Meet the STEM Staff

Joey Mathews

Joey Mathews, M.S.

Joey Mathews is the director of STEM Career and Technical Education as well as the project director of the STEM EDGE Title III grant at Pueblo Community College. Joey started at PCC as a part-time professor 20 years ago, teaching many biology classes such as anatomy, physiology and microbiology. Her other experience includes the role of chemical analyst at KMG Chemicals and laboratory analyst of an environmental cleanup project at the Pueblo Chemical Depot. 

Joey received her Bachelor of Science in biology and her Masters of Applied Natural Science from the University of Southern Colorado (now CSU Pueblo). Her thesis included the study of the effects of linear furanocoumarins on spodoptera exiguas cytochrome p-450 enzyme. For her efforts, she was acknowledged in the Handbook of Toxicology by the book’s author.

Joey enjoys running and hiking. Whether it is road running, Spartan Obstacle Course races or hiking up the Manitou Incline, she likes it all. Joey resides in Pueblo with her fiancé, Chris Masters, and has two sons, Hunter and Nate. 

Parker Banas

Parker Banas, M.S.

Parker Banas is the STEM outreach coordinator for the STEM EDGE Title III grant at Pueblo Community College. Previously, he had many different roles including resident assistant and assistant community director at Michigan State University, varsity lacrosse coach, senior sales consultant at Paychex Inc., and international conservation and social science researcher in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

Parker received his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and his Master of Science from the Michigan State University. His thesis, Local Perceptions of Environmental Insecurity and Wildlife Conservation in the Mnisi Tribal Authority, Mpumalanga, South Africa, included the study of the interplay of local perceptions from the MTA and looked into understanding the relationship between various viewpoints while interpreting and analyzing the perceived risks to design policies that aid in insecurity reduction at local, regional and global levels.

Parker is a published author and photographer. He has won various photography contests and hopes to tie in his passions of international travel, photography and cultural awareness and understanding with his current position. 

In his free time, he loves to hike fourteeners across the United States, explore new countries with his wonderful girlfriend, try new foods and stay as active as possible.

Jimmie Romero

Jimmie Romero

Jimmie Romero is the Pueblo campus STEM EDGE Title III grant academic and career expert (ACE) for STEM programs under the science division. He has had the privilege of working in education for eight years spanning K-12 and higher education. He has been a teaching assistant, research assistant, implement coordinator, community advocate, academic success coach and now ACE. Jimmie has had the pleasure of working alongside education officials in pursuit of programs that aid students’ goals and careers by providing resources for families to be successful in their students’ academic careers.

Jimmie gave presentations on several topics of research surrounding counseling education, pedagogy on clinical psychology, and suicide/bullying prevention methods. He has worked with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to implement a program on compassionate acts through the form of student leadership and active demonstration by high school seniors. He has served as a chair for the set-up committee of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association with his mentor, Dr. Krista D. Bridgmon (CSU Pueblo), for two years. He has also taught in higher education for more than two years in upper-division psychology courses and has dedicated his life to helping students achieve their goals through holistic and compassionate coaching. 

In his time in education, he has found myself understanding how important it is to be authentic with students. He strives every day to provide students with possibilities and optimism through not just advising but friendship. He has found that in his own educational career, mentorship and friendship with advisors, success coaches and faculty are not just about opportunity but also lifelong growth. Jimmie leads his life with the things he has gained in his experiences and the heart of his mentor, who taught him to be compassionate and kind with a hint of crazy.

Cassie Aubuchon

Cassie Aubuchon

Cassie Aubuchon is the STEM Coordinator for the STEM EDGE Title III grant at Pueblo Community College. Prior to her current position, Cassie worked as a laboratory technician for the community college system, as well as administrative staff in Student Services.

As the first in her family to attend college, she understands the tremendous dedication and perseverance that is required to obtain a higher education.  Cassie received her Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from Pikes Peak State College and her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. 

In her free time, Cassie enjoys spending time with her husband, Matthew, and their two wonderful dogs. Whether it be hiking, traveling, or trying something new, Cassie appreciates any opportunity to expand her horizons and broaden her world view. 

Melissa Watters

Melissa Watters, M.S. (Southwest Campus)

Melissa Watters is the STEM academic and career expert (ACE) at the PCC Southwest campus. Originally from Chicago, Melissa earned her B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois and her M.S. in environmental engineering from Northwestern University. After working as an engineer for Argonne National Laboratory, Melissa realized that she most enjoyed engaging students and inspiring the next generations of STEM professionals, so she changed careers and became a math and science educator, incorporating the engineering design process into all her classes. In the last several years before joining PCC Southwest, Melissa found another passion in helping students understand their strengths and interests as they relate to careers and helping them find their way on their career paths. You can see why STEM ACE really is the perfect job for her! Melissa lives in Dolores with her husband and two dogs. They’re often found exploring the beautiful Southwest landscape together.

Chris LaRose

Chris LaRose (Southwest Campus)

Chris LaRose is the STEM outreach coordinator for the STEM EDGE Title III grant at PCC Southwest. Chris has been in education for 21 years, specializing primarily in science, math and STEM education. He had a variety of roles including coordinator, director, teacher, volunteer and mentor. Chris has worked in a wide range of educational settings including science schools, public schools, charter schools, international schools, health and technology centers and summer camps.

Chris created and implemented lesson plans using STEM education including Sumo Bots, cryptography, bioengineering, science fair, environmental science and biomimicry. He has a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s in science education. He holds a professional teaching license in the state of Colorado.

Chris is passionate about STEM. He enjoys sharing knowledge and helping students explore and discover the world around them. He understands the importance of developing a student’s love for learning through positive experiences. Chris loves to see students use their imagination to create new inventions because we need student inventors to help solve real-world challenges.
When Chris is not doing STEM activities, you can find him outside enjoying the mountains, deserts, rivers and lakes. He likes to whitewater kayak and snowboard; he recently started learning how to sail. He also loves to travel with his family and explore different cultures. Chris lives in Dolores with his wife, Maggie, and four children – Taylor, Keira, Ranger and Johanna. 


Jonah Croll

Jonah Croll

Hello! I'm an Art major entering my final few semesters of PCC. I've been working in the STEM Center for a little over a year now and it's been a great time. I am a relatively shy and quiet person around people I don't know, but around those I do, I'm more energetic. After I graduate I am going to go for a secondary degree in Character and Creature Design doing webcomics on the side.

Nick Knezevich

Nick Knezevich

I am currently pursuing my Associates of Science with a focus on biology. It is my goal to further my education with a degree in wildlife biology after my time at PCC. The STEM Center offers many opportunities and resources for students and I am eager and willing to help you find and utilize any that you will need to help complete either a class, or just for the fun of it all. As I am sure you have assumed, based on the information above, that I have a deep interest in and love for the natural world. I look forward to seeing you come by the STEM Center soon.

Jacob Padilla

Jacob Padilla

Jacob Padilla is a work-study for the STEM Center at Pueblo Community College. He is part of the NASA funded Colorado Space Grant currently working on a wearables technology team. He will be graduating in May 2022 with his Associates Degree in Business Ownership and plans to one day be a successful entrepreneur. 

After graduation he plans transfer to a four-year college to further continue his education. He is passionate about learning new things, living healthy and helping others. In his free time Jacob loves playing basketball and spending time with his dog, family and friends.

Lucian Varos

Lucian Varos

My current major is an Associate of Science. I am working to become a mechanical engineer. You can find me in the STEM Center often, and I'm always here to help! I enjoy spending my free time biking, longboarding, and bowling. Another one of my favorite past times is creating different things, anywhere from metal artwork, woodworking, or 3d prints. I look forward to seeing you in the STEM Center. 

Sara Balquin

Sara Balquin

Sara Balquin is a work-study in the STEM Center at PCC. She is majoring in psychology and is deciding whether to pursue her associate or bachelor degree. This is her first year in college and her second semester. She enjoys life in general and feels life is too short not to appreciate the beauties of nature. She enjoys nature walks, being with her kids, gardening, art, puzzles, riding bikes, hiking, kayaking, cleaning her home and learning anything new.