Board of Directors
Courtney H. Thornton, Ph.D. (-2018)
Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Education
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. Thornton 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.
University of North Carolina
Dr. Thornton holds bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Science Education, as well as masters and doctoral degrees in Higher Education Administration, 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.
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.
Immediate Past President
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.
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.
Amber Bloechle, M.S. (-2019)
GIS Online Director in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science
University of West Florida
Amber Bloechle is the GIS Online Director in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of West Florida. In this role, she develops content, instructs, oversees student internships, and administers UWF online GIS course offerings for GIS Certificate and MS in GIS Administration degree programs. Amber initiated and oversaw the development of first PSM program at UWF, the MS in GIS Admin. She participated in the Florida Professional Science Masters Statewide Initiative from 2012-2015 and serves at the go-to regarding NPSMA on the UWF campus. She is a certified quality online instructor and course reviewer based on the Quality Matters Program and has earned the QM seal of approval for several courses. Her primary interests include using GIS and Remote Sensing to make better policy decisions and improve environmental outcomes. She has worked as a GIS professional in both contract and academic capacities. Current projects involve employing geospatial analysis to support healthy food resources both in Northwest Florida and in Mozambique, Africa.
She also serves as the Education Coordinator for Florida Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (FLURISA), volunteers on the Florida Emergency GIS Response Team, and is an active member of several GIS User Groups. Amber holds a M.S. in Environmental Science, a Graduate Certificate in GIS, and a B.S. in Environmental Studies (Policy), all from UWF. She is also an active Geographic Information Science Professional.
Tim Born, Ph.D. (-2019)
PSM Program Coordinator
Grand Valley State University
Tim Born began his academic career as a Biochemistry faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at George Mason University. He spent his first 10 years conducting basic biochemistry research, publishing nine peer-reviewed papers, submitting multiple grants, and involving both undergraduate and graduate students in my research projects. His research interests included the study of enzymes in secondary metabolism, identification of novel targets for antibacterial compounds, and using mass spectrometry to examine protein acetylation patterns in cell signaling. Bioscience research is, by necessity, a very collaborative field and he worked closely with faculty in bioinformatics, microbiology, biodefense, and a variety of medical fields.
Dr. Born found that his greatest joy as a faculty member occurred when he was working with students, and that led him to spend eight years as the graduate coordinator for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His responsibilities in this position included recruiting new students to the programs, responding to general inquiries from current and potential students, advising current students on their progress, and making sure the proper courses were scheduled each semester.
He was the only biochemist when he joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (then just the Department of Chemistry), and he was asked to update the biochemistry curriculum. Working on this project sparked his interest in courses and curriculum. He chaired the curriculum committee for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as they adapted to the new American Chemical Society guidelines, and he was chair of the College of Science Curriculum Committee for four years. His involvement in curriculum design increased when he joined the College of Science Dean’s office as the assistant (and then associate) Dean for student and academic affairs.
After 13 years at Mason, he decided to return the Midwest and took his current position as Professional Science Master’s Programs Coordinator at Grand Valley State University (GVSU).
Ray Hoobler, Ph.D. (-2019)
Director, Professional Master of Science and Technology Program
University of Utah
Ray Hoobler joined the PMST program as Director at the beginning of January 2016 where he is responsible for strategic and financial management of the PMST program as well as admissions, recruiting, and marketing. He brings 15 years of industry experience to the University of Utah’s Professional Master of Science and Technology program. Dr. Hoobler held positions in both science and management; most recently spending five years in product marketing and product management for KLA-Tencor, a leading capital equipment supplier based in Silicon Valley, where he was responsible for the thin film optical metrology product line and U.S. west coast logic and memory manufacturers. Dr. Hoobler previously worked as the Senior Scientist for the venture capital backed startup Purfresh, focused on food and water safety, food storage, and solar crop protectants.
Dr. Hoobler completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Penn State University and B.S. in Chemistry from Marshall University. His academic experience includes positions as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at JILA, University of Colorado, Boulder and as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of South Alabama.
Rana Khan, Ph.D. (-2018)Vice Dean and Chair, Information and Technology Systems DepartmentUniversity of Maryland, University CampusRana 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.
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
Carol B. Lynch, Ph.D. (-2019)
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.
Barry Ries, Ph.D. (-2019)
Associate Vice President of Research and Dean of Graduate Education
Minnesota State University Mankato
Barry J. Ries is the Associate Vice President of Research and Dean of Graduate Education at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU). He oversees the University’s vibrant graduate programming and research enterprise. With more than 80 master’s degree and graduate certificate programs and five doctoral degree programs to choose from, MSU blends the excitement of learning in the classroom with real-world opportunities.
This past year under Dr. Ries’ leadership, Minnesota State University launched three interdisciplinary professional science master’s degree programs. The three new programs include Geographic Information Sciences, Manufacturing Engineering Technology, and Information Security and Risk Management. Additionally, the University is in the early stages of developing a PSM in Health Informatics. In the first four years that Dr. Ries provided administrative oversight for the Research and Sponsored Program office, revenues doubled from 4.3 Million to 8.8 Million dollars. Ries is currently a professional affiliate of the Council of Graduate Schools, Council of Undergraduate Research, National Council of University Research Administrators and the National Professional Science Master’s Association. He also serves as a member of the inaugural PSMCAS advisory group.
Dr. Ries served as Chair of the Department of Psychology. While chair he supported the development of the Psy.D in school psychology and also contributed significantly to the development of the service abroad initiative in San Pedro, Belize. The Belize initiative became a university wide opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students alike. Before serving as chair, Ries was the Clinical Training Director for the MA in clinical psychology. He holds a B.S. degree from Oklahoma Christian University in Psychology, a M.A. in counseling psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University.
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.