Challenge Leadership

The Tulane University Nitrogen Reduction Challenge leadership 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.

Leah Berger JensenLeah Berger Jensen, MPH
Director, Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge
Principal/Owner, The Berger Group

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.  

As the director for the Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge Ms. Jensen is responsible for internal logistics, as well as external affairs for project, educating about hypoxia, the Dead Zone and its impact upon the Gulf Coast and world communities. This includes leading promotion, recruitment and education efforts for the Challenge across diverse sectors, including innovation and entrepreneurship, agriculture, science, and technology. She interfaces with local and regional partners across the south, as well as supporters at the national level including the EPA, USDA, and White House's Office of Science of Technology. 

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, where she developed and managed 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 serves as a Board Member for Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine's Alumni Association and is on the Advisory Committee for Louisiana Healthcare Connections.

Ms. Jensen received her Bachelor of Arts from Connecticut College in both Cultural Anthropology and Gender and Women Studies. She attended the School for International Training in Kenya with a focus in Development, Health, and Society, and 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.


Robert Kröger Ph.D.Robert Kröger, Ph.D.
Scientific Advisor, Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge
Chief Scientific Officer, Covington Civil and Environmental

Robert "Robbie" Kröger is the Technical Advisor to Tulane University for the Nitrogen Reduction Challenge. Dr. Kröger is the Chief Scientific Officer for Covington Civil and Environmental and is currently one of the lead scientists for the MS Coastal Restoration Team in charge of science strategy for coastal restoration in lieu of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Prior to Covington, Robbie spent nine months serving as the Science Coordinator for the RESTORE Council serving as the science liaison and standing up the science component of the Gulf wide restoration strategy. Robbie also served as a professor at Mississippi State University for six years, where he established himself as one of the nation's lead researchers and extension specialists in water quality improvement in agriculture. He has engaged multiple state and federal agencies, and NGO organizations up and down the MS River Basin, at multiple administrative levels. Robbie understands agriculture, the forces driving conservation implementation, and the understanding of how the two systems integrate to the benefit of both.


Julie ZonaJulie Zona
Project Advisor, Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge

Julie Zona joins the Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge development team with over six years of experience developing and managing large scale competitions. Most recently, Julie was contracted as the Challenge Manager for the soon-to-be-announced U.S. Department of Energy sponsored Wave Energy Prize, promoting the development of more efficient offshore wave energy conversion devices for use as an alternate energy source in coastal regions. She also served as the Challenge Manager for the DARPA sponsored $1M FANG competition, and was the Director of Team Development and Relations for the $10M Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE at the grand challenge focused X PRIZE Foundation for four years prior to her involvement in the two-year DARPA program.

Before her competition work, Ms. Zona spent over 15 years in the automotive industry. She began her career in environmental management at Mayco Plastics, and then moved to Chrysler Corporation where she turned her focus to product development. With a career spanning nearly 14 years at Chrysler, she held a variety of positions including roles in manufacturing, vehicle development, product planning/strategy, marketing and program management. 


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

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.


Meghan HunterMeghan Hunter, LMSW, MPH
Project Coordinator, Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge
Consultant, The Berger Group

A Project Coordinator to the Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge, Meghan Hunter is a consultant with The Berger Group, LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to creating healthy, vibrant communities.  As project coordinator for Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge, Ms. Hunter assists with internal logistics, interfaces with teams, and is responsible for social media.

Prior to working with The Berger Group, Meghan was employed as a social worker with the Rehabilitation Services of Central Louisiana, LLC and also served as President for the Student Association for Graduate Education (SAGE) while attending UAB Ryals School of Public Health. During her term as President, she assisted in the facilitation of monthly seminars focusing on Maternal & Child health topics for the student body; planned and participated in fundraising events and community service activities; and offered mentorship to incoming maternal and child health trainees. She has a knowledge base in labor optimization strategies and training, health care organization and policy, and maternal and child health.

A double major in Psychology and Social Work led to her Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University. She received her Master of Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Ryals School of Public Health in 2015 within the department of Health Care Organization & Policy and a focus in Maternal & Child Health. She received her Master of Social Work from the University of Alabama in 2015.


Kenneth SchwartzKenneth Schwartz
Taylor Center Director and Michael Sacks Chair in Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship Director

In 2014, Kenneth Schwartz was appointed as the first Michael Sacks Chair in Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship and founding director of the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking, in addition to his role as dean of the School of Architecture. Schwartz has worked collaboratively across all units of Tulane, including eight endowed Professor in Social Entrepreneurship as well as deans and center directors, to launch and grow initiatives in social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and design thinking at Tulane. Under Schwartz’s leadership, the School of Architecture became the academic home for the interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship.

Since Schwartz was appointed dean in 2008, Tulane School of Architecture has become one of the most visible units of Tulane University in creating a national model of innovative and empathetic pedagogy working in close partnership with neighborhood and non-profit organizations throughout New Orleans and beyond. As dean, Schwartz guided the growth of the Tulane City Center, the Tulane School of Architecture’s applied urban research and outreach program that provides design services to communities who are consistently underserved in the field.

Previously, Schwartz was on the faculty at the University of Virginia for twenty-four years. In 2003, he won the UVA Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award – considered one of the highest honors bestowed upon faculty at that institution, with only one awarded university-wide each year.

As a founding principal of CP+D (Community Planning + Design) and Schwartz-Kinnard, Architects, he won four national design competitions exploring the constructive force that progressive urbanism and architecture can play in rebuilding cities. In addition to his design work, Mr. Schwartz has served as a planning commissioner and member of the Board of Architectural Review for the City of Charlottesville, focusing on design and preservation issues in the community. Mr. Schwartz served on the University of Virginia Master Planning Committee, Chairman of the Faculty Senate and the Art and Architecture Review Board for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is a Past President of the National Architecture Accrediting Board and board member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.  

His own practice has focused on community design for public sector clients, with emphasis on the integration of land use and transportation planning to create more livable and pedestrian-friendly development. He has won four national design competitions or awards for projects in Cincinnati, Baltimore, Charlottesville and Chattanooga. In 2001 he was elected to Fellowship of the American Institute of Architects. He holds a Master of Architecture in Urban Design degree as well as a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University. Mr. Schwartz was identified by the national journal, Design Intelligence, as one of the top 25 architectural educators in the United States.

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