OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
JOIN OUR BOARD
The Alaska Center Board of Directors is accepting applications for new board members. Currently, we are seeking additional board members from specific regions – the Interior, Southeast, and Southwest – to enhance our statewide perspectives and representation. Ideal board candidates will have a statewide perspective on conservation and social issues, have an interest or background in Alaska politics, support the mission and priority issues and strategies of The Alaska Center, and be willing to leverage their networks to support positive changes focused on our mission throughout our state.
Our volunteer board provides leadership, governance, and support to The Alaska Center. We are currently developing a multi-year strategic plan to achieve our vision of a thriving and sustainable Alaska for future generations. We need thoughtful individuals to join us in this work. Our board meets monthly in Anchorage with a Skype/teleconference option. In addition, board members participate in committee work. Alternatively, if you are interested in participating in a more focused way, contact us to become part of one of our committees.
SALLY RUE, Chair, 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.
BERNICE NISBETT, Vice-Chair, 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 saltwater. 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.
GAVIN DIXON, Treasurer & Secretary, 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.
GRIFFIN PLUSH, Juneau*
Griffin first joined the Alaska Center in 2015, his senior year of high school. From Seward, he spent his childhood on the trails of Exit Glacier and the waters of Resurrection Bay with family, where he later worked for eight seasons as a naturalist and park ranger in Kenai Fjords National Park. Inspired by activists with the Resurrection Bay Conservation Society, Griffin attended his first AYEA Civics and Conservation Summit at 15, 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 other young people across the state to lead AYEA's statewide campaigns on local foods, Pebble Mine, and climate change. He was one of the fifteen young plaintiffs demanding the State of Alaska acknowledge and address climate change in Alaska's climate trust lawsuit, Sagoonick v. Alaska.
Griffin graduated from the University of Alaska Southeast in 2019. His studies focused on the history of Alaska and the social aspects of resource management. During college, he served in the first cohort of the U.S. Arctic Youth Ambassadors where he learned about and advocated for the health of Alaska’s Arctic communities, economies, and cultures. Recently, he worked several sessions in the Alaska Capitol; the same building where he first found his voice as an AYEA teen. He brings his experience as a coastal Alaskan, naturalist, and youth activist to the board.
KARLIN ITCHOAK, 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.
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 the fall of 2013. She is enthusiastic about working to elect state and local government officials who will support efforts to curb climate change and ensure Alaskans have clean water now and for future generations. In addition, she is an advocate for a strong democracy and making sure all have an opportunity to vote and be active in their community.
Susan spent the first 10 years of her life in Basra, Iraq and two years in Surrey, England before moving to the United States to live with her family in New Jersey. She spent many years after college working and living in seven states before settling in Alaska in 1985 after canoeing the Noatak River in 1983. Susan was a librarian at Loussac Library serving institutionalized populations as well as the general public. In 1991 she returned to school for a science degree after which she worked as a Vegetation Ecologist at the Alaska Natural Heritage Program at UAA. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in History from Fairleigh Dickinson University, a Master’s of Science in Library Science from SUNY Buffalo and a Master’s of Science in Environmental Science from Alaska Pacific University.
In her spare time, Susan, plays and performs on the button box accordion, enjoys swimming, Pilates, reading, traveling and gardening.
- Asterisks denote The Alaska Center Education Fund crossover board member -