Tamara Ledeboer; Director of Research Education Programs
Tamara Ledeboer is responsible for the administrative oversight and direction of all education programs at Sanford Research including Sanford PROMISE, undergraduate and graduate programs. Tamara joined the PROMISE team in 2013 and previously served as Sanford Research Human Resources Employment and Recruitment Specialist.

 Sanford PROMISE Team - Tamara Ledeboer

Lance Lee; Director of Higher Education            
Dr. Lance Lee oversees education and training of graduate students at Sanford Research and the Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR). He directs several graduate courses through the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University, coordinates career development workshops for graduate and undergraduate students, and provides mentoring to students for professional development. In addition, Dr. Lee is a faculty member in the Children’s Health Research Center with a lab focusing on cilia biology and the mechanisms underlying the pediatric disorder primary ciliary dyskinesia. Dr. Lee received a BS in Biochemistry from Boston College, an MS in Genetics from the University of Connecticut, and a PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Stony Brook University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School before joining the Sanford Research faculty in 2010.

Liz McMillan; PROMISE Program Director
Liz McMillan is responsible for the direction and execution of programs associated with K-12 students and their teachers. She works closely with teachers in the region and Sanford scientists to create and deliver exceptional content and activities that allow the community to understand the value of research and ignite an interest in students to pursue careers in research. Additionally, her efforts are focused on enhancing and increasing collaborations with other industry and academic partners to join together in a focused effort towards advancing science literacy in our communities. She joined Sanford Health in 2011 after serving as a middle school science teacher in Flandreau, South Dakota. Liz holds bachelor’s degrees in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado Denver. In her role with Sanford PROMISE Ms. McMillan also serves the SD Science Teachers Association as President, serves on the SD Science Education Advisory Council, and PLTW’s Biomedical Science Curriculum Advisory team.


Benjamin Benson; Senior Research Education Specialist            
Ben manages the resources in the Sanford PROMISE Community Laboratory and coordinates and executes visits from regional schools to Sanford Research. Ben uses his experience as a Sanford Research lab technician in the Roux Lab and secondary education experience as a high school biology and anatomy teacher to create content and programming for K-12 students and teachers connected to Sanford Research’s science and research. Ben has undergraduate training in secondary education and a Masters in Biology with emphasis in Bioinformatics from South Dakota State University. In addition to formal classroom experience, Mr. Benson trains and teaches Bujin ki Ryu martial arts locally and brings expertise from this experience as he hosts the students visiting Sanford Research and the Sanford PROMISE Community Lab.

Sanford Research DenYelle Baete Kenyon

DenYelle Baete Kenyon, PhD; Director & Associate Scientist
DenYelle Baete Kenyon is a Director & Associate Scientist in the Population Health group focused on increasing educational attainment of underrepresented undergraduate students through the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, currently funded through the National Science Foundation (1559899). Using the Circle of Courage Model as a guiding indigenous model to provide research internships and hands-on mentoring, SURE students come away from the experience with greater research skills and increase their chances for graduation and attending graduate school. This prevention program helps inform our lab’s research as well, as we exploring how college students’ social networks either reduce or exacerbate their risk for dropping out.