as well as several well film scripts – was written together with her late husband Pat Sheeran.

Witoszek is the recipient of the Norwegian Freedom of Expression Foundation (Fritt Ord) Award for “bringing Eastern European perspectives to the public debate in Scandinavia.” In 2006 she was chosen by the Norwegian daily Dagbladet as “one of the 10 most important intellectuals in Norway.”

Kenneth Reardon

Ken Reardon is professor and director of the master’s program in Urban Planning and Community Developmen at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Prior to joining UMass Boston he was director of the graduate program for the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Memphis. Prior to joining the Memphis faculty, Reardon was an associate professor and chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning at AAP, where he pursued research, teaching, and outreach in the areas of neighborhood planning, community development, and community/university development partnerships. During his time in Ithaca, he coordinated the department’s New Orleans Planning Initiative, which produced a recovery plan for the Ninth Ward. Before joining the Cornell faculty, Reardon was a tenured planning professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where his work in establishing the East St. Louis Action Research Project earned him the AICP President’s Award and the Dale Prize for Excellence in City Planning.