Our Team

Kelli Vallieres, PhD

Kelli-Marie Vallieres is Director of the PBL Resource Center at the New England Board of Higher Education. Kelli is also President and CEO of Sound Manufacturing Inc., a precision sheet-metal manufacturing company, and of Monster Power Equipment, a commercial and municipal landscape equipment manufacturer. With her experience in industry and doctorate in Educational Leadership and Adult Learning from the University of Connecticut, Kelli is able to develop secondary through postsecondary educational programs and industry training to improve problem solving and critical thinking skills that benefit STEM students and the workforce pipeline.


Monica Reum

Monica Reum is Project Coordinator for the PBL Resource Center. She holds a master’s in Higher Education Leadership and Organizational Development from Merrimack College. In her previous position as the Academic Innovations Coordinator at Northern Essex Community College, she assisted in the planning and implementing of the first competency-based education program at a Massachusetts 2-year institution. Her interests are in serving nontraditional students, promoting student-centered methodologies such as experiential learning and challenging current higher education models through innovative academic programming.


Judy Donnelly

Judy Donnelly is retired from Three Rivers Community College where she was professor of physics and technology for 36 years and Program Coordinator for the Laser and Fiber Optic Technology associate degree program. She is a senior member and fellow of both of SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics) and the Optical Society of America and serves on outreach and education committees of both societies as well as other national and international STEM education initiatives.

Dr. Nicholas Massa

Nicholas Massa holds both BS and MS Degrees in Electrical Engineering from Western New England University and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership/Adult Learning from the University of Connecticut. He is currently the program coordinator for the Laser Electro-Optics Technology program at Springfield Technical Community College. He has been principal and co-principal investigator on over a dozen NSF grants and is currently principal investigator on NEBHE’s NSF-ATE Advanced Manufacturing Problem Based Learning (AM PBL) project. He has received numerous awards including the 2010 Educator of the Year Award by the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE).

Michael Gentry

Michael Gentry joined the PBL Projects team as a consultant after taking part in the Advanced Manufacturing Summer Professional Development workshop. He has been working with problem and inquiry based learning for more than 17 years as a mentor and coach with FIRST Robotics. After spending 30 years in industry at a major New England utility company, he was recruited to be an Assistant Professor at Central Connecticut State University School of Engineering and Technology. After a 2-year appointment, he transferred to Three Rivers Community College as an assistant professor in the Engineering Technology department where he has continued to include student-centered learning in the classroom.

Dr. James DeLaura

James DeLaura has been instrumental in bringing Engineering Education and STEM related programs to Central Connecticut State University. He has worked with The New England Board of Education for the past six years on the NSF Funded PBL projects. He is responsible for developing pre-service Problem Based Learning coursework for graduate and undergraduate students in the STEM fields.

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