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John Yochelson, president, brings to his leadership position a wide range of high-level policy experience including the presidency of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, an appointment to the President’s Export Council, and membership on the management team of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Mr. Yochelson has been responsible for the development of BEST’s virtual business model, the core team selection, the national search for effective STEM programs, the interface with DoD management and leadership, and the management of relationships with national non-profit partners and other stakeholders. Mr. Yochelson continues to provide oversight in the areas of development and execution of STEM program activities; promotion of the K-16 STEM education and outreach efforts to encourage maximum participation; and the development of metrics and analysis methodologies.

Vice President

Karen Harper, vice president, has operational responsibilities along with leading the community engagement and diversity and inclusion portfolio. She has 34 years of federal government experience in human capital management, workforce planning, project planning and execution. Ms. Harper developed the DoD STEM Diversity Campaign framework launched in 2013 and was principally responsible for the creation of the Greater DC STEM Pilot designed to engage historically underserved K-12 student populations. Ms. Harper built the community engagement portfolio to include local and national collaborative partnerships that advance STEM awareness, build skills, and create career pathways. Ms. Harper’s steady leadership style yields results in building relationships with school districts, non-profits, government organizations and other stakeholders.

Senior Advisor

Dr. Carlos Rodriguez, senior advisor and nationally recognized for his STEM evaluation and research expertise focused on formal/informal, federal and private initiatives, and programs to accelerate, motivate, and improve the success of students in STEM education. Dr. Rodriguez is an expert and chief research scientist with more than 25 years’ experience in the evaluation of programs that provide students with exposure to STEM careers in the United States technical and educational workforce. Additionally, Dr. Rodriguez has expertise in the development of analyses, methodologies, and metrics to assess the effectiveness and impact of student and teacher centered educational STEM activities tailored to individual types of STEM activities that enable continuous improvement and further development of future STEM activities.

Financial Advisor

Diane Peluso, financial advisor, is the founder of DMP Consulting with expertise in providing all aspects of accounting, finance, auditing, bid & proposal, administration and contracting services to Government and commercial contractors. She has over 35 years of direct experience in managing personnel and programs responsible for government contracts, grants and accounting compliance. Ms. Peluso possesses in-depth understanding of government job cost accounting, indirect rate computations, and bid & proposal efforts and has been directly involved in all types of proposal submissions, negotiations and awards. She is also a professor at San Diego State University teaches Government Financial Management. Ms. Peluso has managed the financial portfolio for BEST since 2003 and has provided unparalleled experience in all aspects of accounting, finance, and auditing.

Senior Staff Accountant & Project Control Administrator

Stephanie Peluso, Senior Staff Accountant & Project Control Administrator, provides clients with the necessary operational, accounting, auditing and contractual expertise to enable them to successfully conduct their business with the Federal Government. Stephanie manages administrative details for a non-profit multi-million-dollar government grant. Responsibilities also include audit preparation, government vouchers, indirect rate computation, assisting on incurred cost proposal submissions, and contract management.

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