Cerro Coso Community College

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation consists of 11 members, 8 of whom serve three-year terms. Permanent members of the board are the President of the College, the College Development Director, and the member of the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees which represents Cerro Coso.

Board Members

Foundation Staff

Meet Our Members

Jill Board, President of Cerro Coso Community College

Jill Board became Cerro Coso Community College's eighth president in July of 2010. She holds a Master's Degree in counselor education from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Bachelor's Degree in music education from Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland, Washington, and completed a prestigious Leadership Program at Harvard University.

Previous positions held by Board at Cerro Coso include: Vice President of Student Services; Dean of Student Services; Dean of Student Learning; Director of Admissions and Records, Matriculation and Student Activities; and Counselor/Coordinator for Special Services.

At the state level, Board served on a Degrees and Certificates Committee, led a California Community College Chancellor's Office Student Services Categorical Review Team, and has participated and led various Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation teams beginning 2007 to present. She is currently representing the Central Valley Conference for athletics as their regional representative to the California Community College Athletic Association and serves as a director on the board of the Central Valley Higher Education Council.

In 2015 Board received the Woman of the Year Award in appreciation for her outstanding and continued service to the Ridgecrest community from the local chapter of Beta Sigma Phi International. In 2017 Phi Theta Kappa International awarded her the Shirley B. Gordon Award for her extraordinary support of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She was also appointed to the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Presidential Advisory Board to provide input into the organization's strategic plan, priorities, and direction during that time.

Previously Board served on the American Association of Community Colleges Commission on Academic, Student, and Community Development. Since 2017 she has participated on the board of the Presidential Advisory Committee for Premiere Colleges associated with Bellevue University.

Locally, Board serves on the board for the Ridgecrest Economic Development Committee, Desert Valley Federal Credit Union, and the advisory committee for Leadership Ridgecrest. Additionally, she co-chairs the Ridgecrest Educational Collaborative along with a China Lake Naval Weapons Station representative and the Sierra Sands Unified School District Superintendent.

Jill Board
Natalie Dorrell

Natalie Dorrell, Director of Public Relations & Institutional Advancement at Cerro Coso Community College

The Office of Public Relations and Institutional Advancement seeks to advance public understanding, build and strengthen lifelong relationships, and enhance philanthropy in support of Cerro Coso Community College. Natalie started her career at Cerro Coso 1982 in the Office of Information, Development, and Alumni Relations. She spent 7 years as the Coordinator of the department before moving into the position of Bookstore Manager where she spent 15 years running the college bookstore. She returned to her roots in college public relations in 2011. Dorrell holds both an Associate Degree and Certificate of Completion in Business Administration from Cerro Coso Community College, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of La Verne. She is also a graduate of the Kern Community College District Leadership Academy and the Asilomar Women's Leadership Program for women in California Community Colleges.

"I love working in education. You don't work in the same place for 36 years if you don't love it! I believe in our mission to provide a better understanding and knowledge base that can lead to better futures for all who come here. It not only benefits the individual and communities we serve, but society as a whole."

Alexia Svejda, CCCC Foundation Board President

Alexia Svejda is a native Idahoan that has called the Antelope Valley home since 1999. She is currently the president and executive director of the California City Chamber of Commerce and president elect of the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation board.

Alexia holds a bachelors in German from Utah State University, a masters in Bilingual-Bicultural Studies from the University of Texas, San Antonio, and a certificate of Nonprofit Management from Duke University.

Alexia started her career teaching English at the Defense Language Institute. She continued in the education field as a teacher trainer for the states of Texas and Colorado and as the director of an adult literacy program. Many moves, due to her spouse's career, resulted in an eclectic resume. While Alexia never quite left teaching, she made the change over to nonprofit management and consulting. She specializes in rebuilding struggling organizations and establishing new nonprofits. In her current position she is passionate about bring positive change to her local community and area.

Alexia also taught and rewrote the curriculum for Adult English as a Foreign Language classes at Cerro Coso.

Alexia Svejda
Derrick Hu

Derrick Hu, CCCC Foundation Board President-Elect

Derrick Hu is the Deputy Director for the Office of Small Business Programs, Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division (NAWCWD). He was born and raised in Honolulu, HI. Derrick is a veteran of the US Air Force serving in the logistics career field. He is a graduate of Musician's Institute of Technology (MI) in Hollywood, CA. Derrick has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Master's Degree in Administration from California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB). He was hired as an intern for the Navy Acquisition Intern Program (Outstanding Scholars Program) supporting the NAWCWD Contracts Competency and has experience in "cradle to grave" contracting and supporting many of the DoD's Electronic Acquisition Initiatives. Derrick has been a resident of Ridgecrest, CA since 1994. He is married to Teresa (O'Neil) and has two adult children (twins). Derrick enjoys travelling and spending time with his family. He has a passion for music and loves playing and collecting (left-handed) guitars. Derrick is the lead guitarist for recording artist Andrew Ryan and supports other local musicians.

Volunteer Experience:

  • Chair, DoD Western Regional Council for Small Business Advocacy and Education
  • Voting Board Member of the SSUSD Special Education Community Advisory Committee
  • Club President (and various officer positions), Ridgecrest Possibilitarians Toastmaster Club
  • Executive Board Member, China Lake/Ridgecrest Chapter of the National Contracts Management Association (NCMA)
  • Advisory Committee Member, Leadership Ridgecrest Inaugural Program

Deidre Patin

Deidre Patin has been a member of the Cerro Coso College Foundation Board since 2015, and served as Foundation Board President for two years. She is an active volunteer at Saint Ann's school and also serves on the Ridgecrest Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

An alumni of Cerro Coso Community College, Deidre went on to earn her Bachelor's degree in Business in 2006.

In her full-time career with the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Deidre serves as a Public Affairs Specialist and the NAWCWD community liaison.

Both natives to the valley, Deidre met her husband Jason while attending Burroughs High School. They moved away for several years, returning in 2003 to their home-town of Ridgecrest. Deidre and Jason have four children, two adult sons and two young daughters ages 8 and 6. They also have a beautiful grand-daughter and two more on the way.

Deidre Patin

Jan Bennett, CCCC Foundation Board Treasurer

Now retired after 30 years with the State employment office (20 years as manager of the Ridgecrest office) and 10 years as CEO of the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce, Jan remains active with several ongoing programs in Ridgecrest, including AARP Tax-Aide, China Lake Alliance, Elks Lodge, and, after being recruited by Roe Darnell in about 2000, the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation.

Cameron Bruce

Cameron Bruce

Cameron Bruce is a registered professional engineer in private practice after retiring from 35 years in federal service. Cameron held a series of positions in engineering and management which led him to a rich and rewarding career in research, design and testing of science and technology demonstrations.

"I am forever grateful for the solid foundation I received at Cerro Coso. I was enabled to complete my upper division engineering work at San Diego State University followed by Graduate degrees at CSU Bakersfield & California Lutheran University. It is gratifying to observe that Cerro Coso still has first class faculty to provide great starts for transfer students in all fields as well as specific vocational programs which provide successful careers for students, and top notch employees to meet the needs of local industry."

Genesis Smith

Genesis Smith is a Cerro Coso Community College graduate (Class of 1999) who joined the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation Board of Directors in June 2019. She currently serves as a U.S. Navy civilian at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA and has over a decade of experience managing international projects and building partnerships for the USN and DoD.

Born and raised in Ridgecrest, CA and a fourth-generation China Lake employee, Genesis earned a B.A. in International Relations with a Minor in Political Science from California State University, Chico and went on to earn an M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College in Illinois while concurrently working as an English Instructor at a medical college in China.

Genesis holds professional certifications in Program Management & International Acquisition and International Affairs and is an active volunteer with Expanding Your Horizons STEM conferences for young women for which she recently designed and led the Equip Career Discovery Workshop.

“I have been extremely blessed to have experienced such rich and diverse educational opportunities including my time as a student at Cerro Coso Community College. The talented and caring faculty and staff encouraged and inspired me to pursue my dreams and I’m honored to be supporting the Foundation’s continued commitment to access, success, and excellence.”

Genesis Smith

Foundation Staff

Lauren Falk

Lauren Falk, Program Manager for Foundation & Institutional Advancement

Email: lauren.falk@cerrocoso.edu
Phone: (760) 384-6145

Lauren joined the staff in April 2018 as the Program Manager for Foundation & Institutional Advancement at Cerro Coso. She serves as the primary liaison between the Foundation and the College, working tirelessly to improve access to affordable, quality higher education for the residents of Kern County. Lauren recently relocated to California from Washington, DC, and brings with her 7+ years of professional experience in public policy and government relations.

She originally hails from Baltimore, MD, and has a bachelor's degree in political science from La Salle University (Philadelphia, PA) and a master's degree in public policy from American University (Washington, DC). In her free time she enjoys exercising and staying active, taking day trips to the beach, playing with her lovable beagle Fiona, and keeping in touch with friends and family back east.

Kellen Nelepovitz, Department Assistant II for CCCC Foundation & Promise

Email: kellen.nelepovitz@cerrocoso.edu
Phone: (760) 384-6210

Kellen Nelepovitz is the Department Assistant II for the Foundation as well as the Cerro Coso Promise. Born and raised in Ridgecrest, Kellen earned her degree at Chico State and had the opportunity to study abroad in Prague, earning her Bachelors in Communication Design and International Relations. Kellen works closely with the CCCC Foundation and enjoys developing sustainable funding for the Cerro Coso Promise. When Kellen is not at work, she loves going on adventures with her 1 year old pup, Tyson, and working her photography business.

Kellen Nelepovitz
Amber Reed

Amber Reed, Department Assistant II

Email: amber.reed@cerrocoso.edu
Phone: (760) 384-6262

Amber Reed is the assistant of the Public Information Office and its director of Public Relations and Institutional Advancement, Natalie Dorrell. Her bubbly and cheerful attitude are a welcome addition to the department. Creative by nature, Amber loves to draw, color, and paint. Her favorite medium is digital art. She primarily draws on the computer using a Wacom tablet to create art and uses photoshop to manipulate her work. Amber was born and raised in Ridgecrest and is a proud alumna of Cerro Coso Community College, having been part of the graduating class of 2013. She believes in living life by the golden rule… treat others as you would like to be treated.

Kern Community College District