CEESTEM Board of Directors
Phoebe E. Lenear, Ph.D.
With over 25 years experience in the workplace, Dr. Phoebe Lenear has served as a faculty member, administrator, program manager, and director of education, training and integration projects. Her positions in academia and the research sector have required extensive communication, collaboration and technical skills. As a program manager at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), she was responsible for the National Computational Science Alliance Partner Relations Program—part of a $35M National Science Foundation project—where she interacted with more than 50 research partners from universities, government, and businesses across the U.S. She has also conducted and facilitated training for military personnel, university faculty and staff. She served on the faculty at Southern Illinois University, where she taught courses in training systems management, distance education and multimedia technologies. She also served as Educational Programs Manager for the NSF Science and Technology Center on Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems ($25M), where she managed the daily operations of the Center’s Education program. Currently, she is employed as Technology Transfer Officer for the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center. In this role, she assists research staff in identifying appropriate authorities and in preparing and negotiating agreements for entering into research and development partnerships with industry, academia, and non-Federal government agencies.
Dr. Lenear holds the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in General Engineering (Mathematics and Human-Computer Interaction), and the Ph.D. degree in Human Resource Education (Technology Education) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
In addition to her love for science and engineering, Dr. Lenear has always had a heart for singing. She was born into a family of singers and instrumentalists and grew up singing on the Southside of Chicago with her nine siblings and cousins. Since 1984, she has appeared with the University of Illinois Black Chorus as a signature voice, and is a frequent featured artist for the UIUC Black Sacred Music Symposium. In the spring 2012, Dr. Lenear released her highly anticipated debut gospel album, Consecrated. The album is a compilation of psalms, hymns, praise and traditional gospel music. Her music is described as soothing, soulful, moving, powerful, and anointed.
It has been Dr. Lenear’s desire to return to her roots and encourage youth to be all that God has called them to be. She is fulfilling that desire through CEESTEM. She is dedicated to The Call to mentor and encourage. Her life’s motto is: “If I can help somebody, as I pass along, then my living will not be in vain.”
Carlton W. Bruett, M.F.A
Carlton W. Bruett is the owner of CarltonBruettDesign. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Carlton received the Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and the Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also the owner of CarltonBruettCoutre, a collection designed for all body types including those with disabilities. He is the former President of the Board of Advisors for TALKS Mentoring and serves on the University of Illinois Chancellor’s Committee on Access and Accommodations.
Nicole Devitt is currently the Division Controller for Tempel Steel where she is the financial lead of the Chicago Division.
She has almost 30 years of experience with various products in the manufacturing industry, demonstrating a consistent record of streamlining processes and procedures along with partnering with operations to identify key opportunities for savings and growth. Strengths include mentoring, general ledger accounting, cost accounting, financial analysis, budgeting/forecasting, capital project review, contract negotiations, lean management as well as finance champion on kaizen and six sigma projects.
Some of the industries that she has worked in are plastic strapping, corrugated paper, fragranced candles, automotive gasket supplier, automotive wire harnesses, steel tubes and steel laminations.
Nicole is an active member of the community of faith and has served in various capacities—Director of Christian Education, Chair of the Trustee Board, Finance Director, Certified Lay Speaker and Board Member of NI Emmaus.
A proud mother of two young men Matthew Austin Rainey and Nicholas Andrew Rainey, she continues to work with young adults in their educational and professional career development.
Samuel Smith, M.S.W.
Samuel Smith is the Director of Civic Engagement and Social Practice at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Smith works as a part of an engagement team at the performing arts center which extends the impact of the performing arts by developing and managing projects that engage artists, schools, organizations and communities. He is particularly interested in the role of the arts, artists and arts organizations to catalyze individual and community transformations and to address pressing social concerns. Mr. Smith develops and participates in local, international and school based projects. He has participated in water health and sanitation projects in Malawi, sponsored by Sister City International and funded by the Gates Foundation, and recently with YMCA Sierra Leone and the Freetown Rotary completed a water well project in Kenema, Sierra Leone. He is a member and Chair of the International Service Committee of the Rotary Club of Urbana, Urbana Illinois; And a member of the University of Illinois YMCA’s Global Engagement Committee.
Ed Stanley, M.B.A.
Ed Stanley was born and raised in East St. Louis, Illinois. Upon completing high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served in Operation Desert Storm. After his eight year tenure in the Navy, Mr. Stanley was employed as a network engineer for Coca-Cola, Bysis Marketing Solutions, and Homecom, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. He later moved to Champaign, Illinois when he married his wife of 15 years, Debbie. He earned the Master of Business Administration from DeVry University and the owner of Tiny Feet Christian Home Daycare. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for TALKS Mentoring and serves as an Elder at Grace Fellowship Church in Champaign, Illinois.