Board of Directors

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 (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 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) 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 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 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 (Secretary), born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, is a 2016 graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing at The New School. He is presently the Director of Writing Programs at The Center for Fiction and the creator of Milkshake Scholar, an online milkshake interview series. Randy also served as Fiction Editor at Slice Literary Magazine for 6 years and is currently working on his first manuscript of fiction and a memoir. 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, a fellowship program led by New School Fiction Coordinator and author, Helen Schulman. WriteOn connects students at George Jackson Academy, the only need-blind upper elementary and middle school in Manhattan for gifted boys from low-income families, with New School MFA students. 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.