Two months ago, we announced a new program in which we invite members of the community to join The Press Democrat Editorial Board for six months at a time.

In launching this program, we also introduced our first community member, Lisa G. Carre?, regional director for 10,000 Degrees, a venture that provides college access and financial aid advice and other scholarship help to disadvantaged students pursuing college degrees.

Today, we're pleased to introduce our second editorial board community member, Donna Brasset-Shearer, a cultural anthropologist, instructor at Sonoma State University and long-time resident of Petaluma.

Brasset-Shearer may be familiar to readers of these pages, as she has been a frequent contributor through letter to the editor and Close to Home pieces including, most recently, one on Jan. 14 concerning relations between the United States and Iran.

A native of Nova Scotia, she received her undergraduate degree in anthropology from Sonoma State University, her master's from the University of Calgary and her Ph.D. in anthropology from UC Berkeley. She specializes in teaching American society and culture, culture and international conflict and anthropology of political power.

In 1988, she received a Sloan Foundation post-doctoral fellowship involving a research project that took her to 30 universities across the United States to interview professors on the effectiveness of a Harvard-MIT-sponsored program on arms control.

She has lived in Sonoma County for nearly 50 years and has extensive ties with the local medical community through her late husband, Dr. John Shearer, a well-known physician and outspoken advocate for universal health care, who died in 2009.

Brasset-Shearer will serve on the board until mid-October.

She joins the existing members of the editorial board: Sonoma Media Investments CEO Steve Falk, Editorial Director Paul Gullixson, Assistant Editorial Director Jim Sweeney and Carre?. The community members take part in board meetings, interviews with community leaders and election candidates and occasional off-site visits and tours. During their tenure, they will be full voting members of the board and will be given an opportunity to write if they so choose.

We thank all of those who have applied for this position and encourage them to let us know if they would like to be considered for future appointments. Our hope is to keep a running list of applicants.

As we noted previously, our goal is to hear from those who live and work in areas not represented by the current members of the editorial board.We also will be looking for residents who represent a variety of viewpoints, although elected officials and those who work directly for political candidates and/or for politically involved organizations are discouraged from applying.

If you're interested, send a resume and cover letter to We'd like to hear your opinions.