2017 Candidates for Election


I am an IT director at the University of Maryland and one of the directors of the James Randi Educational Foundation. For many years, I taught "Science & Pseudoscience" in which ESP, astrology and other extraordinary claims provide a context for understanding the way the scientific method is supposed to work. Prior to joining the university, I was a mathematical statistician at the National Institutes of Health. Since the founding of NCAS, I have been active as a public speaker, media contact, graphic designer, and general busybody. My goal underlying all these activities is to provide people with the best possible critical tools for thinking and making decisions for themselves.


I have had the privilege of serving as president and treasurer of the National Capital Area Skeptics in the past. My goals for the organization include re-energizing and expanding our membership base, continuing in our efforts to provide an array of interesting speakers at our monthly public meetings to inform and challenge us, and to continue to have the National Capital Area Skeptics provide the extraordinary evidence that skeptics are cool.


I hope to see NCAS continue to expand its range of activities, and to find more ways to allow our members to be actively involved. I also hope to continue as Treasurer. As for my personal background, I am a graduate of Oberlin College with a major in Russian Language and Literature and have a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. In my day job, I advise nonprofit organizations.


Over the past few years, I have recorded the NCAS talks and posted the content to our YouTube channel. As Vice President this past year, I sought to find interesting speakers for our monthly talks. I also have co-administered our Facebook and Meetup pages since their inception. I want to continue to help our organization in any way I can in its efforts to promote critical thinking and a rational world view.


Brian A. Sharpless has only recently become involved with NCAS, but has given public lectures for skeptic groups in the US and UK.  He is particularly passionate about science outreach and working with NCAS to help promote scientific skepticism and the necessity for free inquiry.  Currently, Dr. Sharpless is an Associate Professor at the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Northern Virginia.  He received graduate training in both clinical psychology (Ph.D.) and continental philosophy (M.A.) at Pennsylvania State University.  He then completed his internship and post-doctoral research and clinical training at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to his current position, he was on faculty at Pennsylvania State University and Washington State University.  Along with his broad theoretical and empirical interests in abnormal psychology and psychotherapy (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Brian_Sharpless), Dr. Sharpless is interested in using psychological science to better understand paranormal claims.  His first two books, Sleep Paralysis: Historical Psychological, and Medical Perspectives (co-authored with Dr. Karl Doghramji, M.D.) and Unusual and Rare Psychological Disorders are both available through Oxford University Press and integrate these various interests.


I am the current President of NCAS and also have held the positions of Secretary and Treasurer. I was the original webmaster for the group and have been on the NCAS Board since the mid-1990s. I am Professor Emeritus in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland. I am concerned about both the low level of scientific knowledge within the general population and the poor quality of teaching materials generally available in the public school system in which to combat that problem. I have been teaching classes on critical thinking in both PG County and Baltimore County for senior citizens to make them more aware of the various scams they are susceptible to. I hope to aid NCAS in continuing its programs of reaching large audiences and to further the message that skeptical thinking is a positive force and is not synonymous with cynicism or negative thinking.