North Hills School District News Article

Lt. Col. Phillip Lenz, Dr. Monica Buchanan named NHSD's Distinguished Alumni for 2020

Posted Monday, March 9, 2020
Lt. Col. Phillip Lenz (Class of 1989) and Dr. Monica Buchanan (Class of 1998)

PITTSBURGH -- The North Hills School District has named Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Lenz and Dr. Monica (Allison) Buchanan its Distinguished Alumni honorees for 2020. Lt. Col. Lenz was a member of the Class of 1989 and Dr. Buchanan graduated from North Hills High School in 1998.

The pair will be recognized during a dinner on May 14. They will also be the keynote speakers at the North Hills High School Awards Night the same evening.

Lt. Col. Phillip Lenz
Lt. Col. Lenz has a long and decorated career as a military police officer having served at various military installations over the years.

He is currently the Director of Public Safety at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he oversees the police department, the physical security program, and the largest fire department in the United States Army with over 21 fire stations across lower Alabama in support of the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence training mission. In support of this mission, Lt. Col. Lenz is responsible for the security of over $8 billion in aviation assets, management of an operational budget in excess of $1.5 million, and a military community in excess of 30,000 personnel.

He holds degrees in police administration and criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University and the Community College of Allegheny County, and master’s degrees in military operational art and science, and business and organizational security management from the U.S. Air Force Air College and Webster University.

Lt. Col. Lenz is an active volunteer for the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run and annual Kansas Special Olympics Winter Games. He is also involved with Habitat for Humanity, the Boy Scouts of America and other family and youth support programs.

Dr. Monica Buchanan
Dr. Buchanan currently works as a Senior Medical Science Liaison for GRAIL Inc, a San Francisco-based biotechnology start-up company developing a blood-based multi-cancer early detection test. In her current role, she interfaces directly with physicians, researchers, insurers, health systems, and advocacy groups to raise scientific awareness and facilitate continued development and implementation of the genetics-based screening assay.

She attended Emory University in Atlanta from where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She later received her Ph.D. in Molecular and Human Genetics from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Buchanan moved back home to Pittsburgh in 2010 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Hillman Cancer Center for two years, researching the genes involved in the response of colorectal cancer to chemotherapy drugs.

An avid craft beer enthusiast, Dr. Buchanan is a majority investor and owner of Allusion Brewing Company located in Vandergrift, PA. Allusion Brewing is expected to open in the spring of 2020.

Locally, Dr. Buchanan’s passion and excitement for youth scientific education led her to pursue credentialing as a NOVA counselor for local Cub Scout Pack 283 and as a SuperNOVA mentor for the Boy Scouts of America – Laurel Highlands Council. NOVA and SuperNOVA are merit-based STEM awards with requirements above and beyond normal scouting curriculum.

Dr. Buchanan further supports development of youth in our community as a fourth grade CCD teacher at St. Sebastian Church of the Neighbors North Catholic Community.

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