Rockville Science Center Board of Trustees

Robert “Bob” Ekman

Robert “Bob” Ekman

President, Board of Trustees

Bob Ekman is a software engineer and project developer. He recently retired from a forty-four year career in software development and teaching for IBM and Lockheed Martin. He worked on government contracts from space projects (Apollo) in the 60’s to defense research projects (DARPA) in the 90’s. He developed commercial software for IBM and human resources software for Lockheed Martin, as well as taught internal classes in software engineering, programming, and web development for over 30 years.

Mr. Ekman is deeply committed to developing the next generation of engineers. He has led the Lockheed Martin Exploring Engineering Program in Rockville Maryland for over sixteen years. This program uses hands-on learning activities in robotics and rocketry to give high school students experience in engineering and inspire them into engineering careers. He has mentored over 400 teenagers through this program.

Soo Lee-Cho, Esq.

Soo Lee-Cho, Esq.

Vice President, Board of Trustees

Soo Lee-Cho is currently a member of the Land Development & Real Estate Group at Miller, Miller & Canby, having joined the law firm when she first relocated to Maryland from Southern California in 2002. Ms. Lee-Cho’s practice includes land use, zoning, real estate, and administrative and municipal law. She focuses on representing clients in zoning and land use matters before various administrative boards and commissions, and also elected and appointed bodies. These include the Montgomery County Council, the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission Planning Board, the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission, the Montgomery County Board of Appeals and Sign Review Board, the City of Rockville Mayor and Council, Planning Commission and Historic District Commission, and the City of Gaithersburg Mayor and Council and Planning. Her efforts on behalf of clients have also included work on land use-related legislative matters before the State General Assembly.

Ms. Lee-Cho brings to the RSC over 18 years of professional work experience covering land use, real estate development and legislative matters that she hopes will assist the RSC in achieving a brick-and-mortar science center in the very near future.

Tracy Dove, Ph.D.

Tracy Dove, Ph.D.

Treasurer, Board of Trustees

Dr. Tracy Dove is the Scientific Advisor at the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, DC, where he conducts science policy analysis for the Swiss government, identifies opportunities in the scientific and higher education realm for international cooperation and promotes Swiss innovation in the United States by way of public diplomacy initiatives throughout the year. A native of Washington DC, he obtained a B.A. in History from George Mason University and later pursued his Magister Artium and Ph.D. at the Freie Universität in Berlin in the subject area of Russian and Soviet History. Having lived 7 years in Berlin, 2 in Moscow and 12 in Prague, he is a speaker of German, Russian and Czech without forgetting his native English.

Now a resident of Rockville, Dr. Dove brings to the RSC his diplomatic skills and science background, but also entrepreneurial skills. While completing his doctoral thesis, he opened Prague’s first and only bagel store – Bohemia Bagel – in 1997, and opened two more in 2000 and 2004. During this time he also taught at the University of New York in Prague, later becoming the Department Chair for International and Economic Relations in 2006. Bagels continue to be sold in Prague, but Dr. Dove is now back in the DC area championing the effort to get a physical building for the Rockville Science Center. He lives in East Rockville with his Czech wife, son and daughter – accompanied by 3 French Bulldogs – Lily, Josie and Barney.

Judy E. Ackerman, Ph.D.

Judy E. Ackerman, Ph.D.

Secretary, Board of Trustees

Dr. Judy E. Ackerman has served as Vice President and Provost of the Rockville Campus of Montgomery College since January 2003. She is the chief academic officer for a campus of approximately 16,000 students. At the Rockville campus she provides vision and leadership to promote student success. During her career at Montgomery College, Dr. Ackerman has served as a Professor of Mathematics, Collegewide Honors Coordinator, Math Center Coordinator, Chair of Mathematics, and Instructional Dean of Science, Engineering and Mathematics.

She is nationally known for her work in community college mathematics education. She serves on committees of the Mathematics Association of America (MAA) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Dr. Ackerman has published numerous articles and presents nationally on mathematics related topics, including math anxiety, public school partnerships with community colleges, and gender equity in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. As Project Director for a MAA Tensor Foundation Women and Mathematics Project Grant, Dr. Ackerman established the College’s Sonya Kovalevksky Day program for middle school girls and their teachers.

In addition to serving on the Board of the RSC, Dr. Ackerman is a board member of Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) and the Rockville Chamber of Commerce.

The Honorable Phyllis Marcuccio

The Honorable Phyllis Marcuccio

Member, Board of Trustees

Ms. Phyllis Marcuccio is a former City Council member and Mayor of the City of Rockville. Her service to the City began as a civic association leader until she won her first election to the Rockville City Council in 2005, launching her political career. She served on the City Council until her election as Mayor of Rockville in 2009 — a position she proudly held for two terms until 2013.

Prior to her service in the public sector, Ms. Marcuccio worked as an educator for 38 years for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), establishing herself as a national leader and innovator in childhood education. Among educators, she was probably best known for being one of the founders and editors of the Science and Children magazine. She has authored, edited and published journals, books and articles used by teachers at every level from kindergarten through college that have been widely recognized (e.g., Eleanor Fishburn and Educational Press Awards). She also was project director and/or judge for numerous educational grants and awards (totaling more than $30 million). Ms. Marcuccio is proud to have been known amongst her peers as a “teacher of teachers” – a prolific presenter at numerous science teacher conferences and a mentor for more than 50 NSTA staff.

In addition to the RSC, she has served on the boards of several associations, including the National Academy of Sciences Smithsonian Institution, the Pocono Environmental Education Center, and the Rockville area’s own Hands-On-Science Outreach, Inc. She has lived in Rockville for more than 50 years and her life has been filled with community-minded activities and service.

Philip S. Justus, Ph.D., L.G.

Philip S. Justus, Ph.D., L.G.

Member, Board of Trustees

Dr. Philip S. Justus is a retired geologist and rejuvenated educator who works tirelessly through the RSC to raise the community’s awareness of how science and technology impact our environment and daily lives. He helps arrange guided field trips (e.g., to labs, LEED buildings, drug manufacturers, environmental engineering and geological sites, Chesapeake Bay) for residents to gain insight directly from experts into the latest knowledge and techniques that affect our well-being. He serves as the director of the RSC’s highly popular Explorations! Program – providing guided geology walks from Great Falls to Mather Gorge and through the C&O Canal National Historic Park.

As a regulatory geologist with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (U.S. NRC) for 30 years, Dr. Justus applied geology to evaluate geological hazards at nuclear facilities in various states throughout the U.S. Among other things, he confirmed discoveries of active faults at a reactor site in California and Washington and gained extensive knowledge of Washington tectonics useful in the evaluation of Hanford’s radioactive waste disposal program in later years. Dr. Justus held positions as Section Leader, Acting Branch Chief, On-Site Licensing Representative & Co-Director of the Yucca Mtn. project office, Las Vegas office as well as represented U.S. NRC at meetings with U.S.DOE on High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal (HLW) and abroad with HLW agencies in China and Japan. He retired as Senior Geologist in 2010.

Prior to joining the U.S. NRC, Dr. Justus helped develop the Department of Earth Science at Fairleigh Dickinson University (Associate Professor), and was Assistant Director of its West Indies Laboratory.

Adam Coonin

Adam Coonin

Member, Board of Trustees

Adam Coonin brings to the RSC more than 20 years of experience in the field of business technology development and systems management. He currently is a Principal at Capgemini and has held consulting positions from Senior Consultant though Vice President at firms including Grant Thornton, Ernst & Young, Hitachi Consulting and Black & Decker. His areas of experience include IT Strategy/Planning / Implementation, Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing. Mr. Coonin is a past President of the National Capital Area Roundtable the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. He is a native of Montgomery County and lives in Rockville, Maryland with his wife, Vina, and two sons Alex and Tyler. He holds a B.S in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University and an M.B.A with concentrations in Finance & Information Technology from University of Maryland.

Nancy L. DeLalio, AIA

Nancy L. DeLalio, AIA

Member, Board of Trustees

Nancy L. DeLalio, AIA a graduate of Syracuse University – School of Architecture where she pursued a concentration in Land Development Law and Computer Aided Design. She was awarded a Dean’s Citation of Excellence for Thesis Design, a study on language and early American town planning.  A native of New York, Nancy has made Maryland her home since 1994.  She has worked for a variety of architectural firms before launching her own architectural practice.

Ms. DeLalio’s background has included work in the Hospitality, Government Agency, Civic and Cultural, Academic, Industrial, Research and Laboratory, Residential, Healthcare and Commercial Office Buildings sectors.  Her interest in Urban Planning and Land use led to her involvement with the Montgomery County Planning Department community studies for the Olney Master Plan Update and as a founding member of the Olney Town Center Advisory Committee at the request of the Montgomery County Planning Department sector Planner.

She believes her Architectural experience, focus on master planning and desire to provide a place for scientific exploration and learning will contribute to a world class facility for the Rockville Science Center.

Alexandra Dace Denito, Ph.D.

Alexandra Dace Denito, Ph.D.

Member, Board of Trustees

Dr. Alexandra Dace Denito obtained a PhD in Molecular Endocrinology from University of Aix-Marseilles in 1997, with a thesis on the effects of vitamin and steroid/thyroid hormones receptors on gene expression regulation in adipocytes. Following her interest in Food Science, Agronomy and Endocrinology, she was a Post-doctoral fellow at Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, NIH from 1997-2001. Dr. Dace Denito also worked as an instructor and scientist at Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and as a Research Associate at University of Maryland at Shady Grove in Rockville. She currently works as a contractor for the National Library of Medicine.

As Vice President of Lincoln Park Civic Association, Dr. Dace Denito is currently working to better and preserve the neighborhood for future generations, and is passionate about bringing a Science Center to Rockville, where she has made her home since 1997. She is married, and has two children who enjoy Rockville Science Cafe. Born in Reunion Island, a French island off the East coast of Madagascar, she speaks Reunionese Creole, French and English fluently, and also some German and Italian.