Board of Directors

JoNell Bakke, Vice-Chair

Committees: Executive, Legislative (Chair), Nominating (Chair), Programming (Chair)
JoNell Bakke is a retired special education teacher who taught with the Grand Forks Public Schools for 30 years. She graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelors degree in Elementary and Special Education in addition to a Masters in Special Education, with a specialty in Education of the Emotionally Disturbed. Senator Bakke has served on the board of NDHRC since 2011.

Karla Buzick

Committees: Development, Executive
Karla Buzick is the Office and Technology Manager at The Consensus Council, Inc and has been employed there since January 2013. She received her degree from Bismarck State College in Information Processing in 2013 and is a 2011 graduate of the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber Leadership program. She is the current Chair of Dakota OutRight and has previously served as the Vice-Chair of the Bismarck Human Relations Committee. Ms. Buzick has served on the Board of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition since 2011.

Sean Coffman

Committees: Executive, Marketing
Sean Coffman is the Disaster Program Manager of the Minn-Kota Territory for the Dakota Region of the American Red Cross. He graduated from Empire State College with a Bachelors in Social Theory and Social Structure and Change, with an emphasis in Global Social Theory. In addition, he has received a diploma in Humanitarian Diplomacy from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and certification in Understanding Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. Mr. Coffman has served on the board of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition since 2013. Mr. Coffman is also a current Board Member of the City of Fargo's Human Relations Commission.

Ellen Dunn

Ellen Dunn is a career educator of students with disabilities. She is currently the Work Experience Educator for Students with Disabilities in the Fargo Public Schools. Ellen has served on various boards at the local and state level, as well as in positions at the national level for the National Education Association. She is an advocate for disability rights and believes all should have access to health care and economic opportunities. Ellen’s husband, Mick, is also an educator, and they have two children and two granddaughters.

Lillian Jones

Lillian Jones is a Bismarck native and works as a paralegal for Jones Legal, a public interest law office in Fargo. She studied at the University of Mary and the University of North Dakota and is involved in a number of programs in the Fargo-Moorhead area. She is a consultant and delivers educational and awareness presentations on Violence against Native Women to enhance competency with practitioners serving victims of crime. Lillian and her husband have a combined family of four children and five wonderful grandchildren. She is excited to serve on the NDHRC Board of Directors and looks forward to what lies ahead in the state of North Dakota and upper Midwest region.

Marcia Mikulak

Dr. Marcia Mikulak is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Dakota. As a cultural anthropologist, Dr. Mikulak specializes in the cultural constructions of childhood, human rights, violence, and identity. Along with her work as a university professor and anthropologist, Dr. Mikulak is a Country Specialist with Amnesty International for Brazil and is an accomplished concert pianist with degrees in music performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Mills College.

Barry Nelson, Chair

Committees: Development, Executive
Barry Nelson is director of the Head Start/Early Head Start Program at Southeastern North Dakota Community Action Agency, Fargo. Nelson proudly calls himself a community activist and believes that ALL people should be able to participate fully in their community be it in housing, employment, access to services and/or choice of relationships. He is board member with RiverKeepers, and is active with his district political party. He was one of the charter members of the NDHRC board and returned as a board member in the fall of 2009.

Kjersten Nelson

Committees: Development, Executive
Kjersten Nelson is a Fargo native, who returned home to be an Assistant Professor of Political Science at North Dakota State University. Prior to this, she spent time in St. Paul; Syracuse, NY; and Washington, DC, where she worked for Senator Kent Conrad on health, education, and labor issues. Her interest in Political Science is a lifelong one, stemming from a desire to work towards a political system and community that includes everyone and improves everyone’s quality of life. Kjersten lives in Fargo with her husband Ryan, two young children, and several felines.

Karen Okigbo

Committees: Executive, Marketing
Karen Okigbo is a Research Coordinator at the Out-of-School Time Resource Center (OSTRC) at the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelors in Political Science, from North Dakota State University with a Masters in Sociology, and from the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters in Social Policy. Miss Okigbo has served on the board of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition since 2010 and is absolutely thrilled to be a part of NDHRC.

Sue Peterson

Sue Peterson is a Social Worker with fifteen years’ experience working in the areas of mental health, domestic violence, disabilities, and school social work. She has been a higher education social work instructor since 1999 and currently teaches in the Social Work Program at Minot State University.

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