Board of Directors

Major Jackson (Director Emeritus)

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

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)

Phineas Lambert 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

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 (Chair)

Elizabeth Lucas (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

Fiona McCrae was the the director and publisher of Graywolf Press for more than twenty-eight years. 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)

Christopher Nye 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.

Christina Roberts

Christina Roberts (she/her) is a Director at the nonprofit consulting firm Thread Strategies, which works to optimize fundraising efforts so that social change organizations can grow revenue and maximize their impact. She is also the Founder of Studio Ro Creative, which creates beautiful brand assets and websites for entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and religious institutions to increase online engagement. Previously, Christina worked at The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine as their Director of Communications and Marketing for the Office of Development, where she had the pleasure of developing the preliminary branding materials for its inaugural Climate Crossroads effort. Originally from Queens, New York, she holds a BSW and MSW in social work from Adelphi University and became a Licensed Master Social Worker before cultivating her career as a fundraising strategist. Christina has since relocated to the Washington D.C. area, where she enjoys spending time with friends exploring the city’s best arts and culture venues.

Martha Schubert

Martha Schubert 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.

Michael Turner

Mike Turner is an intellectual property lawyer working at the convergence of technology, business, and law. As Director, Intellectual Property Strategy for Yokogawa, a leading global provider of industrial automation and control solutions, his work emphasizes technical innovation in measurement and connection to help realize a sustainable society. Before joining Yokogawa, Mike developed his experience with the IP boutique Kenyon & Kenyon in New York and joined in the firm’s merger with Hunton Andrews Kurth, where he provided IP counselling for clients across electrical, mechanical, and computer science fields. Mike earned his undergraduate degree in physics from Northwestern University, and his JD from the George Washington University Law School. When he feels intimidated by the literary bona fides of the other board members, he reminds himself that he was editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, which may have been read by up to dozens of people.

Randy Winston (Secretary)

Randy Winston born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, is a 2016 graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at The New School. He is the Creative Director at The Black List, created by Hollywood executive Franklin Leonard. The Black List is a renowned platform dedicated to nurturing written storytelling and empowering writers to maximize their professional talent. Winston is the former Director of Writing Programs at The Center for Fiction, where he managed, curated, and directed the production of writing courses, the First Novel Prize, the Susan Kamil Emerging Writer Fellowship, and the Writers Studio. He is the creator of Milkshake Scholar, an online milkshake interview series, and served as Fiction Editor at Slice Literary Magazine for 6 years. Prior to his MFA, Randy served as editor-in-chief of The Peak, Kennesaw State University’s, formerly Southern Polytechnic State University’s, online and print publication in Atlanta. Randy sits on the board for WriteOn NYC, a fellowship program led by New School Fiction Coordinator and author, Helen Schulman. He holds a Bachelors in English & Professional Communication from Southern Polytechnic State University, now Kennesaw State University, where he was the first student ever to deliver a commencement address. He has published work at Medium, alongside interviews with musician Benjamin Lazar Davis, visual artist Hugo McCloud, NY Times Best-Selling Authors Zakiya Dalila Harris, Tomi Adeyemi, and Morgan Jerkins, and Tiziano Terzani International Literary Prize Winner Mohsin Hamid.