Catholic Polytechnic

Board of Directors

Dr. Jennifer Nolan

Dr. Jennifer Nolan (President and Co-Founder) holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the Dept. of Cognitive Science at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) with specialization in memory, dementias, stroke and insulin resistance. She is a brain plasticity specialist and public speaker. Previously, she was the C.O.O. and co-founder of a stroke and brain injury rehabilitation center. Dr. Nolan has taught university courses at UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount University, and Glendale Community College. She has conducted local and nationwide clinical trials, and published in both scientific journals and popular magazines.

Mr. Christopher Plance

Mr. Christopher Plance (Co-Founder) has an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from Westmont College and a M.A. in Theology from Franciscan University. He has worked as the Director of Evangelization for St. John Paul the Great Catholic University in Escondido, CA. He was an essential part of their accreditation process and is familiar with the steps necessary for WASC approval. He has taught theology and history at Catholic high schools for four years, and is a regular public speaker on topics of Catholic theology.

Mr. Jeff Hilger, Esq.

Mr. Jeff Hilger (School Startup Specialist, Attorney, and VP of Operations) is an educator and attorney who strives to make the world a better place by embracing challenging opportunities. In the years since graduating from Loyola High, Georgetown, UCLA Law, and Teach For America, he has founded, managed, and overseen the growth of five schools (Stella Middle Charter Academy, Bright Star Secondary Charter, New Opportunities Jail School, Family First Adult School, and St. John Paul II STEM Academy) and the organizations that support them (Bright Star Schools and New Opportunities Organization). After serving as managing editor of the UCLA Law Review and a law clerk for the US District Court, he developed a steady legal practice, including laying the grounds for an appellate victory at the US Supreme Court (543 US 499,) as well as work in real estate, contracts, and governmental accountability. He credits his Catholic faith, patriotism, family, and bilingualism for many of his successes, which have come from the graces of the Holy Spirit, and his intention, through discernment, to do God's will.

Dr. John Tran

Dr. Tran holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California and his thesis focused on combinatoric algorithms using adiabatic quantum annealing optimization. He has over 20 years of work experience spanning multiple scientific and engineering domains. As a computer scientist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Information Sciences Institute, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he conducted research in high-performance computing and optimization algorithms for large-scale data processing systems, which has been published in journals and conferences.

Rev. Dr. Richard Erikson

The Reverend Richard M. Erikson, Ph.D. is a Roman Catholic priest, sociologist, retired Air Force brigadier general and military chaplain, songwriter, music producer, and author. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston on June 8, 1985. Fr. Erikson has served as a parochial vicar at St. Mary's in Lynn, MA (1985-1988); chair of the Social Sciences Department and professor of sociology at St. John's Seminary in Brighton, MA (1992-1999); an active-duty Air Force chaplain (1999-2006); vicar general and moderator of the curia of the Archdiocese of Boston (2006-2011); pastor of Our Lady of Fatima parish in Sudbury, MA (2012-2018); administrator of St. Mary's parish in Winchester, MA (2018); and priest in residence at St. Athanasius and St. Agnes in Reading, MA (2019-2022).

Fr. Erikson served in the Air Force Chaplain Corps as a reservist and on active duty for 35 years, retiring in April, 2017, with the rank of brigadier general. He served nine years with Special Operations Forces at Hurlburt Field, FL, and ten years at the Pentagon. He was deployed to Iraq from July through September, 2004.

He is a member of ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). In 2021, he and Jay Clementi co-wrote a song about his experience in Iraq, "Born to Bless the Fallen." Fr. Erikson worked with the legendary Andy Williams for 13 years as a liner note author and co-producer.

Fr. Erikson has three master's degrees and a doctorate in sociology. He is the author of Late Have I Loved Thee: Stories of Religious Conversion and Commitment in Later Life (Paulist Press,1995), and has written for the Boston Pilot for 35 years. He serves on the Board of Directors of Catholic Polytechnic University in California. Fr. Erikson is a Mass presider and special contributor for Catholic Television. He currently resides and serves in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Mr. Peter McNally

Mr. McNally is a Senior Consultant at the User Experience Center at Bentley University. Pete has extensive experience in usability, information architecture, accessibility, and software engineering. His current areas of interest include the intersection of user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX), universal design, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Regardless of the area or technology, Pete always focuses on the human at the end of the product, to provide the most seamless and engaging experience. He has worked with users and designed digital experiences in the financial services, healthcare, government, education, energy, manufacturing, defense, and electronics industries. Prior to joining the center, Pete was a Principal Consultant in the CSC User Experience Practice, Senior User Experience Architect at HP Enterprise Services, Research Officer at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, and Senior Software Engineer at 3M Health Information Systems. Pete holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Northeastern University and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). He is a member of the International User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA), ACM CHI, Boston UXPA, and Boston CHI.

Mr. Michael Stefanini

Mr. Stefanini is a Senior Engineer for Caltech at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was the leader of the IT Development and Project Management Office, managed JPL's Cloud Computing services, and is currently the Chief Engineer for Digital Transformation. He holds a Master's degree in Electrical and Computer and Systems Engineering. He has designed and implemented enterprise engineering and IT systems and has been involved with spacecraft engineering, process definition, and IT delivery for over 25 years. He has received numerous accolades including several NASA Honor Awards, the JPL Explorer Award, and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for improvements to software development processes. Mr. Stefanini has lectured at many venues including the Project Management Institute, Gartner Conferences, MIT, NASA summits, and at the United Nations.