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The Team

The Tulane University Nitrogen Reduction Challenge team is comprised of a unique group of experts and nationally recognized industry leaders in Social Innovation, Water Resources Law and Policy and in Coastal Research.

Rick AubryRick Aubry, Ph.D.
Assistant Provost for Social Entrepreneurship and Community Engagementand Professor of Practice, Tulane University

Rick Aubry is Assistant Provost for Social Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement, and Professor of Practice at Tulane University. Tulane has made social entrepreneurship and community engagement the centerpiece of its strategy, imagining a new role for universities as active participants in the renewal of their communities. The development of grand challenges furthers this mission and is part of Rick's portfolio at Tulane.

Rick is the founder/CEO of New Foundry Ventures, a U.S. based nonprofit which aspires to be “the laboratory for scaling social enterprise”. New Foundry Ventures launches and supports social enterprises which create significant, scaled social impact. Most recently it launched “Emerge”, a social mission-driven business whose goal is to provide better borrowing choices for working people and to end predatory lending practices.

Rick has been a lecturer in management and a member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty. He was CEO of Rubicon Programs, a U.S. social enterprise in Richmond, CA from 1986-2009 serving over 50,000 people confronting homeless, poverty and disabilities. Rick co-authored "Generating/Sustaining Nonprofit Earned Income" and "Nonprofit Management 101" (Jossey-Bass 2004 and 2011). He was selected a CNN/Time Magazine "Principal Voice" in 2008 and Fast Company Magazine "Social Capitalist of the Year" five years running. In 2001, the World Economic Forum selected Rick a Schwab Social Entrepreneur; he served as chair of the WEF Global Council of Social Entrepreneurs 2008-2009. Rick became an Ashoka Senior Fellow in 2009.

Mark S. DavisMark S. Davis, JD, MLT
Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Institute on
Water Resources Law and Policy, Tulane University Law School

Mark Davis is a Senior Research Fellow at Tulane University Law School and Director of the Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy at the law school. The mission of the institute is to foster an appreciation of the importance of water resources and the vital roles that law and policy play in their management and stewardship.

Prior to coming to Tulane, Mr. Davis served for fourteen years as Executive Director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, a broad based organization committed to the stewardship of Louisiana's coast.

Mr. Davis has a BS and JD from Indiana University and an MLT from Georgetown University.


Michael J. BlumMichael J. Blum, Ph.D.
Eugenie Schwartz Professor of River & Coastal Studies and
Director of the Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research, Tulane University

Dr. Michael Blum is the Eugenie Schwartz Professor of River & Coastal Studies in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the Director of the Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research (CBR). Mike's expertise is in molecular population genetics, molecular ecology, and the ecology of river and coastal ecosystems. For the past six years, he has been leading a federally funded research consortium focusing on water quality and aquatic conservation in the State of Hawai'i. While serving as the Arnold Early Career Professor in Earth and Ecological Science, Mike worked closely with academic, government and industry partners to advance coastal remediation and recovery following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He has also collaborated on federally funded projects with colleagues at Tulane and partner institutions to develop New Orleans as an urban long-term research area to understand socioeconomic and human health drivers of biological diversity. 

As Director of the CBR, Mike ably represents Tulane on advisory panels with authority or responsibility in the environmental sciences, including the Academic Liaison Group of The Water Institute of the Gulf. He is also leading a major initiative to establish a new riverfront campus and center of excellence for cross-cutting scholarship on energy, environment and sustainability. By addressing long-standing and future needs for environmental innovation, the initiative will contribute to the revitalization of post-Katrina New Orleans, and more broadly, to the resilience and well being of coastal ecosystems and communities on the Gulf and worldwide.


Leah Berger JensenLeah Berger Jensen, MPH
Project Manager

A consultant to Tulane University, Leah Berger Jensen is the principal and owner of The Berger Group, LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to creating healthy, vibrant communities. The Berger Group provides expertise and professional services in areas of: 1) Clinical Sites & Community Health Centers, 2) Public Health & Community Health, and 3) Leadership & Organizational Development, all grounded in a framework of health equity, collective impact, capacity building, and social justice.  

Prior to founding The Berger Group, Ms. Jensen worked at Tulane University School of Medicine (TUSOM) for seven years where her efforts led to the development and founding of five health centers and TUSOM’s Office of Community Affairs and Health Policy, serving as it’s Executive Director. She concurrently served as Co-Executive Director of the Ruth U. Fertel/Tulane Community Health Center, a brand new, state-of-the-art clinic dedicated to providing high-quality, cost-effective care to under-resourced and uninsured families.  

Over the years Ms. Jensen has been honored for her work, including selection as one of New Orleans’ CityBusiness “Women of the Year”, New Orleans “Top 40 Under 40”, the nation’s “100 Great Disruptive Heroes” for her pioneering work in the health care delivery system, and participation in New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI) and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. She also serves on the Advisory Committee for Louisiana Healthcare Connections and served as board member of Broad Community Connections for three years. 

Ms. Jensen received her Bachelor of Arts from Connecticut College in both Cultural Anthropology and Gender and Women Studies. She received her Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2004 with a focus in International Health and Development.


Sharon Courtney
Vice President for Government & Community Relations, Tulane University

Sharon Courtney oversees Tulane's federal, state, local governmental and and community affairs initiatives. Prior to Tulane, Ms. Courtney was a Senior Legislative Assistant to former U.S. Representative John P. Murtha. She has also served as a Legislative Assistant to former U.S. Representative Larkin Smith and in the Governmental Relations Department of the Chemical Manufacturers Association.

Ms. Courtney received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi and currently serves as President of the Board for ReNEW Schools in New Orleans.


Mike StreckerMike Strecker
Executive Director of Public Relations, Tulane University

Mike Strecker, executive director of public relations at Tulane University, joined the university community in 1998. He currently directs Tulane's media relations efforts and provides communications support for Tulane's president and other top administrators.


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000