Though Ann Arbor Active Against ALS was created as a response to a particular friend’s diagnosis, the organization has become part of a much broader community aiming to help all families affected by ALS. Many of our all-volunteer board members and volunteers have lost someone to the disease. The following individuals currently direct the organization, with help from much-appreciated volunteers and past board members.
Current Active Against ALS Board Members
Jennifer Collins earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University and a M.B.A from Wright State University. She has worked over 33 years in the Financial Services industry. Most recently, she held the position of Marketing Director for MB Financial Bank’s mortgage division where she served as the company liaison with numerous non-profits across the country. Jennifer is an active volunteer for several charitable organizations in Washtenaw county and also serves as a board member for The Magic of Christmas Foundation in Ann Arbor. She has been active in raising awareness of ALS since her father-in-law’s diagnosis in 2005. Jennifer joined the board in 2019.
Bob Durgy received a BA in English Literature and Economics from Michigan State University. Bob is Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Thomson-Shore, Inc. in Dexter. Since Bob Schoeni’s diagnosis in 2008, the Durgy family have been participants and fundraisers in the Ann Arbor Active Against ALS community. In August 2013, Bob’s younger brother Matt was diagnosed with ALS. Matt died from the disease in March, 2016. Each year since then, Bob and his sons Sam and Arlo have channeled their collective athletic and fundraising prowess towards the annual Rivalry Ride. He has served on several charitable and volunteer boards during his life, but he is especially proud to be a board member with A2A3. Bob looks forward to celebrating with all of you when a cure is found.
Anne Gilbert received her B.S.E. and M.S.E. from the University of Michigan School of Engineering. Anne worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 18 years. She is currently a realtor with Howard Hanna in Ann Arbor. Anne was a member of our 10-year Gala committee in 2018, was the chair of our Barn Party in 2016 and 2017, and volunteered on the Family Field Day Committee for a number of years; serving as chair in 2014 and 2015. She currently serves on our Technology Committee. Anne joined the Active Against ALS board in February 2016.
Jenny Jalet has a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Administration from Central Michigan University. She is a manager with Information Technology Services at the University of Michigan. Jenny met the Schoeni family over 10 years ago, while serving with Bob on the board of Community Day Care & Preschool. She had the opportunity to learn more about our organization, and the fight to cure ALS, as a member of the Channel for ALS relay team. While an undergrad at Michigan, Jenny was part of 4 Big Ten championship swimming & diving teams. She and her husband, Sam, are happy to be raising their two children, Martin and Winnie, in the heart of Ann Arbor. She is excited to help advance the Ann Arbor Active Against ALS mission. Jenny joined our board in February 2016. Jenny serves as Treasurer of the Board.
David Lowenschuss received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from George Washington University. He has worked as an attorney in the pharmaceutical industry for over twenty years. When friend and neighbor Bob Schoeni was diagnosed with ALS in July 2008, Dave realized that the lack of investment from the pharmaceutical industry was holding back the research and development of a treatment or cure for ALS. He reached out to friends and colleagues of Bob’s to create a grass roots fundraising effort that would support research aggressively seeking effective treatments and ultimately a cure – this effort turned into Ann Arbor Active Against ALS. Dave serves on the Box Car Derby and Distribution Committees.
Gayle Rosen earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and received a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at American University. She is an attorney for the University of Michigan Student Legal Services. A member of our founding board, Gayle and her family have been volunteers at many of our events and are the organizers of the annual Rivalry Ride. She re-joined the board in February 2016. Gayle serves as Chair of the Board.
Kathy Siler received a B.S. and an M.S. in occupational therapy from Eastern Michigan University. She has volunteered for many of our events, including the Twinkie Run, Beerfest and Rivalry Ride, and has served on our Barn Party for ALS and our 10-year anniversary Gala committee. She also helps edit our Let’s Go! newsletter and assists with maintaining our social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. She has lost six family members to ALS. Kathy joined the Active Against ALS board in 2017. Kathy serves as Secretary of the Board
Laura Stidham has a B.A. in Elementary Education with a specialty in early childhood, and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University. She currently is executive director for a nonprofit preschool in Ann Arbor. Having had six family members pass away from ALS, Laura had been searching for a way to become involved in efforts to raise awareness about ALS and raise funds to support research for a cause. Laura is a founding board member and returned to the board in 2019. Laura serves as Vice Chair of the Board.
Sam Sugerman is a current undergraduate student at the University of Michigan where he is pursuing a B.A. in Environmental Studies and minoring in Community Action and Social Change. Sam has been involved with Active Against ALS since the organization’s origins and became more engaged due to the Rivalry Ride which he started as a Bar Mitzvah project. Sam now serves on the Board of Directors and leads a chapter at the University of Michigan (Michigan Students Active Against ALS).
Katherine Walsh received her B.A. in History and B.A. in Theatre from the University of Notre Dame, her M.A. from the University of Michigan Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, and her Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, where she studied under Bob Schoeni. Kat is currently Director of Student Engagement, Office of Development at the University of Michigan and was the program designer for the award-winning Development Summer Internship Program (D-SIP), which is now in its tenth year. Previous to her work at Michigan, Kat worked as Director of Alumni, Coordinator of Admissions, and part-time instructor at Saint Joseph Academy in Brownsville, Texas. She joined the board in February 2015 and is chair of the Fund Development Committee.
Elisabeth Weinstein earned her B.A from the University of Michigan and her M.D. from Tufts University. She is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Ann Arbor. Elisabeth has participated in many Active Against ALS events on her own and with her family. She served as one of the cochairs for our 10 year anniversary Gala. Elisabeth joined our board in 2017.
Joel Dalton earned his B.S.E. and M.S.E. degrees from the University of Michigan School of Engineering and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Joel works in Ann Arbor at the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory of the Office of Air and Radiation. He and his wife Jackie are avid runners as active members of the Ann Arbor Track Club and have been race directors or assistants in many favorite Ann Arbor runs, including the Burns Park Run and the Big House Big Heart Run. Joel is a founding board member. Joel serves as Race Director of the Twinkie Run, the Electric Bolt, and organizer of Beerfest for ALS.
Kristen Freshley earned her B.A. in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a M.S. in Journalism from the University of Illinois. She currently works at Greenhills School as Director of Publications. Kristen is a former board member, and is Editor of the Ann Arbor Active Against ALS newsletter, Let’s Go!
Michael Meister received a Masters of Public Administration (M.P.A.) in Public Affairs and Administration from Western Michigan University. Michael is the Department Administrator for Climate and Space Sciences Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Michael previously worked at Western Michigan University as a higher education budgeting and finance administrator for over 20 years. Through personal family loss, he has experienced the devastating effects of ALS and is dedicated to raising public awareness and research funds for treatment and a cure. Michael joined the board in February 2015. Michael is past chair and treasurer of the board. Michael currently serves as the Administrator/Bookkeeper of the Board.
Amanda Mercer received her B.A. from Michigan State University and J.D. from Wayne State University. She has previously worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Washtenaw County, as an enforcement representative for the National Collegiate Athletic Association and as a solo practitioner. Amanda was a board member from January 2010 – May 2013. She captained the Channel for ALS Team of six women who broke the world record with a double- crossing of the English Channel in July 2012 and raised over $120,000 for research. Amanda is now Special Events Representative supporting the Swimathons for Ann Arbor Active Against ALS.
Sara Robins earned her B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University. She has worked in the Human Resources field for over 15 years and currently works at Vericel Corporation in Ann Arbor. She and her husband, Mike, own ShutterBooth Detroit, a company that rents photo booths for special events. She has been active in several charitable organizations and first became involved with Ann Arbor Active Against ALS through her friendship with the Lowenschuss-McGuire family, volunteering on committees for several years.Sara joined the board in January 2013. Sara is past secretary of the Board. Sara currently manages our Donor Database.