PTS Welcomes Five New Board Members, Chair

Pittsburgh Seminary welcomes five news Board members, including Regis Becker, Linda Hernandez, Joan Prentice (formerly the alumnae/i rep), Nathan Carlson (alumnae/i rep), and Joanne Spence (student rep). Also Jim Gockley succeeds Sandy Lamb as chair. She has left the Board after more than 20 years of service, the last four as chair.

Regis Becker is the director of University Ethics and Compliance at Pennsylvania State University. In this role, he serves as chief ethics and compliance officer and oversees all compliance issues throughout the University. Becker is also charged with developing Penn State’s first comprehensive program of institutional ethics. He previously served at PPG Industries and Praxair Inc. Becker began his career in law enforcement serving as an Allegheny County detective and as an FBI special agent. A graduate of Penn State with a bachelor’s in law enforcement, Becker earned his juris doctorate from the Duquesne University School of Law and MBA from the Western Connecticut State University.


Linda Varrenti Hernandez is of counsel for Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C. She works in the areas of school defense, insurance defense, and family law. Hernandez participated in the inaugural year-long Lawyers on Loan program sponsored in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership, whereby an experienced attorney is “on loan” to Neighborhood Legal Services Association while still a member of the law firm. She also completed a year of training with the Women and Girls Foundation and is able to counsel other women in the art of negotiation. Hernandez earned her bachelor’s from West Virginia University and J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law. She is an Outstanding Female Graduate Awardee and recipient of CALI Excellence for the Future Award® in Business Planning.


Nathan Carlson ’11, an alumnae/i rep, became an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church in 2013. While in seminary, he served four churches—Homewood, Koppel, Miller, and Penn's Woods—as their part-time appointed pastor. Upon graduation he was appointed to serve McKnight UMC. In 2014, Carlson was then appointed to start a new church just outside Washington, Pa. The calling for this church plant developed during his undergraduate days at Washington and Jefferson College, where he received his bachelor’s. The following year he began serving Oakhurst United Methodist Church.


Joan Prentice ’05/’11 previously served on the Board as an alumnae/i rep. Returning to the Board, Prentice is an ordained Baptist minister serving as minister of new members at Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh. There she focuses on pastoral care and spiritual counseling to new members as well as curriculum development and volunteer training. Additionally, she is executive director of the Ephesus Project, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a Christian environment of spiritual and educational excellence where clergy, laypersons, and community leaders can unite to transform lives and communities.


Joanne Spence ’18 serves the Board as the class rep. Spence received her bachelor’s from James Cook University (Australia). She is a social worker, yoga teacher, and international speaker/trainer for health and wellness. Spence is the director of a private yoga studio, Urban Oasis Pittsburgh, in the East End and is founder and executive director of Yoga in Schools, a non-profit organization currently reaching more than 20,000 children with innovative yoga programming as part of physical education in schools both locally and nationally. She also works part-time at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic teaching yoga.