Meet the Board

David Reiley, President
David is a Principal Scientist at Pandora Media in California, where he uses controlled experiments to measure the effects of advertising on purchases and other consumer behavior. He previously was a professor at Vanderbilt University and at the University of Arizona. A member of the PGSS class of 1986, he subsequently served as a physics TA in 1989 and 1991. He holds a bachelor's degree in astrophysical sciences from Princeton and a PhD in economics from MIT. He is passionate about PGSS because it is the only educational institution he's ever been associated with where all the students wanted to learn and all the teachers wanted to teach. He lives in Berkeley with his wife Jill Sazama.

Ben Campbell, Vice President
Ben is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Robert Morris University, near Pittsburgh. Prior to that, he was a laser engineer at the Penn State Electro-Optics Center, specializing in manufacturing applications and fundamental studies of laser-material interaction using ultrashort pulse lasers. In 2013, the Penn State Department of Electrical Engineering awared Ben their Early Career Recognition Alumni Award. One award is given out annually to a PSU graduate from the EE department who within 10 years of graduation has "demonstrated outstanding technical excellence as an individual resulting in significant accomplishments (and) shown great potential for continued success in their field." Ben was also recognized by Pittsburgh Magazine in their November 2013 issue as one of the 40 under 40 in western Pennsylvania for their "passion, commitment, visibility, diversity and overall impact on the region." In 2014, The Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh awarded Ben the J. Kevin Scanlon Award for "Dedication in Enhancing Science Education" due to his numerous local efforts supporting STEM education. Ben was a member of the 1997 class of PGSS and returned as a TA for four summer (2000-2003). In 2005, he joined the PGSS faculty ranks, teaching the Laser Technology and the Science of Music electives, and also running team projects. He continued to serve on the faculty until the program was canceled in 2009 and returned with the program in 2013. Ben works to sustain PGSS because he knows the profound impact it had on his life and has seen its effect on countless students he has met through the program.

Janet HurwitzSecretary
Janet is a retired teacher of gifted students and students with learning disabilities at the South Williamsport Area Jr.-Sr. High School in South Williamsport, PA. She is the mother of Jeremy Hurwitz, a PGSS govvie from 2003. After earning a Bachelor of Science from the University of Rhode Island in Child Development and Family Relations with a minor in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Education in Special Education from Rhode Island College, she went on to teach every grade level from preschool to 12, as well as parenting classes. In 2013, she received the Outstanding Educator Award presented by the Pennsylvania Association of Gifted Education (PAGE). Janet is married to Ken Weiss and has another son Jason and two wonderful grandchildren. She is dedicated to sustaining PGSS so that other students can have the same opportunity her son had. It is her belief that PGSS is invaluable due to the academic rigor, the advisory access to colleges and majors through TA’s and professors, and the many social benefits it provides.

Alfred SchnabelTreasurer
Alfred grew up in New Castle, PA and attended PGSS in 1994. He earned a BS in Astronomy at Case Western Reserve University in 1999 and now works as a Business Analyst at PNC Bank.He lives outside Pittsburgh and spends his spare time reading, gaming and playing trombone in several community bands. PGSS was one of the most important and influential times of his life and he wants to ensure that future Pennsylvania students have the same opportunity he did.

Zachary Gates
Zachary is the founder of Gates Law Office PLLC in Troy, PA, where he focuses his practice on general civil litigation, disputes involving the natural gas industry, and intellectual property litigation. A member of the PGSS Clas of 1997, he later served the program as a teaching assistant (2000, 2001) and resident life director (2002). A registered patent attorney licensed in four states (PA, MA, NH, and VT), he holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University and a J.D. from The Pennsylvania State University--the Dickinson School of Law. As a native of north-central Pennsylvania, Zachary wants to preserve PGSS for future Pennsylvanians, particularly those students from rural or economically challenged parts of the Commonwealth, so that they can be afforded the once-in-a-lifetime education experience he had when he was a teenager. He lives in Troy, PA, with his wife, sons and daughter.

Jennifer Baccon
Jennifer is the Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Akron Children's Hospital and Chair and Professor of Pathology at the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). Jennifer grew up in York, PA, and attended PGSS in 1992. She returned to PGSS as a TA in 1995 and as a Residence Life Director in 1997. Jennifer went on to do her undergraduate degree as a College Scholar at Cornell, completed her MD, PhD dual degree training at the University of Pennsylvania, and remained at Penn for Anatomic Pathology residency, Neuropathology fellowship and Surgical Pathology Fellowship. After beginning her career at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, in 2017 she took on her current roles in Ohio. Jennifer is active in several professional organizations and currently serves on the Executive Council of the American Association of Neuropathologists as the Secretary-Treasurer and the Executive Council of the Association of Pathology Chairs as the Chair of the Undergraduate Medical Education Committee. She is currently working toward her Master in Healthcare Management degree at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.

Al Cangahuala
Dr. Al Cangahuala was a member of the first PGSS class (PSS back then) in 1982, and a 1983 graduate of Baldwin High School in Pittsburgh. He earned his degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Planetary Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since 1992 he has worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, with a technical background in interplanetary navigation (inspired in part by a PSS project on orbital mechanics). Until recently he was the manager of JPL's Mission Design and Navigation Section, and is now the Mission System Manager for the Europa Clipper project, a mission to explore Europa, one of Jupiter's most interesting moons.

Alan Chang
Alan is a gastroenterologist at Doylestown Hospital near Philadelphia. After attending PGSS in 1988, he earned his BS in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University in 1993. He went on to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by his residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Gastroenterology, both at Temple University Hospital finishing in 2004. He then joined a private group practice at Doylestown, where he has worked since training. Alan still looks back fondly on his experience at PGSS, allowing him to meet extraordinary peers and lifelong friends, many with whom he has crossed paths since 1988. In danger of missing the opportunity when PGSS was cancelled in 2009, he is also grateful that his daughter was able to attend PGSS in 2018, thirty years after him.

Andrew McGuier
Andrew McGuier is the founder and president of Echo Gate Tech LLC, a software consulting company. A member of the PGSS Class of 2004, Andrew served as a computer science TA to the class of 2007 while completing a bachelor's in computer science at Carnegie Mellon. Upon returning to Pittsburgh in 2015, PGSS has continued to be a family affair for Andrew where he has served as team project faculty advisor for the PGSS classes of 2017, 2018 and 2019, working alongside his wife, Dr. Natalie McGuier, a member of the teaching faculty at CMU and a team project advisor and elective professor for biology. Growing up in a rural school district, PGSS provided a life-altering opportunity for Andrew, and he is proud to have the opportunity to help pass that opportunity forward to future students, particularly those in underserved communities and school districts.

Madeline Overmoyer
Madeline participated in PGSS class of 2013, the first year back after the program was cancelled. She attended the University of Pennsylvania, originally applying as a neuroscience major and later, after some soul-searching, decided to major in political communication and Spanish. After college, Madeline moved to Los Angeles where she now works as a legal assistant at a civil and criminal litigation law firm. She will apply to law school in the fall of 2020 to earn a J.D. in pursuit of a career in civil rights and humanitarian law. Madeline values her science background and the analytical skills she learned at PGSS which translate well to the practice of law. As a grateful PGSS alumna and Lenfest Foundation scholar, she is passionate about providing resources to gifted students in rural and underserved communities in PA, such as the one in which she grew up. She lives by the beach with her two cats, Paper and Scissors.

Albert Robertson
Albert Robertson leads the Business Systems and Business Intelligence functions at Koppers, Inc., a multinational manufacturer headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh. 'Bert has deep roots in the Pittsburgh area, having been born in Hazelwood, attended high school in Squirrel Hill, and graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). His first experience with CMU was as a PGSS student in 1988, which confirmed his lifelong interest in all things Information Technology related. After a few years as a Mechanical Engineer, 'Bert moved to Los Angeles and inevitably transitioned from I.T. Consulting and Project Management. He earned a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute and an M.B.A. from the Anderson School at UCLA, after which he spent several years implementing Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management systems. A lover of culture and travel, 'Bert's career has taken him to the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and all but 8 US states. His life has now come full circle, having moved back to Pennsylvania, where he is once again involved with Carnegie Mellon University, both as a PGSS board member and as a participant in the Executive Leadership Academy hosted by CMU's Tepper School of Business. With fond memories of PGSS, 'Bert is dedicated to seeing the program grow and thrive, inspiring additional generaions of diverse and talented STEM students.

Chris Shotter
Chris Shotter is a Program Manager for MSA Safety based in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, focused on leading the company's value analysis program and other strategic programs. Chris attended PGSS in 2007 and afterward went on to Penn State to Acquire a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Engineering Leadership. After spending a few years in industry as a PCBA Test Engineer for MSA, he returned to Penn State's World Campus to acquire his MBA with a concentration in Engineering Management and a minor in Engineering Leadership and Innovation Management.
Outside of his professional career, Chris has been an active participant in his hometown of Monaca as a volunteer firefighter since age 16 and serving as President since 2014. His involvement in his community grew in 2015 when he was elected to serve as a Councilman for the 4th Ward in Monaca. Since then, he was re-elected in 2019 and serves as the Vice President of Council.

Subpages (2): Past Board Members Staff
Comments