BEST Staff

Teresa Fryberger, Director
Phone: (202) 334-2075


Raymond Wassel, Scholar and Director of Environmental Studies
Phone: (202) 334-2617


Ellen Mantus, Scholar and Director of Risk Assessment
Phone: (202) 334-2347


Susan Martel, Senior Program Officer for Toxicology
Phone: (202) 334-2021


Elizabeth Boyle, Program Officer
Phone: (202) 334-2228


Suzanne Thilenius
Phone: (202) 334-3537


Bernidean Williams-Smith, Financial Associate
Phone: (202) 334-2218


Tamara Dawson, Program Associate
Phone: (202) 334-2776


Jessica Wolfman, Senior Program Assistant
Phone: (202) 334-3536


Teresa Fryberger came to the Academies in 2013 to serve as Director of the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology.  She became Director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology in January, 2017.  She is an accomplished research program and policy manager in the chemical, environmental, and energy sciences, with experience at NASA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of Energy and the Brookhaven and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories. Earlier in her career, Dr. Fryberger was an associate editor at Science and a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute for Science and Technology. Dr. Fryberger earned her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Northwestern University and her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Oklahoma.


Elizabeth Barksdale Boyle, MPH, CIH, has over 15 years of experience in environmental health and epidemiology. She currently works as a Program Officer on the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology within the Academies Division on Earth and Life Studies. Formerly, she was an Environmental Health Scientist at Westat, where she led the NCS environmental data analysis team which evaluated the NCS environmental sample collection activities in the early phases of the NCS vanguard study. While at Westat, she also supported the EPA and the National Cancer Institute by completing other environmental epidemiology related projects. Prior to her tenure at Westat, Ms. Boyle was a student epidemiologist at the Minnesota Department of Health where she managed epidemiologic studies of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infection and an Industrial Hygienist at a consulting firm in Cincinnati. Ms. Boyle has an MPH in Environmental Epidemiology, a BS in Biology, and she is a Certified Industrial Hygienist. In June, she will be attending Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health on a part-time basis, where she will be pursuing a DrPH in environmental health sciences. Ms. Boyle is also an active member of the International Society of Exposure Science, where she currently serves as the chair of the nominating committee and as a member of the organizing committee for the annual meeting.


Ellen Mantus is a Scholar and Director of Risk Assessment on the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine with over 20 years of experience in toxicology and risk assessment. She has served as the study director on numerous projects, including ones that have assessed the health implications of various chemical exposures, developed strategies for applying modern scientific approaches in toxicology and risk assessment, provided guidance to federal agencies on risk-based decision-making, and evaluated barriers to deployment of electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure. Before joining the National Academies, Dr. Mantus was a project manager with ICF Consulting where she served as a primary reviewer for numerous toxicological studies and provided risk assessment and regulatory support on a wide array of projects. Dr. Mantus received a PhD in chemistry from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.


Susan Martel is a Senior Program Officer in the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She has 20 years of experience in supporting toxicology and risk assessment projects for the US Environmental Agency, the Department of Defense, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Recent projects include working with committees evaluating the toxicological effect of arsenic, developing exposure guidelines for use on spacecraft, and assessing pesticide risks-assessment practices. Before joining the Academies she was the administrator of the Registry for Toxicology Pathology for Animals at the American Registry of Pathology. She received her BA in biology from Skidmore College.


Ray Wassel is a scholar and director of environmental studies within the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. He develops and manages studies that provide advice concerning many aspects related to environmental science and engineering. Since he joined the National Academies in 1987, Ray has substantially contributed to the completion of more than 50 reports on issues involving emissions control, environmental behavior of pollution, air quality management, hazardous-waste and radioactive-waste management, exposure science, health and ecological risk assessment and management, environmental economics, regulatory science, sustainability, safety performance of industrial processes and transportation systems, and research management.  Prior to joining the National Academies, Ray was a staff engineer with Radian Corp (an environmental consulting firm) in Research Triangle Park, NC, where he supervised projects in support of U.S. EPA programs to characterize industrial air pollution sources and to estimate control costs and control effectiveness. While undertaking graduate studies at the University of Virginia, he carried out a two-year study of acid mine drainage effects on microbial communities in a freshwater lake. Prior to his graduate work, Ray monitored ecologic trends near a nuclear power plant on the shore of Lake Ontario.  Ray received an M.S. degree in environmental science and an M.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He received a B.A. in biology from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. He received an Individual Distinguished Service Award in 2007 for special contribution to the missions and vision of the National Academies.


Suzanne Thilenius is the Administrative Coordinator for the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology and the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. Suzanne began working for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 1999. She earned a Master of Education (M.Ed.) from Marymount University and a Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) from Johns Hopkins University. Suzanne graduated with a BA in Literature from American University.


Bernidean Williams-Smith is a Financial Associate with the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology.  She started working at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 1976.  She is a recipient of the National Academies' Individual Distinguished Service Award.  Bernidean received her Bachelors of Science degree in Secondary Education and Business Administration from Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College.


Tamara Dawson is a Program Coordinator for the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. She began working for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the Fall of 2002. Tamara has worked in the event coordination field for almost 20 years. In fact, before arriving at NAS, she worked with the team that administers the PAEMST program for NSF. In her spare time, Tamara enjoys spending time with family, traveling and distance running.


Jessica Wolfman is a Senior Program Assistant for the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology and the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. She joined the Academies in August of 2017. Jessica graduated from Dickinson College in May of 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences and a minor in Mathematics.