CCIS conference room

Advisory Board

The College of Science and Mathematics’ Advisory Board provides guidance, support and advocacy for the College’s pedagogical, research and outreach programs. These individuals bridge the College and the external community with their professional insights into current educational, economic, national and international needs. They assist the College in identifying emerging research and educational programs, sources for financial and professional student support and collaborations for programs and research.

Board Members

Dr. Barbara Brummer '68

Dr. Barbara Brummer, PhD ’68

Director, The Nature Conservancy of NJ
Elizabeth D. Kay Environmental Center
Chair, CSAM Advisory Board

Dr. Barbara Brummer is the State Director at The Nature Conservancy of New Jersey where she is the key leader of the Conservancy’s program in New Jersey. A longstanding member of the Conservancy, Dr. Brummer was hired as State Director in January 2004. Prior to joining the Conservancy, she had retired from a successful career in the private sector, spending the last twelve years as an executive with Johnson & Johnson. Among her positions at J&J, she served as President of J&J Canada Inc. and Worldwide Vice President of the Women’s Health and Wellness Franchise. Throughout her career Barbara has maintained a passionate interest in conservation. For many years, she taught a course in field biology at Montclair State University and has spent many hours seeking out natural areas and studying the flora of New Jersey. In addition to her longstanding membership in The Nature Conservancy, Barbara has also been active in other local conservation organizations, serving on the boards of the New Jersey Audubon Society, the Pocono Environmental Education Center and the Palisades Nature Association. Soon after joining The Nature Conservancy, she was appointed by the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to the Endangered and Non-Game Species Advisory Committee. Barbara is active with her alma mater, serving as the Chair of this Board as well as the Campaign Cabinet at Montclair State University. She has a B.A. in Biology from Montclair State University and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from New York University.

Mario Casabona

Mr. Mario M. Casabona

Founder and Managing Partner
Casabona Ventures, LLC
CSAM Board’s Development Committee Chair

Mr. Mario M. Casabona is an entrepreneur and active angel investor. In 2012, he founded TechLaunch, committed to identifying and nurturing early stage tech ventures by mentoring, coaching, and providing access to resources and capital. To date, TechLaunch has supported over 200 tech companies and mentored over 350 aspiring entrepreneurs. In 2006, he founded Casabona Ventures, investing in over 50 seed and early stage companies. In 1982, he founded Electro-Radiation Inc., which was acquired by Honeywell International (Aerospace Group) in 2004. He received the Small Business Administration National Tibbett’s Award for his contributions in technology, and was listed as one of the top five most influential persons in New Jersey technology by The Star-Ledger. He was twice recognized by the New Jersey Technology Council, (now TechUnited:NJ) first as the recipient of their Financier of the Year Award and subsequently their Legend of Technology Award. He is Chairman Emeritus of Jumpstart NJ Angel Network and Chairman Emeritus of the R&D Council of New Jersey. He also enjoys serving on the Boards of various for-profit and non-for-profit organizations. Mr. Casabona is an electrical engineer and holds twelve national and international patents in the field of satellite-based navigation and communications.

Ruth Clements

Ms. Ruth Clements

President, East Region
Quest Diagnostics

Ruth has been a catalyst for change throughout her career, while always keeping the patient at the center of anything she does. It is her passion and strong personal connection with the patient communities she serves that allows her to deliver best-in-class programs.

She is currently the President of the East Region at Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, providing leadership over ~5,500 employees. Prior to serving in her current role, Ruth was the VP/GM of the Infectious Disease and Immunology franchise at Quest Diagnostics, The company annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States. In her role Ruth has been instrumental in the COVID-19 response for Quest Diagnostics. She has also been a leader in the company’s Quest for Health Equity initiative, a philanthropic effort with the Quest Foundation backed with over $100 million in financial and testing resources to address and reduce health disparities in underserved communities. Ruth is an active board member of the Joi Life foundation, a non-profit organization that supports neurologic disease through education initiatives for patients and health care professionals, scholarships & mentorship opportunities for students, as well as innovative forms of healing.

Prior to Quest, Ruth served in various leadership positions within the pharmaceutical industry at Novartis, Bayer, Acorda, Organon and Allergan.

Dr. Francis M. Cuss

Dr. Francis M.C. Cuss, MB, BChir

Executive Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D, Retired
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Chair, MSU Board of Trustees

Dr. Francis M. Cuss is a physician-scientist, with a background in general and academic medicine. He has developed a broad experience in pharmaceutical research, in clinical development and in executive management within globally-operating biopharma companies. Dr. Cuss’ career spans more than 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically with BMS, Schering-Plough and Glaxo. Francis retired from Bristol-Myers Squibb in July 2017 having served as Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer since July 2013 and as a member of BMS’s Senior Management Team since 2010. He joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2003. Francis spent nearly a decade leading a very productive discovery organization which produced an innovative pipeline from both in-house and external programs. Their work helped numerous patients prevail against serious disease and laid the foundation for the generation of significant company growth and value. In addition to his participation on this Board and the University’s Board of Trustees, he is a member of the board of directors of Novo Holdings A/S, Denmark, Rubius Therapeutics, Cambridge MA. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Francis was a practicing physician with a specialization in pulmonary medicine in the UK. He received his education and medical training in the United Kingdom. He holds medical degrees from Cambridge University, U.K. and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on topics of medical interest.

Shaun Fine

Mr. Shaun Fine

Director of Environmental Projects
PSEG

Mr. Shaun Fine has worked in the environmental department of PSEG since 2011. He is responsible for managing the company’s remediation program, waste management, environmental support for construction projects, the investment recovery program and oversees the financial and supplier management for the environmental team. He is passionate about continuous improvement, developing several programs that support PSEG’s sustainability initiatives, reducing spend and/or improving data management. He enjoys mentoring students through the internship program to provide career building guidance for the next generation. He is an Advocacy Lead for Disability IN:NJ which is an organization that works with corporations to increase employment in NJ for people with disabilities. He is an alumnus of the University of Scranton where he earned a BS degree in Environmental Science, he received his MS degree in environmental science in a joint program between Rutgers University and NJIT and an MBA degree from Excelsior University.

Mr. Terence J. Gunning '79

Mr. Terence J. Gunning, MBA ’79

CEO, Retired
Lone Oak Business Solution

Mr. Terence J. Gunning has 30 years of management experience in the healthcare industry including diagnostic testing and services, medical devices and consumer healthcare products. He was Chief Executive Officer of Lone Oak Business Solutions, a life sciences consulting firm. Prior to Lone Oak Business Solutions, Terry was CEO of Cadent, a worldwide medical service and device start-up headquartered in Carlstadt, New Jersey. Terry’s tenure as Cadent’s CEO brought a tripling of revenue and significant improvement in operating profit and cash flow concurrent with several successful capital funding campaigns which paved the way for a successful strategic exit. As President of Datascope’s Cardiac Assist Division (CA) Terry brought significant sales increases, the launch of three new products, CA’s first successful acquisition and re-establishment of CA as the worldwide leader in counter-pulsation therapy. As Vice President and Head of the Corporate Anatomic Pathology Division, and as Vice President, Marketing, for Quest Diagnostics, he led several growth initiatives resulting in significant top- and bottom-line improvements. His resume includes marketing-related senior management positions with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Terry earned his MBA – Finance and Accounting at Columbia University and BS in Chemistry at Montclair State University.

Wren Lester

Dr. Wren Lester, PhD

Chief Experience Officer
Downstate Health
CSAM Board’s Career Opportunities Committee Chair

Dr. Wren Lester is the Chief Experience Officer at Downstate Health an academic medical center in Brooklyn, New York where she plays a key role on the senior leadership team, customer experience taskforce and COVID19 Vaccine Uptake Task Force. Recently, she was appointed transformation leader for Downstate Health’s High Reliability Organization (HRO) Journey focused on improving the way care is delivered and preventing harm to the workforce, patients and community. In 2020, Dr. Lester was invited to serve on Press Ganey’s National Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Client Advisory Council in support of advancing health equity nationally and within the Brooklyn community.

Dr. Lester was recognized in Becker’s Hospital Review as one of 42 Healthcare Chief Experience Officers to Know | 2022. Dr. Lester has a track record of success in creating a culture of service excellence to motivate diverse, cross-functional teams to achieve business and financial objectives through statistical process control and work flow optimization. She focuses on leadership development, middle manager coaching and staff training to improve patient safety culture, patient experience and workforce engagement. Prior, Dr. Lester was the Corporate Director of Performance Improvement and Strategic Planning at RWJBarnabas Health, Jersey City Medical Center Campus. Dr. Lester partnered with senior executives to design and implement organizational solutions against identified priorities that included process improvement using voice of the customer, Lean Six Sigma and value-based care. Dr. Lester has earned a certification as a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, Certified Patient Experience Professional (CPXP) and is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ). Dr. Lester completed her PhD at Seton Hall University in Health Sciences Leadership and Organizational Development. Wren completed her MS in Heath Care Administration, and her BA in Psychology at Rutgers University.

Michael Little

Michael Little

Principal Scientist
Bristol Myers Squibb

Dr. Michael Little received a B.S. in Chemistry from Montclair State University (2013), and a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the University of North Carolina (2018). His graduate research training was in the structural biology field, which he used protein crystallography as a primary tool for investigating protein structure-function relationship. As a graduate student, he earned multiple honors for commitment and success in research including summer research fellowships, travel awards and a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship. In addition, Dr. Little elucidated the structure of eight novel proteins, of which five structures have been deposited into the PDB (6BAQ, 6AYH, 6AYI, 6D7J & 6DXU). After completing graduate school, in 2018, Dr. Little joined Bristol Myers Squibb in the Sterile Product Development department as an analytical scientist supporting drug product development studies. Currently, he is drug product development analytical lead for multiple early and late-stage biologic assets. Additionally, Dr. Little is a co-PI on NASA research-grant collaboration to understand the effects of a microgravity environment on biologic crystallization. Dr. Little is a member of The Protein Society, Cultivating Leadership and Innovation for Millennials and Beyond (CLIMB), and Black Organization for Leadership Development (BOLD). He also volunteers with the BOLD ACES program, W.E.B. Du Bois Accelerated Learning Academy Program, and the Developing Diamonds Program, a non-profit that provides summer-based programs to treat children with ADHD and related disorders.

Michael Mancuso

Mr. Michael Mancuso, FCAS, MAAA, ’09

Vice President, Actuarial
AEGIS Insurance Services, Inc.

Mr. Michael Mancuso is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He has a wide array of actuarial experience, having started his career in the pensions field where he performed valuations of defined benefits and defined contributions plans. He transitioned into the specialty insurance field where he was responsible for the pricing and reserving of travel (re)insurance, and then ultimately found his niche within the property and casualty insurance industry. In his current role at AEGIS, a leading mutual insurance company for the energy industry, Michael manages the portfolio of reserve liabilities, leads the actuarial financial reporting function, and serves as the actuarial director for enterprise integration of analytic processes. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics from Montclair State University, Michael has discovered a passion for volunteerism and has been actively involved in supporting his alma mater as a frequent panelist for the CSAM Professional Development Series for Students. Additionally, Michael volunteers on a number of committees within the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), including serving as the University Liaison to Montclair State University to support the academic advisement of actuarial students. He is also a member of the CAS Examination Committee, and is a mentor for the CAS Student Central Summer Program. He continues to identify ways to support and foster students and recent graduates who are pursuing paths in actuarial science.

Twinkle Morgan, BS, MBA

Ms. Twinkle Morgan, MBA

Executive Director
Cooperman College Scholars

Ms. Twinkle Morgan is the founding Executive Director of the Cooperman College Scholars, a scholarship program targeting academically talented students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Morgan has a passion for the issues surrounding college access for underserved communities. This passion led her to develop, design and implement The Fellowship Initiative (TFI), a JPMorgan Chase & Co. program to expand academic and professional opportunities for young men of color. As founding Executive Director of TFI, she established TFI’s New York operations in 2010 before its replication across three other US regions in 2014. Prior to this role, Morgan served as the founding Director of Development with Uncommon Schools, a nationally recognized charter management organization. They start and manage outstanding charter public schools that close the achievement gap and prepare underrepresented students to graduate from college. Morgan served as Director of Development for just under five years, raising more than $27 million in private and public grants. From 2000 to 2005, she was a Vice President Relationship Manager with JPMorgan Private Bank. Before working on Wall Street, Morgan worked with Accenture for three years as a Strategy Consultant. Her work in the early years of her career included developing pre-college programs for the National Association of Black Engineers (NSBE) and college support services at Georgia Tech’s Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED). A native of Louisiana, she completed a B.S. in Mathematics from Spelman College in 1995 and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1996 as a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Scholar, supporting Johnson Space Center’s flight simulation team. Morgan earned an MBA from the Wharton Business School in 2001.

Ms. Linda J. Obenauer-Kutner '80 '83 MA

Ms. Linda J. Obenauer-Kutner, MA ’80 ’83

Senior Principal Scientist
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

Ms. Linda J. Obenauer-Kutner is a Scientist and a cancer survivor, Linda is a passionate supporter of science advocacy and giving back to the community. Linda has been a Pharmaceutical industry professional for over 25 years. As an analytical CMC lead at Bristol-Myers Squibb, she has been a significant contributor to several Immuno-Oncology filings for different cancer types. She continues contributing towards formulation development in a Senior Principal Scientist role in R&D. She joined BMS in 2006 from Schering-Plough Research Institute (currently Merck). Linda supports outreach efforts through her association with organizations like Association for Women in Science (AWIS) and is a core team member of the BMS Veterans Community Network. As the treasurer for AWIS New Jersey she volunteers her time supporting initiatives that promote policies to increase representation and leadership positions for women. AWIS is a multi-disciplinary organization for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that fosters a positive public image of women in STEM. Linda holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degree in Biology from Montclair State University. She has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Sherrie Pietranico-Cole

Dr. Sherrie Pietranico-Cole, PhD

Senior Director, Drug Regulatory Affairs
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
CSAM Board’s Nominating Committee Chair

Dr. Sherrie Pietranico-Cole received a B.A. in Chemistry from Douglass College, Rutgers University, and became the first African-American woman to graduate with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. Dr. Pietranico-Cole has over 30 years of experience in pharmaceutical development with a record of accomplishment of successfully advancing medicines. Dr. Pietranico-Cole started her career in Discovery Chemistry at Hoffmann-La Roche where she rose to Sr. Research Leader, one of the highest positions on the science ladder at Roche. Dr. Pietranico-Cole was awarded the 2008 TWIN (Tribute to Women in Industry) award for her contributions to the industry.

Dr. Pietranico-Cole led the chemistry team that discovered Resmetirom, a drug for the treatment of NASH. In 2011, Dr. Pietranico-Cole transitioned careers to Drug Regulatory Affairs at Roche and helped file a sNDA for Tamiflu, which achieved approval for the treatment of Influenza A and B in children under 1 year of age. In 2012, Dr. Pietranico-Cole joined Early Development Drug Regulatory Affairs at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation when Roche closed the Nutley, NJ site. As a Global Program Regulatory Director, Dr. Pietranico-Cole provided global regulatory expertise to the research teams at the Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research (NIBR) to advance a diverse portfolio of transformative biologic and small molecule drugs. In 2021, Dr. Pietranico-Cole joined the Ophthalmology Therapy Area as the Global Program Regulatory Director for Xiidra, a drug for the treatment of dry eye disease. In 2022, Dr. Pietranico-Cole retired from Novartis and joined Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. as a Senior Director in Drug Regulatory Affairs for the General Medicines Department where she continues to advance innovative medicines.

Dr. Pietranico-Cole is deeply committed to mentoring students and promoting diversity and inclusion. She is featured in the book African American Women Chemists in the Modern Era. Dr. Pietranico-Cole is looking forward to interacting and mentoring the diverse student population in the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State University.

Sandra Powell-Elliot, BS, MBA

Ms. Sandra Powell-Elliott, MBA

Vice President of Life Sciences and Innovation
Hackensack Meridian Health

Ms. Sandra Powell-Elliott is the Vice President for Life Sciences and Innovation at Hackensack Meridian Health. Her role is to foster and develop an internal innovative culture, adapting innovative and transformative solutions from outside of the organization to the forefront of the organization’s strategic planning efforts. The scope of internal and external innovation spans the breadth of precision medicine; new device development, product and solution development and business model development. In addition it includes remote models of care and population health management and more efficient ways to operate within an integrated health network. She has been instrumental in defining opportunities to work with innovative companies and begin to understand how home or person based technology can be integrated into a health delivery system as well as how automation can begin to transform how clinical care can be provided at the bedside. In addition, Sandra is intimately involved in the development of the new Center for Discovery and Innovation, a translational research enterprise focused on infectious disease, cancer, and regenerative medicine based on the campus of new Hackensack Meridian Health School of Medicine in Nutley. Sandra received the 2018 NJBIZ Vanguard Award, speaks at National Conferences and has published many articles in developing opportunities for growing business. Her publications have been featured in Trustee Magazine, Journal of Healthcare Financial Management, FutureAge, Hospitals and Health Networks, and the Health Strategist.

Mercedes Rivero

Ms. Mercedes Rivero

Assistant Dean of Admissions
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS)

Mercedes Rivero’s position at Rutgers NJMS has her evaluating and selecting future physicians. Ms. Rivero also serves as Director of the Summer Medical Experience Scholars Program at NJMS, a program specifically tailored to help EOF students in their development and preparation for success in health professions. With over twenty-five years of experience in Undergraduate Medical and Dental Education, she is most passionate about contributing to the critical efforts that increase educational opportunities for vulnerable student populations.

Ms. Rivero has garnered extensive leadership experiences while honing her skills in advocacy, crisis management, curriculum development, fundraising, public relations, and strategic communication. She has served on the US Senators Service Academy nomination committee and worked with the West Point Field Force, tasked with identifying and mentoring highly qualified NJ high school students.kl Ms. Rivero has also served in various regional and national leadership roles, through the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Ms. Rivero is also co-founder of the Northeast Diversity Collaborative (NEDC), an educational initiative created to maximize information sharing and opportunities that increase resources and support for educationally disadvantaged students.

A product of the public school system in New York City as well as New York State’s Higher Educational Opportunity Program (HEOP), she recognizes the importance of creating opportunities for educationally disadvantaged students and encouraging the next generation of collaborative, thoughtful, and humanistic leaders to transform the workforce.

Mr. Richard Russo

Mr. Richard Russo, MBA

President and CEO
Endomedix, Inc.

Mr. Richard Russo is a 30+ year Medtech veteran. He is currently CEO of Endomedix Inc., a start-up working with biopolymer chemistry to develop a hemostat for use in brain surgery. Prior to Endomedix, he was the CEO of a start-up that became the largest processor in Europe of human tissue for transplantation, OST Développement in Clermont-Ferrand, France. OST serviced customers throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia. He had previously helped successfully develop and commercialize devices using pulsed electromagnetic field and ultrasound technologies to stimulate bone formation. Functionally, he has worked in sales and marketing, clinical research, regulatory affairs and strategic planning, in addition to general management. Richard earned a BA cum laude in philosophy from Boston College before pursuing graduate studies in philosophy at the Université de Fribourg in Switzerland. Richard also earned an MBA from Columbia Business School in NYC.

Anthony Scriffignano

Dr. Anthony Scriffignano, PhD ’82 ’85

Senior Vice President and Chief Data Scientist
Dun & Bradstreet
Vice Chair, CSAM Advisory Board

Anthony Scriffignano, Ph.D. is SVP, Chief Data Scientist at Dun & Bradstreet Corporation. He is an internationally recognized data scientist with experience spanning over 40 years in multiple industries and enterprise domains. Scriffignano has extensive background in advanced anomaly detection, computational linguistics and advanced inferential algorithms, leveraging that background as primary inventor on multiple patents worldwide. Scriffignano was recognized as the U.S. Chief Data Officer of the Year 2018 by the CDO Club, the world’s largest community of C-suite digital and data leaders. He is also a member of the OECD Network of Experts on AI working group on implementing Trustworthy AI, focused on benefiting people and planet. He has serves as a commissioner for the Atlantic Council, most recently contributing to a Report on the Geopolitical Impacts of New Technologies and Data. He has briefed the US National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee and contributed to three separate reports to the President, on Big Data Analytics, Emerging Technologies Strategic Vision, and Internet and Communications Resilience. Additionally, Scriffignano provided expert advice on private sector data officers to a group of state Chief Data Officers and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Scriffignano serves on various advisory committees in government, private sector, and academia. Most recently, he has been called upon to provide insight on data science implications in the context of a highly disrupted datasphere and the implications of the global pandemic. He is considered an expert on emerging trends in advanced analytics, the “Big Data” explosion, artificial intelligence, multilingual challenges in business identity and malfeasance in commercial and public-sector contexts.

John Szabo

Mr. John Szabo ’88

Head of Project Management and Agile Project Manager
Plecosystems

Mr. John Szabo describes himself as a results-oriented IT executive with extensive experience planning and leading successful projects and teams while implementing, developing and supporting customer-focused technology and support. He is a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) with over twenty-five years of experience in industries that focus on automation, information technology, operations management, support services, and software/hardware development and deployment. He has over twenty years of project management experience in these areas, and over fifteen years of resource and budget management experience in complex technology and software. He has also managed the equipment and service deployments of voice, data, and optical networks in central office, customer premise, and laboratory environments. Mr. Szabo earned a BS in Mathematics (’88) at Montclair State University, an MBA (’94) in Information Management at Marymount University. Currently, he is a Doctor of Education candidate (expected 2024) in Leadership for Organizations at the School of Education and Health Sciences, University of Dayton.

Ni'Kita Wilson

Ms. Ni’Kita Wilson ’99

Vice President of Product Development
OUAI

Ms. Ni’Kita Wilson is an award winning cosmetic chemistry expert who holds numerous patents, has authored chapters of books, and speaks at industry conferences around the country. Ni’Kita is Vice President of PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT at OUAI and is Co-Founder of Love YU Collective. Ni’Kita is a member of the New York Chapter- Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC), Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) and is on the advisory board for Health magazine and Health.com