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OJC Press Release ID: 2691

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

OJC announces new faculty and staff


With the start of a new academic year, Otero Junior College is proud to announce the addition of several new faculty and staff members.

Shawn Averett, Chemistry Faculty, has teaching experience in higher education as well as middle and high school. He will complete his Ph.D. from Brigham Young University in August. His thesis is titled: “Material Analysis with, and Enhancing the Understanding of, Nonlinear Optical Spectroscopy.” Averett brings his wife and two daughters with him to La Junta.

Desiree Carrillo, Auxiliary Services Director, began working at OJC in November. She is a native of Pueblo. Carrillo is responsible for administering auxiliary functions of housing, food service, vending, the student center, catering and facility usage.

A Rattler Softball alum, Carrillo went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science at Metropolitan State University and a Master of Nonprofit Management degree from Regis University. Prior to coming to OJC, Carrillo worked for Summit Education and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Pueblo County.

“OJC has a great atmosphere and is constantly growing,” said Carrillo. “Students are always put first which makes OJC a great place to be. My goals are to give students the best dorm experience they can have and provide great facilities and services to the OJC family and the La Junta community.” In her spare time, Carrillo enjoys spending time with family and friends and being at the baseball and softball fields.

Alexa Cihura, Swink, is joins the TRiO team as Financial and Career Coach. She will also provide writing tutoring for students.

An OJC Associate of Science graduate, Cihura went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. While at OJC, Cihura served as a work study in Student Services, which gives her excellent knowledge of the processes that she assists students with.

“My goal is to guide students and help them find their own path through college to be successful and support students at Otero and as they transfer,” said Cihura.

Outside of work, Cihura enjoys camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, spending time with friends and family and all sports.

Senone Frentress, La Junta, joins OJC as the Instructional Technology Specialist. He will assist students in the Learning Commons, working alongside the IT department, to make sure technology is working and in top shape.

Frentress has an Associate of Science degree from OJC and enjoys working with technology. He hopes to help as many students as possible directly or behind the scenes.

In his free time, Frentress enjoys spending time with family and friends, learning and working with technology.

Chelsea Frey, Castle Rock, is a new faculty member in the Nursing department. She will co-teach Medical-Surgical nursing and will serve as a clinical instructor.

Frey earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Colorado State University-Pueblo. She comes to OJC after working in cardiac telemetry and the intensive care unit at Parkview Medical Center.

“OJC is like a family. I felt a part of that family as soon as I stepped on campus,” said Frey. “I hope to recruit and foster nursing students into this great profession. Nursing is a way of life and I’m excited to share my passion.”

Married with a three-year-old yellow lab named Kimber, Frey enjoys shopping golfing and reading in her spare time.

Timothy Gabriel, Colorado Springs, took over during the past year as director of the fitness center. He also serves as a strength and conditioning coach for the athletic teams.

Gabriel has a Bachelor of Science degree in health care science from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and a Master of Science degree in kinesiology from Texas A & M University in Corpus Christi. Prior to coming to OJC, Gabriel served as assistant strength and conditioning coach at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

“It was great to be able to step into a management role as the fitness center director,” said Gabriel. “My goals are to increase the use of the fitness center by students and staff and to provide strength and conditioning.”

Gabriel enjoys Olympic Weightlifting in his free time.

Christian Nielsen, Cheraw, joins the Science faculty teaching biology, science in society, and geography.

Nielsen has a bachelor of arts degree in geography from the University of Denver. Prior to accepting the faculty position, Nielsen was a STEM grant activity director at OJC and a student contractor with the United States Geological Survey.

“This position gives me the opportunity to give back to my home community while also learning and gaining valuable skills that will help me progress,” said Nielsen. “I’m still pretty early in my professional life, so my goals are to grow into my new position and use the experience to shape my future educational and career choices.”

Outside of work, Nielsen enjoys hiking, camping and reading.

Pat Reed, La Junta, joined the Grounds team earlier this year. Her duties are to mow and trim the lawns, pull weeds, maintain flower beds and maintain the appearance of the OJC grounds.

Reed, an OJC alum, worked on the OJC grounds as a work study in the 80s and enjoyed the work and the atmosphere. She operates The Lawn Ranger, a lawn service business that has been in the area for 31 years.

“My goal is to make OJC grounds stand out as one of the premier state college grounds in terms of maintenance and manicure,” said Reed.

In her free time, Reed enjoys camping, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and watching the Broncos and Rockies play.

Hailey Wold, Castle Rock, joins the OJC team as the Educational Resource Specialist in the Learning Commons. She will supervise peer tutors and help students find the resources they need to be successful in their academic careers.

Wold has a Bachelor of Arts degree in sport management and a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in sport leadership and has work experience in customer service.

“I love the small atmosphere and close knit community at OJC,” said Wold. “I hope to increase student engagement and help students be successful academically and to stay with OJC until they go on to a four-year institution.”

Wold and her husband, who is the new assistant baseball coach at OJC, have a 7-month old daughter. Wold sells Pink Zebra fragrances in her spare time.

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Shawn Averett, Chemistry Faculty

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Desiree Carrillo, Auxiliary Services Director

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Alexa Cihura, TRiO Financial/Career Coach, Writing Tutor