Meet the Team

by Cynthia Rando

Meet The Sophic Team

Cynthia RandoCynthia Rando, CEO & Founder, MS, MBA, CHFP

Cynthia is a Certified Human Factors Professional (CHFP) and the V.P. of the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Human Factors Engineering from Clemson University and an MBA from Northeastern University.

Cynthia has worked in human-centered design for over 17+ years. She spent over 15 years at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, providing leadership and proactively addressing several critical areas in human factors and human-centered design. The projects which she was involved in include user interface design, ergonomics, safety and risk mitigation strategies, usability and user experience, accident investigation and root cause analyses. Cynthia assisted in the implementation of culture change initiatives and innovative solutions including the U.S. government’s first use of crowdsourcing as a disruptive business model. She also assisted with the development of the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation and the NASA Human Health and Performance Center.

Cynthia’s passion for the propagation of education in human factors principles and human-centered design as a business model is shown throughout her career. She has served as an associate professor at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, providing instruction in human factors and ergonomics course material. Currently, she serves as a trusted advisor and consultant for the Texas Medical Center Innovation Incubator’s medical device startup cohorts and The Texas Committee on Autonomous Systems.

As founder and CEO of Sophic Synergistics, Cynthia brings all of her academic, technical, and professional experience to the table. Along with her team, Sophic provides support to companies in a holistic and human-centered strategy that has never been seen before.

“At the end of the day, your business is our business. We’re here to make sure you succeed.”
-Cynthia Rando

Tacey Baker

Chief Operating Officer (C.O.O.)

Tacey is a certified Project Management Professional, Certified Scrum Master, and Prosci Change Management Practitioner. She received her B.S. in Biology from Texas A&M University and her MBA from Texas A&M-Commerce.

Tacey has over 30 years of experience in program/project oversight of technical personnel, enabling client success and positive change. She spent over 25 years at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, beginning her career doing three-dimensional tissue engineering with the NASA Rotating Bioreactor. Her experience quickly expanded into developing software and hardware requirements for Biotechnology flight hardware, writing procedures and training astronaut crews, and supporting Shuttle, Mir, and International Space Station missions for the NASA Biotechnology Program. Tacey also supported the Strategy and Innovation team within NASA’s Human Health and Performance Directorate. For the last seven years, Tacey has worked for Autodesk, Inc. leading consulting programs and project teams delivering high-value outcomes to global enterprise customers in Manufacturing, and Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industries.

John Bretschneider

Human Systems Integration Project Manager

John has over 20 years of aerospace and energy industry experience including Human Factors Engineering, Project Management, Strategic Planning, Systems Engineering, Safety, Operations, and Data Management. 

John’s aerospace experience began as a Human Factors Engineer for a tactical glass cockpit upgrade on a Navy aircraft. He then transitioned to NASA, working a variety of roles for the International Space Station (ISS) including as a certified safety console operator in Mission Control. After that he transitioned into strategic planning, leading the Traffic Model analysis for ISS along with the plan for transitioning ISS from 3 to 6 permanent crew. He later joined NASAs first significant commercial endeavor with the newly formed Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Program in a Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I) role. 

In the energy industry, John led the harmonization of data management processes across a $15B portfolio and implemented a Projects application philosophy built around the user population. 

John has as a passion for working with clients to find the optimal solution to designing complex systems around the end user. John earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Factors from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and has co-authored publications on the future of aviation and generated content for the NASA history office. 

Jennifer Fogarty, PhD.

Director of Applied Health & Performance

Jennifer Fogarty, PhD, is the Director of the Applied Health and Performance Division at Sophic Synergistics, LLC. Sophic Synergistics is a Human Centered Design firm specializing in integrating the best practices associated with human factors and medical physiology into a business model. Jennifer has over twenty years’ experience in human physiology and extreme environments and was most recently the NASA Human Research Program (HRP) Chief Scientist (CS) from November 2017 to January 2021. Jennifer led the development and oversight of an extensive research portfolio that addressed a very diverse set of human system risks to enable human exploration of space. This HRP CS role required communication and collaboration with Industry and Academic research and development laboratories, current NASA flight Programs, International Partners, and developmental spaceflight Programs that will be implementing human system risk reduction strategies. In addition, Jennifer established and maintained relationships and collaborations with research Programs at NASA, external institutions, and other government agencies to assess fundamental and mechanistic discoveries as well as innovative prevention and treatment strategies for application during mission design and execution. Before taking on this leadership role in the HRP, Jennifer was the Translational Scientist for NASA Space and Clinical Operations Division in the Human Health and Performance Directorate. In this role she facilitated project development and Program interactions between the operational and research communities. She identified candidates for the transition to operations process to reduce risk and resource utilization with the overall goal of preserving astronaut health and performance during and after missions. Previously, Jennifer was the Open Collaboration and Innovation Manager responsible for developing and maturing collaborations and applying tools such as technical gap analysis and open innovation platforms to further research, enhance clinical capabilities, and facilitate technology development.

Dr. Fogarty received a PhD from Texas A&M University System Health Science Center. She is currently on the editorial team for the Fundamentals of Aerospace Medicine 5th edition, regularly lectures on space physiology and human system risk management.

Mitali Bhosekar

Human Factors Intern

Mitali joined the Sophic Team as a Human Factors Intern in August 2022 and is pursuing her Masters of Science degree in Computer science with a focus in Human-Centered Computing at Clemson University.

Her skill set involves Human Factors associated with different domains like security, online relationships, algorithm design, virtual reality and human-computer interaction and she is associated with Aerospace clients at Sophic.

Lisa Calkins

Human Factors Specialist

Lisa joined the Sophic team in May 2021. She earned a B.S. in psychology from the University of Washington and an M.S. in Human Factors and Ergonomics from the Loughborough University Design School in the U.K.

She has worked in the healthcare industry for the last four years. The previous and current projects she is involved with include: conducting safety consultations and workflow analysis, managing usability studies and evaluations, participating in Human Factors research, and performing ergonomic assessments.  

Lisa is passionate about advocating for the user and inclusive design. She loves to assist clients in making their products and services human-centered and can’t wait to work with you.

Raquel Garcia

Raquel Garcia, AHFP

Human Factors Specialist

Raquel started her career at Sophic in March 2019. She joined us as a Human Factors Intern from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. After earning her Master of Science degree in Applied Cognitive Psychology with a specialization in Human Factors, Raquel transitioned to a full-time specialist.

Raquel has research experience in the negative effects of virtual reality, iconography, displays, and perception and attention. She currently works closely with our medical device clients.

Sarah Hernandez

Human Factors Intern

Sarah is new to the Human Factors industry. She attended Texas A&M University, and received a Bachelor of Science in Visualization in May of 2018, and went on to work creating graphics for a Houston news channel while she completed her Master’s Degree in Human Computer Interaction at Iowa State University online in August of 2022.

She joins the team as a Human Factors Intern, and hopes to gain experience in the field and knowledge for future opportunities with Sophic Synergistics and Human Factors!

Lisa Pitre

Partnerships Coordinator

Lisa joined the Sophic Team in March of 2022 taking over the Partnership Coordinator Role.

Lisa has over 20 years Sales Experience in a multitude of industries that include various Advertising industries, Oil & Gas, as well as Medical.  Lisa has an extensive background in Sales and Marketing and studied Business and Marketing at McNeese State University.

Lisa is excited to bring her expertise to support our current and future clients while learning about the cross-industry application of  Human-Centered Design to leverage her past experiences and open new doors for the Sophic Team and future business partnerships.

Kelly Powell

Kelly Powell

Administrative Coordinator

Kelly began her career with Sophic in September 2018. She helps manage daily operations, partners with existing clients and leads the team in leveraging new ideas to promote business development.

Kelly has a degree in Communications from Lamar University. After graduating, she spent 15 years as an auto insurance claims adjuster where she excelled at relationship building and production management. Kelly is driven to provide experience that provide customer satisfaction and employee loyalty, understanding they are our most valuable assets.

Sarvesh Sawant

Human Factors Intern

Sarvesh earned his master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University, South Carolina in Fall 2020. Prior to attending Clemson he worked as a UX researcher in the Airline Industry in India. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Industrial Engineering Department at Clemson University specializing in Human Factors Engineering. His research focuses on applying Human Centered Design principles to improve healthcare related systems. 

As a PhD candidate Sarvesh has worked closely with the US Department of Defense on integrating artificial intelligence (AI) systems into human-AI teams to improve soldiers’ situational awareness via virtual reality-based experimentation. 

Rachel Staats

Human Factors Specialist

Rachel joined the Sophic Team in October 2021 as a Human Factors Specialist. She graduated from Clemson University in May 2021 with a Master of Science in Human Factors Psychology and also has a Bachelors in Biology and Psychology.

She has previously worked with developing user interfaces for high stress environments and has done research in the conspicuity of height changes in walkways at different light levels.

Priscila Suarez

Business and Communications Intern

Priscila joined the Sophic Team as a Business and Communication Intern in August 2022 and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Communication with a minor in Marketing from the University of Houston Clear Lake.

Her skill set involves communication, design, and marketing.

Joshua Valdez

Joshua Valdez

Graphic Communications Specialist

Josh joined the Sophic team in January 2020 as a Communications Intern. He went on to graduate from the University of Houston-Clear Lake with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. In May 2020, he transitioned to a Graphic Communications Specialist.

Josh has an extensive background in photography, graphic design, and web design.

Brittany Walton

Strategic Operations Lead

Brittany joined Sophic in June 2021 as the Strategic Operations Lead.

She has several years of professional experience working in the space industry. Her experience includes working as a certified real-time flight controller supporting the International Space Station (ISS) at the Payload Operations and Integration Center (POIC) at Marshall Space Flight Center. She has also worked as a subcontractor for NASA’s Human Landing System (HLS) program in both Operations and Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I) roles. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Brittany has an interdisciplinary background and is passionate about developing business strategies and implementing a human-centered design approach in order to optimize the end-user experience while ensuring cohesive integration between stakeholders.