LCCC welcomes 22 new staff members

What is your name/title?

Tracy Larson: Nursing instructor, certified medical-surgical registered nurse

Cyrus Saatsaz: Mass media and Multimedia instructor

Beth Anne Hawkey: Nursing instructor

Melissa Adkins: Math instructor

Russell Johnson: Math instructor

Amy J. Pilcher: Accounting instructor

Minden Fox: Marketing and Business instructor

Joshua Schmerge: Zoology and Biology instructor

Steve Hrkach (pronounced her’kosh): Wind Energy Technology instructor

Whitney Peterson: Nursing instructor

Rosemary McBride: Agriculture instructor

Amber Telander: Radiology Coordinator for the Dental Hygiene Program

What are three reasons you chose to teach at LCCC?

Tracy Larson: Firstly how the nursing program is designed. The faculty, I felt like I would be supported in learning my new role as an educator. And the community both here at the college, and Cheyenne.

Cyrus Saatsaz: Love the region, teaching at a community college that is welcoming, and the weather.

Beth Anne Hawkey: I chose to teach at LCCC because of the excellent nursing school, supportive and professional staff and the ability to pursue my goal of teaching in higher education.

Dr. Melissa Adkins: I wanted to get back into academia, the location was great for my family, and LCCC seemed welcoming and inviting!

Russell Johnson: I enjoy working with students, in particular I enjoy helping my fellow nontraditional students succeed in math. I love the rush of helping people discover a hidden talent for math. Also, I want to serve the wonderful people of Wyoming as best I can using my talents.

Dr. Amy J. Pilcher: I loved the environment of the campus when I visited.

Minden Fox: I really love marketing and wanted to share my knowledge and experience, teaching gave me an opportunity to do that, and LCCC is right here at home so no commute or move was needed.

Joshua Schmerge: 1) I want to inspire the next generation of students to get excited about biology, anatomy and physiology! 2) I love the diversity of students here. 3) It was a chance to come back to work in Wyoming.

Steve Hrkach: I graduated from LCCC with a AS degree in Wind Energy Technology so I knew the college had a solid wind program. As a supervisor and lead technician, it was my job to train both wind techs and college interns. When the instructor position came open, I thought it was a good fit for my background and skills.

Whitney Peterson: I want a long term career as a nursing educator at an excellent college that upholds the same values that I have.

Rosemary McBride: Commitment to existing and new Ag students, passion for subject area, and ability for the job to inspire my own learning.

Amber Telander: 1. I was either adjunct or interim instructor for this program since 2012 and am proud to be a facilitator to the students in this program.
2. I graduated from the dental hygiene program at LCCC and I feel it is a great program to be a part of.
3. The LCCC community is a wonderful environment for both students and employees.

How do you plan to impact the college during your time at LCCC?

Tracy Larson: I hope to be a mentor to students and a positive influence. I want to demonstrate to them that they can be successful no matter what their background is or what their current challenges are.

Cyrus Saatsaz: My immediate goal, besides striving to be a great teacher, is to build a podcast studio for students to learn audio production and to create a podcast network that would fall under the umbrella of Wingspan. Beyond that I want to be a positive influence on students and lead them to success while developing a broadcast journalism curriculum and help Wingspan become an even more impactful student publication.

Beth Anne Hawkey: I love what I do and I hope I can pass on my passion for learning to my students.

Dr. Melissa Adkins: I hope to help many students while I am here and contribute to the growth of the math department.

Russell Johnson: I want to show students that mathematics is not as difficult to understand as they might think and that math is useful in nearly every avenue of our lives.

Dr. Amy J. Pilcher: I hope to work with other faculty and staff to create great learning experiences for students.

Minden Fox: I will be teaching the majority of the Entrepreneurship Certificate courses which is part of a big push state wide to embrace our innovative nature and encourage those with the amazing ideas to create businesses that will create new jobs, in new industries, in Wyoming.
I’d also like to help build a strong internship program to help our students gain experience, and build connections that will help them find jobs in Wyoming after graduation. For me it was an internship that turned into a full-time job that kept me in Wyoming after graduation.

Joshua Schmerge: I want to make teaching Human Anatomy and Physiology as fun, exciting and engaging as I possibly can!

Steve Hrkach: Short term goal is to build a strong wind energy program that teaches both systems knowledge and critical thinking skills to entry level wind technicians. Long term goals are to increase student throughput to allow the college to hire additional instructors, and incorporate solar power technology into the program.

Whitney Peterson: Student success is my priority. My goal is to bring new teaching strategies into the classroom to help inspire students.

Rosemary McBride: I want to build upon the successes in the Ag department and improve programs so our Ag students are more equipped to meet the demands of rural America today.

Amber Telander: I hope to impact the college in a positive way by connecting more of our community members with the service we provide here at LCCC.

What are some interests you have outside of education?

Tracy Larson: Horseback riding, and spending time with my family.

Cyrus Saatsaz: Surfing, snowboarding, my dog Indiana (Indy for short), travel, the rich smell of mahogany, hiking, great movies and TV shows, reading, cooking, the outdoors, and my beloved Golden State Warriors.

Beth Anne Hawkey: I have 3 kids and I love watching them grow up and pursue their passions. I also love movies, reading, football and spending every spare moment I have with my family.

Dr. Melissa Adkins: My family! I also like to run and watch sports especially Kansas City Chiefs Football!

Russell Johnson: I enjoy fishing, hiking and home brewing.

Dr. Amy J. Pilcher: Taekwondo, Knitting, Watching Movies and Reading.

Minden Fox: I blog about food and food allergies, and I have a large vegetable and fruit garden in the warmer months.

Joshua Schmerge: I am trained as a Vertebrate Paleontologist – I love digging up and studying fossils of dinosaurs, birds and most of all – burrowing rodents!

Steve Hrkach: My wife and I like to explore the great outdoors whether we’re hunting, fishing or just hiking. I like to work on my house or do woodworking when I have spare time.

Whitney Peterson: Love the mountains and hiking.

Rosemary McBride: Camping, hiking and backcountry skiing with my family

Amber Telander: I play music in my spare time. Currently I am playing in the musical “My Fair Lady” at the Cheyenne Little Theater. I also play for the Cheyenne Civic Concert Band throughout the summers to offer free concerts in the park.

Where did you study prior to joining the LCCC team?

Tracy Larson: I graduated from Casper College with my Associates in nursing in 2006. I completed my Bachelors in 2016, and my Masters in May of this year through Western Governors university.

Cyrus Saatsaz: I was awarded my bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University and my master’s degree from San Diego State University. I previously taught at SDSU for two years and at the University of Houston for two years prior to starting here.

Beth Anne Hawkey: I received my Bachelors degree in Education from Black Hills State University, Master of Education from National Louis University, Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Azusa Pacific University and I am currently working towards my Master of Science in Nursing from Azusa Pacific University.

Dr. Melissa Adkins: Emporia State University and Colorado State University.

Russell Johnson: University of Wyoming and MSU Mankato.

Dr. Amy J. Pilcher: Iowa State University.

Minden Fox: I am new to teaching, but completed my Master’s Degree in Internet Marketing at Southern New Hampshire.

Joshua Schmerge: I completed a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming, and a Master’s Degree and PhD at the University of Kansas.

Steve Hrkach: Most of my educations comes from my experience in electrical-mechanical work. I did earn an AS degree in Wind Energy Technology here at LCCC.

Whitney Peterson: Chamberlain College of Nursing.

Rosemary McBride: Bachelors from Utah State University, Masters from University of California, Davis.

Amber Telander: I received my bachelor of science in Dental Hygiene from Northern Arizona University. I have also earned an associates degree from Sheridan College and LCCC.

What past job experience do you have?

Tracy Larson: I have worked in health care for approximately 15 years. I started out as a nurse’s aid and then earned my RN 11 years ago. I recently finished my Masters in nursing education and plan on starting my Doctorate next year. I have worked in the medical/surgical field my entire career, but also have a well rounded background with opportunities to help in pediatrics, telemetry, ER, labor and delivery and ICU.

Cyrus Saatsaz: I’m a multimedia journalist with HuffPost and GrindMedia, which is partnered with Yahoo Sports. I’m a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Regional Award winner in online reporting for a story published with HuffPost where I traveled to Mexico to investigate what happens to illegal immigrants who are deported there. I’m the author of the book Dogwild & Board: Stories, Interviews and Musings from a Surf Journalist. I was formerly a senior editor for USA Today and a multimedia journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle,, and Fuel.TV. I hosted nationally syndicated action sports radio talk shows called WaXed and The Extreme Scene. I owned San Francisco Surf Company, an eco-friendly surf shop/bookstore/art gallery located in San Francisco. I was a sports broadcaster at KNBR radio and ESPN radio for nearly 15 years, and the webcast commentator for the Maverick’s Surf Contest.

Beth Anne Hawkey: Elementary School Educator, and Registered Nurse in the Women’s Health Unit.

Dr. Melissa Adkins: I was working as an engineer at Northrop Grumman before coming to LCCC. Before that I taught at CSU while I went to grad school.

Russell Johnson: Aside from washing dishes, working as a line cook, and delivering newspapers, I have over nine years of experience working on a hog farm.

Dr. Amy J. Pilcher: Online learning administration and teaching leadership studies

Minden Fox: In the past I’ve worked for a Raman Spectrometer tech startup formed by two UW Chemistry professors. We took a lab spectrometer system and developed multiple handheld models that were marketed to different industries including law enforcement, military, plastics and pharmaceuticals. This company was bought by a Silicon Valley tech company a few years later where we combined their technology with ours.
After several years there I moved to Cheyenne and worked for a top 100 Internet Retailer specifically focusing on international growth. This company was also acquired, but by a Fortune 500 company that wanted to focus on growing our brand in the US. My focus then turned to online and retail marketing and finding ways to combine the two as we opened new retail stores. I spent a lot of time with Google and testing beta products that allow consumers to search for locally available products online.

Joshua Schmerge: I’ve taught college students since 2012, and I started as an adjunct professor teaching Human Anatomy in 2016. I’ve also worked as a tutor and substitute teacher since 2014, helping with everything from science to math to public speaking, and I’ve taught all the way from the first grade level to the graduate student level!

Steve Hrkach: I am a 25 year retired Air Force veteran. I was an electrical/mechanical technician for the Minuteman II and III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile weapon system. My most recent work experience is as a wind tech where I traveled about one third of the time to maintain and repair wind turbines throughout the United States.

Whitney Peterson: 11+ years in healthcare in various positions .

Rosemary McBride: Adjunct Instructor at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs, CO and owned my own home business

Amber Telander: I have worked in the dental field in private practice for the past 18 years as either a dental assistant or dental hygienist in Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.

One interesting fact about yourself?

Tracy Larson: I commute from Glenrock most days of the week (2.5 Hrs).

Cyrus Saatsaz: I was on The Price Is Right.

Beth Anne Hawkey: I love fantasy football and I have been the Commissioner of our Family Fantasy Football league for the last five years.

Dr. Melissa Adkins: I played fastpitch softball in my undergrad and got to play on ESPN!

Russell Johnson: I share my name with the professor from Gilligan’s Island, but I have never made a radio from bamboo and coconuts.

Dr. Amy J. Pilcher: I’m allergic to the sun.

Minden Fox: My name, Minden, does not come from the town of Minden, Nebraska. It is part of my Czech and German roots.

Joshua Schmerge: I’ve been happily married to my wife, Maggie, for seven years, and we have a beautiful 9 month old baby girl, Althea!

Steve Hrkach: I was part of a team that performed a test and evaluation launch of an unarmed Minuteman III missile off the coast of California.

Whitney: I spent this last year working in and traveling Europe. It was an excellent opportunity.

Rosemary McBride: I served almost 3 years in Morocco in the Peace Corps working with herder nomads sharing traditional grazing land with a protected herd of Cuvier’s Gazelle.

Amber Telander: I can play several musical instruments.

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