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College 101 Faculty

College 101 Faculty


Joyce Marie Brusasco
See my online profile here
See my educational journey video here

I teach in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) and Child and Adolescent Development (CADV). At CSUN I teach a diverse student population from freshman to graduate students by employing various learning strategies, adjusting to the styles and abilities of the students. I utilize innovative methods of instruction, including video, interactive class activities and discussions to present course material, in small groups and large lectures. I create lecture presentations for both online and in-class environments. I integrate technology into classroom instruction for a well-rounded and modern approach. I build relationships with students, mentoring on personal, professional and academic goals and providing coaching on effective study habits to ensure long-term success.

Oscar Hernandez

I am an adjunct instructor with the Department of Anthropology and I am absolutely thrilled to be part of College 101. I find helping students discover, plan and shape their academic journeys very fulfilling. I remember going through many difficulties and achievements on my own journey so I am very understanding and excited for your own progress, challenges and successes. Please consider me part of your team in helping you reach your goals.


In case you’re interested, my main interests in anthropology surround themes of digital cultures and society. I am interested in how social media, digital media, and online cultures influence the ideology of our culture campuses.  My other interests include artificial intelligence and its impact on culture (either in real life or in movies/fiction). I am also interested in the evolution of morality, objective morality, and free will or lack of free will. Lastly, I have recently been deeply interested in issues of free speech and how citizens perceive or think of “hate speech” and censorship.

Raffi Kahwajian
Phone: 818-947-2961
See my LinkedIn profile here
See my welcome video here
See my educational journey video here

I would describe myself as a versatile educator with a knack for creative solutions. Education is a dynamic field, and my eclectic background is a testament to that fact. Ultimately, I find program inception, development, and management with the goal of serving students to be deeply rewarding endeavors.  That said, I’m excited to be your College 101 instructor, serving as a guide on your journey towards a better understanding of self and navigating the community college system to meet your goals.  Personally, I wish this type of a course existed when I was starting on my higher education path; I would have definitely been less confused and had more confidence about my direction and choices.  Let’s work together as partners and contribute to the success of this program, and more importantly…YOU!

John Kawai
Listen to my podcast here
See my welcome video here

John K. Kawai, PhD. is a tenured professor of mathematics at LA Valley College. His primary focus is on developing equity support services, embedding essential learning skills and creating high-quality re-usable content for mathematics remediation in a community college setting. He is the recipient of numerous teaching honors including the Services for Students with Disabilities Outstanding Service Award for outstanding effort in accommodating students with disabilities. Currently, Professor Kawai co-hosts the Valley Connection, a podcast that highlights the inspirational backstories of the faculty, administrators, students, and staff at LA Valley College to give a road map and encouragement for students who are also on their own life’s journey. 

Professor Kawai’s mathematics background stems from working as a computer graphics visual effects researcher at James Cameron’s effects studio, Digital Domain. Their credits include blockbuster movies such as Titanic, Avatar, Apollo 13, etc. Professor Kawai received a B.S. in Math and Computer Science from UCLA, an M.S. in Applied Mathematics from California State University, Los Angeles, and a PhD. in Computer Graphics from the University of Utah. His prior areas of research and/or publication include adjunct faculty mentorship, automated lighting design, clothing simulation, particle systems, and simulated global illumination techniques.

Colette Meade
See my welcome video here

I am an LAVC adjunct professor of English. I graduated from California State University Northridge with a master’s degree in English Rhetoric and Composition. I picked this major because it focuses on teaching and education as well as English. I am also a freelance music journalist who interviews musicians and writes reviews of concerts and music releases. I also work at the LAVC Writing Center, which is a part of the Academic Resource Center (ARC). The ARC provides tutoring in many different subjects free to students (even online). I have worked there since 2012 and it has been a rich and rewarding experience. As a professor, my philosophy is firmly rooted in the belief that students of every ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, identity, gender, ability, and background can discover and develop their unique talents and capabilities and derive marketable skills from their investment in education. As a professor, it is my goal to help guide students on this journey. I enjoy working at Los Angeles Valley College because I believe that the affordable, inclusive, and accessible qualities of the community college make it a unique and extremely important environment for learning.

Amelia Rodriguez
See my educational journey here


Kelly "Lily" Salter
See my educational journey here

I completed my BA in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (1994). My graduate work (MA in Creative Writing) was completed at Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA (2000). I am a freelance writer and have produced feature stories for national magazines, developed scripted material for radio and television, and published a memoir, Death-defying Nina.

I came to LAVC in 2015 after ten years at Cal State Long Beach, where I had the pleasure of being the Writing Specialist and Program Faculty for federally-funded programs devoted to the academic needs of low-income, first-generation college students: Student Support Services Program, Upward Bound, and The McNair Scholars Program. Prior to my tenure at CSULB, I was an Adult Basic Education instructor for an innovative parolee educational program sponsored by the California Department of Corrections. Currently, I am an adjunct faculty member of the English Department and Instructional Assistant/Supervisor of the General Tutoring Center. I value the unique perspectives that each student brings to the class and welcome their contribution in creating a rich learning community. As an educator, my ultimate goal is to inspire students to become life-long learners and to embrace their educational journey.

Fay Sheikholeslami
Phone: 818-947-2616
See my LinkedIn profile here
See my educational journey here

I am the faculty supervisor at LAVC Academic Resource Center. I earned my BA in English Literature from Iran and my MSc in International Tourism Management from England. I also have my Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from California State University of Northridge. I started my career at LAVC as an English Tutor in the Writing Center in 2012 and built my way up to the ARC faculty supervisor. Now, I am involved in curriculum design and grant writing at LAVC. Personally, I wish there was a similar course to college 101 when I started planning my higher education. I would be less confused and able to make better decisions in my educational path. As an educator, my goal is to help my students to identify and develop their own passions while becoming successful in their academic journey. Let’s start this journey together!

Joel Trudgeon
Phone: 818-778-5831

I am a first-generation college student.  I attended Allan Hancock Community College in Santa Maria, CA before transferring to California State University, Northridge.  I received my BA in screenwriting on 1999.  I directed an independent feature film and have been an editor for a number of productions.  I also worked as a morning drive DJ at KBEAR 95.3. I earned my Masters Degree in screenwriting from Cal-State Northridge in 2007.  I am preparing to shoot another feature film in the coming year.  

I taught my first screenwriting class at CSUN in 2006.  I have been part of the Media Arts department at LAVC since 2013 teaching, Cinema 105, Cinema 107, Cinema 101, and Media Arts 101.  I also teach at LA City College.  I am excited to part of the College 101 and believe that this is an important class for all new students.  I am excited to work with you and help you on your educational journey.