Board of Directors    

Marilyn Wells, Ph.D.  (-2016)
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Marilyn Wells is Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Minnesota State University, Mankato.  She formerly served with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) in the Office of the Chancellor as System Liaison for Strategic Initiatives where she lead PASSHE’s Professional Science Master’s (PSM) Initiative, providing oversight for a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to develop collaborative PSM programs across PASSHE universities, facilitate statewide and regional employer advisory board development, and guide collaborations with stakeholders in the national PSM movement.

Also in STEM, but at the graduate level, Dr. Wells served as the lead administrator for PASSHE’s funded project to support undergraduate research and collaboration as a high impact practice to cut achievement gaps and increase degree production, particularly in STEM fields. The two-year project is sponsored by the Council of Undergraduate Research’s NSF-funded ($999,500) Workshop Program on Institutionalizing Undergraduate Research.

Dr. Wells also lead PASSHE’s team for the national Access to Success (A2s) initiative to lead systems change work that focuses on assessing and building capacity, managing and leveraging costs and resources, and using data to track progress toward PASSHE’s commitment to the national A2S goals. Included in this effort, Marilyn also served as the System lead for PASSHE’s partnership the with the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California to lead implementation of The Equity Scorecard™ across all 14 PASSHE universities, and the US Educational Delivery Institute.

In addition to her role in PASSHE’s Office of the Chancellor, Marilyn held a joint appointment as Vice Provost & Graduate Dean at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. For the Office of the Provost, she was responsible for academic program management, faculty development and collective bargaining agreement implementation, research, extended learning, academic diversity, and special projects. For the Graduate College, she served as the Chief Academic Officer responsible for all academic, administrative, programmatic, and fiscal activities related to the delivery of high quality graduate education. In these roles, Marilyn facilitated development of new and revised undergraduate and graduate programs, both online and face-to-face, in fields such as geo-technology, information security, professional education, and Chinese language and culture, among others. Dr. Wells also served as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2009 – 2010.

Prior to PASSHE, Marilyn held faculty appointments at Hampton University, a private, historically black institution in southeastern Virginia; the College of William and Mary; and the University of South Dakota, among others, including community colleges. Marilyn also has experience in the corporate and government sectors. Marilyn is a member of the National Professional Science Master’s Association; a charter member of the PharMerica National Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee; and member-at-large of AAUW (formerly the American Association of University Women).

She has received the Sloan Foundation International Conference Scholar on Asynchronous Learning and Hampton University Provost’s Teaching Innovation Award. Most recently, she was a 2010 – 2011 Fellow for the Educational Policy Fellowship Program, sponsored by the Educational Policy Leadership Center and Institute for Educational Leadership, Washington, DC.  Marilyn received her PhD from Southern Illinois University Carbondale; an MS and MPH from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania; and a BS from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Marilyn daughter, Michelle, is a 6th grade, middle school student – a competitive gymnast and aspiring Biologist.

       Vice President

Deborah Silver, Ph.D.  (-2016)
Executive Director, Professional Science Master's Program
Professor I, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Deborah Silver is the Executive Director of the Professional Science Master's Program (and the Master of Business & Science Degree) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The Professional Science Master's Program is on all three campuses, New Brunswick, Newark and Camden. Dr. Silver is also a Professor I in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She received a B.S. from the Columbia University School of Engineering and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Princeton University in Computer Science. Before heading the Professional Science Master's Program, she was the Associate Dean for Continuing and Professional Education for the Rutgers School of Engineering. 

Dr. Silver's area of research is Scientific Visualization and Computer Graphics and she has taught courses in Computer Graphics, Visualization, Data Structures, Software Engineering and Robotics. She has numerous publications in Visualization and Computer Graphics and has worked on many aspects of visualization.  Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Air Force. She is currently involved in a variety of research activities including feature extraction and tracking from 3D time varying simulations, volume graphics, oceanographic visualization, medical visualization, and visualization literacy and education. Professor Silver has been co-chair of the papers session and program co-chair of the yearly IEEE Visualization Conference and is currently a member of the program committee. She has also been Vice Chair of operations for the IEEE Technical Committee on Computer Graphics (1993-2000), and a member of editorial committee of the IEEE Transaction on Visualization and Computer Graphics (1995-2000).

      Finance Officer  

Joaquin Carbonara, Ph.D.  (-2016)
Professor of Mathematics

State University of New York, Buffalo State 

Joaquin Carbonara has been heavily involved in the creation of the undergraduate applied mathematics program and the graduate PSM in professional applied and computational mathematics at SUNY Buffalo State. He is the PI of two NSF grants (CSUMS: URGE to compute and Science Master's Program -SMP-) to support the undergraduate and graduate programs at BSC (respectively), and has held a number of leadership roles in both programs.

His education includes a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of California in San Diego, and a MS in computer science from the University at Buffalo. As an undergraduate he studied at San Diego State University, the Universidad Central de Venezuela and the University of Florence, Italy. He has published joint articles with faculty and students in the areas of mathematics, physics, ecology and biophysics.

He was one of the first members of Venezuela's system of symphonic orchestras ("El Sistema"), where he played the flute. He has a lifelong passion for understanding how science, technology and the arts can help us understand the world and how that, in turn, can be used to connect theory and practice to create a high quality and sustainable educational, economic and social environment.


Courtney H. Thornton, Ph.D. (-2018)
Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Education
University of North Carolina

Courtney Thornton is Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Education at the University of North Carolina General Administration. She interprets and implements academic program planning policies as related to graduate degree programs, including PSMs, and facilitates the initiatives of the UNC Graduate Council and UNC PSM Directors. Dr. Th

ornton provides administrative direction for the implementation and maintenance of system-wide electronic research administration tools and related business intelligence systems. She supports other initiatives of strategic importance to the Office of Research and Graduate Education.

Dr. Thornton holds bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Science Education, as well as masters and doctoral degrees in Higher Education Adm
inistration, from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Thornton's work experiences span K-12 education, private industry, and higher education. In 1996-1997, she served as a high school science teacher in the Wake County Public School system. She then joined Lord Corporation in Cary, NC as a formulator and tester of auto and marine adhesives. From 2002-2004, Thornton served as the Education Program Manager at NC State University's Kenan Institute for Engineering, Science and Technology. Before joining UNC General Administration as Research Director in February 2008, Dr. Thornton served a postdoctoral researcher in the higher education administration program at NC State. Dr. Thornton has taught courses and seminars in the American Studies program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Thornton’s research on higher education engagement and student civic responsibility appears in the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and the Journal of College Student Development. She co-edited the 2009 New Directions in Higher Education volume on community engagement.

 Immediate Past President

David W. King, Ph.D.  (-2017)
Dean Emeritus of Graduate Studies and Research
Professor Emeritus of History 

State University of New York at Oswego

David King is Dean Emeritus of Graduate Studies and Research and Professor Emeritus of History at the State University of New York at Oswego.  Dr. King studied at the University of Rochester, the University of London and SUNY Stony Brook, earning a Ph.D. in modern European Intellectual and cultural history. During his tenure at SUNY Oswego, Dr. King has held a variety of faculty and administrative positions.

Dr. King is the former Director of the SUNY PSM Consortium which is comprised of 17 of the senior campuses in the SUNY system, including the four major research universities.  These SUNY campuses have established strong working collaborations with many regional businesses and economic development agencies which have facilitated the creation of PSM degrees across the SUNY system. King was instrumental in organizing the SUNY campuses to receive two large Sloan Foundation grants that have supported the development of 15 new PSM degree programs to date with another 15-20 PSM programs in development.  He has been Co-P.I. of both grant projects.  King was appointed SUNY System PSM Program Director in February 2007.

Dr. King has been extensively involved in promoting collaboration among SUNY campuses and in building partnerships between higher education institutions and regional business and industry leadership. During the past five years, Dr. King has made numerous presentations addressing PSM related topics at conferences and workshops sponsored by CGS, NPSMA, NCSL, and others.  He has also provided consulting services for the development of PSM programs for the public university systems in the Oregon, Florida, Massachusetts, the Mid Atlantic Association of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and most recently for the City University of New York system.  He serves on the external PSM Advisory Boards for CUNY and for the HBC & U PSM Consortium.  Nationally, he has served on the PSM Advisory Board for the Council of Graduate Schools.

     Board Members 

Ross T. Barnard, BSc(hons), GDipEd, PhD, DSc, FACB, FASM  (-2018)
Biotechnology Program Director, and Biotechnology PSM Director
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre, & Affiliate Professor, Centre for Plant Science
University of Queensland, Australia

Ross Barnard has directed and taught the Biotechnology teaching program at the University of Queensland, Australia, for last 15 years. This Master of Biotechnology program was the first in Australia to gain recognition as a PSM.  Australia shares many of the challenges faced by PSM programs in the United States.  

Ross has made key contributions to molecular endocrinology and diagnostics, publishing more than 100 papers and book chapters and filing patents in those areas. He has also published in biotechnology education, interdisciplinary education, and technology transfer. He has made submissions to the Australian Law Reform Commission on patenting, human health and protection of genetic information. He has been an invited speaker or chair at numerous national and international conferences (e.g. ASM, FAOBMB, US Endocrine Society, Planet xMap, Europe). Ross has jointly held consecutive Australian government funded competitive research grants and three grants in teaching and learning, including a multi-center grant from the Australian Universities Teaching Committee (now the Office of Learning and Teaching), to review biotechnology teaching in relation to needs of the Australian biotechnology industry. He is an invited member of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council research translation faculty, and is a member of the Australian Federal Government’s Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee.

Saeed Foroudastan, Ph.D. (-2016)
Associate Dean, College of Basic and Applied Sciences
Director of Master of Science in Professional Science Graduate Program
Middle Tennessee State University  

Saeed Foroudastan is the Associate Dean for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and the Director of the Master of Science in Professional Science (MSPS) graduate program at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Foroudastan received his B.S. in Civil Engineering, his M.S. in Civil Engineering, and his Ph.D. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Tennessee Technological University.  Additionally, he has six years of industrial experience as a Senior Engineer and eighteen years of academic experience as a Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, and Instructor.

As Associate Dean, Dr. Foroudastan works collaboratively with the Dean on tasks and represents the Dean and the College. He is responsible for administration processes such as workloads, budgeting, and hiring. He has worked on Tenure-Track, Tenure, and promotion recommendations as well as addressing faculty and student concerns and curriculum issues. He provides leadership and assists with the management of budgets, personnel and programs for the ten departments within the college, which houses over 6,000 majors and 220 full-time faculty. Dr. Foroudastan famously brought the Professional Sciences Master’s (PSM) program to Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in 2005. The program at MTSU goes by a different name, Masters of Science in Professional Science (MSPS).

He is the initiator and program director of the nationally recognized, award-winning Master of Science in Professional Science Program (MSPS), the most successful and fastest-growing graduate program at MTSU.  As Director for the MSPS program, he oversees administration details for all six concentrations; including initiation and promotion of new concentrations. He actively recruits and mentors future and current MSPS students as well as past MSPS graduates. He is also the faculty advisor for the Master of Science in Professional Club.

He has secured over one million dollars in the form of both internal and external grants and research funding. This funding has come from several organizations, including the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the National Science Foundation. His industrial experience focused on the areas of manufacturing, research and development, design and analysis, metal forming, material characterization, mathematical modeling and simulation, and management of engineering projects. He has also achieved U.S. and European patents and published technical papers throughout his industrial career.

Scott Herness, Ph.D. (-2018)
Interim Vice Provost for Graduate Studies
Interim Dean of Graduate School
Ohio State University

Scott Herness was appointed Interim Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Interim Dean of the Graduate School in 2015. He previously served as Associate Dean of the Graduate School since 2012. Formerly, he held appointments as Chair of the Division of Oral Biology, Chair of the Oral Biology Ph.D. program, and Chair of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Studies Program.

Scott received his BS degree from the University of California, Irvine and the Ph.D. from the Florida State University. Prior to his arrival at The Ohio State University, he was Assistant Professor at the Rockefeller University in New York City and Associate Professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine on the Muncie campus.

His research interests are in the field of sensory neuroscience where he pursued a NIH- and NSF-funded investigation into the cellular and molecular biology of the peripheral gustatory system. He served as President of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences, the international society dedicated to the scientific study of the chemical senses, and received the Anjinomoto Junior Faculty Research Award (1999) and the International Flavors and Fragrances Award for Outstanding Research on the Molecular Basis of Taste (2011). He has served on numerous review panels for the NIH and NSF.

Rana Khan, Ph.D. (-2018)
Vice Dean and Chair, Information and Technology Systems Department
University of Maryland, University Campus

Rana Khan is Vice Dean and Chair, Information and Technology Systems Department at UMUC,  has worked on strategic initiatives with units across the university that have enhanced the reputation, visibility and size of the degree programs through increased synergy with prospective employers.  In her role as Director of the Biotechnology program, one of five online PSM programs at UMUC, she has established partnerships with employers through employer sponsored capstone projects, which provide hands-on experience to students in an online environment, an e-mentoring program where industry professionals serve as mentors and provide career guidance to students, and through program specific webinars by senior executives from industry, academia, government and non-profit. As a PI on two Department of Education grants, she has demonstrated her ability to take ideas and turn them into successful, funded projects. 

Tara Levine, M.A.  (-2016)
Assistant Director, Communications
College of Graduate Studies

University of Central  Florida 

Tara Levine is an Assistant Director within the College of Graduate Studies for the University of Central Florida. Tara has been involved with the Florida Professional Science Masters Statewide Initiative since the initial planning grant was awarded in 2009 from the Sloan Foundation. Acting as an advocate for the initiative, she assisted in growing the state of Florida’s programs to 28 certified PSM programs, 4 active programs using the PSM format and an additional 5 PSM programs that are currently being planned at Florida institutions. In this role, she was responsible for the coordination, communication and marketing of the statewide initiative including assisting in building a statewide advisory board and attaining a second implementation grant from the Sloan Foundation.  Tara holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Florida and a M.A. in Communication from the University of Central Florida.

Carol B. Lynch, Ph.D. (-2016)
Dean Emerita
University of Colorado at Boulder

Carol Lynch is Dean Emerita at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she was Professor of Ecological and Evolutionary Biology, and Fellow of the Institute for Behavioral Genetics, having served as Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Chancellor for Research from 1992-2004. She recently completed 5 ½ years as a Senior Scholar at the Council of Graduate Schools, directing the professional master’s initiatives.

Carol received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, her M.A. from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She held an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Colorado. From 1973–92 she was at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, as Professor of Biology, and later Dean of the Sciences. She held a Research Career Development Award from NIH, is a Fellow of AAAS and was President of the Behavior Genetics Association. She was the Program Director in Population Biology and Physiological Ecology at the National Science Foundation in 1990-91.

Carol was President of the Western Association of Graduate Schools and has served on the Board of Directors of the Council of Graduate Schools and on the Executive Committee of the Council on Research Policy and Graduate Education of NASULGC (now APLU). She was a member of the GRE Board (ETS), was past chair of the TOEFL Board (ETS) and was a member of the NRC committee on the assessment of research doctoral programs. She served as the inaugural CGS/NSF Dean in Residence, and later reprised that role. She is currently co-chair of the Steering Committee for the National PSM Office.

A biologist by training, she has held research grants from NIH, NSF, and NATO, has published on evolutionary and behavioral genetics, was Co-PI on an NSF AGEP award and Co-PI on an NSF ADVANCE award.

Ramona Mellott, Ph.D.  (-2017)
Dean of the Graduate College
Northern Arizona University

Ramona Mellott is Dean of the College of Education at Northern Arizona University since November 2014. She formerly served as the first full-time dean of the Graduate College from 2007-2014. She began her academic career as an Assistant Professor in 1991 and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 2003. She also served as between 2000-2007 as Department Chair before becoming the first full-time Dean of the Graduate College for NAU in 2007. As Graduate Dean, she was elected to a one-year term on the Governing Board of the Council of Graduate Schools in 2012. She served in various capacities on the board for the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) and ultimately as President of WAGS in 2012-13. Since 2014, she serves as the Convener of the Professional Science Master’s State Systems, Statewide and Regions Network and is also currently a member of the National Professional Science Master’s Steering Committee. She also serves in a governor-appointed position on the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners for which she is serving a second term. Professor Mellott holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Psychology and Educational/Counseling Psychology from the University of Bombay (Mumbai) and a second master’s and doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Dr. Mellott’s accomplishments as Graduate Dean included involvement in a statewide effort to increase professional science master’s programs at the three state universities in Arizona and, at NAU, developing accelerated (3+2/4+1) bachelor’s/master’s programs, implementing curricular efficiency measures, securing increased tuition remission/waiver for graduate assistants, guiding the transition to independence for the graduate student organization, establishing a three-minute research presentation competition for graduate students in all disciplines, providing financial education workshops, and assisting with a robust professional development program and awards for graduate assistants and graduate students. She has championed efforts in achieving a “paperless” environment in the Graduate College and has worked to establish a broad graduate recruitment program to expand and diversify graduate enrollment, including the use of social networking tools.

Priyanka Patel, M.S. (-2018)
Clinical Project Manager, Oncology

Priyanka Patel is a graduate of Temple University, College of Science and Technology (CST). She was fortunate to be hired as a Clinical Research Assistant with Penn Medicine immediately after graduation. In May 2014 she graduated from Temple’s PSM Biotechnology Master’s Program as part of the program’s first cohort while still working full-time during the entirety of the program. Her contributions and positive work performance at Penn Medicine led to a promotion and she was appointed Clinical Research Coordinator for her division.

The PSM program, through its classes and external advisory board members, intrigued her to pursue an industry-focused career. In July 2014, she was offered an associate position at a biopharmaceutical consultancy, Prescient Healthcare Group, in New Jersey where she currently resides. In August 2015, she transitioned to BioClinica, a company providing specialty clinical trials services, where she is currently a Clinical Project Manager.

Priyanka’s experiences at Temple have helped her become who she is today and she would like the opportunity to help shape the lives of current, future, and past PSM students from all institutions. Throughout college she was involved in extracurricular organizations and is still highly invested in becoming and staying involved. She remains active in helping current CST PSM Biotech students find jobs and give guidance when needed. She has been working with the NPSMA on its Ambassador Program. She became the youngest Temple University, CST Alumni Board Member and most recently, joined Temple’s Owl to Owl Mentoring program to mentor current undergraduate students from CST. 

Inge Wefes, Ph.D.  (-2017)
Associate Dean of the Graduate School
University of Colorado Denver|Anschutz Medical Campus

Inge Wefes serves as Associate Dean of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado Denver|Anschutz Medical Campus where she directs, among other duties, the development of new graduate programs and outreach efforts. Prior to moving to Denver she was in Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School in Boston and then in Molecular Medicine at the University of South Florida (USF), where she initiated and spearheaded the development of three Master’s programs (i.e. Bioethics, Bioinformatics, and Biotechnology). The latter two became the first two recognized Professional Science Master’s Programs in the State of Florida, and the PSM Bioinformatics Program was sponsored by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. As Associate Professor at USF, Dr. Wefes served as the Director and Student Advisor of two dual degree graduate programs, two PSM programs and three Graduate Certificate Programs. She was also actively engaged in teaching and course development and served as course director and instructor of six graduate courses and one undergraduate course. In spring 2011, USF’s College of Medicine rewarded her creativity and commitment to science education with the inaugural award for “Innovation in Teaching”. Due to her intensive collaboration with local industry, in 2010 Dr. Wefes led the PSM Program in Biotechnology to become one of the finalists for the Annual Industry Achievement Awards of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum., Dr. Wefes served on multiple boards including the PSM Advisory Board of the National Council of Graduate Schools, the State-wide Initiative for The Promotion of PSM Programs in the State of Florida and as Advisor to The Governor’s Task Force for The Study of Biotech Competitiveness. She also was a member of the Board of the National Professional Science Master's Association and later its Executive Board, and she co-chaired the NPSMA National Conference in 2013.

After relocating to Denver in summer 2012 to assume the position of Associate Dean of the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School, Dr. Wefes pioneered four new outreach efforts in the form of Mini-Schools, including a Mini-STEM School, and she brought to the State the first Colorado Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors. Banking on her successful experience in Florida, in Denver Dr. Wefes also developed a Master's Program in Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology that is currently under review by the University of Colorado Board of Regents. On its approval, she will serve as its Director and apply for recognition of this program as a PSM program.  Dr. Wefes is also one of 10 recipient Principal Investigators nationwide of the 2013 NIH BEST Award for "Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training". Her long-standing and far-reaching experience in the training on biomedical science graduate students will be an asset to the NPSMA Board and its constituents. 

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