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Institutional Review Board (IRB): IRB Members

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Meet the IRB Members

Dr. Brian Allen, Board Member

Brian Allen

Dr. Brian Allen has a Doctor of Business Administration in Technology Entrepreneurship, an MBA, and Master of Project Management. He is the program lead for the Doctor of Business Administration degree program and is the Director of International Partnerships for the School of Business. His research interests are in the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, entrepreneurship, project management, strategic planning, international business, business information technology leadership, and applied research for solving real world business problems. Brian has broad experience in leadership in information technology, ecommerce, telecommunications, international sales and operations management, and international project management with work leadership in 38 countries throughout the Americas, Western Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. He and his bride are the proud Air Force veterans and the parents of six children and two grandchildren. 

Dr. Chad Becker, Board Member


Dr. Chad Becker is faculty in Northcentral University's School of Education where he chairs dissertations and teaches graduate courses.  Chad earned his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana University - Bloomington, with a specialization in Curriculum Studies and a minor in Communication and Culture.  He also earned his MSEd in C&I from Purdue University with a specialization in Literacy and Language as well as his BSEngEd from the State University of New York, College at Buffalo. Chad has taught secondary school English (NY State certification) and a wide range of undergraduate and graduate education courses in C&I, Ed Leadership, and ELL/ESL.  Working as a professor in USAmerican higher education since 2008, Chad has been faculty at both brick-and-mortar and online universities.  Chad's scholarship, in the short tradition of Curriculum Studies, is critical and multidisciplinary.   When not engaging academic pursuits, he finds respite from learning with his dogs, caring for his 190-year-old house, his lovely partner Jen, and any travel he can get.  Recent trips include Oaxaca, Paris, Amsterdam, and two bucket-listy road trips from Seattle to San Francisco, and San Diego to San Francisco a few years later.  When relaxing at home, the smell of bagels, croissants, Italian bread, sopapillas, breadsticks, and pizza shells fill the air, as Chad has found his inner baker. 

Dr. Deanna R. Davis, Board Member


Dr. Deanna R. Davis holds a Ph.D. in Workforce Development & Organizational Leadership, M.A. in Higher Education Administration and B.S. in Business Management. Dr. Davis has worked professionally in higher education for over 20 years. She has provided leadership for various academic support offices, cultivated external partnerships, taught students from diverse backgrounds, and directed academic programs that focused on student success and retention. She has presented at numerous conferences and published research on leadership development among female leaders in academia and business. Her research focuses on business management, virtual organizations, leadership development, workforce management, organizational culture, and talent acquisition. Deanna’s personal interests include traveling, practicing yoga and reading autobiographies.  

Jenelle M. Dembsey, IRB Coordinator (Non-scientist)

Jenelle Dembsey

Jenelle M. Dembsey has been at NCU since 2019. She has an MA in Composition and Communication from Central Michigan University, a Graduate Certificate in Online Writing Instruction from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and BAs in English and Writing/Rhetoric from Oakland University. Jenelle has researched online writing tutoring, online writing instruction, accessibility, and disability, and she worked in writing centers for 8 years before coming to NCU. Outside of NCU, she is the Founding President of the Online Writing Centers Association. She currently lives in Cincinnati, OH, with her family. She enjoys Jurassic Park just a little too much and has a wearable dinosaur head in her office.

Dr. Adia Garrett, Board Member


Dr. Adia J. Garrett earned a PhD in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She began teaching in 2003 and has devoted her career to the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education. Her interests include program evaluation, curriculum development, learning outcomes assessment, metacognitive awareness, inclusion, and student engagement. She is a mentor for a wide range of psychology courses in both the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the School of Undergraduate Studies. When she’s not Teaching, Dr. Garrett enjoys the other two Ts—Traveling and Training.


Dr. Robert George, IRB Media Specialist

Robert George

Dr. Robert F. George holds a Ph.D. in Educational Thought and Sociocultural Studies, an MA in Psychology from University of Northern Colorado, and a BA in Biology from Harding University. He has been affiliated with NCU since 2013 and is now Professor in the School of Education. Additional experience includes military linguist, a Vietnam Veteran, Air Force enlisted, and served in the conflict in 1972-73. Dr. George also has experience in public school teaching, education software evaluation, adult education, Program Director for the Nuclear Medicine Technology program, and IRB Chairperson. Robert is passionate about helping students complete their dissertations and helping faculty improve their workflow.

Dr. Dave Hildebrandt, Board Member


Dr. David Hildebrandt (Dr. Dave) holds a Ph.D. in Management, a M.A. in Instructional Technology, and a B.S.B.A. in Operations Management. Dr. Dave has over 30-years working in High Technology that included time as a programmer, systems analyst, eBusiness, eGovernment, entrepreneur, marketing, and training. Dr. Dave has worked with clients around the world, and spoken at numerous international conferences. Dr. Dave has also worked with the United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technologies on mobile learning strategies for the developing world. Dr. Dave’s interests are improving access to learning in the developing world. Dr. Dave Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business and Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. When time permits, Dr. Dave serves on the boards of local non-profits in Napa Valley. His favorite local non-profit is If Given A Chance, which assists high school that have been affected by demoralizing family instability, poverty, emotional and medical hardship to complete high school and prepare to enter college or vocational training.

Dr. Antoinette Kohlman, Board Member

Antoinette Kohlman

Dr. Antoinette Kohlman has an MA and PhD in Organizational Psychology, a Master of Human Resources and Organization Development, and a BA in Sociology-Anthropology. She is affiliated with the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her research interests include mentoring relationships, organizational change and learning, and research ethics. Antoinette lives in Westminster, MD, and is a horror and sci-fi movie buff: Aliens and Jaws are her favorites.

Dr. Christopher Lacy, Board Member

Dr. Christopher E.D. Lacy’s formal education includes obtaining his Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies-Mathematics from Texas Southern University (2013), Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction- Mathematics: K-14 from Concordia University-Portland (2015), and his Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Inquiry, & Transformation from Concordia University-Portland (2020). He has been teaching secondary mathematics for over 7 years; catering to At-Risk, Special Needs, and English as a Second Language youth. He has served in multiple leadership roles as a lead coordinator for summer school and intervention programs, content and cross-curricular production, and head facilitator on his school’s Safety & Civility’s Board. His research includes problem-solving, cultural-responsiveness, promoting creativity, mathematics, and improving the quality of learning experiences for all learners through content and cross-curricular teacher discourse. His hobbies include singing, volunteering for his church, exercising, and quality time with his loved ones. Overall, Dr. Lacy’s mantra is that the road in education is continuously opening his eyes that he is a pillar to those that he teaches and those that he teaches are a pillar in improving his mastery in becoming the best educator he can be each day; making education interchangeable.


Josh Leonard, IRB Systems Analyst (Non-scientist)

Josh Leonard

Josh Leonard obtained his BS from ASU and is set to complete his MBA in Project Management in the Spring of 2021. Josh has been with NCU since 2018 and has enjoyed working in higher education. He is passionate about helping others achieve academic success while on his own academic journey. In his spare time, Josh loves to stay up to date on the latest auto trends and news, visit out of state friends and family, gardening, and pretty much anything that involves being out in the sun.

Dr. Kristopher Lichtanski, IRB Chair

Kristopher Lichtanski

Dr. Kristopher Lichtanski holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Capella University, an MA in Clinical Psychology from New College of California, and a BA in Counseling/Clinical Psychology from San Jose State University. Kristopher has been affiliated with NCU since 2006 and is currently serving as Distinguished Core Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. His current academic interests intersect psychology, philosophy (both East and West), cultural anthropology, and the humanities, and center around the psychology of individual differences, social construction of identity, consciousness and creativity, and healing practices across history and cultures. Apart from psychology, Kristopher has studied music and theater for many years, is a professionally trained classical pianist and choral singer, and has performed in several contemporary theater productions in Europe and the US. He is originally from Poland and currently residing in Graham, WA, located in the beautiful western part of Washington State (south Puget Sound area).

Dr. Heather Miller, IRB Director

Heather Miller

Dr. Heather Miller has been working with Social Behavioral and Educational IRBs since 2005. She is passionate about supporting students, faculty, and staff through the process so they best understand how the IRB applies and can help their own research. She is passionate about helping novice researchers set up feasible studies to achieve their personal goals in a timely manner. She has been mentoring students through doctoral research since 2006 and is also mentoring students in the School of Education. When Heather is not looking at IRB information or mentoring students, you’ll find her hiking with her dogs and amazing husband, imagining the possibilities of food that can be cooked in a crockpot, and hassling her teenaged kids about pretty much everything.

Dr. Beth Patrick, Board Member


Dr. Beth Patrick has an PhD in Marital and Family Therapy, a MA in Clinical Psychology, and a BA in Psychology. She is affiliated with the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her research interests include reciprocity in caregiving relationships, therapeutic change processes, and equitable mental health within the queer community. Beth lives in Southern California, and enjoys being outside with her two dogs, practicing yoga, or trying out local restaurants!

Dr. Shedrick Shields, Board Member


Dr. Shedrick Shields is an Assistant Professor for the School of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing at Northcentral University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Florida State University, a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of South Alabama, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from the University of Phoenix. Dr. Shields has over 20 years of experience in nursing with extensive backgrounds in nursing education, nursing leadership, family practice, and primary care. He is an experienced nurse educator and has expertise teaching and facilitating didactic and clinical courses for undergraduate and graduate students. Prior to joining Northcentral University, he was a National Health Service Corps Scholarship recipient and provided primary care to underserved communities in addition to serving as a visiting and assistant professor. Dr. Shields is a board-certified autonomous practice family nurse practitioner with board certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Dr. Shields’ research interest is in qualitative works, specifically dealing with culturally specific care and the care of underserved populations. He has held several leadership roles that include coordinating nursing courses, curriculum development, and the development of nursing specific leadership strategies. He is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, and several other philanthropic and fraternal organizations that promote health, wellness, and community engagement.

Latrice Smith, Board Member (Non-Scientist)


Latrice Smith is a native of Los Angeles California, but currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been married for over 20 years and has two children. She holds an undergraduate degree in Addiction Counseling and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. The beginning of her career was focused in the field of finance working with a fortune 500 financial institution. She has currently spent the past 13 years working in the field of education with Grand Canyon University primarily focused on supporting students entering into the field of professional counseling. The past three years with Grand Canyon University have been spent supporting administrative functions and education efforts within the Institutional Review Board.

Dr. Gabriele Suboch, Board Member (Prison Rep)

Gabriele Suboch

Dr. Gabriele Suboch’s formal education includes a Master's Degree from Impac University (2003) in Business Administration and Public Administration, a Master's Degree in Business Administration with specialization in Criminal Justice from Northcentral University (2007), and a PhD in Business Administration and specialization in Criminal Justice from Northcentral University in 2009. In December 2010, Gabriele retired after 18.5 years of working with the Lee County Sheriff's Office, whereof she spent 15.5 years as a Crime Scene Specialist. She has attended over 1,200 hours of forensics specialized training and over 650 hours of law enforcement/correction training. Gabriele is a certified Crime Scene Investigator and a certified Bloodstain Pattern Examiner. Gabriele was a military dependent while her husband was in the Army during Desert Shield. He was deployed for Desert Storm. As a military family, her significant other attended military school overseas.  Her hobbies are camping and the outdoors. She loves her garden as well as cooking and baking. She lives in Florida, so she can almost all year long sit outside on her porch and read a good book. Her favorite authors are Patricia Cornwell and her forensic science mysteries.

In Memory

Dr. Chad Sines

The NCU IRB remembers and misses our colleague, Dr. Chad Sines, who passed away in April 2021.

Chad assisted with the education side of the IRB. From 2020-2021, he facilitated 47 IRB group writing sessions and had 241 direct contacts with NCU students in those sessions. Thank you, Chad, for brightening our days with your sense of humor and being invaluable to our education efforts. Dragons rule.

Here is Chad's original biography:

Dr. Chad Sines had a Doctor of Business Administration, an MBA, Masters in Biochemistry, and was working on his Masters in Health Administration. He worked in international business environments. He had extensive research experience in both hard and social science using qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods with a strong list of publication across both sciences. His specialties were health care, education, international business and sustainability. He taught most MBA and DBA courses. In his spare time, he enjoyed reading and writing fiction.

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