Board of Directors

Lisa Funderburke Hoffman (she/her) is the Executive Director of Artist Communities Alliance. Lisa is a systems thinker and coalition builder whose work and research examines equitable engagement. A dynamic facilitator, she works with residencies, foundations, and other nonprofits on developing effective strategy and improving the efficacy of teams and programs. A scientist by training, she has served as a herbarium collections manager and public school educator; and has held leadership posts at McColl Center for Art + Innovation and Charlotte Nature Museum, among others. She is currently on the Grantmakers in the Arts Individual Artist Committee, and serves on the board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Rustle Lab and Orion Magazine.

Major Jackson is the author of five books of poetry, most recently, The Absurd Man (Norton: 2020). His edited volumes include: Best American Poetry 2019Renga for Obama, and Library of America’s Countee Cullen: Collected Poems. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, he has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. Major Jackson lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. He serves as the Poetry Editor of The Harvard Review. In addition to his award-winning poetry and varied teaching, he has experience in nonprofit management and accounting.

Peter Kahn teaches biochemistry at Rutgers University and has had a long career as professor and scientist in this country, Europe, and Africa. In addition to receiving many fellowships and awards including Teacher of the Year, he has contributed to the literature on dioxin and other environmental toxins. His community engagement has led him to work with refugee students from Bosnia, Albania, Afghanistan and Nigeria. He is a leader in his local Unitarian congregation, and he has a keen interest in issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In his spare time he is a woodworker.

Phineas Lambert (Treasurer) is the former Publisher and Director of Guernica, an award-winning literary magazine sitting at the intersection of global arts, politics, and human rights. Currently, he partners with best-selling author Helen Schulman running WriteOn, which provides passionate writing teachers to middle and high-school students. Phin sits on the Board of Governors for The Schools of Public Engagement at The New School, where he earned an MFA in Creative Writing and currently teaches. Phin has worked at HBO and Showtime in digital strategy and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School. He is also a board member at George Jackson Academy, an independent middle school in New York’s East Village for bright boys from low-income families.

Dr. Mel Michelle Lewis (she/they) is Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice at American Rivers. In this Executive Leadership role, Dr. Mel provides strategic guidance on social and environmental justice initiatives and creative visioning for the future of clean water for everyone everywhere. Dr. Mel is also a Collaborator with The Art of Change Agency and an Affiliated Researcher with the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to Joining American Rivers, Dr. Mel was Associate Professor and Director of the Ecosystems, Sustainability, and Justice Program, co-founder of The Space for Creative Black Imagination: An Interdisciplinary Making and Research Institute, and Chair of the Humanistic Studies Department (Maryland Institute College of Art). Previously, they also chaired the Center for Geographies of Justice, the Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Department, and Africana Studies Department (Goucher College), as well as the Department of Ethnic Studies (Saint Mary’s College of California). Originally from Bayou la Batre on the Alabama Gulf Coast, their creative work explores queer of color nature writing themes in rural coastal settings. Their manuscript Biomythography Bayou is under contract with The Griot Project Book Series, Bucknell University Press.

Elizabeth Lucas (Vice-Chair) (she/her) is an investigative journalist and instructor who has covered health, politics, and the environment throughout her career; in 2020 she was a Pulitzer finalist for an investigation into aggressive debt collection practices at a Virginia hospital. Liz is an advocate for equity within the news industry and is exploring how data ethics are taught in classrooms and used in newsrooms. She teaches data-driven journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., where she walks, bikes, hikes, canoes and lives with her partner and dog and cat. She has a B.A. in English from Calvin University and an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri.

Fiona McCrae is retiring in June 2022 after twenty-eight years as the director and publisher of Graywolf Press. During her tenure, Graywolf expanded its lists of poetry, literary nonfiction and criticism, fiction, and works in translation. Authors who have enjoyed notable successes include Anna Burns, Maggie Nelson, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Danez Smith, Claudia Rankine, Natalie Diaz, Percival Everett, and Tracy K. Smith. In addition to the Orion board, McCrae currently serves on the boards of the Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota, and the literary press Fence, and also serves as the Vice-Chair National Book Foundation board. McCrae received the Golden Colophon Award for leadership from the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses in 2014, and in 2017 she and poetry editor Jeff Shotts jointly received the Editor’s Award from Poets & Writers.

Christopher Nye (Director Emeritus) was involved in getting the magazine started back in 1982, when it was called Orion Nature Quarterly. A professor and then college administrator for many years, he instituted programs in place-based education and service learning. A published poet, he holds a PhD in American Studies. He is vice president of the Myrin Institute, is the unofficial steward of its nature preserve, and has served in various capacities at Orion, including board chair.

Martha Schubert (Chair) is an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) elementary guide who has worked in Montessori classrooms in Northeast Ohio. For many years she ran a small-scale sustainable farm where she grew herbs and other garden produce for the family-run Art Farm Community Supported Agriculture program and local restaurants. She spent five years living off the grid outside of North Fork, California, before returning to her native Cleveland, where she lives with her husband and their two children. Martha holds a B.A. from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and a M.Ed. from Loyola University Maryland.

Amy Seidl (Secretary) teaches in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont and is the author of two books on climate change, Early Spring: An Ecologist and Her Children Wake to a Warming World (Beacon Press, 2009) and Finding Higher Ground: Adaptation in an Age of Warming (Beacon Press, 2011). In addition to directing the Environmental Studies Program at UVM, Amy conducts research in sustainability science, campus sustainability, and science communication. She is an avid bird watcher, gardener, and reader and lives off-the-grid in Huntington, Vermont.

Randy Winston is the Writing Programs Manager at The Center for Fiction, former Fiction Editor at Slice Literary Magazine, and the creator of Milkshake Scholar, a milkshake interview series on Instagram. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction 2016) from The New School. He is currently at work on a novel and a memoir.