Our non-profit organization is governed by a Board of Directors.
Board of Directors
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Lori Wiser is an accomplished senior executive whose career spans positions in Public Relations, Account Services, Consumer Insights, and Strategy, working on global brands such as McDonald’s, Verizon, and Volkswagen. Ms. Wiser’s behaviorally-driven strategic approach leverages the social sciences including: ethnography, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, symbolism, and behavioral economics to build analytic models. Her work has helped win industry awards, such as a Silver Anvil and a Gold Effie.
Guru Madhavan is the inaugural Norman R. Augustine Senior Scholar and director of programs of the National Academy of Engineering where he leads and oversees activities of broad scope and complexity focused on engineering practice, education, research, communication, and policies. His portfolio of work at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has included leading the analyses for making prescription medicines affordable and developing a national strategy for cancer control in the U.S., directing a global health forum on infectious diseases, and conducting the research, design, and development of a systems analysis platform for prioritizing new vaccines and related interventions. A systems engineer by background, he received his M.S. and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and an M.B.A. from the State University of New York. He has served as a technical adviser to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has worked in the medical device industry as a research scientist developing cardiac surgical catheters for ablation therapy, and has been a strategic consultant for technology startup firms and nonprofit organizations. He has served as a vice-president of IEEE-USA and was a founding member of the Global Young Academy. Among numerous honors, he has received the National Academies’ Innovator Award, National Academy of Medicine’s Cecil Medal, AAMI–Becton Dickinson Award for Professional Achievement, Washington Academy of Sciences’ Krupsaw Award for engineering sciences and education, Professional Achievement Award from the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, and has been named a distinguished young scientist by the World Economic Forum. His publications include the nonfiction ``Applied Minds: How Engineers Think`` (W.W. Norton) that has been translated into many languages. For his books and lectures, he has received the IEEE-USA Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering Public Understanding and the Advancement of the Engineering Profession
David F. Bjorklund is a Professor of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University where teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in developmental and evolutionary psychology. He served as Associate Editor of Child Development (1997-2001) and is currently serving as Editor of the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology (since 2007). His books include The Origins of Human Nature: Evolutionary Developmental Psychology (with Anthony Pellegrini); Origins of the Social Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and Child Development (edited with Bruce Ellis); Why Youth is Not Wasted on the Young; How Children Invented Humanity; and Children's Thinking: Cognitive Development and Individual Differences, now in its sixth edition. His current research interests include children's cognitive development and evolutionary developmental psychology.
Dr. Joon Yun is President and Managing Partner of Palo Alto Investors LP, a healthcare hedge fund founded in 1989. Board certified in radiology, Joon served on the clinical faculty at Stanford from 2000-2006. Joon has served on numerous boards, and he is currently a trustee of the Salk Institute. Joon and his wife Kimberly launched the $1 million Palo Alto Longevity Prize in 2013 to reverse the aging process and recently donated $2 million to launch the National Academy of Medicine Aging and Longevity Grand Challenge. He earned his M.D. at Duke and A.B. in Biology at Harvard.
Michele Gelfand is Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Gelfand uses field, experimental, computational and neuroscience methods to understand the evolution of culture and its multilevel consequences. Her work has been published in outlets such as Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Psychological Science, Nature Scientific Reports, Nature Human behavior, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Applied Psychology, Research in Organizational Behavior, Annual Review of Psychology, American Psychologist, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, among others. Gelfand is the founding co-editor of the Advances in Culture and Psychology annual series and Frontiers of Culture and Psychology series (with CY Chiu and Ying-Yi Hong, Oxford University Press). Her book Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire the World was published by Scribner in 2018. She is the Past President of the International Association for Conflict Management, Past Division Chair of the Conflict Division of the Academy of Management, Past Treasurer of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, and co-founder of the Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution. She received the 2016 Diener award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the 2017 Outstanding International Psychologist Award from the APA, the 2019 Outstanding Cultural Psychology Award from SPSP, the 2020 Katzell Award from SIOP, and the Annaliese Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019.
Executive Advisory Board
Mark Nouss was the president of the UF Alumni Association and a board member of both Tampa General Hospital Foundation and Mary Lee’s House in Tampa. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UF in 1981, a juris doctor from UF in 1985, and a master’s degree in law taxation from New York University in 1986. Before taking his current sabbatical from the practice of law, Mark was most recently financial director at JP Morgan Chase in New York. Prior to this, he was special counsel and a tax associate for almost 10 years at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York.
Barbara Oakley is a Professor of Engineering at Oakland University. She is involved in multiple areas of research, ranging from STEM education, to Engineering education, to learning practices. Most notably, Professor Oakley has co-created and taught Learning How To Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects available on Coursera. It has become the world’s most popular online course. She is also the author of A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) and has been featured in a number of popular media outlets. Oakley has most recently been featured in the Wall Street Journal with an op-ed article entitled How We Should Be Teaching Math.
Former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Prudential, Inc. Bernard oversaw the U.S. businesses of Prudential, where he managed over 450 billion dollars of assets. Before joining Prudential, he held executive positions at Taubman Centers, Inc., a national regional shopping center company, the Bendix Corporation, and the U.S. Treasury. A University of Chicago Bachelor of Arts graduate, he has a long standing interest in evolution that led to his association with the Evolution Institute. It was Bernard who originally proposed that “The Nature of Regulation” should become one of our focal topics.
The Evolution Institute operates with both operational staff and project-based individuals working around the globe.
Ashle has worked in the non-profit sector both in the US and UK for over 10 years, in addition to her role as research assistant for the University of Oxford and Queen’s University Belfast. She holds an MA in Cognition and Culture and an MA in nonprofit Management, with an emphasis on cultural institutions.
Eric Michael Johnson received his masters degree in evolutionary anthropology and he pursued his dissertation on bonobo (Pan paniscus) behavioral ecology before switching fields to work on the history of evolutionary biology in late-19th century England, Europe and Russia. In addition to publishing original research in such places as the Journal of Human Evolution and American Journal of Physical Anthropology, he has written on evolutionary topics for general audiences at Slate, Times Higher Education, Discover, Wired, Psychology Today and many others. He is a longtime advocate of science communication online and has spoken at academic as well as social media conferences on how important it is for scientists to reach out to the public by engaging readers with a compelling narrative. He can be found on Twitter at @ericmjohnson and his blog, The Primate Diaries, is currently hosted by Scientific American. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Jill Levine is a coordinator and research assistant at The Evolution Institute’s Seshat: Global History Databank project. She previously worked as a translator and editor in Beijing, and studied Chinese and Asian Studies at Vassar College. She has also spent time at Peking University, SOAS, and Qingdao University.
Rozelia Kennedy, Ph.D. graduated from the University of South Florida’s College of Education majoring in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Adult Education. She has a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Florida Memorial University. Rozelia has 20 years of experience in financial budgeting and analysis with Verizon Communications. She spent the last 10 years at the University of South Florida in fiscal and budgeting positions in several different departments including as Payroll and Sponsored Research. She has spent much of her career teaching adults in a variety of subjects and settings including budgeting, analysis, forecasting, research, funding applications, financial management and education. In addition to her career choice she is certified in nonviolence conflict reconciliation based on the philosophy and strategies of Martin Luther King, Jr. Her goal has always been to make sure the students understand in simple terms what they need to learn from the class and how it applies to them. Her philosophy is to incorporate historical knowledge with current trends to help students broaden their critical thinking.
Ashley Jasper is an ideological rhetorician, with an MLA in Ideological Rhetoric, and a Bachelor’s in English Literature from the University of South Florida. In the last decade, she has taught internationally at universities on three continents, and in that time, she has developed successful nonprofit programs at all of them. Ashley has been working with nonprofits for over twenty years, and after her work in the American Peace Corp., was recognized as a President's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. With a wide-focus on working with and publishing on varying marginalized communities; Ashley has been invited to speak and give workshops at over fifteen national and international academic conferences in the last four years. She is currently a Gender Studies and Literature professor at the University of South Florida.
Nadine E. Lima serves as a teacher trainer for the HA! Program. Ms. Lima received her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI; A Masters of Education in Educational Administration from Providence College, Providence, RI; and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from The King's College, in New York. Ms. Lima served many years as a Title I School principal and teacher. She currently teaches education courses at the Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida.
Dr. Sabrina Watson is passionate about supporting youth. Dr. Watson’s research interests revolve around uncovering strengths that promote positive youth development. The goal of Positive Youth Development is to support youth development by promoting social, moral, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth. Because of increasing changes to family structures, support networks consisting of important non-parental adults (including extended family members, community leaders, coaches, mentors, teachers, and neighbors) have become increasingly important to the development of youth and found to be connected to increased positive youth development. Dr. Sabrina is a certified Family Life Educator with the National Council on Family Relations, she is also a certified Kolbe Systems™ Consultant providing instinct assessments, team performance analysis and training focused on improving individual and group performance for both classroom and work performance. She has been trained on Developmental Relationships by Search Institute, the leading authority in research on practices that help young people become their best selves. She is a founding partner of the John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coaches and Speakers. Dr. Sabrina is a Best-Selling Author of the book, What It Takes to Win, with co-author Brian Tracy. She is also the author of the Pinnacle Award-winning book, When You Have to be The Man – a book for single mothers revealing the power of parenting as Christian women. Dr. Sabrina holds a B.S. in psychology, a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Development, and a Ph.D. in Family Studies and Intervention Strategies.