Elaine Sterrett Isely joined WMEAC to lead its Water Programs in 2012. She is a veteran of the West Michigan legal and environmental communities and has served as a Research Associate and Assistant for the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University, as Project Manager for the West Michigan Strategic Alliance’s Green Infrastructure Initiative, and Sea Grant Fellow with the Great Lakes Commission. Elaine was also previously a litigation attorney working on behalf of social justice causes in West Michigan, serving as a Staff Attorney for Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project, Inc. (Migrant Legal Aid) and Legal Aid of
West Michigan in Grand Rapids.
Elaine holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Maryland, a J.D. from Wayne State University, and an M.S. in Biology/Natural Resources Management from Grand Valley State University. She is appointed to the City of Grand Rapids’ Stormwater Oversight Commission, the Wolverine Worldwide Tannery Community Advisory Group, and the Michigan State Waterways Commission. She has published several academic and technical papers on environmental and collaborative management topics and currently serves as an advisor to Grand Valley State University Natural Resources Management Department and to the Michigan Water School led by Michigan State Extension and Michigan Sea Grant. She works on many initiatives to strengthen collaboration between community groups and other project partners.
A native of Maryland and the Washington DC area, Elaine has lived in Michigan since the 1990s. She has been in Grand Rapids since 1996, and she currently lives on the Westside of Grand Rapids with her family. Her husband Paul, their son Terrance, and the family dog Rex, occasionally make appearances in the office. The two cats, Jellybean and Slashzilla, stay back to guard the homestead.