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Meet Our Team

Partnerships Staff

Research universities are a rich source of talent and R&D resources, but navigating through them to forge a university-industry partnership can be complex. The Office of Partnerships at NC State helps organizations save time and money by providing expert assistance and strategic connections. Here are a few of the pathways to partnering with NC State:

  • Find faculty with subject-matter expertise in areas as diverse as advanced analytics and smart fibers.
  • Connect with highly-qualified students for internships, co-ops and full-time hires.
  • Launch businesses built around the licensing of NC State technology and science.
  • Acquire state-of-the-art testing services and lab equipment needed to develop your technologies.
  • Maintain a physical presence on NC State’s award-winning Centennial Campus for real-time access to top talent and resources.

In other words, think of us as your front door to academic resources — resources that can often dramatically improve your business and accelerate innovation.

Mark Schmidt

Associate Vice Chancellor, Partnerships

Mark serves as the associate vice chancellor where he oversees NC State’s strategy for engaging with corporate, government and nonprofit partners, including the 75 partnerships on Centennial Campus. He is also chair of the Conservation Technology Information Center. Previously, Mark held a 22-year career at John Deere, where he oversaw the company’s university partnerships strategy, as well as a diverse range of external public and private stakeholder relationships and partnerships. Mark earned Bachelor of Science degrees in landscape architecture and agronomy from Purdue University, a Master of Science in agronomy from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in crop science from the University of Illinois. Little known fact – he holds twelve patents relating to intelligent and autonomous vehicles and machine systems. 

Leah Burton

Leah Burton

Director, Office of Partnerships

Leah leads the Office of Partnerships strategy for corporate and government interactions with NC State. This includes management of collaborations on the university’s award-winning Centennial Campus. Leah works to expand corporate and government partnerships with NC State’s faculty and students. She currently serves on the boards for the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) and the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities. Leah holds her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado. Little known fact – she was Drum Major of Colorado’s largest marching band and had the honor of marching in the Parade of Roses and the Orange Bowl Parade.

Marie Bauschka

Executive Assistant

Marie provides broad business and financial administrative support for the team in order to build effective university-industry partnerships. She also serves as the executive assistant to the associate vice chancellor for partnerships. Marie earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arizona. Little known fact — she loves to paint and has sold several commissioned pieces.

Keisha Demps

Keisha Demps

Partnership Developer

Keisha is part of the partnership development team, brokering relationships with industry and government partners. Her duties include developing and managing outreach and engagement of current and prospective businesses while fostering opportunities for collaboration with faculty and students. Keisha obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona. Little known fact – she spent two years as a professional athlete and trained as an alternate for the 2000 Olympics.

Heather Gately

Heather Gately

Research and Partnership Services Associate

Heather is responsible for supporting the partnership team and providing quality service to partners. She also engages in outreach and events to connect partner employees with NC State resources and amenities. Heather earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from James Madison University. She previously managed member services for NC State Wellness and Recreation. Little known fact – Heather is an avid lover of cats, Philadelphia sports and baking.

Morgan High

Morgan High

Director of Marketing and Communications

Morgan is responsible for marketing and communications initiatives to build awareness of Centennial Campus and its innovative partnerships, as well as NC State as a key partner for industry, academic and government collaborations. Morgan holds her bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University and a master’s degree from NC State. Little known fact – she loves to travel, visiting more than ten countries.

Amy Lubas

Amy Lubas

Director of Strategic Projects

Amy is focused on strategic projects to catalyze collaboration between NC State, industry and government. She leads NC State’s Smart Cities Initiative, working closely with partners to expand Smart Cities projects. She also manages the Daugherty Endowment category of the Lulu eGames. Amy holds her bachelor’s degree from NC State and her MBA from the University of Alabama. Little known fact – as a college freshman, she went a year without a TV.

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