Board of Trustees

This is the governing body of the Summer Science Program, the only enrichment program governed and largely funded by its own alumni and former faculty.

Dr. Noël Bakhtian
Dr. Amy Barr Mlinar
Dr. Janice L. Bishop
Richard D. Bowdon
Executive Director
Dr. Douglas Duncan
Dr. Ronald Irving
Henry Lichstein
Michael H. McKay
Dr. Scott Pace
Harold C. Schloss
Razvan Ungureanu
Dr. Bonnie Valant-Spaight
Dr. Michael Weiss
Vice Chair

Stephen Cotler
Chair emeritus
Dr. David Pierce
Chair emeritus

Dr. Noël Bakhtian ’00, Faculty ’05 recently finished a Senior Fellowship at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), working on environment and energy. She completed a PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, researching supersonic retropropulsion for high-mass Mars landings. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from Duke University and a MPhil in Engineering from the University of Cambridge where she studied bird wing functionality using several wind tunnels (no birds were hurt in the completion of this degree!) She has supported SSP alumni relations since 2008 and has been a board member since 2011.

Dr. Amy Barr Mlinar ’94, Faculty ’99-’00, ’02 is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona.  Amy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Planetary Science from Caltech and PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado.  Her research focuses on the origin and evolution of planetary moons, both in our Solar System and extrasolar planetary systems.  She has previously held research and academic posts at Washington University in St. Louis, the Southwest Research Institute, and Brown University. Dr. Barr is the member of two instrument teams on NASA’s forthcoming mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, and is a member of the National Academies’ Intelligence Science and Technology Experts Group.

Dr. Janice L. Bishop ’81, Faculty ’86-’87 received a BS in chemistry and MS in applied earth science (remote sensing) at Stanford University, followed by a PhD in chemistry and planetary geology at Brown University. She received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation to work at the DLR in Berlin, then came to NASA-Ames Research Center in 1997 as a National Research Council Associate. Dr. Bishop has been a Principal Investigator at the SETI Institute since 1999 with a Cooperative Agreement at NASA-Ames Research Center, where she investigates the surface of the planet Mars, and performs research on rocks and minerals important to astrobiology. One of her current projects is searching for water on Mars by identifying phyllosilicates and sulfates in the hyperspectral CRISM images collected by the MRO spacecraft.

Richard D. Bowdon ’74 worked for two decades in the field of software applications for petroleum exploration. After earning a BS in Applied & Engineering Physics at Cornell, he returned to Midland, Texas as a Field Engineer with Schlumberger Well Services. Subsequently he managed the local office of a petroleum economics software firm, and prospected for oil & gas. In 1985 he founded Energy Software, Inc., designing and marketing a leading application for well data management and subsurface mapping. Mr. Bowdon left Texas and the petroleum industry in 1999, moving with his family to North Carolina. He became SSP Executive Director in 2001.

Dr. Douglas Duncan ’68, Faculty ’74-’76 is a faculty member in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences of the University of Colorado, where he directs the Fiske Planetarium. Duncan earned his B.S. at Caltech and his Ph. D. from UC Santa Cruz. Dr. Duncan is the author of “Clickers in the Classroom,” a guide to the powerful new technology that enables teachers to know what all of their students are thinking – not just the ones that raise their hands. He has served as National Education Coordinator for the American Astronomical Society. Duncan has authored over 50 refereed publications. In 2011 he received the prestigious Richard Emmons award presented to the “Outstanding Astronomy Teacher in the US.” Dr. Duncan has led educational trips throughout the world to watch total eclipses of the sun and to see the northern lights.

Dr. Ronald Irving ’68 is Chair of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Washington. After an early childhood passion for astronomy, nurtured through visits to New York’s Hayden Planetarium, he drifted toward mathematics, not looking back after receiving the Giant Golden Book of Mathematics at the age of 8. He received an AB in mathematics and philosophy from Harvard in 1973 and a PhD in mathematics from MIT in 1977. He joined the UW faculty in 1981. In the years since he has served as department chair twice, Dean of Natural Sciences, and Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2002, he established the Summer Institute for Mathematics at UW, a six-week residential program for talented high school students in the greater northwest. He has been a board member and officer of the Astrophysical Research Consortium, and immediate past president of the non-profit affiliated with the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle.

Henry Lichstein ’60 is a venture capitalist and consultant to startups. He spent 30 years at Citibank, most recently as assistant to the chairman for internet activities, responsible for technology strategy and advanced development efforts. Mr. Lichstein has served on the Boards of Santa Fe Institute and Teradata (sold to AT&T in 1992). He was treasurer and governor of the New York Academy of Sciences for ten years, and served on the Higher Education Issues Panel of the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities, and on the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee to Study the Impact of Information Technology on performance of Service Activities. He holds BS degrees in electrical engineering and economics, and an MS in management, all from MIT. He lives with his wife in the Los Angeles area. His son Daniel attended SSP in 1988.

Michael H. McKay ’78 is an Adjunct Professor at Brandeis International School of Business, where he teaches courses in finance. He is also an Advisory Partner at Bain & Company, Inc., a leading global strategy consulting firm. He holds an AB (magna cum laude) from Harvard College in economics, and an MBA from the University of Chicago, where he won the Mayer Prize as outstanding graduating student and the George Hay Brown Prize as outstanding marketing student. He retains a passion for astronomy as an amateur observer, and is passing this passion along to his three children. Mr. McKay lives in the Boston area.

Dr. Scott Pace ’75 is the Director of the Space Policy Institute and a Professor of Practice in International Affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. His research interests include civil, commercial, and national security space policy, and the management of technical innovation. He received a BS in Physics from Harvey Mudd College in 1980; MS degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics and Technology & Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982; and a PhD in Policy Analysis from the RAND Graduate School in 1989. Most recently a senior administrator at NASA Headquarters, Dr. Pace has served at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the RAND Corporation, the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Rockwell International’s Shuttle Orbiter Division, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Harold C. Schloss ’76 is a Vice President at Merrill Lynch in Beverly Hills, Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 360, and a mentor to FIRST Robotics team 1836. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Sciences from Harvard in 1981. After working on a communications system for NATO at Litton, he moved to a pacemaker company called Pacesetter Systems Inc. in 1983, developing embedded real time systems for programming pacemakers, and later managing developers of those systems. He left what had become the Cardiac Rhythm Management Division of St. Jude Medical holding 14 US patents and a number of foreign patents. In 2000 Hal moved to Merrill Lynch.

Razvan Ungureanu ’01, Faculty ’05-’07 earned a BA in English at Rice University, and then a law degree at the University of Utah. In between, he taught Chemistry and Physics at Gustine High School in California. Razvan has worked as a summer associate for Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll in Salt Lake City, UT and for WilmerHale in Washington, DC. Currently, he practices civil litigation with Smyser, Kaplan & Veselka in Houston, TX.

Dr. Bonnie Valant-Spaight ’89, TA ‘93 is a bit of a Renaissance physicist, having worked in experimental particle physics, nuclear physics, atmospheric physics, and space weather. She received her B.S. in Physics from Santa Clara Univ. While pursuing her Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell, she investigated decays of the B meson in order to study the weak force. She later worked for PathFinder Energy Services developing instruments for nuclear oil well logging. At Propagation Research Associates, she was a Principal Investigator on many Small Business Innovation Research contracts with NOAA and the Department of Defense. She has recently joined The Aerospace Corporation, where she is developing spaceborne instruments for atmospheric measurements.

Dr. Michael Weiss ’74 is Distinguished Research Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Cowan-Blum Chair of its Department of Biochemistry. Holding 17 issued or pending patents in insulin technologies, he is a founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Thermalin Diabetes, LLC. Elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (1991) and American Association of Physicians (2000), Dr. Weiss is a Trustee of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and oversees its Health Advisory Committee. A former member of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, he is a current Trustee of the Presidential Scholars Foundation. Dr. Weiss is past Chair of the NIDDK Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Institutes of Health. At CWRU Dr. Weiss holds secondary appointments in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering.