Our Board of Directors
Griffin Plush, Chair, Seward*
Griffin joined the board of The Alaska Center for a renewed term in 2019, after having served as its first Youth Board Member in 2015. From the small town of Seward, he spent his childhood on the trails of Exit Glacier and the waters of Resurrection Bay with family, where he later worked for seven seasons as a naturalist and a park ranger for Kenai Fjords National Park. Inspired by activists with the Resurrection Bay Conservation Society, Griffin attended his first AYEA Civics and Conservation Summit in 2012 as a high school freshman where he found a passion for activism as a tool to build communities and protect their clean air and water. Throughout high school, he organized Seward's chapter of AYEA and worked with others to lead statewide campaigns on local foods, Pebble Mine, and climate change. This work inspired him to join fifteen other young Alaskans demanding the State of Alaska acknowledge and address climate change as plaintiffs in Alaska's climate trust lawsuit, Sinnok v. Alaska.
Griffin graduated from the University of Alaska Southeast in 2019. His studies focused on the politics and history of Alaska, and the social aspects of resource management. During his first two years of college, he served in the first cohort of the U.S. Arctic Youth Ambassadors where he intimately learned about and advocated for the health of Alaska’s Arctic communities, economies, and cultures. In 2018, he interned for Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins of Sitka in the Alaska Legislature. He brings his unique perspective based in small-town coastal Alaska and youth activism to the board.
Griffin is honored to serve as chair of The Alaska Center's board while we work towards a thriving, just, and sustainable Alaska for future generations.
KARLIN ITCHOAK, Vice-Chair, ANCHORAGE
Karlin was born and raised in Nome and has participated in subsistence hunting activities for whales, walrus, seals, caribou, moose, and fish. He strives to protect the land, air, water and environment that sustains not only Indigenous cultures, but all life. Karlin received dual degrees in Political Science and in Alaska Native Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He then earned a Juris Doctorate from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2003.
After law school, Karlin served as a Judicial Law Clerk for Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice, Alexander O. Bryner. He then became a Judicial Law Clerk and Deputy Magistrate for Alaska Superior Court Judge, Ben Esch, in Nome. Currently, Karlin is a partner in ArKtiKa Company, LLC which provides consulting and advising services relating to Arctic business, policy, diplomacy, and public engagement.
As a lifelong student and advocate of politics, he served as a Congressional Intern for both U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski and the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. Karlin also served as a State Legislative Intern for the late State Senator, Fred Zharoff, of Kodiak. In his spare time, Karlin enjoys hiking, fishing, and exploring new places with his family.
GAVIN DIXON, Treasurer, Anchorage*
Gavin's time with the organization has its roots as a member of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, where he worked on air quality campaigns and fundraising efforts to support the recovery of the community of Banda Aceh after a devastating Tsunami.
Gavin has worked for over ten years fighting the impacts of climate change and developing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for rural Alaska Native communities. Most recently his time has been spent as a Project Manager overseeing the relocation of the Yup'ik community of Newtok, which must move to a new location due to the accelerating impacts of climate change.
In his free time, you can find him sharing his passions for biking, skiing, paddling and running with friends and loved ones through the unique and irreplaceable wilderness of Alaska.
SALLY RUE, JUneau
Sally Rue joined the Alaska Center board in 2018. She has 40 years of experience in Alaska in natural resources planning and policy, community development, youth engagement, and Alaska public education. She worked two stints in the Alaska Governor’s Office (1977 to 1982 and 1995 to 2002), as special assistant for natural resources, and finally as chief of staff to Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer. From 2003 to 2014, she served as director of the Alaska Initiative for Community Engagement, a statewide initiative at the Association of Alaska School Boards to engage adults, organizations, communities and young people in actively supporting youth success.
Sally has been an active volunteer in public schools, served on the Juneau School Board for two terms and on the Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development. She volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters as a Big Sister, and as a board member for Alaska Geographic from 2006 to 2015.
She has a BA in Urban Studies from the U. of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Regional Planning from the U. of Massachusetts. She and her husband Frank live in Juneau and spend as much time as they can enjoying Alaska’s wild lands and waters.
GENEVIEVE MINA, ANCHORAGE
Genevieve joined the Alaska Center board in the spring of 2019. While her family hails from the Philippines, it was the fishing industry that brought her family up north. Born and raised in Anchorage, she has since worked on over 10 successful campaigns, interned for Alaska State Representative Ivy Spohnholz in 2017, and leads a local youth organization focused on political empowerment.
In 2018, Genevieve began her involvement with The Alaska Center as a Democracy Fellow, engaging historically low-voter turnout areas in Fairview and Mountain View through nonpartisan voter education. Genevieve graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a BA in Political Science and Biological Sciences and a minor in Communications; she is also a Seawolf Debate alumna.
Currently, she works as a communications specialist for Alaska Primary Care Association, a nonprofit that represents community health centers and promotes advocacy in Alaska health policy. She is also a 2018 graduate of the Alaska Women Ascend program, a member of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum - Anchorage Chapter, and serves on the Public Transit Advisory Board for the Municipality of Anchorage. Outside of obsessively following health policy and #akleg on Twitter, she enjoys thrifting, karaoke, learning about Alaska political history, and amateur birding.
Susan Klein, Anchorage
Susan has been on the board of The Alaska Center since fall of 2013. She enjoys working with board and staff to further the efforts of The Alaska Center to engage the public in issues such as clean water and climate change. She is passionate about changing the make-up of our legislature to one that works to address the villages affected by climate change, that works to protect our salmon and the health of Alaska’s natural resources for future generations.
She has a bachelor’s of arts in History from Fairleigh Dickinson University, a masters of science in Library Science from SUNY Buffalo and a master’s of science in Environmental Science from Alaska Pacific University. Susan moved to Alaska in 1985 after canoeing the Noatak River in 1983 and dreaming of living here. Susan was a librarian at Loussac Library serving institutionalized populations as well as the general public. She went back to school for a science degree after which she worked as a Vegetation Ecologist at the Alaska Natural Heritage Program at UAA.
When not working on the board, Susan works too much at three paying jobs, plays and performs on button box accordion, and enjoys reading, traveling and gardening.
Bernice Nisbett, Anchorage
Bernice worked as a Legislative Director for Representative Ivy Spohnholz for two legislative sessions and quickly internalized the importance of policy work and its cultural and political impacts on all Alaskans. Working closely with stakeholders and advocates in the healthcare industry, Bernice led the development and introduction of several successful pieces of legislation that included increasing access to healthcare, healthcare price transparency, updating the scope of practice statutes and providing reimbursement incentives for health care providers in the state. Her time in Juneau opened her world to policy development, and a desire to continue her involvement in the political decision-making process at a local level. This led her to join The Alaska Center in 2020 where she hopes to leverage her legislative experience to effectively advocate for communities statewide.
Bernice was born in Puerto Rico where her dad was stationed as an officer in the United States Coast Guard. Her family moved to Kodiak in the early 90s and have since made Alaska their home. After high school, Bernice attended Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon and graduated with a BA in Religious Studies. After studying abroad in Italy and Tunisia, Bernice knew she wanted to spend more time living in a different country. She moved to South Korea in 2008 and lived on a rice paddy field, 10 miles south of North Korea and taught English to elementary students. Since returning home to Alaska in 2010, Bernice has completed two master’s programs (MA in Intercultural Relations from the University of the Pacific and a MS in Counseling Psychology from Alaska Pacific University), and found her calling as a clinical therapist.
When Bernice isn’t working as a therapist for the Center for Psychosocial Development, you may run into her mountain biking, running, hiking, hot yoga-ing, eating, or relaxing next to a body of salt water. She also enjoys being an overzealous aunt to her nephew and niece, and recently became a co-homeowner in Nunaka Valley with her partner, Elan.
the * denotes The Alaska Center Education Fund crossover board member