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Meet the Faculty

CCAC is a place where faculty, staff and administration support the idea of education for all. Our faculty members are some of the best in the region who believe in the potential of every single student they teach. We would like to introduce you to some of these wonderful professors and adjuncts. They may teach at different locations or be experts in different subjects but the one thing they share is a commitment to your success. Click on any name below to find a short bio about some of our favorite faculty members.

Michele Wehrle Photo

Name: 
Michele Wehrle, PhD

Title: 
Professor, Hospitality Operations Management

Year joined CCAC: 
1991

Courses currently teaching: 
Introduction to Foodservice, Lodging & Recreation Management Housekeeping & Maintenance Operations
Human Resources & Ethical Practices
Introduction to Casino Gaming
Foodservice Management
Hospitality Law
Hospitality Event Planning
Front Office Operations
Hospitality Sales & Marketing

Why I teach what I teach: 
The demand for hospitality jobs will never run out as long as there are people and food. This makes hospitality one of the most stable industries today. It also makes hospitality one of the most ideal providers of lasting and solid careers.

Something people might not know about me: 
I own a formal dress shop called Get Dressed Formals.

Favorite quote: 
Hospitality Degree + Experience = Great Opportunities

melanie-yeschenko head shot

Name: Dr. Melanie Yeschenko

Title: Professor & Program Coordinator, Early Education & Child Development/Education

Year joined CCAC: 2005

Courses currently teaching: This semester I am remotely teaching five ECD courses and two EDU courses:

Intro to Early Education and Child Development
Infant and Toddler Development
Children With Special Needs
Family Systems
Practicum: Pre-K–4
Foundations of Middle Level and Secondary Education
Educational and Assistive Technology 

Most memorable CCAC experience: My most memorable experience at CCAC was having the honor of being Grand Marshall at graduation. Graduation is such a joyful celebration of our students’ achievements, and it was a pleasure to take part in the ceremony in such a special way.

Why I teach what I teach: Child development, early learning and education are each fascinating topics that are essential to quality living and learning. Young children should have nothing less than those dedicated to excellence through effective teaching practices. I have the opportunity here at CCAC to share in our ECD and EDU students’ higher education experience while they earn their degrees to enter the workforce and/or transfer on for teacher certification. I value my teaching experience here at CCAC because of the powerful work my students go on to accomplish in their work with young children. 

Something people might not know about me: I love ballet, and while my Nutcracker dancing days are long behind me, I still love watching others dance. There are so many great performances posted on YouTube—I love to jump on and watch them when I want to relax and unwind.

Favorite quote: I have two favorite quotes, both from John Dewey.  

My favorite is: “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”  

A close second is: “Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.”

Both convey how I try to live my life and approach my teaching career.

 

Lynn Davenport Photo

Name: 
Lynn Williams Davenport, JD

Title: 
Associate Professor, Economics 

Year joined CCAC: 
2011

Courses currently teaching: 
Principles of Macroeconomics
Principles of Microeconomics

Most memorable CCAC experience: 
My most memorable experience at CCAC was attending the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh’s 5th Annual Civics Bowl at South Campus in the fall of 2019. The Civics Bowl was a fun and engaging way to celebrate and recognize people seeking to become U.S. citizens. The participants competed in groups to answer questions relating to American history and government. It was incredibly moving to hear the participants’ stories describing the challenges and obstacles that many of them had overcome to get to the U.S. and their dedication and commitment to work hard to become American citizens, something which so many of us take for granted. I am so pleased that CCAC hosted this event, for events like this can inspire and have a positive impact on our students, the Allegheny County community and beyond.

Why I teach what I teach: 
I pursued and completed graduate degrees in both law and economics. I always wanted to study law because I recognized the power of law to effect change in people’s lives; economics became a passion for me after I entered college.

Teaching gives me the opportunity to give back. I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm and passion for economics. Economics is a valuable analytical tool to help us understand aspects of everyday life, the choices we make, and the world around us. A strong foundation in economics can help students to become more informed, to make better decisions, and therefore to become better citizens. My goal is to provide students with analytical and problem solving skills to help them succeed throughout their professional careers and personal lives. There are so many interesting topics that touch upon economics, ranging from environmental issues to trade policy to health care. Understanding, analyzing and evaluating the decisions individuals, businesses and policymakers make is important for citizens to be knowledgeable and effective participants in our economy and government.

Something people might not know about me: 
I enjoy running and playing tennis in my spare time and have completed several half-marathons and 5K races.

Favorite quote: 
“If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up. Lift a stranger up—lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone. The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well.” —Maya Angelou

James Winyard Headshot

Name: 
James Winyard

Title: 
Instructor, Computer Information Technology

Year joined CCAC: 
2014 Tutor
2019 Instructor

Courses currently teaching: 
Introduction to Programming/Java 
Object-Oriented Programming 1/Java 
Object-Oriented Programming 2/Java

Most memorable CCAC experience: 
I feel lucky that I get to relive my most memorable and rewarding experience at CCAC each semester when a student or class has their aha! moment and a concept finally clicks or a complex algorithm makes sense. I share my students’ joy when they finish a project, and they are not only able to understand it, but also to share it.

Why I teach what I teach: 
I have always had a passion for computers and technology, or more specifically, for programming and problem solving. When I became a tutor at CCAC, I found that I had that same level of passion for sharing that knowledge. Teaching has allowed me to combine these two passions and is truly a perfect fit.  

Something people might not know about me: 
I am a huge Beatles fan, to the point where I can name just about any of their 213 songs within five seconds from the start of the track.

Favorite quote: 
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” —Winston Churchill

Kathy Kane headshot

Name:
Kathleen Kane

Title:
Professor

Year joined CCAC:
2002

Courses currently teaching:  
Algebra Fundamentals
Calculus 3
Intermediate Algebra
Linear Algebra

Most memorable CCAC experience:  
Seeing several of my former students teaching at CCAC.

Why I teach what I teach:  
Since I was a little kid, math has always been “my thing,” and I enjoy getting others to like it, or at least not hate it so much.

Something people might not know about me:  
I am very lucky to be a 12-year (and counting) breast cancer survivor. To give back and show my gratitude for my survival, several of my good friends and I participate in several charity bike rides each year. One of my favorites is the 3-2-1 Ride, which benefits pancreatic cancer and melanoma research. I have done this ride over the past six years to honor my college friend who waged, but sadly lost, an incredibly brave five-year battle against pancreatic cancer. Last year, our team raised over $1,800 in her honor.

Favorite quote: 
“When God closes a door, he opens a window, but it's up to you to find it.” —Jeannette Walls    

beverly brady

Name:
Beverly Brady

Title:
Assistant Professor, Medical Assisting

Year joined CCAC
2016

Courses currently teaching
Basic Life Support
Clinical Medical Assisting 1
Clinical Medical Assisting 2
Laboratory Procedures for the Medical Office
Medical Assisting Seminar
Medical Terminology

Most memorable CCAC experience:
Every time students get their first job offer is always memorable. They are so excited, and I am just delighted to be part of their accomplishment and happiness.

Why I teach what I teach:
Twenty years ago, I went to school for medical assisting because I wanted to help people. I quickly worked up to training staff and management within the medical practice. I enjoyed teaching others so much that I decided to go back to school for teaching. When an opportunity became available to teach medical assisting, I took it. I love sharing my knowledge and skills in health care with others and helping them understand the "why" behind the policies and procedures that are in place to help safeguard our patients.

Something people might not know about me:
I live in the country and commute to CCAC from Indiana County.

Favorite quote:
“Consult not your fears, but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you have tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do. Now is the time to put aside past and present setbacks and failures and look with confidence to a new day called tomorrow.” —Pope John XXIII

Bobby Ficco headshot

Name: 
Bobby Ficco

Title:
Assistant Professor, Biology

Year joined CCAC: 
2013

Courses currently teaching: 
Life Science
Introduction to Biology
Anatomy and Physiology Lab

Most memorable CCAC experience:  
In the summer of 2018, there was a brood of ducks and their mother, “Dahlia,” on Allegheny Campus. A few colleagues and I were fearful for their safety and felt the need to give nature a helping hand. I called the National Aviary and arranged for the head ornithologist and three animal care staff members to come to campus and carefully scoop up the family in nets and transport them safely to nearby Lake Elizabeth in Allegheny Commons Park. Incidentally, birds often nest in the same place, so again in the summer of 2019, Dahlia returned. Once again, we were able to “make way for ducklings” and help the new family get to safe waters.   

Why I teach what I teach:
I enjoy sharing my passion for teaching, energy and knowledge to help my students learn more about the world around them. I hope that they develop a newfound appreciation for the beautiful diversity and unity of life. We, as humans, are family and interconnected—we have one Earth, which we call home, that we are all responsible to care for and leave beautiful for generations to come.

Something people might not know about me: 
I circumnavigated the globe with Semester at Sea (Spring 2000), visiting nine countries in three and a half months: Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, China and Japan.

Favorite quote: 
“Imagining something may be the first step in making it happen, but it takes the real time and real efforts of real people to learn things, make things, turn thoughts into deeds or visions into inventions.” —Fred Rodgers

coral-with-pumpkin

Name:
Coral Sheldon-Hess

Title:
Assistant Professor, Data Analytics & Computer Information Technology

Year joined CCAC
• Adjunct librarian in 2017
• Full-time faculty member in 2019

Courses currently teaching
Python 1
Data Analytics 1 & 2
Web Development 
Programming in C
College Seminar

Most memorable CCAC experience:
The things that really stick with me are those times when I've assigned a project, and students have created something way above and beyond what I expected! I've had Python 1 projects turned in that would have been respectable Python 2 projects, and some of the maps made by my data analytics students have been both beautiful and insightful. It's just so satisfying to me, seeing the level of dedication and skill our students are capable of!

Why I teach what I teach:
Data analytics is exciting! There’s a lot of power in being able to manipulate data; it’s work that I enjoy doing and also something I enjoy teaching. But the field needs a stronger ethical core, with thoughtfulness and responsibility and respect for privacy taught along with technology and statistics. As a librarian, I'm a good person to be doing this—the library profession has a code of ethics, and we're professionals in managing information, in creating metadata and especially in protecting people's privacy. We live in a world where machine learning algorithms are being used in, for instance, criminal justice and screening job applicants, and they are often making decisions that actively perpetuate inequality; this is all preventable, with thoughtful data analysts in the mix. People download apps and buy devices that can listen to and record everything happening in their households—talking about those apps from a consumer standpoint is something I do in my intro to computing courses, by the way—and the companies with these huge piles of data aren't always making the most ethical decisions about what they do with it. Teaching data analytics at CCAC, sending all of these excellent new data analysts to join the southwestern Pennsylvania workforce with their strong technical and mathematical skills, but also with an understanding of their responsibility to society: that's worthwhile and satisfying work. 

Something people might not know about me:
I'm a bird nerd. I have three pet birds and several outdoor feeders at home. I have a membership to the National Aviary and know several of the birds by name (that's Pumpkin in the photo with me). I enjoy watching and reading about birds in my spare time. I don't discriminate—I love owls (which, contrary to popular misconception, are not very smart animals) as much as I love the cleverer birds like parrots and corvids! 
Also, I've driven across the continent twice—Pittsburgh to Anchorage and back—alone (well, with my birds, but they are terrible co-pilots). 

Favorite quote:
"Constant dripping hollows out a stone." —Lucretius

Steve Sue

Name:
Steve Sue
 
Title:
Assistant Professor, Music Technology
 
Year joined CCAC:
Fall 2019
 
Courses currently teaching: 
Introduction to Music Technology
Audio Recording 1
Audio Recording 2
 
Most memorable CCAC experience: 
My most memorable CCAC experience has to be taking my family to the holiday concert in December.
 
Why I teach what I teach: 
Helping students to realize their creativity through music technology is an endless source of joy and inspiration. I especially love sharing and discovering new ways of creating and recording music with the students in my courses. It's so rewarding when students show up for class eager to share a new piece of music or software that sparks something creative in them.
 
Something people might not know about me: 
I love to play Legos with my son.
 
Favorite quote: 
“If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD WAS MUSIC.” --Kurt Vonnegut

 Joanne Michel Profile picture
Name:  Joanne Michel, PhD
 
Title: Professor of Foreign Cultures & Languages
 
Year joined CCAC: 2003
 
Courses currently teaching:  
World Mythology
Mesoamerican Culture & Mythology
Pseudoarcheology, Myths and Mysteries              
Spanish 101, 102 & 201
                                       
Why I teach what I teach:  As a linguistic anthropologist, I teach about different forms of communication (writing and language), social interaction and the interface between language and culture. My goal is for students to appreciate cultural diversity, to place value on learning another language and to discover the great achievements of Indigenous people around the world. I especially enjoy teaching about the amazing cultures of Mesoamerica, both past and present.
 
Something people might not know about me:  For 20 years, I have conducted fieldwork in Mexico, utilizing a multidisciplinary research approach to examine Classic period writing, inscriptions, iconography, art and architecture from central Mexico and northern Yucatan. Most recently, my research explores iconographic and other visual representations of pre-Hispanic Maya mythology in Puuc style architecture and evidence of Teotihuacan style iconography, art and architecture in the Yucatan Peninsula. In addition, I maintain a long-standing research project with Oapan Nawa speakers from Guerrero, Mexico, for the documentation of contemporary Indigenous folklore. This research primarily focuses on contemporary Oapan Nawa folklore as compared to pre-Hispanic Aztec mythology and explores both its meaning and function within the context of the Indigenous community.

Ralph Proctor
Name: Ralph Proctor, PhD
 
Title:  Professor, Ethnic & Diversity Studies
 
Year joined CCAC:  2001
 
Courses currently teaching:
Understanding Violence in America
African American History 1
 
Other courses taught:
History of the Pittsburgh Civil Rights Movement
Achieving Cultural Competence
African American History 2
African Art/Artifacts in the Cycle of Life
 
Why I teach what I teach:
Many of the problems in the world are caused by racism, gender bias, religious intolerance, economic inequities and poverty, and bias against members of the LGBTQ+ community. We need a vehicle for understanding these horrible practices. The courses in Ethnic & Diversity Studies provide an opportunity to examine and discuss such issues in a nurturing and understanding environment. The program is taught by excellent professors who have dedicated their lives to equality.
 
Memorable CCAC experiences:
Being hired to create and write the curriculum for Ethnic & Diversity Studies and chairing the division.
Being asked by former CCAC President Dr. Stewart Sutin to create the Office of Institutional Diversity & Inclusion and serve as its first vice president.
Along with former Allegheny Campus President Dr. Elmer Haymon, proposing to the CCAC Board of Trustees that the college construct a new science building on Allegheny Campus named after the late Pennsylvania Speaker of the House, K. Leroy Irvis. Having the proposal accepted and working with many others, including board members, legislators and funders, to bring the project to fruition.
 
What people might not know about me:
Despite a very public life, including participation in the Civil Rights Movement and following both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, hosting four different television and radio programs, and years on the speaker circuit, I really am quite introverted and rather shy.
 
Two favorite quotes:
"The night would not seem so dark if we each lit but one candle." --Unknown
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” --Martin Niemöller, German pastor and theologian.
—How appropriate this is today as we turn our backs on the evils of the world, including here at home. –Ralph Proctor

Dr. Justin Starr Headshot
Name: Justin Starr, PhD
 
Title: Assistant Professor of Mechatronics
 
Year joined CCAC: 2015 as an adjunct, 2019 full time
 
Courses currently teaching: Mechatronics, Robotics, Electronics Technology
 
Most memorable CCAC experience: Many years ago, I started my college career as a CCAC student. When I was hired as a faculty member, I ran into some of the same professors that I had back in the day. Not only were they still teaching, but they looked exactly the same! Something about working here keeps people alive!
 
That said, it would be hard to top the spring 2020 semester for a memorable experience, when almost all of our courses were seriously changed by COVID–19. When the campuses shut down, I told all of my students that I understood that nobody signed up for the coronavirus or remote instruction, but as long as everybody stuck together and gave their full effort, we'd all get through it as a class. I explained that some assignments might not apply anymore and we might have to try some new activities, but we would collectively adapt and make it work. Without exception, every robotics and electronics student stepped up and put forth a tremendous amount of effort to continue learning. We tested new labs, experimented with field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and really pushed the limit of what was possible for student projects. Not everything worked 100%, but everyone showed up to class excited to learn, figured out how to present on Zoom, and juggled online learning in addition to managing households and families impacted by the pandemic.
 
I know that the experience was definitely unique, but all of my students exceeded my expectations, and I hope that they felt empowered by how well they handled the experience. Despite our best plans, life has a way of being unpredictable, and if students could face engineering classes in the middle of the coronavirus, I know they'll be able to handle the challenges and hurdles that a technical career will throw at them.
 
Why I teach what I teach: Machines were created to make our lives easier. Everyone should feel comfortable taking things apart and modifying or repairing their tools to enable them to act in different ways. All too often, we throw something away or pay a professional to dig into it, not because we don't have the skills, but because it is easy to be intimidated by high-tech devices that are not always easy to open. A little bit of understanding can go a long way. Teaching courses in electronics, programming and mechanics helps people take control of their tools— adjusting the brakes on a bicycle, replacing the battery in their phone and even creating entirely new things. I've had students engineer a solar installation to power a greenhouse, program an Arduino microcontroller to make a remote control dog feeder and even use transistors to transmit sound via laser beams.
 
That same approach to creative, hands-on problem solving is in high demand with employers. When I was Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of a local robotics company, it was difficult to find technicians who were comfortable soldering, programming and troubleshooting components. When I joined CCAC, I had the opportunity to train students to be the employees I would have loved to have hired: students with a passion for dissecting devices, seeing what happens and hacking together awesome solutions. I love that I get to spend each and every day giving students valuable skills and the confidence to use them.
 
Something people might not know about me: When I was younger, I traveled across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. In my free time nowadays, I enjoy restoring vintage and historical computer systems.
 
Favorite quote: "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." --Bill Gates

Mary Beth Johnson

Name:  Mary Beth Johnson

Title:  Professor of Court Reporting & Department Chair, Business Technologies

Year joined CCAC: February 1989

Courses currently teaching: Court Reporting

Most memorable CCAC experience:  Walking into a class of new students each August, knowing that the individuals under my tutelage have the potential to become skilled court reporters if I do my job well. My most memorable experience is teaching. My dad was an English teacher. I still remember him correcting papers with a red Lindy pen. I am humbled to follow in his footsteps. 

Why I teach what I teach:  Actually, I went to law school for one year. I quickly discovered that legal textbooks and rigid doctrines were not my cup of tea. I wanted to pursue a career with some affiliation with the law, and court reporting seemed to be a natural segue. I have never looked back. When I tell people that I teach court reporting, many say, "Is that still around? You use that little box? How do you get everything down?"

Court reporters have adopted the mantra “We will not be replaced by technology. We will embrace the future.” In 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed, court reporters transitioned from the courtroom and deposition suite to the classroom and television screens. We now provide government-mandated captioning in sporting arenas (the captioner for the Pittsburgh Pirates is Anna Cillo, a CCAC graduate) as well as for the television screen. The largest captioning company in the world is located outside of Pittsburgh, employing many CCAC graduates.

Something people might not know about me: 
I have spent the last six years trying to learn Spanish so that I can offer English language tutoring for free to immigrants who may otherwise not be able to afford to learn English. I believe in the power of education and the importance of minorities being given every opportunity to possess the language skills necessary to acquire a job where they can earn a family sustaining wage.

Through the generous support of our local court reporting community, I was able to facilitate the inception of the CCAC Court Reporters Scholarship. Thousands of dollars have been awarded to students over the years. It is important to me to contribute to this fund, as well.

Favorite quote:  "I touch the future, I teach." --Christa McAuliffe, teacher and astronaut, killed in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

Christopher Robinson

Name:  Dr. Christopher W. Robinson

Title: Associate Professor, Social Work, Drug and Alcohol

Year joined CCAC: 2010

Courses currently teaching: Summer 2020
Introduction to Social Welfare
Cultural Competence and Diverse Populations

Most memorable CCAC experience:  My most memorable CCAC experience was my recent visit to India in January 2020 with the CCAC Honors Program. It was truly a transformational experience. As a licensed social worker, I always tend to view the world through a social work lens. However, I must admit, my appreciation for international and environmental justice social work has grown immensely by traveling throughout India. Our CCAC Honors Program is amazing! Special thanks to all CCAC honors faculty and students who shared this incredible, life-changing cultural experience with me.

Why I teach what I teach:  The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty. The fundamental mission of social work has always aligned well with my values. Training the next generation of competent and skilled social work professionals is imperative for our workforce, region and diverse communities at large. This one imperative will continue to equip and strengthen individuals, families and communities for years to come. Therefore, I love to teach social work. 

Additionally, I choose to teach due to an innate responsibility. African American males represent only 2% of all educators in the United States. This disheartening, yet inspiring, statistic motivates me to inspire future, diverse social workers from all walks of life to pay it forward. It is truly an honor and privilege to serve our community in this capacity.

Something people might not know about me:
I am a native Michigander,  who was born and raised in Kalamazoo. My hometown is well known for the Kalamazoo Promise, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College and Major League Baseball icon Derek Jeter. For my undergraduate studies, I attended Jackson State University, a historically Black, public, four-year research institution in Jackson, Mississippi. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Jackson State and Kent State University tragedies when six innocent students were killed and 21 were wounded during social justice protests on both college campuses in May 1970. I am a descendent of two Jackson State protest survivors who continuously fought for social, economic, and educational justice for all college students. Their fighting spirit inspires my life, work and teaching each and every day. 

As social workers, we are ethically responsible for challenging social injustice. Therefore, I continuously challenge students to speak up and speak out about systemic injustices that impact our communities. It is our ethical responsibility to do so.

Favorite quote:  “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Erid Darsow in lab
Name: Eric Darsow

Title: Instructor, Computer Information Technology, North Campus

Year Joined CCAC: 2017

Courses Currently Teaching: Computer Fundamentals & Applications • Information Technology Fundamentals • Introduction to Data Analytics • Introduction to Programming: Java • Object-Oriented Programming 1: Java • Python 2: Algorithms, Modeling & Data Processing, Experimental

Most memorable CCAC experience: Witnessing the awe and wonder on the faces of my evening Computer Fundamentals students at West Hills during spring 2018 when they saw the spreadsheet on our projected screen instantly recalculate an entire page full of calculated values after I changed a single little number in one measly little cell.

Why I teach what I teach: With computers seeping into the deepest nooks and crannies of our lives, I aspire for my teaching to catalyze the transformation of computers from media consumption portals back into their more natural form as outrageously powerful Swiss Army knives.

Something people might not know about me: Even though I teach computer science and build web-enabled databases professionally, I work hard to minimize my connection with networks of computers any way that I can. In fact, when I travel, I often avoid carrying so much as a mobile phone or camera in order to be more involved in what goes on around me in my physical environment.

Favorite quote: “The coin don't have no say. It's just you.” --Carla Jean Moss, “No Country for Old Men”

 

Becky Klink

Meet the Faculty

Name: Becky Klink, PhD

Title: Adjunct Professor of Spanish

Year joined CCAC:
I taught various levels of Spanish at Boyce Campus starting in 2007. In summer 2018, I rejoined CCAC, when I was hired to teach Spanish at CCAC's South Campus. I'm currently teaching, for the first time, at CCAC's North Campus.

Courses currently teaching: Spanish 2

Most memorable CCAC experience:
When I was introducing myself to my students: “Hola, me llamo Profesora Klink...” I spilled my coffee all over my desk. Luckily, my new students immediately earned extra points by scrambling for papers towels. There was also the time that I had to ask my students to borrow a phone after I locked mine, in addition to my keys, in my car before class. I think a few folks had a chuckle about that one.

Why I teach what I teach:
I want to be a bridge between the many different cultures I've grown to love and admire. In the United States, we are on the verge of building, quite literally, a wall between the United States and the rest of the predominantly Spanish-speaking continent. By teaching students how to communicate and think critically about language, I hope to foster respect for cross-cultural differences and decrease divisiveness.

Something people might not know about me:
I specialize in Gender and Sexuality Studies and love thinking about national identify formation. I have another job that allows me to work directly with immigrants, particularly refugees, living in Pittsburgh. I also love to paint!

Favorite quote:
“Keep your face always towards the sunshine—and shadows will fall behind you.” --Walt Whitman

Gilbert H. Cardenas

Name: Gilbert H. Cardenas

Title: Assistant Professor of Early Education and Child Development
 
Year joined CCAC: 2015

Courses currently teaching: Early Education and Child Development courses at Boyce Campus

Most memorable CCAC experience: Growing up where I did, becoming a college professor seemed like an unreachable, crazy dream. So, the first day I became a full-time faculty member was quite memorable. It was a childhood dream come true. I share this memorable experience with my students during the first day of class – that I started out with very little, worked hard, went to community college, worked as a teacher and continued my education. I share that what may seem unreachable or unlikely may not be as crazy as they think it is.
 
Why I teach what I teach:
Nothing in my life has been more rewarding than serving children, families and communities. Children need teachers that believe in their potential, and families need the support of teachers to help them realize the dreams of their children. Communities everywhere need teachers to be leaders, advocates and champions. I teach with the passion and conviction that what my students have chosen to pursue – to become educators – is one of the most important, relevant and rewarding professions anyone could choose.

Something people might not know about me: I’ve run and completed an entire marathon. I’ve driven and wrecked a race car in a NASCAR event. My favorite place to spend long periods of time is anywhere I’m surrounded by books. I like grapes, but not grape-flavored things. I don’t like strawberries, but I like strawberry-flavored things. I don’t like cucumbers – in any form.
 
Favorite quote: “Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men for they may act their dream with open eyes and make it possible.” – T.E. Lawrence

Dena Rose Buzila
Name: Dena Rose Buzila

Title: Adjunct Instructor (Business)/Academic Advisor

Year joined CCAC: 2015

Courses currently teaching: Principles of Marketing

Most memorable CCAC experience:
My first day on my own as an academic advisor. After the shadowing and training process, I wasn’t sure I was ready (there was so much to learn and impacting students’ academic and career paths, to me, was a huge responsibility). Every day, I thought I needed “just one more day” of training. Well, one day the dean of Student Development told me it was time. My mentor was not working that day, so I had to “just do it.” It was one of the most challenging and rewarding days of my career. Since then, the privilege of working as an academic advisor has gifted me with so many memorable moments. The time I spend advising and connecting with CCAC students makes me a better teacher and a better person.

Why I teach what I teach:
I do not teach because I know, I teach because I care. I believe every student deserves to be inspired to do something that inspires them. While my job is to help students to learn the course material, my responsibility goes far beyond merely passing on information. I strive to engage them to experience the practical aspects of business topics and to encourage them to think on a broader level about their professional aspirations. Through my professional training and career expertise, I bring another level of perspective, experience and passion to students in CCAC business classes. As a journalist and marketing specialist, I help individuals and businesses uncover and relay their unique stories. As a teacher, I strive to inspire each student to find, achieve and live their own success story.

Something people might not know about me:
I am still a working publicist/marketing specialist, and I owned my own marketing communications firm for nearly 18 years.

Favorite quote:
I have so many, but this month it is definitely: “Function in disaster. Finish in style.” – Lucy Madeira

Diana Iifft Cecotti
Name: Diana Ifft-Cecotti

Title: Adjunct Professor/Academic Advisor

Year joined CCAC: 2003

Courses currently teaching: Acting 1, Acting 2, Voice & Speech, Acting for TV, Introduction to Stage Direction

Most memorable CCAC experience:
I have had several memorable experiences, both as a student and instructor. So, I am going with my “Rules of Theater Etiquette” song that I performed to Tina Turner's “Proud Mary” before my Introduction to Stage Direction class’s one-act performances several years ago.

Why I teach what I teach:
In this world of social media and advancing technologies, I believe we are losing pieces of our own humanity and interpersonal relationship skills. Theater is a way to creatively engage and practice those skills, which can serve us well every day.

Something people might not know about me:
I once voiced a Marvel character for a live-action graphic novel.

Favorite quote:
“We must overcome the notion that we must be regular...it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre.” – Uta Hagen

Patrick Huth

 Name: Patrick Huth


Title: Professor of Physics

Year joined CCAC:
2008

Courses currently teaching:
Physics, Astronomy

Most memorable CCAC experience:
Borrowing lunar samples from the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston to bring to the CCAC community.

Why I teach what I teach: I have been interested in astronomy since I was very young. I have also been fortunate to have several great role models, mentors and teachers in my life to guide me along my career path. As a result, I have had some incredible experiences, and I can't think of anything better than to be able to share them with students.

Something people might not know about me: Prior to joining CCAC, I worked for NASA and for the Office of Naval Research.

Favorite quote: “Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” – Pope Saint John Paul II

Elizabeth Claytor

Elizabeth Claytor

Name: Elizabeth Claytor

Title: Professor of English, North Campus

Year joined CCAC: 1983 – Adjunct, South Campus; 2010 – Full-time faculty, North Campus

Courses currently teaching: English 100, 101 and 102

Most memorable CCAC experience: Taking a class to see and hear forensic expert Dr. Cyril Wecht, and receiving the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award in 2017.

Why I teach what I teach: I love language and the magic of the spoken and written word.

Something people might not know about me: I took flying lessons on a two-seat Cessna plane.

Favorite quote: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God 

Sara Conroy

Sara Conroy

Name: Sara Conroy                      

Title: Associate Professor of Accounting and Business and Department Head of Accounting, Business, and Economics

Year joined CCAC: 2012

Courses currently teaching: Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Principles of Finance, and Business Law

Most memorable CCAC experience: Taking the students from the business club on two trips to New York City! I specifically enjoyed being able to see the bell closing at the New York Stock Exchange and being present for an initial public offering (IPO) at NASDAQ.

Why I teach what I teach: I love accounting and business. I previously worked in public accounting at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), which was the largest accounting firm in the world at the time. Then, I worked as a consultant at GTM, a global tax company, before entering the field of teaching. I believe my real-world experiences in the field contribute to the learning of my students in the classroom.

Something people might not know about me: I’m a first-generation college student.

Favorite quote: “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.” – Malcolm Forbes

 

 

Mike Chirdon-Jones

Mike Chirdon-Jones

Name: Mike Chirdon-Jones

Title: Academic Advisor

Year joined CCAC: 2016

Courses currently teaching: I'm the full-time academic advisor at Boyce Campus. 

Most memorable CCAC experience: One day, I was meeting with a co-worker in my office, and I heard a student checking in at the front desk. She said she really needed to talk to me. The advising secretary said that I was busy, but that she could see another advisor right away. I could hear the student say that she was really hoping to see me, so I stepped out of my office to say that would be fine.  It turned out that all she wanted to do was tell me that she had graduated from her program, and she  wanted to thank me for helping her understand the application process and program requirements. We high-fived a promised to look for each other at the graduation ceremony.  If I ever feel stressed, these are the moments that keep me motivated.

Why I teach what I teach: I love advising for two reasons. First, I like getting to know students on an individual basis. I enjoy making connections with students by talking to them about their goals and interests, helping them make plans and solve problems, and hopefully, helping them find a sense of belonging and connection to the college. Second, I love that I'm constantly being challenged to learn new things. I never thought I would know as much about health care careers as I do, but I've had to learn quickly to be an effective advisor at the Boyce campus! I enjoy working in an environment where I have the chance to learn something new every day from students, my colleagues in the advising office, and the faculty, administrators, and staff from across the CCAC system.  

Something people might not know about me: Running has been a big part of my life. I met my wife through running cross country and track at Juniata College. Though I've slowed down considerably since my competitive racing days, I still run several times a week, and I've run marathons in Boston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.   

Favorite quote:  "I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.' This is not just a grab-bag candy game.” ― Toni Morrison

Meet the Faculty

Meet the Faculty

Patsy Williamson

English Professor

Year joined CCAC:
1984 - adjunct; 1988 - full-time faculty

Courses currently taught:
English Composition I, Basic Principles of Composition, Honors Peer Study Leaders

Why I teach what I teach:
As a college freshman, I experienced a real "aha!" moment when I was finally able to write a good, analytical essay. I tell my students that from then on, courses I had deemed "boring" were much more accessible to me. My overall grades shot up and, more importantly, I loved learning for the first time since elementary school. Later, I discovered that research supported what I experienced: Learning to write solid essays helps students grow as readers, thinkers, and problem-solvers. I'm pleased to have some role in this process.

Something people might not know about me:
I'm a crazy cat lady.

Favorite Quote:
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

Meet the Faculty

Meet the Faculty

Christian Farina

Physics Instructor

Year joined CCAC:
2014 as an adjunct and 2017 as full time

Courses currently taught:
PHYS141, PHYS142, PHYS222, PHYS223

Why I teach what I teach:
I find physics to be the most fascinating thing humans have created and I want to share it with students.

Something people might not know about me:
I dropped out of high school at 15 and went back for a GED at 26.

Favorite Quote:
"The secret to immortality is a life worth remembering." - Bruce Lee

 
Meet the Faculty

Meet the Faculty

Carla A. Young

Professor, Developmental Studies, Ethnic & Diversity Studies and Academic Advisor

Year joined CCAC:
In 1990 I was hired as a temporary full-time faculty member in the Developmental Studies Department. In 1991 I was hired full-time.

Courses currently taught:
DVS070 - College Reading 1, DVS101 - College Reading 2, DVS103 - Advanced College Reading & Study Skills, DVS060 - College Academic Strategies, and ETH113 - Introduction to Black Women & Leadership

Why I teach what I teach:
I continue to pursue what I am passionate about; assisting students in developing essential skills to be successful academically, personally and professionally.

Something people might not know about me:
I always wanted to be a teacher. Every mentor that inspired me was an educator. Initially I wanted to teach at the high school level. However, I developed an interest in higher education while serving in the capacity as Assistant Director of Admissions at Clarion University prior to arriving at CCAC.

Favorite Quote:
"Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence." Sheryl Sandberg

Meet the Faculty

Meet the Faculty

Patricia (Trish) Thompson

Assistant Professor & Program Coordinator, Mechatronics Technology

Year joined CCAC:
2014

Courses currently taught:
• MEC-100 Mechatronics Safety and Quality • MEC-102 Mechatronics Industrial Processes • MEC-106 Industrial Power Systems • MEC-108 Programmable Logic Controllers 1 • MEC-110 Digital Electronics • MEC-112 Introduction to Robotics • MEC-150 Fluid Power • MEC-221 Robotics and Controls

Why I teach what I teach:
After having worked as an engineer in a manufacturing facility, I witnessed the prevalence of jobs that provide family-sustaining incomes available to individuals with technical skills. These skills can be attained without burdening individuals with four years of schooling and large debt. I want to help individuals, regardless of gender identity, learn the necessary skills so that they can be successful and enjoy their lives.

Something people might not know about me:
I am an amateur genealogist, trying to prove my family legends of being royal. Nothing so far, though.

Favorite Quote:
“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” —Michelle Obama

Meet the Faculty

Meet the Faculty

Wendi Slusser

Assistant Professor and Program Director for Anesthesia Technologist Program

Year joined CCAC:
2014

Courses currently taught:
ANE 110 ANE 111 ANE 113c ANE 114 ANE 116 ANE 213c ANE 214 ANE 220 ANE 221c ANE 222c

Why I teach what I teach:
Passion. Passion for the field. Passion for helping others. Passion for teaching. Passion for giving back. Passion for playing a role in having a positive impact on someone else's life.

Something people might not know about me:
I love FOOD!! Growing up in the Pittsburgh area, I have always had a love for food!! Pierogis, Kennywood Corndogs and French fries, pizza, you name it! I love it all!

Favorite Quote:
"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that." -Rocky Balboa

Meet the Faculty

Meet the Faculty

Art Inzinga CEC, CCE, AAC

Art Inzinga CEC, CCE, AAC

Year joined CCAC:
2016

Courses currently taught:
CLR 100 Introduction to Foodservice CLR 117 Fundamentals of Culinary Skills CLR 201 Baking CLR 202 Basic Garde Manger Techniques CLR 203 Advanced Garde Manger and Charcuterie Techniques CLR 228 International Cuisine

Why I teach what I teach:
I always consider myself very fortunate to have found a career that I was passionate about and successful in very early in life. I remember, when I was a young cook, how hungry I was for knowledge and experience. I can attribute my success to some very influential faculty here at CCAC, people like Dan Przybylek and L. Edwin Brown, and my chef instructor Gerry Lawrence along with my supervising chef Richard Bosnjak, all of whom were very generous sharing with me. When I graduated I was named the "Outstanding Apprentice" of my class. Since then, I have tried each and every day to live up to that honor and I try to give back to the industry that has been so good to me. While I was an industry chef one of the most rewarding aspects of the job was mentoring and training young cooks-now that I am fortunate enough to do it full time, life could not be better.

Something people might not know about me:
People might be surprised to know that my entire wardrobe does not consist of only chef's uniforms.

Favorite Quote:
My favorite is from Calvin Coolidge, "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."