Category Archives: Speaker profiles

Speaker Profile: Richard Brecht

Richard Brecht

Richard Brecht is currently the Executive Director of the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language. Having received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in Slavic Languages and Literatures, he is currently professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Maryland at College Park and visiting professor at Bryn Mawr College. Dr. Brecht has been a principal in the founding of a number of national organizations and projects: American Councils for International Education/ACTR-ACCELS (for which he serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees), the National Council of Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages, Project EELIAS (Evaluation of Exchange, Language, International and Area Studies), LangNet (the Language Network), and Project ICONS (International Communication and Negotiation Simulations). Dr. Brecht has authored numerous books and articles on language policy, second language acquisition, and Slavic and Russian linguistics; and he has received awards from a number of national and international organizations in the language field.


Speaker Profile: Erica Kropp


Erica serves as the Director of Research Administration at University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). She is responsible for UMCES pre- and post-award research administration, research compliance in general (including human subjects, animals use, conflict of interest, technology transfer and export controls) and development of related policy and procedures and training programs. Ms. Kropp is the UMCES representative to the Federal Demonstration Partnership. She holds a B.S. degree in Technology Management from the University of Maryland, University College. In the research administration field for over 34 years with a broad range of experience, Ms. Kropp was with the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) for 32 years starting her career with seven years at the department level before moving to the central research administration. Ms. Kropp served as the Director of Research Administration and Advancement at the University of Maryland College Park 1994-2004. Her leadership at College Park was during a period of tremendous growth in their research programs and included early involvement in export control issues at UMCP and with other universities in general on a national level. Ms. Kropp has served on the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) Committees 1997-1999, as a COGR Board Member 1999-2004 and was Co-Chair of the first COGR Export Control Working Group. She is a current member of the COGR Export Controls Working Group and continues to work with the University of Maryland, College Park on export control issues. Ms. Kropp has been a member of NCURA since 1978 and has served as a moderator and/or presenter on numerous panels over the years at both regional and national meetings, including many on export controls and security matters.

Speaker Profile: Dr. Scott Weems

Scott Weems is an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL). Scott has embarked on an academic career that has taken him from Boston University to the University of California, where he earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2003, and now, finally, to Maryland. He currently leads two research projects at CASL. 

Scott’s first project addresses how language analysts deal with missing information, with particular emphasis on the neurophysiological processes involved in dealing with textual ambiguity.  His second project examines deception in people from non-Western cultures.  Little is known about the verbal or non-verbal deception cues for this population, even though such knowledge is very important for security screening personnel.  Scott is also very interested in the laterality of language, particularly the important role of the brain’s right hemisphere in language processing.

Before embarking on his academic path, Scott had a short but successful career as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. Stationed in Kodiak Alaska, his first tour was as boarding officer aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter YOCONA in the frigid Bering Sea, checking safety equipment on local fishing vessels.  His second tour was as a marine safety officer in New Orleans, where he was responsible for enforcing marine pollution laws.


Speaker Profile: Dr. Barry Aprison

Barry Aprison, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Director of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Initiatives in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University.  Dr. Aprison is currently working with K-12 teachers, principals, superintendents, curriculum specialists, engineers, scientists, evaluators, and designers on STEM education projects for Maryland schools.

Prior to joining Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Aprison was Director of Science and Technology at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago for nineteen years (1988-2007). He led project teams to design and produce highly successful, multi-million dollar, interactive exhibitions.  He also directed outreach education programs for millions of visitors, parents, teachers, and students.  The National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and other organizations supported these projects. In 2007, before leaving MSI, he was leading a $24-million project, ScienceStorms, to produce 20,000-sq. ft. of new hands-on exhibits about physics, chemistry, materials science, and nanotechnology.  Two of Dr. Aprison’s permanent exhibitions– Imaging: The Tools of Science and AIDS: The War Within–won national award-recognitions from the Curators’ Committee of the American Association of Museums, and he is listed in Richard Saul Wurman’s “1000” book, a compendium of the most creative people in the United States.

Dr. Aprison joined the Museum of Science and Industry in 1988 after serving as an NIH post-doctoral fellow in Indiana University’s Department of Biology.  There he researched the molecular genetics of sex-specific regulation of gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster.  He also taught undergraduate genetics and developmental biology.

At Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, Dr. Aprison studied the regulation of yolk protein gene expression and DNA synthesis in Xenopus laevis. He taught undergraduate biology and received his Ph.D. in biology in 1984.


Speaker Profile: Security Expert Ray Semko, “THE D*I*C*E MAN”

Ray Semko


Ray Semko is an expert security briefer and motivator who is widely known for the popular D*I*C*E Program he created in 1989. D*I*C*E stands for “Defensive Information to Counter Espionage.” He uses Dice as a memory aid–every time you see dice, he wants you to think about the important message he conveyed in his briefing about security and OPSEC.


After serving 21 years in the US Army, Semko started doing security awareness briefings while a counterintelligence agent in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as a way to inform employees of the threats to our nation’s security as the result of espionage. His D*I*C*E briefings became very popular and soon were in demand at other agencies.  Semko has presented his unique, entertaining, unclassified D*I*C*E briefings around the world to thousands of US government, military, public safety and industry personnel since 1989.


Along the way, he has also worked as a counterintelligence officer at the Department of Energy, the National Security Agency and most recently, the Defense Security Service where he retired from over 35 years of US Government service.


Semko joined the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI Centre) in August 2006 to continue to provide his signature D*I*C*E briefings, but now to an expanded audience of federal, state and local government, police, public safety, military, corporations and other organizations who wish to increase their employee’s security awareness of threats from espionage (including cyber and industrial espionage) and terrorism as well as enhance employee awareness of OPSEC (operations security) and information security.

Speaker Profile: Gene David


Gene David, a Johns Hopkins APL Systems Engineer and Principal Professional Staff member, has served in the APL Director’s Office since 1996. He holds a B.S. degree in General Engineering from the University of Illinois and M.S. degrees in Numerical Science and Management Science from The Johns Hopkins University. He holds several positions relating to Laboratory-level operations.

As the Principal Compliance Officer, Mr. David is responsible for maintaining the Laboratory’s Standard of Ethics and Conduct, including heading investigations, coordinating the efforts of four other Compliance Officers, and providing policy management for APL’s Timekeeping System. He chairs APL’s Pension Committee, of which he has been a member since 1999. As an expert on Laboratory policies, he provides Director’s Office review and approval of all changes to the Practices and Procedures documents. He has been a member of APL’s Benefits Committee for more than 16 years, and currently serves as Chairman..

Mr. David served in a number of other leadership roles, including the Business Continuity Planning Team; Incident Management Team; Emergency Response Coordinator/Lead for APL Emergency Response Team from 2000-2005, and membership on the University Committee on Crisis Management. He also served on the APL Federal Credit Union Board of Directors, including terms as Chair and Vice Chair.

From 1987 to 1996, Mr. David was a senior engineer and of the Fleet Systems (now Air & Missile Defense) Department’s Anti-Air Warfare Systems Engineering Group, including Group Supervisor of approximately 45 technical professional staff specializing in the application of systems engineering.

Speaker Profile: Dr. Susan Sedwick


Dr. Susan Wyatt Sedwick is associate vice president for research and director of the Office of Sponsored Projects at The University of Texas at Austin, where she is responsible for both pre- and post-award financial administration units with oversight of about $500 million in annual sponsored projects awards and serves as the institution’s empowered official for export controls. She is also a clinical professor in the Department of Educational Administration for the Higher Education Administration Program. She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Texas A&M University and is a Certified Research Administrator (CRA). She is a frequent speaker on the topic of export controls as they apply to universities. She authored the chapter on export controls included in the NCURA/AIS publication, Sponsored Research Administration: A Guide to Effective Strategies and Recommended Practices.

Dr. Sedwick is active in the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), having served on the nominating committee and is chair of the export controls working group and an at-large member of the Research Compliance and Administration (RCA) Committee. She is an at-large representative to the Board of Directors of the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) and served as the chair of the Professional Development Committee in 2006 and has presented and served as a workshop faculty member and presenter at both regional and national meetings. She was a member of the faculty for the NCURA Export Controls, Embargoes and Sanctions Seminar and took an active role in developing that curriculum. She has served as Region V representative to the national NCURA membership and professional development committees and as the Workshop Chair and faculty for the Region V meeting. She is the university’s administrative representative to the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) serving on the Strategic Planning Committee and the Contract Task Force and is co-chair of the Membership Committee. Dr. Sedwick is the president of the Texas chapter of the Society of Research Administrators International (SRA). She is a graduate of Leadership Texas and a trustee for the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation.