Steve Presley, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Environmental Toxicology
Dr. Presley's research and teaching focuses upon risks and threats associated with and the potential impact of biological pathogens naturally or intentionally introduced into military and civilian populations, and the agricultural industry. The overarching goal being the development and fielding of preventative measures against vector-borne infectious and zoonotic diseases, and biological weapon agents, and the possible utilization of arthropod vector and non-vector species for prediction and forensic validation of such occurrences. He serves as the Research Coordinator for the Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. National Program for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats at Texas Tech University. Dr. Presley earned his B.S. in Animal Science from Texas Tech University in 1982, his M.S. (1985) and Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in 1987 studying Medical/Veterinary Entomology, then completed a post-Doctoral fellowship at the University of Kentucky. He served in the United States Navy as a Medical Service Corps Officer for more than twelve years before joining the faculty at Texas Tech University in 2002. He is a graduate of the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, where he earned a Masters of Military Studies degree focused on domestic terrorism and has completed various aspects of chemical, biological, radiological, and environmental-related response and control training and practical experience. His operational and research experience has focused upon the surveillance, prevention and control of biological threats in the environment; specifically vector-borne infectious diseases in tropical and semi-tropical environments. He has led malaria control operations and research efforts in Africa, Asia and South America, as well as Rift Valley fever, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, and cutaneous leishmaniasis studies in Africa and Asia. He has published more than 35 scientific and technical manuscripts, and has made numerous professional and technical oral presentations. Dr. Presley was awarded the Rear Admiral Charles S. Stephenson Award for Excellence in Preventive Medicine for the year 2000-2001 (U.S. Navy Medical Department worldwide competitive award). Dr. Presley serves as Chairperson of the Publications Committee and on the Science and Technology Committee of the American Mosquito Control Association. Additionally, he is a member of many local, regional and state professional boards and committees related to emergency preparedness and public health response to human and animal diseases, and catastrophic events.
Robert Morgan, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Forensic Science
Robert D. Morgan completed his Ph.D. in counseling psychology at Oklahoma State University and a postdoctoral fellowship in forensic psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. He is currently the John G. Skelton, Jr. Regents Endowed Professor in Psychology and Director of the Institute for Forensic Science at Texas Tech University. Dr. Morgan's research and scholarly activities include treatment and assessment of justice involved persons with mental illness, forensic mental health assessment, and professional development and training issues. His research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Justice. He has authored or co-authored over 75 articles, chapters and books. He has provided forensic mental health services (e.g., over 900 forensic mental health evaluations) at the request of courts, defense, and prosecution, and consults with state and private correctional agencies to inform practice.
Paola A. Prada, Ph.D
Dr. Paola A. Prada received her Ph.D. in Chemistry with a forensic science concentration from Florida International University in 2010. She was awarded the 2010 Intelligence Community (IC) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship funded by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Her postdoctoral studies have united interdisciplinary areas such as chemistry, animal behavior and national security to address issues critical to effective intelligence and defense capabilities. She has worked extensively on developing instrumental methods for human odor identification for criminal investigations. She has also worked with canine scent detection in the context of optimizing odor collection techniques for scent training purposes. Her research interests include the evaluation of human odor volatiles as a forensic discriminatory tool as well as the testing of target odor analytes from various specimens of forensic importance for optimal performance of biological detector systems (i.e. canines). She has worked with both national and international police/government agencies to help develop better instrumental and training techniques in various areas of odor detection. She is the author or co-author of numerous journal publications, book chapters, and one book dedicated entirely on human scent evidence. She has presented her research at various national and international forums. She is a member of the American Chemical Society and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
Kathy Sperry, Ph.D.
Dr. Sperry is an Assistant Professor of Practice in Forensic Science and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Pathology at Texas Tech University Health Science Center. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Texas Tech University, in 1993, and her postdoctoral training was in the Department of Psychiatry at Texas Tech University Health Science Center. Her research interests include stalking on college campuses, and the analysis of the causes and consequences of wrongful convictions and their impact on policy decisions. Dr. Sperry has considerable correctional experience, working with a variety of offender populations, including sex offenders, severe personality disordered offenders, pedophiles, and severely mental ill offenders. She has also authored a number of journal articles and book chapter and has directed numerous federally-funded projects for law enforcement training and forensic science education. She is an Associate member of the American Academy of Forensic Science and is a Certified Forensic Consultant.
Megan A. Thoen, Ph.D.
Megan A. Thoen completed her Ph.D. in counseling psychology at Texas Tech University. She was a post-doctoral fellow and mental health manager at the Lubbock County Detention Center for almost a year before beginning at the Institute for Forensic Science as a post-doctoral research associate. She is a licensed psychologist and completes court-ordered forensic mental health assessments for the Institute. As the Director of Forensic Mental Health Services, she also manages administrative duties for all forensic mental health services provided by the Institute, and supervises several doctoral practicum students from the Texas Tech University – Department of Psychological Sciences seeking training in forensic mental health assessment. Her research and scholarly activities includes studying disenfranchised groups (e.g., minority races and cultures, severely mentally ill) and their treatment within the criminal justice system (including case proceedings and case outcomes), the mental health and wellness of law enforcement members (e.g., police officers, correctional officers), and the management and care for the incarcerated mentally ill (particularly pre-trial incarceration). She has co-authored several peer reviewed publications and has presented at numerous national and international conferences.
Paige Fletcher, M.S.
Paige Fletcher completed her Bachelor's in Criminal Justice and Master's in Criminal Justice Management from Sam Houston State University while working with the Sam Houston State University Police Department. She relocated to Lubbock after accepting a job at the Lubbock Police Department as a Patrol Officer. She has been with the department since 2003 and has worked in patrol, investigations, and is currently a Patrol Sergeant. While working in investigations she worked crime scenes for numerous homicides and other major crimes, analyzed latent fingerprints, testified in court, and processed evidence. She obtained her instructor certificate from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and has instructed several classes at the Lubbock Police Department Training Academy. She has been teaching at Texas Tech University on the graduate level for the past four years. Currently she is assigned as a midnight Patrol Sergeant and supervises a squad of seven police officers. Her other interests include participating in the Lubbock Police Department Mounted Patrol Unit which involves various deployments and daily caretaking duties for her two horses.
Whitney McClendon, M.S.
Whitney McClendon completed her Master's in Forensic Science at Texas Tech University in 2009. She began teaching as an undergraduate teacher's assistant for the Sociology/Criminology Department in her last year at Texas Tech, and has been teaching at the graduate level for the past four years. Whitney is the head Forensic Specialist at the Lubbock Police Department and has been with the Department since 2011. She has extensive experience working homicides and other major crime scenes along with testifying on her practices in the courtroom. She is proficient in latent print processing and comparisons between known and unknown prints. She is the lead remote user for the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and the Universal Latent Workstation (ULW), a program that communicates with the FBI latent print database. Her other areas of focus include bloodstain pattern analysis, shooting reconstruction and the identification of skeletal remains. Whitney is passionate about crime scene investigation and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves, which is her purpose in teaching this discipline.
Priscilla Reid, M.S.
Priscilla Reid completed a bachelor's in Criminal Justice and a Master's in Forensic Science at National University in San Diego Ca. She is a retired Reserve Sergeant with the San Diego County Sheriff department's Underwater Search and Recovery Unit. Her primary function was the training coordinator, unit administrative sergeant and primary scribe at all crime scene searches. Additionally, she is a retired U S Navy Commander. Her primary duties were as a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agent. She was recalled to active duty twice and deployed to Japan onboard USS Kitty Hawk CV63 in support of Operation Desert Storm and spent a year deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Noble Eagle / Enduring Freedom. She was the Special Security Officer for the Southwest region, responsible for the six most southwestern states. During her 38 years of civil service she has written several instruction manuals and directives, has briefed the most senior level military officers and equivalent civilian counterparts.
Mark Hendley, B.S.
Administrative Business Assistant
Mark Hendley comes to Lubbock from New Mexico where he attended Eastern New Mexico University. He earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice and History and spent several years working in the mental health field before coming to Texas Tech. He is currently the business manager for the Department of Psychological Sciences in addition to his position at the Institute.