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Faculty Profiles

Our faculty are exceptional educators who specialize in student success. They uphold the mission and values of the College and keep up to date on advancements and trends in their fields so that your curriculum is relevant and of the highest quality. You’ll see for yourself how we take extra time to help dedicated students achieve their goals. Below are just a few of our amazing professors, but you can hear from them directly on our blog and see them on video in our faculty profiles.

Susan Achziger, English faculty at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Susan Achziger
Faculty, English
One of the longest-standing members of CCA’s community, Achziger joined the college as an adjunct in 1995 and became full-time faculty a dozen years later. Achziger teaches literature, creative writing, composition and AcE courses. She is also the head of the textbook committee. Prior to joining CCA, she taught at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton; in junior high and high schools in three Utah cities – Centerville, American Fork and Bear River; and at Utah Valley Community College in Orem. Achziger also teaches workshops as part of the National Writing Project, helping today’s educators become better writing instructors. She earned her bachelor of science degree in physical education/English from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and has a master’s of education in writing from Utah State University.




Victor Andersen, Faculty, Astronomy & Physics at Community College of Aurora in Denver Victor Andersen
Faculty, Science
Since 2006, Andersen has taught Physics and Astronomy. His current classes include Engineering Physics, Physics for Health Sciences, and Stellar and Extragalactic Astronomy. Andersen also is director of the college observatory and as affiliate director for the Colorado Space Grant that secures funding for students to attend NASA training programs. He previously taught Solar System Astronomy at the college. Prior to joining CCA, he worked at the University of Houston in a variety of teaching roles and was part of a scientific team that created a radiation measuring tool that appeared on the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Andersen previously was part of the Physics and Astronomy faculty at the Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile, as well. His educational background includes a B.S. in Physics, a B.S. in Mathematics, and an M.S. in Physics all from New Mexico Tech, and a Ph.D. in Physics (with Astronomy specialization) from The University of Alabama.




Rachel Ankney, English faculty at Community College of Aurora in ColoradoRachel Blue Ankney
Faculty, English
Ankney played an instrumental role in the redesign and implementation of Developmental English and teaches a variety of classes, including Composition and Studio, as well as Intro to Literature, American Literature, and Ethnic Literature. Outside of the classroom, Ankney created and implemented CCA's Safe Zone program, and serves as co-faculty advisor for the LGBT student alliance, Faculty Senate Vice President and is part of the advisory committee for Aurora's Poet Laureate. Prior to joining the college, she earned a MFA in Poetry and worked as an adjunct at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. She spent the next six years at Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach, Va., as an assistant professor of English.


Greg Atencio, Faculty, Diesel Power Mechanics at Community College of Aurora in Denver Greg Atencio
Faculty, Diesel
Back for his second stint with CCA, which began in May 2012, Atencio teaches 16 classes in the Diesel Power Mechanics area related to introductory diesel service and repair, which eventually can lead to a nine-month associate’s degree. Atencio was an instructor from 2007-09 at the college, and during that time, also served as a instructor for General Service Technician classes at Pickens Technical College. Atencio has been Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified since 1977. He spent three decades working in various automotive shops, including 25 for Midas. Atencio also is a General Motors School of Product Service Certified Technician and has been a dealership mechanic.





Bita Behforooz, Faculty, Psychology at Community College of Aurora in Denver Bita Behforooz
Faculty, Psychology
A member of the full-time CCA faculty since 2014, Behforooz teaches Human Growth and Development, Child Development, and General Psychology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and obtained her New York State provisional teaching certification in Elementary Education in 2002. She continued her education with a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Methodology from University at Albany-SUNY.  She has experience teaching at elementary schools and has taught both psychology and education courses at the University at Albany and other colleges across New York State. Behforooz’s teaching interests includes foundation courses in developmental psychology, educational psychology, learning and motivation. Trained in elementary education, educational psychology, and developmental psychology, Behforooz’s research has focused on understanding student learning processes and factors that can hinder academic success. 




Galina Boulgakova, Faculty, Colorado Film School at Community College of Aurora in Denver Galina Boulgakova
Assistant Professor, Colorado Film School
Not only the current Head of Acting for the Screen, Boulgakova has created and developed the acting program at the Colorado Film School since joining the staff in 2003. Boulgakova has taught all the core acting courses necessary for both a CCA certificate and Associate of Applied Science in Film Media Video and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Video Production with Regis University. Those courses include: Understanding the Actor’s Process, Acting for the Screen, Screen Actor Improvisation, and Screen Performance Workshop. Additionally, Boulgakova has created an actors' database both at CCA and through Facebook; hosts biannual open auditions for use in college and community productions; and teaches private community acting classes for children and adults. Boulgakova’s credits also include acting in student films; directing two shorts; serving as casting director in numerous film projects; and directing a play and running director’s workshop courses at CU-Denver as part of the CFS program. Boulgakova earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting for Theater and Film from -- and worked as an actor at -- the prestigious Moscow Art Theatre. She also did commercials, television, feature films and modeling in her native Russia before coming to the United States.


JoAnn Burkhart, Associate Dean of Online Learning at Community College of Aurora, located in Aurora Colorado JoAnn Burkhart
Department Chair, Computers and Digital Technology
Burkhart assumed the chair's role in April 2014 and augments her leadership responsibilities by primarily teaching sofetware applications in the Computer Information Systems and Multimedia Graphic Design areas. A CCA employee since January 2010, Burkhart was hired as the director of online learning, which included instructional technology. Her role included system administration of the learning management system, as well as supervising instructional design staff. Burkhart regularly contributes to the instructional technology community by presenting at conferences and participation in professional groups. Prior to joining the college, Burkhart spent nine years as a professor of Business Technology and Graphic Design and a Faculty Development Specialist at Dodge City (Kan.) Community College. She spent nearly three years as manager of information systems at a corporation that owns numerous Midwest car dealerships and for many years was a small business owner. Her educational background includes three degrees from Fort Hays State in Hays, Kan. – bachelor’s and masters degrees in Business Administration and a second masters in Instructional Technology.


Shawn Cavalli, Business faculty, Community College of Aurora, located in Aurora Colorado Shawn Cavalli
Faculty, Business

A new full-time faculty member beginning in Fall 2015, Cavalli will teach Introduction to Business, Business Communication Report Writing, Principles of Management, and Entrepreneurship courses. He’s spent the previous five-plus years leading curriculum with a business management and marketing focus. He worked at Trinidad State, where he was a full-time faculty for three years in its Business department, and Front Range Community College, serving both as an adjunct and full-time instructor. Cavalli owned his own business, worked as a department manager in the newspaper industry, and sold advertising prior to joining the teaching ranks. He is the president-elect of the Colorado Business Educators and serves on the organization’s board of directors.




Geoff Chadwick, Faculty, Film/Video Media at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Geoffrey Chadwick
Assistant Professor, Film/Video Media
Chadwick is an assistant professor of Film Video Media Production/Post Production for CCA and The Colorado Film School. He teaches Production One, Post-Production One, Production Two, Post-Production Two, and Screenwriting. Originally from Denver, and a graduate of Gateway High School in Aurora, Chadwick has worked professionally in a wide variety of jobs on the set and in the film industry and augments his CFS role as a freelance producer and editor in Denver and Los Angeles. He is the writer, director and/or editor of over 80 documentary videos distributed nationally and broadcast around the world and has also produced and directed a number of Independent short films, exhibited in many film festivals across North America and Europe. He holds an M.F.A. in Film Production from the University of Southern California School of Cinema Television and a B.A. in English from Colorado College.




Tanya Cook, Faculty, Sociology Tanya Cook
Faculty, Sociology

Cook began full-time teaching duties at CCA in Fall 2014 after spending a year as an adjunct. She has taught Introduction to Sociology I and II, Family Dynamics, Environmental Sociology and, beginning in 2015, Sociology of Diversity. Prior to joining the college, Cook spent time as a research assistant, teaching assistant and student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. She holds a bachelor’s, master’s and PhD in Sociology from Wisconsin.






Kelly Cowan, EMS faculty at Community College of Aurora, Lowry Campus, located in Denver Colorado Kelly Cowan
Primary Instructor, Emergency Medical Services
Charged with teaching the nighttime paramedic program, Cowan’s coursework covers pharmacology, cardiology, trauma, medical emergencies and other areas. She started at CCA in 2007 as an adjunct and became a full-time faculty member two years later. Prior to joining the college, she served for 11 years as a paramedic in Northglenn and Arvada. She also was a park ranger for 41/2 years at Jackson Lake State Park in Orchard, Colo. Cowan earned a BS in forest resources from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore.





Stacey D'Angelo, Theatre Faculty, Performing Arts at Community College of Aurora Stacey D'Angelo
Theatre Director / Coordinator, Performing Arts
The college’s Theatre Director, D’Angelo has been director, creator and producer of seven plays since joining CCA in 2008, including Glimpses, Portraits of the Soul, Romeo and Juliet, and Anonymous. D’Angelo also has served as instructor for numerous courses, ranging from Voice and Articulation and Styles of Acting, to Acting I and II, Musical Theatre, and Theatre Appreciation. In 2011, she was named Faculty of the Year by CCA and Outstanding Faculty by the Colorado Community College System. Prior to joining the college, D’Angelo taught K-through-8 drama at a Denver charter school; served as a guest artist at Ithaca (N.Y.) College; and ran her own local business teaching children’s theatre. Her educational background includes a bachelor of fine arts in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College and a Master of Fine Arts in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University in Boulder.




Jennifer Dale, psychology faculty at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Jennifer Dale
Department Chair, Behavioral Sciences
As department chair for Psychology and Sociology, Dale is responsible for hiring and training, degree with designation coordination, and organization of the annual "Take Back the Night" event. She teaches general psychology, human sexuality, psychology of gender, child development, human growth and development, and social psychology. Dale worked as a child and family therapist for a community mental health center and a non-profit and as a crisis counselor for the Denver Police Department prior to joining CCA in 2007. She was hired full-time the following year. Dale earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in women’s studies from Colorado State University in Fort Collins and a master’s in psychology from Regis University in Denver.




Tom Dillon, Faculty, Biology at Community College of Aurora in DenverTom Dillon
Faculty, Science
Affiliated with the college since August 2006, Dillon became a full-time instructor two years later. He’s regularly taught Microbiology, General Biology I and Medical Terminology, and has also previously fronted several classes in Anatomy and Physiology. Dillon is in charge of the college’s Biotechnology area. He serves as co-chair of the Health and Wellness Committee and is an advisor with the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. Prior to joining CCA, he did research at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, working on the early stages of a breast-cancer drug, and at Northwestern University in Chicago, working in Endocrinology. Dillon earned a master’s degree from Loyola (Chicago) University in Biology and a bachelor’s in Pre-Medicine from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. 




Jorge Estevez Mews, Faculty, Science at Community College of Aurora in DenverJorge Estevez Mews
Faculty, Science
Since Fall 1999, Estevez Mews has taught Physics and Astronomy at four different institutions around the country – the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, University of Wisconsin-Washington County, University of Minnesota, and CCA. He specializes in molecular modeling, computational chemistry, chemical physics and biophysics. Estevez Mews’ full-time teaching responsibilities at CCA began in Fall 2015. He teaches three classes: Algebra-based Physics, Calculus-based Physics and The Solar System, while also serving as the director of the college’s astronomical observatory. Estevez Mews has earned a bachelor’s (University of Auburn), master’s (Minnesota) and doctorate (Minnesota) in Physics.





Yuliya Fedasenka-Cloud, Coordinator, Translation and Interpretation Yuliya Fedasenka-Cloud
Coordinator, Translation and Interpretation
Fedasenka-Cloud spent five years as an adjunct before joining CCA’s full-time faculty for the Fall 2014 semester. She teaches Introduction to Translation and Interpretation, Consecutive Interpretation, Sight Translation, Simultaneous Interpretation, and Ethics. Fedasenka-Cloud has a lengthy history of working herself as a translator and interpreter both in Belarus and the United States. She has served in roles within community, medical, conference, and court interpretation settings and also worked as a Russian-Englsih interpreter for foreign delegations. Fedasenka-Cloud grew up in Bobruisk, Belarus, and obtained a master’s degree in Linguistics and Translation in the capital city of Minsk at Belarus State University.





Brandon Feres, Academic Enrichment at Community College of Aurora Brandon Feres
Faculty, English
A full-time CCA instructor since Fall 2009, Feres teaches a full slate of English, Reading and Composition courses in the pre-college preparatory area. He spent more than five years prior to joining the college as an adjunct teaching pre-college curriculum at Suffolk County (N.Y.) Community College. His educational background includes both a Masters and a Bachelor’s in English from Stony Brook (N.Y.) University, with an additional Secondary English certification.






Barbara Francis, Science faculty at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Barbara Francis
Faculty, Science
Lead teacher for both anatomy and physiology, Francis also has supervisory duties in that capacity in addition to her coursework in those subjects. She joined CCA as an adjunct in 2010 and was hired full-time two years later. Prior to joining the college, Francis served as a visiting professor at Metro State College in Denver, teaching dynamics of health, medical terminology and pathophysiology. She also spent time as director of clinical services at a Denver cancer rehabilitation facility and as clinical director at Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute in Greeley. Francis has earned three degrees from the University of Northern Colorado, including a master’s and doctorate in exercise science with an emphasis in cancer rehabilitation and a bachelor’s in special education.




Alice C. Gilbert, Math Faculty, ACE at Community College of Aurora Alice C. Gilbert
Faculty, Mathematics
A former CCA student and graduate of Aurora’s Gateway High School, Gilbert earned her AA at the college on her way to a Math/Computer Science and Women’s Studies degree at the University of Denver, She later was hired full-time at CCA in December 2009 after five years as an adjunct to coordinate the Math section of the ACE Department. Gilbert is the first full-time developmental education Math instructor in the college’s history and now teaches an array of pre-college classes in that subject. Prior to joining CCA, Gilbert worked several years in the corporate world managing a Tech Support department for a computer company in Boulder and tried several home businesses before deciding to change her career trajectory towards teaching.


Andrew D.L. Goff, ECE faculty at Community College of Aurora Andrew D.L. Goff
Faculty, Early Childhood Education
A new full-time faculty member beginning in Fall 2015, Goff brings significant experience not only in the area of Early Childhood Education (ECE), but Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE).  Goff served as an adjunct in those disciplines for six years at Red Rocks Community College and Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz., before joining CCA. He previously taught ECE and ECSE for nine years in Denver and Tucson public urban elementary schools. Goff began his work in ECE 12 years ago as a para/teaching assistant in a traditional inner city child care program. His educational background includes a bachelor’s in Child Psychology and a masters in Education from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Goff currently is working on his doctorate in Leadership for Education Equity, with an emphasis on ECSE/Early Intervention, at the University of Colorado Denver. He teaches Introduction to Early Childhood Education and Guidance Strategies at CCA.




Vicki Graham, Faculty, Communication at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Vicki Graham
Faculty, Communication
A 24-year veteran instructor at both two- and four-year institutions, Graham is teaching, or will teach, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication and Intercultural Communication at CCA within the Department of Performing Arts. She joined the college in August following a dozen years as adjunct Communication faculty at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif., and Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif. Graham also spent a decade coaching intercollegiate speech, debate and theatre. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif., and a master’s degree in Speech Communication from California State University-Fullerton.





James Gray, Math Department Chair at Community College of Aurora in Colorado James Gray
Department Chair, Mathematics
One of the longest and richest histories at CCA belongs to Gray, who not only graduated from the school in 1994 but also worked two stints in the cashier’s office prior to joining the Math department. Gray began as a part-time faculty in 2002, teaching classes ranging from Pre-Algebra to Calculus III, before getting hired full-time two years later. He was promoted to chair of the Math department in ’06 and continues to teach two classes per semester. Gray also coordinates the Student Success Awards and won the Dr. Linda and Roger Bowman Faculty Award in 2010, an honor that encompasses both teaching and college service. Gray’s pre-CCA career as an employee was marked by his attending Rangeview High School and a pair of trips to China, where he gained functional knowledge of the country’s difficult language.




Jennifer Harrell, Faculty, Science at Community College of Aurora in Denver Jennifer Harrell
Faculty, Science
An adjunct for about six years, Harrell joined the full-time staff in Fall 2012. She currently teaches General Biology and is the lead instructor for Biology for non-majors, the latter both online and on campus. Harrell previously taught Microbiology and Anatomy and Physiology courses at the college. Prior to joining CCA, Harrell earned a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Penn.






Rhonda Hattar, science faculty at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Rhonda Hattar
Faculty, Science
Starting as an adjunct in spring 2008, Hattar joined the college full-time just over three years later. She teaches two introductory biology courses as well as microbiology. Hattar also serves as administrator for CCA’s science club. She earned her master’s at the University of Colorado in biology and a bachelor of science degree in biological chemistry from Tulane University in New Orleans.






Will Hicks, Film / Video faculty at Community College of Aurora in Colorado William Hicks
Associate Professor, Film/Video Media
CCA’s 2011-12 Faculty of the Year, Hicks’ main area of emphasis is in the writing/producing arena and his teaching calendar reflects that screenwriting and producing emphasis. Hicks also has been active out of the classroom since joining the college in Fall 2010. He began CCA’s screenwriting club, Fade In, and serves as a faculty advisor. He started an event called “Shorts Bash” as a venue for film-school students that he hopes will become an annual tradition and created the Colorado Film School screenwriting award. Hicks and Dr. Peggy Norwood were the first two CCA faculty members to introduce the use of iPads into the curriculum to gauge the educational effectiveness of integrating the technology into courses. The two faculty presented their findings as featured speaks at two conferences: Conference Colorado Learning and Teaching with Technology (COLTT) and WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET). Hicks has over 100 professional credits in motion picture, television and commercial production, including the development of projects with the former head of 20th Century Fox and president of William Morris Agency, and has worked alongside numerous Academy Award winning producers, directors, actors and cinematographers. He served in 2012 as director of the Vail Film Festival screenwriting competition.


Elizabeth Hirsch, anthropology faculty at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Elizabeth Hirsh
Faculty, Anthropology
A full-time staff member since 2008, Hirsh joined CCA four years earlier as an adjunct and has since taught most of the courses within the anthropology discipline. That course load includes cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, forensics, archaeology and Indians of North America. She spent time teaching field studies abroad in Costa Rica in Mexico from ’08-’10, helping students explore the relationship between culture and environment in joint exercises with members of the biology field. Hirsh herself has studied in Kenya in addition to her educational background at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., where she earned a master’s in anthropology, and the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., where she was a double major in psychology and anthropology.





Keith Howard, Faculty, Computer Science, CCA

Keith Howard
Faculty, Computer Science
A year as an adjunct in both the Business and Computer Science departments has evolved into a full-time faculty position for Howard, beginning in Fall 2015. He has taught Business Communications, Introduction to Computers and Windows Operating System classes previously, and augmented his classroom work during his time as an adjunct by introducing technology to young people as a specialist at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. His full-time position will concentrate on computer programming courses such as C#, Visual Basic and Python. Prior to joining CCA, Howard spent eight years as the Chief Operating Officer at DC Brands International, based in Wheat Ridge. There, he oversaw all company operations, including manufacturing, as well as information technology. His educational background includes a bachelor’s from the University of Colorado Denver in Information Systems Management and a MBA from the University of Phoenix.


Geoff Hunt, chair, social sciences at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Geoff Hunt
Faculty, History
One of the longest-tenured faculty at CCA, Hunt started a new role in Summer 2015 working with students to connect them to Degrees with Designation and helping them select the right courses to achieve graduation. He previously served as Social Sciences department chair, where he had responsibility for about 22 full-time faculty and adjuncts in Anthropology, Geography, History, and Political Science. A part-time faculty member since 1995, Hunt became a full-time instructor two years later, and since has served as interim dean of Humanities, Fine Arts and Social Sciences. He still teaches U.S. history and the history of North American Indians at the college. Prior to joining CCA, he was an adjunct history professor at Aurora’s Columbia College and a graduate part-time instructor at the University of Colorado. He spent 20 years as a museum curator and director in Colorado, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming and was instrumental in setting up Wings Over The Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver. Hunt’s educational background includes a doctorate in history from CU, a master’s in museum studies from Cooperstown (N.Y.) Graduate Programs and a B.A. in history from the University of Wyoming.


Martha Jackson-Carter, Faculty, Science at Community College of Aurora in Denver Martha Jackson-Carter
Department Chair, Science
Affiliated with CCA for about two decades, Jackson-Carter is one of the longest-tenured staff at the college. As the Science Department Chair she oversees about 20 full-time and adjunct faculty. She’s taught all five of CCA’s Chemistry courses, including current classes in General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. Jackson-Carter also has been a longtime member of the state’s faculty curriculum committee as CCA’s general-education representative. Jackson-Carter has previously helped secure two major initiatives in concert with late CCA faculty Dr. Todd Bergren: the creation of the Science Resource Center on the Lowry campus and acquisition of $430,000 in grand funding to infuse molecular biology curriculum into Colorado high schools. Prior to joining CCA, Jackson-Carter was manager of a geochemistry lab in Lakewood and a chemist for a pharmaceutical company. Her graduate work was in Mechanistic Organic Chemistry at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., and has a BA in Chemistry from the University of Colorado-Boulder.



Sasa Jovic, Mathematics faculty at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Saša Jović
Faculty, Mathematics
A faculty member at CCA in part and full-time roles since 2008, Jović teaches two calculus courses, pre-calculus, introduction to statistics, and math for liberal arts. He’s also the concurrent enrollment coordinator for the math and science departments. Prior to joining the college, Jović taught a range of math courses at three local high schools - Aurora Central, Northglenn and Bishop Machebeuf, and at Front Range Community College in Westminster. He has master’s and bachelor’s degrees in geology from the University of Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia. He also earned a master of science and completed all his class work towards his doctorate in environmental engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden.





Chris Juarez, Faculty, Mathematics Chris Juarez
Faculty, Mathematics
Juarez began teaching Math for Liberal Arts and Statistics at CCA in Fall 2014. He is a former student and faculty member at his hometown college, graduating with an associate degree from Garden City (Kansas) Community College and teaching a wide variety of courses there, ranging from Developmental Math to Calculus and Statistics. His educational background also includes a double major in Mathematics and Statistics at Kansas State, where he earned a master’s in Statistics and served as a student teaching assistant.





Virginia Karras, Faculty, Business at Community College of Aurora in Denver Virginia Karras
Faculty, Business
Karras began teaching at CCA in 2011, became a full-time faculty member in 2012, then served as coordinator for the areas of Accounting, Economics, and Business Statistics for the School of Business. Prior to joining CCA, she worked for many years in corporate accounting for companies such as CH2M Hill, Shea Homes, and ProBuild. In those roles, she trained and supervised staff accountants and managed many aspects of the accounting work cycle. At CCA, Karras has taught Business Statistics and Accounting Principles. Starting this year, she will also transition to managing CCA’s Tax Help Colorado site, which will provide a great opportunity for students to learn to prepare taxes and to serve the community. Karras has a BA with a double major in Mathematics and Economics from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, and an MBA with an emphasis in Public Accounting from the University of Denver. She also holds an active CPA license in the state of Colorado.




LaVelle Knight, Faculty, Mathematics LaVelle Knight
Faculty, Mathematics
Knight joined the full-time staff in Fall 2014 after 10 years as an adjunct and teaches Developmental Math classes. A tutor for many years, Knight’s background is steeped in engineering. He worked in the nuclear industry for 15 years as an electric engineer before founding an environmental engineering services company that at one time, according to Colorado Business magazine, was among the fastest growing companies in the state. Knight then briefly retired before beginning his teaching career. His educational background includes a B.S. in Engineering Technology from Colorado State University-Pueblo and a master’s in Environmental Engineering from the University of Denver.





Frederic Lahey, Director of the Colorado Film School at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Frederic Lahey
Director, Colorado Film School
A founder of the Colorado Film School, Lahey’s work has appeared on most national broadcast and international cable outlets and created professional training programs in film and video for CCA and several other institutions. He holds a bachelor’s of arts in Philosophy and a master of fine arts in Film, Writing/Directing from Columbia University in the City of New York. During his career, he has directed such actors as Margaret Whitton (Major League, The Man Without A Face), Olek Krupa (Burn After Reading, Home Alone 3, Behind Enemy Lines), Zoe Tamerlis Lund (Bad Lieutenant, Ms. 45), Julian Beck (Cotton Club, Poltergeist II), and Will Patton (Remember the Titans, Armageddon, The Postman). In 2008-09, his work for clients earned three Telly Awards, and a National Business Association Stevie Award. A video collaboration with Andrew Skeels (Colorado Ballet), in a presentation of his choreography Parched at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, led to his video Parched Platte that was presented at the H2O On Film festival, an international, juried exhibition in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Lahey’s more recent work for clients, CCA and the State of Colorado have yielded five more Telly Awards.


Beth Lattone, an EMS professor at the Community College of Aurora, located in Aurora Colorado Beth Lattone
Department Chair, Emergency Medical Services
A former clinical coordinator at the college, Lattone joined CCA full time in 2008. She teaches a variety of paramedic coursework, including cardiology, medical and trauma emergencies and pharmacology. She also has editing responsibilities for a major medical publication relating to simulation studies. Lattone is a former field supervisor for Rural Metro in Aurora with varied responsibilities related to the running of 15-person shifts. She also served as a field paramedic from 1999-2007 in Aurora and Tacoma, Wash. Her educational background includes a bachelor of science degree in biology from Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., and paramedic certification from Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, N.Y.





Ana Martin Mejia, Faculty, World Languages at Community College of Aurora in Denver Ana Martin-Mejia
Chair, Languages and Humanities

Martin-Mejia works with adjunct instructors in the American Sign Language, Chinese, French, Spanish, Humanities, Philosophy and Translation and Interpretation prefixes. Martin-Mejia’s duties include administration, pedagogy, classroom observation and ensuring that courses meet department standards. She also teaches all levels of Spanish, and has a lengthy history within that discipline. Prior to joining CCA, Martin-Mejia was part of the faculty at the University of Texas-Arlington, served as an adjunct at Metro State University and was an instructor at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas. She also simultaneously earned a masters degree in Latin American studies from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., while teaching Spanish as a graduate teaching assistant. Martin-Mejia has a second masters in teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language from Universidad Antonio De Nebrija in Madrid. She also earned a bachelor’s in Spanish Literature from Universidad Complutense de Madrid.




Candace McClelland-Fieler, Faculty, Academic Enrichment at Community College of Aurora Candace McClelland-Fieler
Faculty, English
A Writing and Literature instructor for 15 years, McClelland-Fieler served as an adjunct instructor for five years at CCA before becoming full-time faculty. She teaches four sections of English 090 for the Academic Enrichment Department and one of Introduction to Literature. Prior to joining the college, McClelland-Fieler taught English at the Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy in Denver and Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Wash. She also was previously an ESL instructor at the Berlitz Language School in Denver and Cincinnati and taught Composition at Miami (Ohio) University, where she earned her master’s degree in English / Creative Writing. McClelland-Fieler has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Cincinnati.





Heather McMichael, Faculty, Business at Community College of Aurora in Denver Heather McMichael
Department Chair, Business
Entering her fourth year at CCA, McMichael offers 10 years of higher education experience at both the undergraduate and graduate level. With CCA, McMichael currently serves as the department chair for Business and previously served three years as a full-time faculty member in the department. This year, she's teaching BUS 115 (Introduction to Business), BUS 217 (Business Communications), MAN 215 (Organizational Behavior), and MAN 212 )Negotiation and Conflict Resolution).  Prior to joining CCA, McMichael led the Master of Business Administration and Master of Accountancy programs at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J.,  where she also taught undergraduate business courses. Her professional strengths include teaching, student advising, professional student development, and curriculum development at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Her educational background includes a B.S. in Economics from Radford University in Virginia and an MBA from Webster University in Fort Stewart, Georgia.




Kate Noon-Ulvila, Faculty, ESL Kate Noon-Ulvila
Faculty, ESL
Noon-Ulvila began at CCA in Fall 2014 and primarily leads ESL courses related to the Healthcare Bridge, a dual-teaching model that combines Health Sciences and ESL instruction. Noon-Ulvila joined the college after teaching ESL-based healthcare curriculum and the Home Care Aide program at Highline Community College in Des Moines, Wash., where she spent the last six years – five as full-time faculty. She previously worked for the Refugee Women’s Alliance, a Seattle non-profit that provides ESL, counseling and case management services as well as vocational training. Her educational background includes a master’s from Seattle University in Adult Education, specializing in Teaching English Students of Other Languages (TESOL), and a BFA in Film Studies from the University of Colorado.




Kelly O'Dell, Faculty, Psychology at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Kelly O'Dell
Faculty, Psychology
An adjunct for 3 1/2 years, O’Dell was hired to the full-time staff for the 2013 spring semester. She teaches General Psychology I and II and Abnormal Psychology after previously leading courses on Human Sexuality, Human Growth and Development, and Child Development. O’Dell has a masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado-Denver, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and associate degrees in Liberal Arts and Psychology from Casper (Wyo.) College.






Kate O'Donnell, Faculty, Art and Communication, CCA Kate O'Donnell
Faculty, Art and Communication
A full-time faculty member beginning in Fall 2015, O’Donnell is no stranger to CCA, having spent two years as an adjunct. She teaches, or has taught, 2D Design, Art Appreciation, Drawing I and II, and Life Drawing at the college. Overall, she possesses nearly a decade of teaching experience, primarily in drawing foundation and printmaking, and her work has been shown to major collectors nationally and internationally. Prior to joining CCA, O’Donnell taught for five years as an adjunct in the Painting and Drawing department at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her professional experience extends to the Virginia and Washington D.C. areas, as well, with jobs at Corcoran College of Art and Design, Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University. O’Donnell earned her bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Mich., and a M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond, Va.



Bobby Pace, Faculty, Political Science at Community College of Aurora Dr. Bobby Pace
Department chair, Social Sciences
Appointed to chair in Summer 2015, Dr. Pace oversees Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, History, Geography, Political Sciences and Women's Studies. He developed and runs CCA’s nationally recognized Model United Nations program, which includes a 300-plus simulation on CCA’s campus, as well as a delegation that competes at the international conference in New York. Dr. Pace also is piloting an Institute for Civic Engagement at CCA, which includes Aurora’s first Great Decisions Discussion Group that is part of the Foreign Policy Association’s program. The institute includes experiential learning, community-based internship programs, and topical clinics that provide students with hands-on experience combating the most pressing social ills of the day. Dr. Pace was hired to the full-time staff in Fall 2012 after serving nearly four years as an adjunct. He teaches all of CCA's Political Science courses. Prior to joining the college, Pace taught at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., and was a lecturer at the University of Colorado in Boulder. His educational background includes three Political Science degrees: a doctorate from the University of Denver, a masters from Virginia Tech and a bachelor of arts from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.


Scott Reichel, English Department Chair, Community College of Aurora in Colorado Scott Reichel
Department Chair, English & Communication
A former adjunct teaching developmental and college-level composition, Reichel became a full-time instructor in the spring of 2006 and English chair the following fall. His primary duties in his current position include oversight of about 25 full- and part-time faculty, scheduling for English, communication and literature courses, curriculum development, and a role in college assessment. Prior to joining CCA, Reichel served as supervisor of the correspondence department at Openheimer Mutual Funds, a section primarily charged with answering inquiries from advisors and shareholders. His professional career began as a sportswriter for the Idaho Falls (Idaho) Post Register. He owns a master’s in English from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and a BS in journalism from the University of Colorado.



Daniel Schweissing, Faculty, ESL, CCA Daniel Schweissing
Faculty, English as a Second Language
An adjunct at CCA since Jan. 2010 and a full-time faculty starting in Fall 2015, Schweissing brings nearly 25 years of teaching experience in ESL, GED instruction and Theology/Religious Studies.  Schweissing began tutoring ESL students as an undergraduate student at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., and continued as a conversational English instructor for Japanese students after graduation. He spent two years in the Dominican Republic as a volunteer ESL instructor, and 31/2 years teaching the subject in Puerto Rico while working on his master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language at InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico at San Germán, He then periodicially taught ESL during a nine-year stay in the Bahamas. In 2009, he returned to the United States and began supervising a tutoring/homework program for Karen refugees in Northwest Aurora. Schweissing is higher-ed special interest group chair for the state’s TESOL organization. He has a master’s in Urban and Intercultural Ministries from Denver Seminary.



Ashley Simpson, Chair, ECEAshley Simpson
Department Chair, Early Childhood Teacher Education Program
Hired in July 2015, Simpson is charged with oversight of 12 adjunct instructors and a full-time faculty member. She also teaches two courses: Curriculum Development and Adult Learning and Teaching. Simpson spent five years prior to joining CCA as a reading skills facilitator – preparing students for college-level curriculum – at Hinds Community College in Utica, Miss. Her educational background is vast, and includes a doctorate (Early Childhood Education with a focus on Reading and Global Development) master's (Reading Education) and bachelor's (Elementary Education) from Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. She also earned a specialist's degree in Academic Leadership/Higher Learning and Teaching from Walden University in Minneapolis.





David Spiegel, Faculty, Philosophy at Community College of Aurora in Denver David Spiegel
Faculty, Philosophy
A longstanding faculty member since 1998, Spiegel serves as the lead in the area of Philosophy. He provides administrative oversight of the department as well as supervises part-time instructors.  He also teaches courses such as Ethics, Logic, Philosophy of Religion, Introduction to Philosophy, and Environmental Ethics.  Spiegel’s first priority is to design his Philosophy courses so that they are interesting, informative and well organized.  This priority has been recognized previously with the Bowman faculty endowment award, which recognizes CCA faculty making a significant difference for their students.  Prior to joining CCA, Spiegel worked at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as a chapter coordinator of Campus Ambassadors, with a stint hosting a radio show devoted to philosophy and current events.  Then, he moved to Denver, and started a house painting business in the metro area.  He holds a bachelor’s in Geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and two master’s degrees from Denver Seminary, the latest in Philosophy of Religion, with honors.



Laura Stone, Faculty, Academic Enrichment and Math at Community College of Aurora Laura Stone
Faculty, Mathematics
Hired in August 2012 on the full-time teaching staff, Stone’s background is rich in developmental math experience, having taught such courses since 2002 at Front Range Community College before arriving at CCA. She will be teaching Pre-Algebra with Fundamentals of Math, as well as beginning and intermediate Algebra in her new role. Stone also holds a professional teaching license in Colorado to teach secondary math, which she used to kick-start her career as a substitute teacher and paved her way to her future endeavors as a math instructor in the CCCS system. Stone holds a bachelor’s degree from Metro State University in Mathematics and also a master’s in Education with an emphasis in Secondary Mathematics from the University of Denver. Prior to her math career, she was a painter and art therapist, having earned two degrees in Art and Art Therapy from Hastings (Neb.) College and Leslie College in Cambridge, Mass., respectively.




Chris Tombari, an ESL professor at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Christopher Tombari
Department Chair, English as a Second Language
Two English as a Second Language programs fall under Tombari’s guidance: College Prep and Community. He oversees a staff of about 36 full-time and adjunct faculty in both areas, which span basic, intermediate and advanced level students. Tombari also teaches grammar, composition and reading. He joined CCA in 2009 after a dozen years directing an educational program at the non-profit Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning. One of his career highlights came from 1993-95 as a member of the Peace Corps in Choibalsan, Mongolia. Tombari has a master’s degree from the University of Colorado-Denver in Applied Linguistics. He has steep experience in three diverse spoken languages: Italian, German and Mongolian.





Margaret Uchner, Legal Studies Faculty, Paralegal and Criminal Justice at Community College of Aurora in Denver Margaret Uchner
CRJ Program Coordinator, Paralegal
Oversight of the Paralegal and Criminal Justice departments, including its curriculum, scheduling, hiring and supervision, fall under Uchner’s auspices. She teaches a variety of classes spanning the spectrum of both disciplines, including constitutional law, criminology, judicial functions, methods of criminal justice research, introduction to law, and legal research and writing. She began her CCA career in 2005 after nearly 15 years as a prosecutor in Colorado’s 18th Judicial District and the Attorney General’s Office. Uchner also served as a lawyer in private practice. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s of science degree from Arizona State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Wyoming.





Eric Vahling, Computer and Digital Technologies at Community College of Aurora in Denver Eric Vahling
Faculty, Computer and Digital Technology
A new hire beginning in Fall 2015, Vahling is the lead instructor for CCA’s Networking and Technician courses and teaches four classes: Intro to Computer Information Systems, Operating System: Windows 7, Fundamentals of UNIX/Linux, and Complete Web Author: (HTML).  Vahling taught previously at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kan., in the area of Computer Support.  He holds a Master of Science degree in IT Security from the University of Westminster in London, England, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan.  Vahling has a broad background in computers, ranging from security and networking to programming and web design.





Art Vaughn, Jr., Faculty, Business Art Vaughn, Jr.
Lead Faculty, Business
Vaughn supports the department chair by monitoring courses and creating syllabi while also recruiting and training faculty. He spent a year as an adjunct before joining CCA’s full-time staff in January 2014 and currently teaches Introduction to Business, Business Law, Business Communications, Organizational Behavior, and Management. His previous career experience included eight years as an adjunct at University of Phoenix, Argosy University, Colorado Technical University, and DeVry University. Vaughn’s corporate career included 12 years at CitiGroup in its Finance department. His last position at CitiGroup was as a Financial Analyst for Diners Club. Vaughn received both his bachelor’s degree (in Business Administration Management) and master’s (Finance) from Regis University. He’s currently completing his doctorate in Higher Education at University of Denver.




Cynthia Villegas, Faculty, English, CCACynthia Villegas
Faculty, English
Hired in May 2015, Villegas begins in the fall and will teach College Composition and Reading (CCR), English Composition I, and a Studio course. She has taught Composition since 2007 and Literature since 2008. She joins CCA after five years as an adjunct and full-time faculty member at Century College in St. Paul, Minn. There, she led classes that included Developmental Writing, Composition I and II, American Indian Literature, Comics as Literature, and also worked in the college’s writing center. Villegas also has worked at South Piedmont College in Monroe, N.C. and Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz., where she earned a master’s in English with an emphasis in Literature. She completed her undergraduate studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif.




Scott Wakefield, Art and Design Chair at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Scott Wakefield
Department Chair, Arts and Communication
The college in Summer 2015 created a new department in the School of Liberal Arts, Arts and Communication, with Wakefield named its chair. This new department combines the creative energy and academic rigor of the Art, Theatre, Music, and Communication areas. Wakefield previously served as chair of Art and Design since August 2010. Before joining CCA, Wakefield taught at the Art Institute of Salt Lake City and directed a non-profit art gallery and community arts center in Logan, Utah. He has three fine arts degrees: a bachelor’s from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, an associate from Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho and a master’s from Utah State in Logan, Utah. Outside of the classroom, Wakefield is a professional illustrator currently working on picture books.



Robley Welliver, English faculty at Community College of Aurora in Colorado Robley Welliver
Faculty, English
Affiliated with CCA since 2006, Welliver joined the college full-time in 2011. She regularly teaches composition and literature and also has led a graphic literature course. She joined the staff after spending time as a graduate student and teaching assistant at East Carolina Universtiy in Greenville, N.C., where she earned her master’s degree in literature. Welliver has a BA in writing, rhetoric and culture from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash.




Kristofer Whited, Faculty, English, CCA Kristofer Whited
Faculty, English
An adjunct faculty member at CCA since Spring 2013, Whited joined the college full-time for the Fall 2015 semester. He will teach English Composition and Basic Composition and Reading for English at the college. Whited’s background includes teaching and matriculating at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. (bachelor’s) and California State University Fresno (master’s). He also taught at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Ind. Subjects in which he’s served as instructor include Composition, Creative Writing, Technical Writing and Literature. Whited led the Young Writer’s Conference at Cal State-Fresno, worked as a writing tutor in Purdue’s well-known Writing Lab, and served as president of the San Joaquin Literary Association. He is the recipient of the California State University Fresno Fiction Prize, has been a finalist for the Emerging Writers for the Short Story and the Steinbeck Fellowship for Creative Writing, and was a Contributor at the 2010 Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Middlebury, Vermont.




Brandon Williams, Faculty, History Brandon Williams
Faculty, History
Hired to teach full-time beginning with the Fall 2015 semester, Williams leads classes covering 20th century world history and early American history. He comes to CCA after teaching for one year at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. Williams also had nearly five years of classroom experience as part of the doctoral program at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.V., with 20th century social and labor history in the United States, 19th century U.S. history, world history, and education comprising his advanced degree. He holds a master’s in American History from James Madison, as well as a bachelor’s in History and Adolescent Education at the State University of New York-Cortland. Williams’ experience includes time as an AP History instructor at Culpepper County (Va.) High School.





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