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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.

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."