Meet the Professors of the Field Studies Program at College of the Canyons
Brittany Applen, Sign Language
Brittany Applen is a Sign Language professor at College of the Canyons. She
earned her B.A. degree in Deaf Studies with an emphasis on Interpreting.
She then completed her M.A. degree in Communication Studies from California
State University, Northridge. She has been interpreting since 2000 at
various colleges. In 2001 she began interpreting at COC. She was hired as
a part-time faculty member in 2003 and in January 2007 she accepted a
fulltime position at the college. Brittany has also been involved with the
Recreation & Tourism Management department at CSU, Northridge since 2000 and
began teaching recreational courses in 2005. She is an avid outdoorswoman
with some of her passions being hiking, backpacking & wilderness survival.
She is excited about the opportunity to offer Language Immersion weekends at
Camp Tahquitz for Sign Language students at College of the Canyons.
southern California native, obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from
USC and completed her graduate work at California State University,
Fullerton, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fine Arts. Before
joining the faculty at College of the Canyons she was a professor at Chaffey
College, UC Irvine, Pepperdine, Cal State Dominguez Hills, and Cal State
Fullerton. She brings a wealth of experience in art, photography, and
graphic design, along with an intense knowledge of technology in the arts,
to the college. She continues to work as a professional artist and
Jeannie Chari, Biology
Jeannie Chari is a Biology Professor at College of the Canyons. She brings
with her varied experience in both biology and environmental science. As an
undergraduate at UCLA she earned a double major in Biology and Environmental
Engineering. Her undergraduate research focused on molecular biology
specifically looking at viral pathogenesis. Her graduate work done at
California State University, Northridge was carried out in the mountains
where she uncovered the mechanisms that prevent hybridization and therefore
maintain speciation between 2 species of native Penstemon. It
was during these years spent in nature studying biology that she developed a
passion to introduce students to the intricacies and diversity of nature.
She is the Advisor for the Hands on Earth Club at College of the Canyons and enjoys
many outdoor activities including hiking, gardening and snow and water
Michael Dermody, History
Field Studies Program Coordinator
Michael Dermody has been a professor of
History and Political Science at COC since 1988. He grew up in the
Lakewood/Long Beach area, attending Long Beach City College and receiving
his BA and MA from the University of California, Riverside. Although hired
as a generalist, he has a special interest in the history of California, the
American West, and the Irish Diaspora. In addition to coordinating the
field studies programs, Michael has also served for many years as the
President of the COC Academic Senate. For over two decades he has served as
a summer camp director. Married since 1984, he and his wife have raised two
sons in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Vincent Devlahovich grew up in San Pedro in the South Bay portion of
Southern California. He attended the University of Utah for his
undergraduate education before attending California State University,
Northridge for his secondary teaching credential and graduate work. His
graduate research focused on the origin and transport of volcanic clasts
found in the Santa Monica Mountains from their source near Poway, California
north of San Diego. He received his M.S. from CSUN in Interdisciplinary
Studies with emphasis in Geology and Tropical Biology and began teaching
university levels courses in the geological sciences department at that
time, after 6 years of teaching secondary science and math in Simi Valley
Unified school district. Since this time he taught at Glendale Community
College and at Moorpark Community College before accepting full time
employment at the College of the Canyons in August of 2007. Vincent’s
recreational passions are winter sports, hiking, mountain biking and
camping, all of which he has done for over 25 years.
Hyatt, Recreation Management
Rhonda Hyatt is a long-time resident of Santa Clarita
and a full time faculty member for Recreation Management, a newly
established major at College of the Canyons. Her professional education
background includes a B.S. in Athletic Training from UNLV, an M.S. in
Physical Education from University of Arizona and a Doctorate of Education
from UCLA. Her professional interests include leisure education, leadership
in recreation, sports management, and sports medicine. Prior to joining the
College of the Canyons faculty, she worked in sports administration at Santa
Monica College and California State University, Northridge.
Anne Marenco, Sociology
Anne Marenco earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from USC and
taught at California State University, Northridge and Pierce College before
taking the position of Department Chair at College of the Canyons. Her
sociological interests include marital relationships over the life course. Anne
enjoys traveling and camping. She has been married since 1980
and has two children. The household also includes two dogs,
two bearded dragons, and a turtle.
Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Brent Riffel was not born in a log
cabin, nor raised by wolves, but rather hails from the great state of
Arkansas. He joined the COC faculty as a full-time instructor in 2008.
In addition to his teaching schedule, he is the adviser for the
History club. Dr. Riffel specializes in modern American history, with
a particular emphasis on the Civil Rights Movement, as well as social
and cultural American history, and the history of the Middle East. He
and his wife Mariah live in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Ms. Williams-Páez earned her MA in Sociology from the University of
Washington and her MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary.
Ms. Williams-Páez's research interests include stratification, social life
in public spaces, and globalization. Her teaching interests include gender,
race and ethnicity, and social deviance. Some of the writers
who have influenced Ms. Williams-Páez include Howard S. Becker, June Jordan,
James Baldwin, and Sherman Alexie.
In her spare time, Ms. Williams-Páez enjoys participating in gardening,
photography, music, sports and doing ceramics.