EPIC-N Advisory Board

Lis Mullen Bernhardt

Programme Officer – United Nations Environmental Programme

Lis is an international development and environment professional who proudly joined the UN Environment Programme in August 2016, first in the Freshwater Ecosystems Unit and then from November 2019 as part of the Climate Change Adaptation Unit. Lis is now the Coordinator for the Global Adaptation Network, an initiative that shares key adaptation knowledge and information around the world. In 2019 Lis also served on secondment to the Policy and Programme Division for SDGs coordination across house.

A native of the Great Lakes region of the United States, Lis has been working at the nexus of development and environment since 2002. She holds degrees in International Relations from Northwestern University in her native Chicago area, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and an MBA in organizational culture and resource management from the University of Reading’s Henley Business School in England. Read more about Lis. (Excerpt from “People” page of the UNEP website).

Andrea Fox

Town Manager – Town of Garrett Park, Maryland

Andrea Fox is the Town Manager of Garrett Park, Maryland, a tight-knit community outside Washington, DC that is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also an arboretum. As Town Manager, Andrea manages the administration of the town. Since 2005 Andrea has worked in and with local and state governments, including the City of Omaha, Nebraska; the Nebraska State Legislature; the City of Napa, California; and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). As local government staff, she implemented numerous sustainability strategies and policies and developed a sustainability plan. As an aide in the Nebraska Legislature, she assisted with the passage of laws that assess and reduce energy consumption. At ICMA, Andrea used her first-hand knowledge of local government to increase the capacity of local governments to create more sustainable and resilient communities. She has a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Denver and is AICP certified.

Jessica Johnston

Preparedness Task Lead – FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division at Teracore, Inc.

Jessica provides management and enterprise IT consulting services to the FEMA via her work at Teracore, Inc. She recently served as ICMA’s Program Director for Sustainability and Climate Change. Jessica joined ICMA in early 2013 to manage the USAID funded CityLinks program. Based on the premise that cities learn best from each other, Jessica has been working with community leaders from across the globe to facilitate dialogues and record promising practices around climate resilience. As a strong believer in the power of locally led action, Jessica has worked with communities across the US, Australia, Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean to facilitate tailored solutions to pressing climate related challenges. Since joining ICMA Jessica has also directed knowledge management and communications efforts for USAID related to sustainable urbanization. Prior to ICMA, Jessica worked with several nonprofits to support a wide range of international and domestic projects focused on supporting local service delivery. Jessica has a Masters of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, where she was named a fellow with the Council of Women World Leaders. Jessica also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jordan and has a BA from Chapman University in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Sean O’Donoghue

Director – Durban Adaptation Center

One of the EPIC Africa leaders and Head of Climate Change Adaptation Branch, eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa. Dr Sean O’Donoghue has a doctorate in marine pelagic ecology obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in 2010. In March 2011, Sean joined eThekwini Municipality, or Durban, where he manages the Climate Change Adaptation Branch. A key focus of the Branch is Community Ecosystem Based Adaptation, providing work opportunities for Durban’s indigent populations. Sean manages a number of research, inter-city and community partnership projects, and has led the development of the pilot EPIC programme at UKZN. (From Resilient Cities 2018 Website).

Debra Rowe

President – U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development

Debra Rowe, PhD., is the national co-coordinator of the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium, founder of the Disciplinary Associations’ Network for Sustainability and senior advisor to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Dr. Rowe has been professor of energy management, renewable energy technology and psychology for over 28 years at Oakland Community College.

Tony Socci

Senior Lead on International Climate Policy – U.S. EPA

Dr. Anthony Socci is the senior lead international resilience and adaptation policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA) in Washington, DC.  For nearly a decade, Dr. Socci has helped coordinate and facilitate several international efforts aimed at building capacity to become more resilient and sustainable, and to adapt to compound changes principally in urban and local settings in developing countries.

More specifically, Dr. Socci worked with a host of international partners to make actionable, the principles of the Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC), a pledge on the part of nearly 1000 elected local/urban government officials, largely from Africa and Asia, to take local action to build urban resilience and adapt.  He also served as a long-standing member of the DAC steering committee.

Later, at the invitation of the UN Global Adaptation Network (GAN), Dr. Socci agreed to become a member of its Steering Committee.  From this vantage point he, along with several international partners and other steering committee members, helped to formulate and implement an effort on the part of the GAN to deliver actionable, demand-driven information to regions and communities in developing countries deemed most vulnerable to the impacts of climate and other changes, through a process referred to as “adaptation learning exchanges”.

Most recently, Dr. Socci has worked with a host of international partners to introduce the EPIC (Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities) model to local governments and universities in developing country cities eager to enhance their capacity to become more sustainable and build resilience in the face of complex physical, natural and social forces. The EPIC model systematically matches city and local government needs with the innovation of students and academics to address a broad spectrum of sustainability-related issues, with lasting and sustainable impacts for all involved.

Maria Uhle

Program Director International Activities – National Science Foundation

Maria Uhle currently serves as the Program Director for International Activities in the Directorate for Geosciences at the National Science Foundation, where she develops mechanisms and agreements to foster international research collaboration through the Belmont Forum, the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) and Future Earth. She is the US representative to the Belmont Forum and is the current Chair of the Executive Committee of the IAI. She works with other US federal agencies on international cooperation through the US Global Change Research Program where she is the co-Chair of the International Activities, Inter-agency Working Group. Prior to her appointment at NSF, she served as an International Affairs Officer in the Office of International and Academic Affairs (OIAA) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where she developed programs to foster research collaboration with NIST’s international partners from countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Prior to working at NIST, she served as a Program Officer for the National Academy of Sciences Polar Research Board and the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. She directed several committees that addressed topics relevant to the Arctic and Antarctic, and focused on reanalysis of historical climate data, and climate projections based on emission scenarios. Before joining the NAS, Maria served on the faculty at the University of Tennessee in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Her background includes degrees in environmental science and geology, and her research focused on investigating the fate of organic matter and contaminants in atmospheric, surface water and soil environments from urban areas and the polar deserts of Antarctica. (From the Aspen Global Change Institute website)