Board of Directors
David W. King, Ph.D.
Director, SUNY PSM Consortium
Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Professor of History
State University of New York at Oswego
David King is Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the State University of New York at Oswego, with responsibility for promoting and enhancing two dozen graduate programs at SUNY Oswego which enroll about 1,000 students. He also has general oversight for the varied sponsored research programs on the campus. 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 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.
Deborah Silver, Ph.D.
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).
Inge Wefes, Ph.D.
University of Colorado Denver/AMC
Inge Wefes serves as the Associate Dean at the University of Colorado Denver/AMC. She previously served as the Director and Student Advisor of the Biotechnology and the Bioinformatics PSM Programs and three Graduate Certificate Programs. She was also course director and instructor of six graduate courses and one undergraduate course.
Dr. Wefes was educated at the University of Tübingen, Germany, where she received a MSc in Biology and Philosophy and a PhD in Genetics. Following her dissertation, she pursued postdoctoral training and an instructorship at Harvard Medical School in Boston followed by a faculty position in the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa. In 2002 she initiated and drove the development of the USF PhD-PLUS program, which allows Medical Science Graduate Students to pursue a Ph.D. and, simultaneously, to study for a Master’s degree. While at USF, she also initiated and spearheaded the development of three Master’s programs (Bioethics, Bioinformatics, and Biotechnology).
Joaquin Carbonara, Ph.D.
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.
Immediate Past President
Bogdan Vernescu, Ph.D.
Professor and Department Head
Mathematical Sciences Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Bogdan Vernescu has been Professor and Head of the Mathematical Sciences Department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) since 2003. In 1997 Dr. Vernescu co-founded the Center for Industrial Mathematics and Statistics (CIMS) - an effort designed to integrate academic projects in mathematics and statistics with the corporate world - and was its Director until 2003. CIMS provided a coherent format for developing industrial undergraduate, graduate and faculty projects with more than 35 corporate customers and attracted significant funding from the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the GE Foundation and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Starting in 1999, Dr. Vernescu has been involved in developing the PSM programs at WPI and in 2007 he became the Founding President of the NPSMA, an office he held again in 2012.
As a member of the Board of Directors of the NPSMA, he was involved in promoting the PSM programs at the national level and in helping develop programs on various campuses across the country. He has served on the PSM Advisory Board for the Council of Graduate Schools. His research expertise is in the areas of partial differential equations and homogenization, applied to fluid mechanics, porous and composite materials. Dr. Vernescu has had more than 35 peer-reviewed scientific papers published, a monograph published by World Scientific, and is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences and professional meetings. Vernescu has also held visiting positions at MIT, in France at the University of Metz, University of Nancy, University of Rouen and University of Savoie, and at the Institute of Mathematics of the Romanian Academy. He is a member of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Dr. Vernescu earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Institute of Mathematics in Bucharest, Romania, and his B.S. and M.S. degrees in applied mathematics from the University of Bucharest in Bucharest, Romania.
Cynthia Bainton, MBA
Administrative Manager, Biotechnology Programs
Cynthia Bainton is administrative manager of the Biotechnology and Biopharmaceutical Regulatory Science PSM Programs at Northeastern University in Boston and has been involved with the NPSMA since its establishment five years ago. Ms. Bainton joined Northeastern in 2003, when the Biotechnology PSM Program was in its very first year, and since that time has been a major influence on the growth of PSMs at Northeastern. The biotechnology and regulatory science programs now have a combined enrollment of 130 students. The two interdisciplinary programs cut across two colleges and three departments. This has given Ms. Bainton extensive experience solving both academic and administrative challenges as well as student issues. She works closely with the programs’ faculty and staff to implement program improvements with a strong emphasis on quality and service. After volunteering to serve on the NPSMA’s Peer Review Committee, in 2009 Ms. Bainton was elected to the NPSMA Board of Directors. She served as convener of the board in 2010 and as the finance officer in 2012.
Previously Ms. Bainton held positions in development and administration at the International Institute of Boston (IIB), a non-profit social services agency serving immigrants and refugees. As secretary of the Institute’s board of directors, she became knowledgeable about non-profit board governance. As coordinator of the Institute’s capital campaign, she gained experience in donor relations and event production. Ms. Bainton joined IIB after six years as an ESL/EFL teacher at EF International Language Schools in Boston and the American Language Institute in Lisbon, Portugal.
Ms. Bainton earned an MBA from Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business and a BA in English from Bowdoin College.
David Dyer, Ph.D.
Director of the Program for Applied Biotechnology Studies
California State University - Fullerton
David Dyer received his Bachelor of Science in Genetics from the University of California at Davis, and his doctorate in biology with an emphasis in neurochemistry/neurophysiology from the University of California at Irvine. He established the research and development department of Woodward Laboratories, Inc., focused on transdermal drug delivery systems. In his 13 years at this company he garnered 8 US patents and numerous international patents for his work. He worked closely with the company’s board of directors to guide innovation during this time as well. Following this, he served as a Medical Science Liaison for UCB Pharma, Inc., and oversaw the Phase IV clinical work for the company in Southern and Central California and Nevada in the area of central nervous system drug product development. Following his strong interest in focused training of the high technology workforce associated with the California biomedical industries, he accepted his current position of Director of the Program for Applied Biotechnology Studies in 2008 and has had the pleasure of helping the program to grow from its inception to its present success. He currently serves as a member of the CSU Fullerton Dean’s Advisory Council, and an assistant Scoutmaster for Los Alamitos Troop 658.
Joan Huber, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator, Plant Biology PSM
University of Illinois - Urbana
Joan Huber is Program Coordinator for the Plant Biology PSM at the University of Illinois. She earned her BS in Biology at Wayne State University in Detroit and PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Idaho. Joan’s efforts to launch a plant biotechnology PSM grew from a conviction of our need to embed innovative science + business graduate training into basic life science disciplines that traditionally have focused on research-based degrees.
While engaged for more than 25 years in research in plant physiology and biochemistry at major research universities she, like many, have observed declining funds to support thesis degrees and decreases in research-based academic positions and, at the same time, swelling ranks of young scientists seeking non-academic careers in sectors that are also undergoing changes. Her work at both the pre-college level, as a NASA Assistant Director for Outreach and Education at NC State University, and at the undergraduate level, as an instructor, academic advisor and career counselor in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Illinois, underscored an imperative to anticipate the 21st century landscape and prepare the many life science students unaware of the diversity of today’s science careers. Bringing an appreciation for the educational experiences of students in the basic sciences, Joan has served for several years on the Illinois PSM Advisory Council, which works to create developmental PSM curricula that build skills and proficiencies of mutual benefit to both students and employers. Within her Plant Biology PSM program, Joan integrates graduate science and business insights into new courses and lab research, and establishes industry partnerships that yield student projects and vital mentoring for both the program and the students.
Patricia Komuniecki, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs and Dean, College of Graduate Studies
University of Toledo
Patricia Komuniecki is the Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs and Dean of the College of Graduate Studies at The University of Toledo (UT). Dr. Komuniecki earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Biology from Newton College (Boston College) and Mount Holyoke College and her Ph.D. in Zoology from The University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Prior to assuming her faculty position at UT in 1985, she conducted postdoctoral research in parasite biochemistry at The University of Notre Dame and pharmacology at the former Medical College of Ohio. As a Professor of Biology, she has garnered more than $4M in research grant funding as well as teaching/mentoring doctoral, master’s and undergraduate students in lab and classroom for more than 25 years. She has previously held administrative appointments as Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.
Michael N. Morad, M.S.
Senior Manager, Global Quality Compliance
Michael Morad is employed by Cordis Corporation, a part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, as Senior Manager of Global Quality Compliance.
Michael graduated from a PSM program in Medical Product Development Management at San Jose State University in 2010 and has become involved in the National Professional Science Master's Association to develop the Association’s PSM alumni network and student outreach programs.
In addition to his PSM degree Michael holds a B.S. in Molecular Biology from San Jose State University as well as certifications for ISO 9001/13485 Lead Auditor and Certified Quality Engineer, Certified Quality Auditor and Certified Quality Manager through the American Society for Quality.
Donald E. Pierson, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Don Pierson is the Vice Provost for Graduate Education at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He also serves as System Coordinator of the Planning Committee for Professional Science Masters Programs at the University of Massachusetts. The professional science masters initiative is a vital component in the effort to strengthen graduate programs at the University of Massachusetts. In the past two years, the campus governance systems have approved 19 PSM programs as Options within the various science masters degrees programs.
Pierson earned an A.B. in Psychology cum laude from Princeton University, a Masters in Education, Research in Instruction from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in Education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He has worked for IBM, served as an elementary school principal, conducted a ten year longitudinal study of early childhood education, and directed university partnerships with urban schools and community organizations. Prior to his current position at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, he served as Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Education for 18 years and as Interim Provost for one year. He has served as Principal Investigator for numerous private foundation and public grants, including the Northeast Network STEM Pipeline (2004-2008) and TEAMS Academy for accelerated high school students to take college level courses in Technology, Engineering, Math, and Science.
Jean Schaake, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
College of Arts and Sciences
University of North Texas
Jean Schaake is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Texas. Jean’s educational background includes B.A. in Chemistry, St. Olaf College, an M.S. Ed., Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Florida. Her primary responsibilities in the College of Arts and Sciences include development and assessment of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the 18 departments in the College. She chairs both the undergraduate and graduate curriculum committees for the College of Arts and Sciences as well as the liaison with the UNT-International to develop faculty led study abroad programs and curricular partnerships with foreign universities.
In addition to university responsibilities, Dr. Schaake is active in the Denton community through service on a city commission, membership in the Denton Chamber of Commerce and past service as trustee for the Denton Independent School District. Her professional memberships include the DFW World Affairs Council, the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations and the American Chemical Society and DFW section.
Sheila Thomas, M.A.
State University Dean for Extended and Continuing Education
California State University System
Sheila Thomas has nearly 30 years experience in the field of continuing higher education in both public and private institutions. As State Dean, Sheila is responsible for facilitating workforce development, strategic communication, policy review and advocating for Extended and Continuing Education, both internally and externally. She has administrative oversight of the Commission on Extended University and system distance learning compliance. Sheila is a member of the California State Health Workforce Development Council, serves as the system lead for Professional Science Masters programs, and is involved in other workforce development efforts in healthcare, transportation, green and sustainability, teacher education and biotechnology.
Prior to her appointment as State Dean, Sheila served in administrative roles at California State University, Long Beach and California Polytechnic University, Pomona, and at Southern California University of Health Sciences. While at Cal State Long Beach, she had oversight of the development of online business courses for PSM programs, and performed preliminary work on a potential PSM program in geographic information systems. Sheila holds a bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific University, a master’s degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and is a doctoral candidate in higher education leadership at Northcentral University.
Marilyn Wells, Ph.D.
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 servesdas 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.
Peiru Wu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Program Director
PSM in Industrial Mathematics
Department of Mathematics
Michigan State University
Peiru Wu is the program director of the PSM in industrial mathematics at Michigan State University (MSU). She has been heavily involved in coordinating the PSM program, and fostering the industry connections with MSU. She has actively participated in the formation of the National Professional Science Master's Association and currently serves on the board of directors.
Dr. Wu earned a Ph.D. in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She conducted research on the development of the singularity method of sedimentation process in the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at MIT. Her postdoctoral research emphasized a mathematical model and simulation of the protein behavior in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware. Subsequently, she worked as a research associate in the Department of Chemistry at Michigan State University. Later she joined Parke-Davis and initiated and coordinated projects in bioinformatics and filed for a U.S. patent for the data mining algorithm in gene expression data analysis at Pfizer until returning to MSU as associate professor in Mathematics. Her research interests include CFD, data mining, bioinformatics, image processing, mathematical biology and industrial mathematics. Dr. Wu is well published in several fields.
In addition, Dr. Wu was a faculty member in the program for Undergraduates in Biological and Mathematical Sciences (UBM) at MSU; developed the curriculum, text materials, and co-teaching for the core course; and collaborated with the laboratory in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to develop a detailed kinetic analysis of elongation catalyzed by human RNA polymerase II.