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Meet DEL

Allison Besch, Executive Education Program Administrator

Allison grew up in New York State and attended Colgate University, where she developed an interest in bridging the gap between scientists and the general public. She has held several positions in that field, including work at National Geographic magazine, eco-tour companies in the Florida Keys, and most recently as the education curator at the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort. Allison and her family have traditionally enjoyed coastal activities such as sailing, kayaking, and island hikes, but look forward to exploring the natural beauty of their new home in the Durham area. Allison holds a BA in geology/environmental studies, and is a 2005 graduate of the MEM program at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke. She is thrilled to be back on campus working at DEL.

To contact Allison, call (919) 613-8700 or e-mail allison.besch@duke.edu. Contact Allison for information about executive education courses, including custom training programs, and certificate programs.


Gallagher headshotDeborah Rigling Gallagher, Associate Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy and Executive Director of the Duke Environmental Leadership Program

Deb is from Marblehead, Massachusetts and is definitely a New Englander at heart. She lives in the Paris of the Piedmont (Carrboro) with her husband John. In her free time she sings soprano in a chamber choir, skis (not in North Carolina!) and cycles. Deb’s research broadly considers  the interaction of business and the environment. She works with the United Nations Global Compact to develop environmental stewardship strategies to address critical environmental risks and opportunities related to climate change, water conservation and biodiversity protection. She also studies public-private partnerships, especially in settings such as brownfields redevelopment and examines local, state and federal public policies and implementation practices designed to promote community involvement in environmental decision making in socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.  She teaches courses on environmental policy, sustainable business strategy and environmental justice. Before joining the Duke faculty she held a series of environmental leadership positions in the public and private sector. This included developing  program with the US EPA and Massachusetts DEP, and serving in health, safety and environmental management positions with Fortune 100 companies.

Deb holds a PhD in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MA of Public Policy from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, and BS in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University. To contact Deb, call (919) 613-8138  or e-mail deb.gallagher@duke.edu.


Lipps HeadshotLaura Lipps, Executive Education Program Assistant

Laura comes to the DEL program with a background in environmental education, policy, and administration. Prior to coming to Duke, her professional positions included team development specialist at AFS Intercultural Programs, policy analyst at the Ecological Society of America, and research technician at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. She also served in the U.S. Peace Corps as an environmental education extensionist in El Salvador. She holds a B.A. from Earlham College and a M.S. in Environment and Resources from the University of Wisconsin.  In her free time, Laura enjoys community service, hiking with her family and friends, and exploring new places.

To contact Laura, call (919) 613-8715  or email laura.lipps@duke.edu. Contact Laura for inquiries and information about executive education program logistics and programming.


Leslie Rowe, DEL-MEM Program Coordinator

Leslie comes to the DEL Program with several years of experience in event planning and customer service. A native of Buffalo, NY, she earned her degree in Communications from State University of New York College at Fredonia, and has since made Durham her home. She loves cooking, traveling, going to see live music, gardening, and going on long hikes with her husband and two poorly-behaved dogs.

To contact Leslie, call (919) 613-8082  or email leslie.rowe@duke.edu. Contact Leslie for inquiries and information about DEL-MEM program logistics and programming.


scnSherri Nevius, Assistant Dean, Executive and Distance Learning Programs, Duke Environmental Leadership Program

Sherri came to the Nicholas School in 1998 to pursue a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) degree. Ten years later she’s back to take on a new career challenge. Sherri is the Assistant Dean of Executive and Distance Learning Programs within the Duke Environmental Leadership (DEL) Program, which includes an online and on-campus MEM degree for working environmental professionals, executive education courses, and environmental community outreach. Prior to coming to Duke, she worked for URS Corporation in Morrisville, NC as a project manager consulting on projects related to Environmental Management Systems development and implementation, environmental compliance, environmental training, and emergency planning reporting. Sherri grew up in Wisconsin, moved to Iowa for an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Politics at Cornell College, and then headed to North Carolina to earn her master’s at the Nicholas School. Her husband, 2 boys, and dogs keep her busy, but finds time to bike, run, garden, and do home improvement projects.

To contact Sherri, call (919) 613-8063 or e-mail sherri.nevius@duke.edu. Contact Sherri for regarding any questions you may have about the DEL Program.