The Catholic University of America

Meet the Metropolitan Staff 


Vincent Kiernan Ph.D. 

Dean, Metropolitan School of Professional Studies 

Dr. Kiernan joined the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies in June 2016. Previously, he served as an associate dean at George Mason University and Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies, where he led the university's undergraduate program for working students. He earned a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Maryland, College Park; an executive master's in leadership from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business; and a master of science in adult and continuing education from Kansas State University. Prior to his work in academe, Dr. Kiernan worked for more than 20 years as a science and medical journalist, and his academic research centers on science and medical journalism, more particularly on relationships between journalists and the scientific establishment. His 2006 book, Embargoed Science, critically examined news coverage of the latest scientific research.




William Buracker
Assistant Dean

BJ has been at Catholic University since 2008. Prior to joining the Metropolitan School team, he oversaw the academic coaching program in the Center for Academic Success. There he worked closely with students helping them improve their academic skills, habits and performance. As such, he gained a deep passion for student development and academic support. BJ has a varied background in higher education, having earned master’s degrees in both theology and mathematics, and he is currently finishing his PhD in Biblical Studies. He has also taught several courses in the School of Theology and Religious Studies here at CUA. In his role as Assistant Dean, BJ looks forward to working with students as they progress through their academic careers and helping provide support and services to enhance their academic and professional careers.


Joe McDonald, M.S.M. 

Associate Director of Admissions

Joe joined the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies in 2011. He is not only a native Washingtonian; he grew up in and around the Brookland area. After graduating from Archbishop Carroll High School, he walked a few hundred feet down Harewood Road to The Catholic University of America where he was awarded a scholarship in Speech and Drama from Fr. Gilbert V. Hartke. After his sophomore year, Joe wanted to see the world outside Brookland and decided to “take a break” from school. He started a career as a manager for Continental Airlines and traveled to parts of the globe he never knew existed. One day in 2006, while on the Metrorail to the airport, he saw an advertisement for the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies. He realized that his "break" had gone a few decades and he was also running out of exotic places to go. Joe returned to Catholic University and completed his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at MSPS in 2009, and his Master of Science in Management degree, Organizational Communication track, at MSPS in 2014. Joe is thrilled to have found his way home and enjoys helping others, who may have also “taken a break” in their education, to achieve their dream of a earning a college degree.


Nicole Pietrucha, M.A.

Manager of Academic Records

Nicole joined the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies in November 2010. She is responsible for the records management process in MSPS. Nicole received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Justice from American University and her Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Concordia University Chicago. Her higher education background includes experience in financial aid, records management, and student services.


Tony Boehm, M.A.

Program Coordinator

Tony joined the MSPS team in December 2010, originally serving as Program Coordinator for the Health Information Technology program. He has since expanded his academic advising duties to include students in all undergraduate bachelor’s, certificate, and non-credit programs. Originally from Wisconsin, with stops in Philadelphia, Montana, and 6-month stint on a tour bus promoting the 2008 Presidential election in-between, Tony is encouraged by the dedication and perseverance MSPS students show, particularly as he completed an MA in Religion and Culture in May, 2015.