The Catholic University of America

Meet the Metropolitan Staff 



Sara Thompson, Ph.D, M.B.A.

Dean, Metropolitan School of Professional Studies & Associate Provost, New Program Initiatives

Sara Thompson is in her twelfth year as Dean of the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies, and also serves in a university-wide capacity as Associate Provost for New Program Initiatives. It is a pleasure for her to work with the dedicated students of the School, who carve time out of their busy lives in order to pursue important and life-changing educational goals. She also enjoys working with the talented staff and faculty who strive to create a warm and welcoming academic community for our students. Her educational background includes: a Ph.D. in Educational/Industrial Psychology from Marquette University, as well as a Master of Business Administration in Marketing Management from the University of Colorado, Boulder.



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.



Mattie Hunter, M.H.R.O.D.

Mattie Hunter joined the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies in 2008. She has worked with adult learners in both higher education and the private sector for more than 20 years. Her previous employers include: MGM University Partners, The George Washington University, and MCI Communications. She holds a Master of Human Resources and Organization Development degree from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Clark-Atlanta University.


S. Toni Clements, M.S.C.S.

Director, Administration/IT

Toni Clements joined the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies in September 2002. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in Computer Science from The Catholic University of America. As a dedicated member of the CUA community, she offers prompt, friendly and professional guidance to prospective and current students, faculty and staff. Ms. Clements has gained a wealth of experience by serving in multiple capacities throughout the CUA university system.


Vanessa Terzaghi, M.S. 

Manager of Academic Services & Student Development

Prior to starting at Metropolitan School of Professional Studies, Vanessa worked for Catholic University of America’s School of Architecture & Planning. Her previous higher education experience includes registration and records management, academic advising, financial aid counseling and admissions work. Vanessa earned her B.A. in Theatre from Willamette University and her M.S. in Education from Western Oregon University. She is pleased to join the MSPS staff, and she looks forward to working with MSPS students in their academic and extra-curricular endeavors.


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.



Charis Choe-Joaquin

Assistant to the Dean

Charis received her bachelor’s degree in Media Studies with a minor in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America in 2008. As a student, she worked for CUA’s Office of Disability Support Services before joining the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies team in 2005. This will be her seventh year serving as Assistant to the Dean. Her responsibilities include providing support to the students, faculty, and staff of the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies, hiring and supervising student employees, and coordinating special programs and events.


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.