Advisory Council
The Center for Land Use and Sustainability (CLUS) Advisory Council of Shippensburg University exists to support the CLUS in advancing its mission of fostering healthy, vibrant, and sustainable communities through applied research, experiential learning opportunities, and interdisciplinary, cross-sector partnerships. The purpose of the Council is advisory, focusing on strategic direction, growth, and regional contributions of the organization.

The Advisory Council is composed of alumni, industry and community partners, students, faculty, and administrators of Shippensburg University and the surrounding area. This Advisory Council has several purposes:

Strategic Direction

  • Support CLUS mission and implementation of strategic plan
  • Provide guidance on strategic direction, programs, and other matters of CLUS operations, as well as academic and organizational philosophy and practice
  • Envision new initiatives and collaborations, and help to make connections or identify funding sources, as appropriate
Students, Staff, and Faculty

  • Enhance internship, research, and cooperative learning opportunities for students that support community needs and prepare students for the workforce or further studies
  • Prioritize development and execution of a staffing plan to meet growing programmatic, development, and administrative needs; invest in staff professional development to increase capacity and enhance performance
  • Assist in creating professional development opportunities for faculty, including applied research through consulting
  • Promote benefits and responsibilities associated with being a CLUS affiliate scholar; empower affiliate scholars and students to advocate for and celebrate the center
Growth and Development

  • Articulate clearly defined leadership roles and structure in relation to programming; help create a succession plan for current center leadership
  • Provide opportunities for council members to be involved in CLUS curricular and extracurricular programs
  • Advocate for the center and support regional recognition of CLUS programs
  • Provide organizational or personal financial commitments to the CLUS and support fundraising efforts through the Shippensburg University Foundation
Current Members

    Ben Berra, M.S.

    CLUS Advisory Council Member

    In his 25th year at Skelly and Loy, A Terracon Company, Ben Berra has been providing environmental and biological consulting services throughout Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region since completing his studies at Shippensburg University in 1998. Today he serves as a Principal and Department Manager for Natural Resources in Skelly and Loy’s Harrisburg Office where his practice focuses on environmental investigations, analysis, permitting, and liability management; threatened and endangered species studies and consultations; and aquatic and terrestrial biological evaluations.

    He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Geoenvironmental Studies from Shippensburg University in 1996 and went on to receive his Master of Science degree, also in Geoenvironmental Studies, from Ship in 1998. He was raised in Cumberland County, and continues to live in the county with his wife, Laura, and their two children.

        Bonnie Zehler, M.B.A.

        CLUS Advisory Council Member

        Bonnie Zehler is the Executive Director of Luminest Community Development in Pennsylvania, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to building affordable housing for working families and seniors. She previously served as the Executive Director of the Franklin County Housing Authority. Bonnie has an M.B.A. from Mount Saint Mary’s University.

            Carol Stauffer, Master’s in City Planning

            CLUS Advisory Council Member

            Carol Stauffer, AICP, Assistant Director, Chester County Planning Commission has over 30 years of professional planning experience, with a focus on municipal planning assistance and environmental resource protection at the local level. Carol played a key role in the development and subsequent updates to the county’s award winning comprehensive plan, Landscapes. In her current capacity as the Assistant Director, she served as project lead on the Chester County Climate Action Plan, adopted in 2021, working closely with the Commissioners’ Environmental and Energy Advisory Board. Carol holds a Master’s in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Geoenvironmental Studies from Shippensburg University.

                Cindy Adams Dunn, M.S.

                CLUS Advisory Council Member

                Governor Tom Wolf appointed Cindy Adams Dunn to be the sixth secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, returning to the agency where she worked under three governors in multiple positions over the last two decades. The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously confirmed Ms. Dunn as secretary of DCNR on June 2, 2015 and reconfirmed on April 30, 2022.

                During her tenure, Ms. Dunn has helped position Pennsylvania as a leader in land conservation, outdoor recreation, green practices and public land management. Under her leadership, the department created the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps to connect youth and young adults with job opportunities relating to the outdoors and the environment; advanced water quality initiatives within the Chesapeake Bay and across the Commonwealth through investments in conservation, buffer plantings, and restoration; advanced mitigation and adaptation best practices related to climate change; managed the highest visitations at state parks and forests; and received historical levels of funding to address the growing conservation and recreation needs of the Commonwealth.

                Ms. Dunn’s non-profit conservation and advocacy roles include serving as the president and chief executive officer of PennFuture, State Director of Audubon Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Coordinator for Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and as an environmental educator for Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Past DCNR roles included serving as DCNR’s Deputy Secretary of Conservation and Technical Services from 2007-2013, where she led DCNR’s conservation landscape program and oversaw the community conservation partnerships grant program, which provides - million annually for conservation and recreation throughout the commonwealth. Ms. Dunn’s other leadership posts at DCNR include director of the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation as well as director of the Office of Education, Communications and Partnerships. Ms. Dunn first joined DCNR in the mid ‘90s as director of community relations and environmental education.

                Over the years Ms. Dunn has been recognized with numerous awards for her leadership in conservation including: Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Frances E. Flanigan Environmental Leadership Award; Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation Conservationist of the Year; Cumberland County Conservation District Conservationist of the Year; the PA Recreation and Park Society Local Government Award; PA Association of Environmental Professionals Karl Mason Award; the National Wildlife Federation Women in History award; and the Schuylkill River National Heritage Area Legacy Award.

                Ms. Dunn holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology from Shippensburg University. She and her husband, Craig, reside in Cumberland County. When not championing the efforts of DCNR, Ms. Dunn enjoys the natural and recreation resources DCNR works hard to protect and promote through hobbies that include birding, canoeing, fishing and hiking.

                    Daniel G. Brown, Ph.D.

                    CLUS Advisory Council Member

                    Daniel G. Brown (PhD in Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is Professor and Corkery Family Director in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington. Previously, he served as a professor at the University of Michigan and held leadership positions in the School of Natural Resources and Environment (now School for Environment and Sustainability), including Associate Dean for Research and Interim Dean. His research, conducted over a 30+ year career and published in over 200 peer-reviewed papers, has aimed at understanding human-environment interactions through a focus on mapping and modeling how land-use and land-cover changes affect environmental and social outcomes, and the impacts of policies, demographics, and markets on these dynamics. In addition to these topics, his teaching has focused on GIS, spatial analysis and modeling. He has conducted field work at multiple locations in North America, Asia, and Africa. He has chaired the Land Use Steering Group and Carbon Cycle Steering Group and was a lead coordinating author for the third National Climate Assessment, all under the auspices of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. In addition, he has served as a member of the NASA Land Cover and Land Use Change Science Team, as panelist for the National Research Council, NASA, EPA, USDA Forest Service, the National Science Foundation, and the European Research Council, and on the Editorial Boards for Landscape Ecology, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, and the Journal of Land Use Science. In 2009 he was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

                        Erin D. Dascher, Ph.D.

                        CLUS Advisory Council Member

                        Dr. Erin Dascher is an environmental geographer. Her research investigates human environment interactions related to river systems and other aspects of water resource management. She investigates how human activities fragment watersheds in a variety of ways, and how we can build back aspects of river connectivity in these altered systems. She uses a variety of techniques to highlight and examine how humans have altered and interact with the environment including geographic information systems (GIS), field work, and other techniques such as surveying and interviews, etc.

                            James Mike, Ph.D.

                            CLUS Advisory Council Member

                            Dr. James Mike was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, which is where he also began his educational journey. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology in 1976 and his master’s degree in Analytical Chemistry in 1980 from Youngstown State University. From there he earned his doctorate in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1986. His professional background includes working as a medical technologist, an industrial chemist, a research associate, and as a faculty member and administrator in academia.

                            Dr. Mike moved to Pennsylvania in 2006 when he became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Shippensburg University. During his time at Ship, he also served as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs in 2019 and as acting dean of graduate studies from 2017 to 2019. Prior to coming to Ship, he was associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of chemistry at Youngstown State University. After retiring from Ship in 2020, he moved to the big island of Hawaii to become Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Hilo until May of 2022, when he chose to retire from the deanship. Soon after his decision to retire, Dr. Mike returned to the faculty, back to where his academic career began. He is currently a Professor of Chemistry at UH Hilo.

                                John Mizerak, M.P.A.

                                CLUS Advisory Council Member

                                Mr. Mizerak is a graduate of Shippensburg University, where he earned a Master of Public Administration (1993) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration (1992). He has more than 25 years of experience developing strategies that define, prioritize, and implement projects addressing community and economic development goals. Mr. Mizerak has a proven track record of leveraging public and private funding for project implementation and increasing and diversifying revenue streams and job opportunities. His career journey includes Cumberland County municipal government community development and Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (PA DCED) Land Use Planning and Technical Assistance Program management. This program was part of the state’s Growing Smarter initiative providing technical, educational, and financial support to local governments in the areas of planning and community and economic development.

                                While at the PA DCED, he worked with Shippensburg University President Anthony Ceddia, Ph.D., and University Geography-Earth Science Professor John Benhart, Sr., Ph.D., to create the Shippensburg Center for Land Use, where Mr. Mizerak served on the inaugural board— currently known as the Advisory Board for the Center for Land Use and Sustainability. He also managed the Pennsylvania’s Interagency Team responsible for reviewing and coordinating state agency policy related to land use, infrastructure, and the environment in addition to developing the Keystone State’s first set of investment criteria— “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Keystone Principles for Growth, Investment & Resource Conservation.” He also managed the Pennsylvania State Planning Board.

                                Since retiring from PA DCED, he has spent the last 15 years working with private companies and municipal, county, and state governments throughout the US on community and economic development, disaster recovery and resilience, and strategic planning projects. Today, he serves as the Director of Planning and Economic Development for Dawood Engineering, Inc., in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

                                    Kristin K. Cypher, M.L.A.

                                    CLUS Advisory Council Member

                                    Kristin Cypher has over 20 years of experience in urban design, signage and wayfinding, planning, historic cultural landscape documentation, and municipal redevelopment, with a focus on storytelling and placemaking for communities, districts, and downtown associations. Based in Colorado, Kristin has worked extensively within western landscapes on initiatives like Colorado Creative Districts and Colorado Healthy Places, but she has also had the opportunity to work overseas in India on an award-winning Smart Cities improvement project in Kashmir. Kristin has the privilege of regularly talking to groups and communities about their planning and design needs, where her natural enthusiasm and expertise helps inspire them to see the value of telling their story and improving their place. Kristin is respected for her comprehensive and creative approach to project development, including scoping projects, leading/ facilitating public outreach efforts, researching and writing planning and design documents, creating design solutions, and developing responsive and collaborative approaches to place improvements. She is currently serving as a Senior Planner at Michael Baker International.

                                        Nadine Oakley Simms, V.M.D.

                                        CLUS Advisory Council Member

                                        Dr. Nadine Oakley Simms received her V.M.D. degree at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine, in 1978. She joined her husband in partnership owning and operating Burnt Mill Veterinary Center, serving both large and small animals in the Cumberland Valley for over 40 years.

                                        Dr. Oakley’s primary interests were equine and small animal medicine. She served as the veterinarian for the Therapeutic Riding Program of Penn State and as veterinarian for the Wilson College stables, where she did some informal lecturing for the stable management program.

                                        In 1984 she and her husband were featured on the TV show 20/20 depicting rural veterinary practice.

                                        Since retirement in 2013, her interest in land preservation and sustainability led her to reclaiming a 15-acre wooded area on her farm and acquiring conservation easements on both farms that she and her husband own. Students have been welcome to pursue projects on the 121 acres where they reside along with 5 llamas, 2 dogs and assorted cats.

                                        All summed up, as a favorite T-shirt quotes: “There is no Planet B”

                                            Nancy Millichap, M.A.

                                            CLUS Advisory Council Member

                                            A Dauphin County native, Nancy Millichap grew up seven miles from Shippensburg in the hamlet of Lurgan and graduated from Ship in 1970 with a B.S. in Education. After 14 years teaching English in public schools in PA, New Hampshire, and Vermont and earning an M.A. in English from Middlebury College, she began working for Dartmouth College supporting humanities faculty in their use of computing in teaching and research. Later positions included work for the Indiana Higher Education Telecommunication System helping institutions collaborate on using the Internet before it was ubiquitous, leading technology teaching collaborations among private liberal arts colleges in the Midwest and later nationwide with support from the Mellon Foundation, and managing grantmaking for the higher education technology organization Educause with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with a goal of improving student outcomes by using technology. Now retired, she is married to Richard Ellis and lives in Saline, Michigan.