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College of Communication & Education

New Faculty

Erica Colmenares

erica colmenares

Erica Colmenares received her EdD in curriculum studies from Columbia University, New York. She is a K-12 curriculum and instruction assistant professor in the School of Education.

Her interests include social justice pedagogy and new teachers in the moments of emotional crisis. She looks to find ways to support students when in pre-service and working in diverse schools in urban or rural communities.

Colmenares is a French horn player and she loves to travel. She is excited to get to know the North State. She was born in Venezuela and at 15 years old, she and her twin sister moved to Kuwait to finish high school. 

Colmenares is teaching “Access and Equity in Education” and “Curriculum Theory and Practice - Social Studies.”

Nicholas Burk

Nicholas BurkAssistant Professor Nicholas Burk is joining the faculty of the Communication Studies program in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. He received his PhD in organizational communication from the University of Colorado Bolder.

Burk’s research involves interdisciplinary collaboration. His interest is the organizational basis for knowledge accomplishment. Burk studies the ways in which we collaborate toward knowledge.

Burk loves the outdoor opportunities that Chico offers. He enjoys mountain biking, camping, hiking, and disc golf. He appreciates the close proximity Chico allows to additional parks and recreational destinations. Burk has enjoyed outdoor activities in Lake Tahoe, Mt. Lassen, the Redwoods State Park and Mendocino. He purchased a small Jeep with four-wheel drive to easily reach trailheads.

Jamie Gunderson

jamie gunderson

Assistant Professor Jamie Gunderson is joining the School of Education.  She received her PhD in special education from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Her research interests include working with students with intellectual disabilities and incorporating technology into the classroom to provide students with opportunities for improved reading and object identification.

Gunderson and her husband love adventure and when not working can be found in their Jeep exploring the Pacific Northwest coast with their two dogs: a beagle and a chiweenie. 

Gunderson is teaching two sections of “Classroom Management for Individuals with Exceptional Needs.”

Megan Willi

megan willi

Assistant Professor Megan Willi is joining the faculty of the Communication Sciences and Disorders program in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. She received her PhD in speech, language, and hearing sciences from the University of Arizona, Tucson. 

Her specialty is conversational acoustics in individuals with motor-speech disorders. However, her passion is using technology and entrainment to better help individuals with communication challenges to communicate more effectively. She hopes to make the clinic in the Center for Communication Disorders more accessible to students and the community, and to provide improved diagnostic devices for student use.

When Willi is not conducting research or working with students, she can be found backpacking, biking, and enjoying the outdoors.   

Willi is teaching “Anatomy and Physiology of Speech, Language, and Hearing” and “Clinical Practicum.” She will also provide clinical instruction of students in the Center for Communication Disorders’ campus clinic

Aaron Koch

aaron koch

Aaron Koch joins the School of Education as a special education assistant professor. He received his PhD in exceptional education from the University of Central Florida.

He is interested in working with pre-service students working in underserved rural communities. He believes that mentorship of teachers in underserved communities is paramount for teacher retention. He hopes to work with virtual reality platforms to teach soft skills to special needs children, and those with autism spectrum disorder.

Koch is an area local who comes from five generations of farmers. His father and aunt both taught at Chico State. He is very connected to the farming community and loves spending time with his 110-pound German shepherd.

Koch is teaching “Curriculum and Instruction – Moderate/Severe” and “Advanced Methods for Autism.”