Faculty   |

Mendocino College Communications Faculty

Jody Gehrman is a professor of communication studies. She has been teaching at the college level since 1997. Her usual course load includes Intro to Public Speaking, Argumentation and Debate, Mass Media and Society, and Intro to Communication Studies. She is also a novelist and playwright who has authored over a dozen published novels and numerous plays for the stage and screen. She lives in Ukiah with her set designer husband and two out of control cats.

Lorraine Hee-Chorley holds a BA and an MA in Communication. Her master’s thesis was on the Effects of the Asian American Movement in 1976. She was active in the Asian American Student Alliance at Humboldt State University (HSU) and also sat on the curriculum committee at HSU who put into place in 1974 a requirement that all students take one course in ethnic studies to meet their general education requirement. She has sat on various research committees over the years representing the Asian American point of view. She is keeping up the promise she made to herself that her family members no longer have to feel ashamed of who they are but can proudly stand up to be heard.

Menaka Olson, MS Strategic Communications, is an adjunct professor of communication studies. As a communications professional with fourteen years in the non-profit sector in both Lake & Mendocino Counties, she has been teaching at the college level since 2020. She can usually be found on the class schedule with a course of Interpersonal Communication, Intercultural Communication and/or Writing for the Mass Media. When not teaching, she and her (local elementary school teacher) husband spend their time at one of their son's basketball games or transitioning into life with a daughter who is a new college student. 

Doug Prather has been teaching for Mendocino College for almost twenty years.  Although he normally teaches Anthropology, he usually teaches at least one Intercultural Communication class (Com 211) during the semester.  His area of specialty is archaeology, and he has been around the world on major excavations, immersing himself into various cultures.  He currently resides with his wife in Kelseyville, where he grew up.

J. David Wakefield received his MFA from Eastern Washington University and works as an adjunct instructor in English and Communications. He usually teaches English Composition, Critical Thinking, and Argumentation and Debate. He enjoys the good things of life: great music, tasty food, unique places, and engaging conversations. He also writes regularly for The Bloom, a local online arts paper.

Dena Watson-Krasts is an Adjunct Assistant Professor with over fifteen years of experience teaching at Mendocino College. She teaches in multiple departments including theater, psychology and communications. She teaches interpersonal communication in the communication department and loves it! Besides teaching, She is an artist that makes art as often as possible, has a private coaching practice and is a proud mom to two wonderful young adults and one spoiled cat. 

Liz Weiss has been a part-time instructor and counselor at Mendocino College since 2008. The courses she has taught include: Interpersonal Communication, Career and Life Planning, College Success, Cooperative Work Experience, Health Education, and Women's Health. During the summer, her family enjoys traveling by train throughout the U.S. and Canada.


Degrees   |

Degrees A.A.-T 

Communication Studies is a broad-based discipline that covers the exchange of messages from interpersonal to mass communication. Courses in this major focus on understanding the communication process and developing the skills to communicate effectively.

The Associate in Arts in Communication Studies for Transfer is designed to prepare students for a seamless transfer into the CSU system to complete a baccalaureate degree in Communication Studies or similar major. Priority admission with junior status to the CSU system will be granted. 

Careers   |

Career Opportunities in Communication Studies:
Completing the baccalaureate degree or graduate level work can lead to a variety of opportunities. Students completing a degree in Communication Studies are prepared for an entry level position in mass media (radio, music, TV, film, advertising, gaming, publishing, journalism), community relations, communications consulting, public relations, lobbying, speech writing, public affairs or similar professions.