The University of Arizona

Advisory Board


Calvin Baker – Superintendent, Vail School District
Mr. Baker has been the Superintendent of the Vail School District since 1988, where he has overseen the tremendous growth the district has experienced over the past two and a half decades. Mr. Baker received his undergraduate degree from Grand Canyon University, his Masters in Education from Arizona State University and his administration certification from Northern Arizona University. Mr. Baker was named administrator of the year in 1999, an All-Arizona Superintendent in 2004, and one of those recognized in Arizona Daily Star’s 2010 edition of 40 under 40 leaders in Southern Arizona.

Tracy Bame – President, Freeport-McMoRan Foundation
Ms. Bame serves as President of the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation, the primary philanthropic arm of the company. The Foundation provides grants for programs that promote education, economic development, environment, and health and wellness, with the goal of facilitating community sustainability. She currently serves on the board of the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, Arizona’s Children Association, and the Advisory Board of the Arizona STEM Network of Science Foundation Arizona. She also has responsibility for providing strategic direction and oversight for the company’s social development programs in the Americas, including stakeholder engagement, social investment and other sustainable development initiatives. She serves as a member of the Environmental Services and Sustainable Development leadership group, which provides strategic direction for the company’s global sustainability objectives.

Jennifer Barton - Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Arizona
Dr. Barton has held her title at the University of Arizona since 2012. Prior to that she was the Department Head of Biomedical Engineering and Assistant Director of BIO5 from 2008-2012. Prior to that she worked as a professor at UA from 1998-2008. She received BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and University of California, Irvine, respectively. Dr. Barton’s research interests include biomedical optical imaging and laser-tissue interaction. Her laboratory is host to an interdisciplinary mix of students and staff in the fields of engineering and optical, physical, and life sciences.

Dave Bradley – Arizona State Senate, District 10
Mr. Bradley has been an Arizona resident for over 50 years. Raised in Phoenix with his four brothers and sister, he attended high school in Tucson. Prior to being elected to the State Senate, Dave was a member of the Arizona State Legislature from 2003 to 2011 serving District 28 in Tucson. He served on Health, Human Services, Banking and Insurance, Higher Education and various ad hoc committees during his tenure. Prior to his entry into public service Dave served in the Navy as a part of the Naval Security Group. Dave has been the CEO of La Paloma Family Services, Inc., a nonprofit child welfare agency for over 18 years. He will soon be assuming the role of Chief Development Officer of La Fontera Arizona, Inc., in Tucson.

Shane Burgess – Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona
Dr. Burgess was named Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona in 2011. Prior to that, he served as the Director of the Mississippi State University Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing, and Biotechnology. Dr. Burgess graduated from Massey University in New Zealand in 1989 with a degree in veterinary science, and in 1998 with a doctoral degree in virology and immunology from the University of Bristol in England. After graduating, he spent several years working in and managing veterinary clinical practices in Australia and the UK, including horses, farm animals, pets, wild and zoo animals, and emergency medicine and surgery. His areas of expertise include cancer biology, virology, proteomics, immunology and bioinformatics. Burgess joined the UK World Reference Laboratory for Exotic Diseases during the 2001 foot and mouth disease crisis, where he led the data compilation and reporting office. For his efforts he was awarded the Institute for Animal Health Director's Award for Service. Since 1997 he has written 110 peer-reviewed publications.

Elliott Cheu (Board Chair) – Associate Dean, College of Science, University of Arizona
Dr. Cheu has been an Associate Dean in the College of Science at the University of Arizona since 2008 and was a professor in the Physics Department before that. Prior to joining the UA Physics faculty in 1996, Dr. Cheu received a prestigious Robert R. McCormick Fellowship from the University of Chicago. He served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Physics Department from 2006-2008 where he was active in improving the department's teaching mission and was awarded a College of Science Teaching Innovation Award. Dr. Cheu's research focuses on searches for Supersymmetry and new phenomena at the Large Hadron Collider. He was one of the leaders of the team that established the existence of direct CP violation, which is one of the components required to explain the observed matter/anti-matter asymmetry in the Universe. Dr. Cheu is committed to improving undergraduate and graduate education in the College of Science. He is striving to increase student academic performance that will in turn lead to improved retention and graduation rates.

Andrew Comrie – Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost, University of Arizona

Dr. Comrie serves as the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. He is the chief academic officer of the University, overseeing all academic programs and units exclusive of the health sciences and medical enterprise where academic programs come under the oversight of the senior vice president for health sciences. Prior to becoming Provost, Dr. Comrie served as associate vice president for research and dean of the Graduate College. In his role as dean, Dr. Comrie provided academic leadership for graduate education at the University, including stewardship of 15 Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs, which involve over 600 faculty members from more than a dozen colleges. Dr. Comrie came to the University of Arizona in 1992 and is an interdisciplinary climate scientist and geographer. His research is focused on connections that link climate with health, pathogens and vectors as well as atmospheric environmental issues in general. He has published widely in specialized and interdisciplinary international journals. His specific expertise includes climate and health, synoptic climatology, urban and regional air pollution, climate variability and change in the Southwest United States, and techniques for mapping climate and environmental information.

Tannya Gaxiola – Assistant Vice President for Community Relations, University of Arizona

Ms. Gaxiola has held her position with the University of Arizona since April of 2013. In addition she serves as President of QuikHelp, a low-cost legal services firm that she co-founded with her father. Ms. Gaxiola also serves as a Board Member for the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona and the Chair of the Board of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Beyond her work with QuikHelp, Gaxiola has stayed involved with the Harvard Latino Alumni Association, where she was a founding member and now a board member. As an Eller alum, she is active in Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a 30-year-old organization that provides internship opportunities to underrepresented minorities. In 2011 she was named Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Businesswoman of the Year as well as being named to the Arizona Daily Star’s 40 under 40 list.

Jeff Goldberg – Dean, College of Engineering, University of Arizona

Dr. Goldberg has been Dean of the College of Engineering since February 2010. He had been interim dean since 2008, and during that period, Goldberg guided the college through a major reorganization that included creation of the new School for Sustainable Engineered Systems and the new Department of Biomedical Engineering. Engineering's freshman class also has grown by more than 10 percent and is more diverse than ever. Part of that success comes from an expanding outreach program, Engineering 101, an advanced placement class in six local high schools. The National Science Foundation ranks UA Engineering at No. 21 in the nation. Its graduate programs in industrial, aerospace, civil and environmental engineering are also notably among the nation's best. Goldberg came to the UA in 1985 and is a member of the systems and industrial engineering department faculty. Before being named interim dean, Goldberg was the associate dean in charge of recruiting and retention. Goldberg received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Cornell University and his PhD from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the University of Arizona he worked as a Senior Systems Analyst at Vector Research Incorporated. He also serves as the CEO of Silver Oak Research, a management consulting company that specializes in the design of emergency response systems. His specialties include; data analysis, arguing points using mathematical arguments, operations research modeling, and systems view of problems.

Ana Marie Lopez – Associate Professor, Department of Hematology and Oncology Dr. López is professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

She serves as medical director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program and associate dean for outreach and multi-cultural affairs, College of Medicine. Dr. López received her medical education from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She completed her residency in internal medicine and fellowships in general internal medicine and medical oncology at the University of Arizona. She also holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of Arizona College of Public Health. Dr. López is the principal investigator of several breast and ovarian cancer clinical trials focused on quality of life care and innovative treatments.

Ronald W. Marx – Dean, College of Education, University of Arizona

Dr. Marx is Professor of Educational Psychology and Dean of Education at the University of Arizona. His previous appointments were at Simon Fraser University in Canada and the University of Michigan, where he served as the chair of the Educational Studies Program and later as the co-director of the Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education and the Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools. His research focuses on how classrooms can be sites for learning that is highly motivated and cognitively engaging. Marx has served as a member of Gov. Janet Napolitano’s Committee on Teacher Quality and Support and as co-chair of the Teacher Committee of the Governor’s P-20 Council. More recently he was committee chair for the recent Arizona State Board of Education Task Force on Teacher and Principal Evaluation, a member of the US Department of Education Negotiated Rule Making Committee for the Higher Education Act, and is a member of the board of Directors of Tucson Values Teachers.

Bill McCallum –  Mathematics, University of Arizona

Dr. McCallum is a University Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Arizona. Born in Sydney, Australia, he received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard University in 1984. After spending two years at the University of California, Berkeley, and one at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, he joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 1987. In 2005 he received the Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars from the National Science Foundation. In 2006 he founded the Institute for Mathematics and Education at the University of Arizona. He was Director of the Institute until 2009 and now chairs its advisory board.

Laura McGill – Deputy Vice President of Engineering, Raytheon Missile Systems

Ms. McGill is Engineering Deputy of Raytheon Missile Systems, the largest private employer in southern Arizona. Raytheon Company, with 2011 sales of $25 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. A principal engineering fellow, McGill was formerly deputy director for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles and Special Programs. From 2009–2011, she was chief engineer for the Air Warfare Systems (AWS) product line, a $2 billion portfolio of programs including air-to-air missiles, precision-strike air-to-ground weapons and Tomahawk cruise missiles. She holds a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Washington, where she was assistant chief of operations for the Kirsten Wind Tunnel. She also earned a master’s degree in aerospace systems through a General Dynamics engineering development program. McGill is an adjunct lecturer for Raytheon’s onsite Master of Science in Systems Engineering program with Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering and also serves as an instructor for the company’s Systems Engineering Technical Development Program. She is a lifetime fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a member of its board of directors.



Patrick Nelson – Superintendent, Amphitheater Public Schools
Mr. Nelson is Superintendent of the Amphitheater School District, the third largest school district in Tucson. Serving more than 14,500 students in its 21 schools, Amphitheater operates public schools in Tucson and the greater Oro Valley. Mr. Nelson’s service to public education spans more than 39 years, including teaching, serving as a school principal, and in various leadership positions. Previous to becoming superintendent, Mr. Nelson was the district’s Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development (2001) and served as Associate Superintendent for School Operations from 2002 to 2012.



Debbie Rich – CEO, Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona

Ms. Rich is the CEO of Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, which serves more than 14,000 girls and has more than 2500 adult volunteers in Pima, Cochise, Greenlee, Yuma and Santa Cruz counties, and southern parts of Graham, Maricopa and Pinal counties. Ms. Rich also helped create The Partnership for Women and Girls, a collaboration with Emerge! and the YWCA to support local leadership training for girls and women. Prior to becoming CEO, Ms. Rich served as Sahuaro Girl Scout Council’s (SGSC) Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Rich is known for her work with the community to create a social service delivery model which engages college women in delivering the Girl Scout program to underserved girls living in challenged communities; redesigning the Council’s fund development model, securing capital gifts for improvements of Girl Scout properties, and growing the membership across Southern Arizona.

Jonathan Rothschild – Mayor, City of Tucson

A native of Tucson and graduate of Canyon del Oro High School, Mayor Rothschild went on to graduate from Kenyon College and the University of New Mexico Law School. First serving as a law clerk for United States District Court Judge Alfredo Marquez, he then joined the law firm of Mesch, Clark & Rothschild. Mayor Rothschild has a long history of extensive service with local non-profits – as a leader and a worker. He has served in various capacities, including Board President of Casa de los Ninos, Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, and Temple Emanu-El. He is a member of the Tucson Parks & Recreation Commission and currently serves as Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council. Jonathan has also served on the Boards of the Tucson Medical Center Foundation, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Friends of the University Libraries, University of Arizona and the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona. His current citizen initiatives include the Mayor’s Reading Challenge, the Mayor’s 10,000 Trees Campaign, and his Tucson Moves a Million Miles challenge.

Joaquin Ruiz – Vice President, Innovation and Strategy and Dean, College of Science

Dr. Ruiz received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Michigan in 1980 and 1983, respectively. From 1982 to 1983 he was Assistant Professor at the University of Miami. In 1983 he joined the University of Arizona Geosciences Department as Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1989 and Professor in 1993. He served as head of the Department of Geosciences from 1995 to 2000. He was appointed Dean of the College of Science in 2000, Executive Dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science in 2009, and Vice President of Innovation and Strategy in 2013. Dr. Ruiz is past President of the Geological Society of America (2010-2011). He is also a Fellow of the Society of Economic Geologists, and a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Chemical Society, the Geochemical Society, and the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and the Governing Board of the Instituto Nacional de Astronomia, Optica y Electronica in Mexico. He has served as Secretary of the Volcanology Section of the American Geophysical Union, Councillor of the Geological Society of America, and as a National Science Foundation Panel Member for the Instrumentation and Facilities Program and the Centers for Excellence in Science and Technology Program. He has served as Associate Editor of the American Journal of Science, Geology, ReVista, and Geofísica International of the Institute of Geology, UNAM. As a scientist with equal abilities in chemistry and in geology, Dr. Ruiz addresses many first-order problems in the Earth Sciences, such as the development of new isotope systems for studying ore deposits and the tectonic processes involved in the growth and evolution of Mexico. His research team addresses problems ranging from the origins of life to present-day climate change.

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