Faculty and Staff

astronomy / physics faculty

frank barish - physics 100

Dr. Frank Barish was born in the Bronx, New York and grew up in Southern California. He completed his undergraduate degree in Physics at the University of California at Los Angeles. Following graduation he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He married his girlfriend of four years and they spent the next four years in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They have three children and six grandchildren.

Following the Air Force he attended graduate school at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado where he received a Ph.D. in Physics. His specific research area of interest was associated with the earth’s “magnetosphere” (a region of ionized particles, electric, and magnetic fields surrounding the earth).

After graduation he spent two years doing research at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on a Post-Doctoral Fellowship with the National Academy of Sciences. He and his family finally settled in Northern California where he went to work as a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, CA. Besides performing research at LLNL, he was also able to teach, part time, at both the High School and College levels. Dr. Barish retired from LLNL in 2005.

Since retiring from research, he has continued to teach, both on-ground and on-line, courses in physics, math, general science, and environmental studies.

Throughout his life he has always enjoyed mathematics, physics, and teaching. Helping people of any age discover the laws of nature is inspiring to him.

brodney fitzgerald - astronomy 101; physics 180a

Brodney Fitzgerald grew up in the middle Tennessee area. He received his B.S. in Physics from Western Kentucky University in 1999, and his M.S. in Astronomy from San Diego State University in 2003. He has taught astronomy and physics at various colleges and universities in the San Diego area. He has been teaching at San Diego City College since 2004. In his spare time, he enjoys bowling, tennis, and watching the TV show the Big Bang Theory.

gerardo scappaticci - astronomy 101, 109; physics 195, 196, 197

Dr. Gerardo Scappaticci earned his Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 1992 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also earned two Masters Degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics also from the University of Illinois. He has taught physics and astronomy courses at City College since 1992. Dr. Scappaticci is happily married with three sons. He loves being outdoors and gardening in his spare time. He particularly loves taking care of his citrus trees, fig trees, olive trees and grapes at his house.

lorenza levy - physics 126

Lorenza Levy obtained a B.S. in Physics and Astronomy from Northern Arizona University in 2001, and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill in 2007. She currently teaches physics and astronomy courses at San Diego City College. On her off time, she enjoys spending time wittibbh her two daughters, yoga, and camping under starry skies

Sharon Wall - physics 181B, 195

Lisa Will - Department Chair - Astronomy 101, 111; Physics 180a, 180b, 181a, 181b

The universe may be mysterious, but Lisa Will can at least make it relatable. Dr. Lisa Will is an astronomy and physics professor here at San Diego City College, and often gives lectures in the new science building planetarium. She is a Pacific Beach resident and also the resident astronomer at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, where she presents monthly “Sky Tonight” planetarium shows. Dr. Will, 43, was born in Northern California, lived in Arizona while she earned her doctorate from Arizona State and landed in San Diego in 2007.


Richard Mellinger Jr. - ASTR 101, 111

Richard earned a BS in physics and a minor in mathematics from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2012, and an MS in physics from San Diego State University in 2016. He is pretty neat.
Aside from his passion for physics, astronomy, and education, Richard also enjoys writing fiction and has written several novels – one of which is soon to be published.
Most of his favorite people are dogs.

Jamie Hinton - Physics 100, 180B, 181B, 195

Jamie grew up in La Mesa, graduating from Grossmont High School in 2003. He received a B.S. in Physics with a minor in Mathematics in 2008 from UC Santa Cruz, and a Ph.D. in Physics from UC Berkeley in 2014. His research focused on the interaction of ultra-short pulses of laser light with exotic materials, including superconductors and chiral magnets. He then returned to San Diego for a postdoc in nano-optics at UCSD, and began teaching physics at City and Grossmont college in 2016. In his spare time, he likes playing his guitar, watching baseball, and just hangin' out.

Gene Terray - Physics 195, 196, 197

Randy Shimabukuro - Astronomy 101; Physics 100

chemistry faculty

Sohelia Beladi - chemistry 100, 200

Soheila Beladi has earned her Masters Degree in Organic Chemistry from Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio in 1983. She has been teaching general, organic, and analytical chemistry at a variety of levels, from International Baccalaureate, high school, college, to university. She has been teaching as an adjunct faculty at San Diego City College since 2010.

robert kojima - Chemistry 100, 100L, 277D, 200, 200L, and 290

Robert Kojima, a graduate of San Diego City College in Transfer Studies, earned his B.S. in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry from SDSU. He then pursued graduate studies in Inorganic and Materials Chemistry at UCLA, where he earned his Ph.D. and also completed postdoctoral work in Chemical Education and Cognitive Science.

Dr. Kojima worked as instructional faculty at UCLA, and the Claremont Colleges before joining us here at City College in 2014. His academic interests are in Visualization in the Sciences. His other interests include coffee, food, cooking, and his dog, Mika.

james covalt - chemistry 200, 201, 231, 233

Dr. Covalt graduated from the University of Chicago in 1996 with a B.S. in biochemistry. From there Dr. Covalt traveled to San Diego, CA to start his graduate work at UCSD. While at UCSD he studied the kinetics and thermodynamics of the folding process of an all-beta-sheet protein, interleukin-1beta in the lab of Patricia Jennings. After earning is Ph.D. in chemistry from UCSD in 2002 he went on to do a two-year post doc in the lab of Peter Write at the Scripps Research Institute where he focused on protein structure determination using NMR techniques. He was hired as a contract faculty member of the department of physical sciences here at City College in 2005. He lives in Mira Mesa with his wife and his newborn son.

Dr. Covalt's interests are varied. He enjoys reading and studying in many different areas of knowledge including but not limited to science, philosophy, and theology. He enjoys exercising and staying in shape, playing billiards, and competitive shooting. Dr. Covalt is also a member of Chorus Breviarii a group of laymen who get together to chant the Roman Breviary according to the ancient rites in Latin. Dr. Covalt enjoys classical music and long walks on the beach.

Ram gurumurthy - chemistry 100, 130, 152

Ph.D. (Major in Organic Chemistry) - Iowa State University

shane haggard - chemistry 201, 251

Shane is a product of San Diego City College. He completed his A.S. in Chemistry at City in 2004. He transferred to SDSU, where he received his B.S. in Chemistry in 2006 with an emphasis in analytical chemistry. After graduation, he went to work in the biopharmaceutical industry as a quality control chemist. There he received first-hand experience in the use and applications of many of the instrumentation techniques he studied at City and SDSU, such as HPLC, GC, GC-MS, and LC-MS. His undergraduate (and graduate) work included work in LASER applications used for detection of femto level concentrations. He decided to pursue his Masters in chemistry in 2009. He received his Masters in Chemistry, with an emphasis in analytical chemistry, from SDSU in 2011. In the fall of 2011 he started teaching as an adjunct here at City College teaching the analytical and general chemistry courses.

Previously, he worked for a government contract agency and with NASA to develop missile and rocket engines with his chemical engineering background. He also has over 10 years’ experience in emergency medicine as a paramedic/flight paramedic/rescue paramedic.

He has been teaching in one way or another since the late 1980s. He has taught engineering and paramedic courses. He was also certified to teach more advanced medical courses that are required for emergency and trauma doctors.

When not at City College, Shane and his husband James can be found every year at Comic-Con. Shane is a huge gamer, sci-fi, and fantasy geek!!

Rebecca Vasquez - chemistry 100L

Rebecca Vasquez received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Eckerd College where she did research on organometallic complexes as anticancer drugs. She received her M.S. in organic chemistry in 2006 from UCSD. She moved on to work at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute where she synthesized and characterized organic protease inhibitors against bacterial toxins. Professor Vasquez began teaching part-time in 2006 and has been an adjunct since at various colleges in San Diego and New York. Professor Vasquez is also a licensed acupuncturist, a mother or two young children, and owns two tattoo shops in downtown San Diego.

Tim Ziegler - Chemistry 100, Astronomy 111

Tim Ziegler received a B.A. and M.A. in physical science (specializing in chemistry and physics) from SDSU.  His Job history includes working as a project engineer for a local company involved with water pollution control and remediation, marketing director for a hydrological instrumentation company, taught physics at a local high school, taught astronomy at Mesa College, and taught chemistry and physics at City College.

Sarah Axford - Chemistry 100L

Benjamin Saylor - Chemistry 100L, 152L

Maria Penalosa - Chemistry 100L

Michael Doud - Chemistry 100, 100L, 152, 152L

Dr. Michael Doud earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2016 from the University of California - San Diego. He also earned a M.S. in Chemistry from UCSD, and B.S. in Chemistry from Purdue University. He has taught chemistry courses at City College since 2016. Dr. Doud loves being outdoors, hiking and camping, and going to rock concerts both big and small.

Theresa Carlson - Chemistry 200L

Theresa Carlson is concurrently a lecturer at San Diego State University in the Chemistry Department as well as a lecturer for the extension University of San Diego State University in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Theresa completed her M.A. in Chemistry at San Diego State University as well as her B.S. in Chemistry with emphasis in Biochemistry.

Theresa has taught and coordinated Introduction to Chemistry, General Chemistry I, and General Chemistry II at San Diego State University and San Diego State University-Georgia. Theresa has currently written a new lab manual for the General Chemistry I course at San Diego State University to help improve student’s lecture understanding through laboratory work.

Jessica Woods - Chemistry 100, 100L, 152, 201, 201L

Peter Friedman – Chemistry 152L

A Chemist always finds a solution… is Dr. Friedman’s motto, who graduated from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1996. After 2 years of postdoctoral fellowship at UCSD Dr. Friedman became a non-tenured faculty member studying the origins and pathways of atherosclerosis. He later left the academia pursuing industrial challenges working as director of product formulation in a medical device company targeting neurovascular abnormalities. Having the passion for teaching and sharing knowledge, Dr. Friedman is also an instructor at Grossmont College as well as Miramar College.

Besides teaching and innovative research in the medical device industry, some of his other interests are spending time with his friends, gourmet cooking and his dog, Melbourne.

geography faculty

lisa chaddock - geography 101, 102, 104

Prof. Lisa Chaddock is a Geographer, with specializations in Physical, Environmental, and Cultural Ecology Geography.  She graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Geography with minors in American Indian Studies and Ecology.  She continued at SDSU for her Masters Degree in Geography, specializing in Cultural Ecology.  Upon graduation, she was a consultant in field biology, archaeology and environmental planning prior to teaching.

She has written a cookbook, "Cooking with Native Plants of San Diego" and presents programs on cooking with native plants at various locations in San Diego County.  She received grants from the Department of Homeland Security to evaluate the safety and preparedness of the students at San Diego City College, and her students created a Pocket Guide to Earthquake Preparedness. She continue to research Critical Environmental Zones in California, relating environmental hazards with both climate change and geographical locations of fault lines.

Prof. Chaddock received a grant from National and San Diego Audubon Societies to plant a “Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden” for migratory species including the Monarch Butterfly. With assistance from student research assistants, Prof. Chaddock conducts research in the changes in bird and butterfly populations in an urban setting.

Lisa Chaddock is the Vice President of San Diego Audubon Society, and Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary committee.  She is the advisor for the Audubon City College Club.

As a hobby, she also is a composer, with over 450 published pieces of music with international copyrights and performance rights, including the Drawing Attention music download project for ComicCon Heinlein Blood Drive. Her hobbies (no surprises here) are music, bird watching, knitting and walking/hiking. 

david lulka - geography 101,102,104

geology faculty

Anna Evashko - geology 104

Anna Evashko obtained a B.S. Geological Sciences degree from the University of Southern California, and a M.S. Geology from The Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada. Anna’s thesis work was accepted for publication as "Generation of Intermediate Volcanic Rocks by Magma Mixing in Northwestern Nevada", 1983, Cordilleran and Rocky Mountain Sections Joint Meeting, Geological Society of America, Salt Lake City, Utah. Anna taught Physical Geography at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada; and Geology for Engineers at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Anna also has work experience as an Engineering Geologist, Environmental Geologist, and Petroleum Geologist.

John malinky - geology 100, 101, 104

physical science faculty

David white - physical sciences 100 and 101

Dave has been teaching physical science at City College since 1998. He also is a researcher with the Education Studies Department at the University of California San Diego. His research focuses primarily on equity in education and school reform.


Joseph Avila – Instructional Laboratory Technician

Joseph graduated from the University of San Diego in 2014. After graduation he worked at a diagnostics manufacturing and development company as a Process Development Associate, and later as a Research Associate at a nanoparticle development company. He really loves science and is currently taking classes at SDSU to increase is knowledge base with the hopes of earning an M.S. in Chemistry. Outside of work and science his interested include Star Wars, video games, disk golf, longboarding and Rubik’s cubing.

Alejandra Contreras - Hourly Lab Assistant

Alejandra is currently taking classes to transfer to either San Diego state or UCSD. She has almost taken all the prerequisites for transfer including almost all the chemistry courses offered at City College. She is working in the chemistry lab to gain laboratory experience and because she finds lab work to be entertaining. She wants to major in bioengineering and get her teaching credentials in Chemistry for high school level. She has always wanted to study bioengineering since she was in ninth grade but teaching has also been one of her aspirations. Alejandra wants to inspire others to go to college and major in the STEM field.

Bret Ruston - instructional aide

Brett attended and graduated from UCSD with a B.A. in Microbiology. He also attended City College and took Microbiology, Organic Chemistry I,II, Computer Music, and Astronomy. He has been through Hazardous Materials and Planetarium training here and enjoys jogging and music in his free time.

Ed Sebring – Instructional Laboratory Technician

Born November 21 in San Antonio, TX. The oldest of three boys. Graduated from Chula Vista High School in 1987. Made the Who’s Who Among American High School Students in 1987. Joined the U.S. Army shortly after graduating from high school. Trained as a combat engineer, specializing in demolition and improvised munitions. Participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Was shot running through a minefield during Desert Storm. Attended San Diego City College and graduated in 2010 with an AS in Chemistry. Worked as a student hourly in Fall 2001 and became a contract Lab Tech in 2002. Currently married and has 2 boys. Enjoys reading, cooking, and watching son’s athletic events.