Faculty Biographies

Kathleen Chavez

Kathleen Chavez is a professor of English and Reading at Adams State University. She teaches Methods of Teaching English at the Secondary Level, Adolescent Literature, Developmental English and Reading, and Communication Arts 1. She came to Alamosa from Massachusetts 30 years ago to attend Adams State College. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a major in English and a minor in Spanish. She returned to college while raising her three children Kalee, Jon Kyle, and Sydni to complete a MA in Education. She taught English at the high school level for 20 years and has recently moved to teaching in higher education. She continues to be inspired by the energy and ideas of her students.

She loves being outdoors, cooking, reading, and spending time with her family and friends on their family farm 20 miles south of Alamosa.


Roger Eriksen

Associate Professor Roger Eriksen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, in 1978 and received a Master of Fine Arts in Environmental Art from The University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, in 2002.

Mr. Eriksen has over twenty years experience in computer graphics in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Canada, and the US. He taught graphic design for over seven years at the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design (now part of Massey University) in Wellington, New Zealand.


Jenna Neilsen

Professor Jenna Neilsen received her BA from Ohio Northern University and her MFA in theatre pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University.

She teaches Voice for Performance, Styles of Acting, Acting, Public Speaking and Costume Design/Construction. Jenna has acted and directed in theatres in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic and studied acting at Queen Margaret University College, a leading conservatory in Edinburgh, Scotland.

She has presented her research in both theatre pedagogy and theatre history nationally at the South Eastern Theatre Conference, the Mid-America Theatre Conference and the Association of Theatre in Higher Education Conference.


Eugene Schilling

Professor Eugene Schilling received his BFA degree from the University of Nebraska and a MFA from Colorado State University. Professor Schilling is responsible for all levels of painting as well as advanced level drawing courses. In addition to his teaching assignments he is also the Gallery Director for the ASU Art Department.

He has exhibited paintings and drawings both nationally and internationally, including exhibitions at the Berman Museum of Art in Collegeville, PA, the Museum of Neon Art in Los Angeles, CA and the Isetan Museum of Art in Tokyo, Japan.


Claire van der Plas

Assistant Professor Claire van der Plas graduated MFA from University of Auckland, New Zealand in 2004. She also has a BFA from Auckland and a BA in political science from Canterbury University, NZ.

While primarily a painter Claire thinks pigeon-holes are for mail and also works in other media including installation, performance and collaborative art when the opportunity arises.

Claire has previously taught at Western Carolina University, The University of Auckland, NZ and LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts, Singapore. She has exhibited in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and the United States.


Beth Robison

Dr. Beth Wagstrom is the Director of Choral Activities at Adams State College where she directs the Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, and the vocal jazz ensemble, 68 West.

Dr. Wagstrom received her DMA in Choral Conducting at the University of Kansas. Ensembles under her direction included the Collegium Musicum Vocal Ensemble and the University Singers. At Ohio University, she received her Master of Music in Choral Conducting where she directed the Women’s Chorale, and her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance.

Originally from Athens, Ohio, Dr. Wagstrom spent sixteen years in New York City performing as both a soloist and ensemble singer. She has appeared at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and other concert venues with such professional choral ensembles as the Gregg Smith Singers (Gregg Smith), Musica Sacra (Richard Westenburg), the Choir of Saint Ignatius Loyola (Kent Tritle) and Voices of Ascension (Dennis Keene).

Other conductors with whom she has worked include Charles Dutoit, Dennis Russell Davies, Sir Charles Mackerras and Sir Roger Norrington.

Some of Dr. Wagstrom’s more diverse experiences in New York included recording with the World Wrestling Federation and appearing as a back-up singer with Andrea Bocelli on the "Late Show with David Letterman".

Chanticleer, Ward Swingle, Dave Brubeck, Garrison Keillor, Marilyn Horne and Ned Rorem are just a few of the artists with whom she has worked throughout her career.


Margaret Doell

Professor Margaret Doell received her BFA in photography from the University of Manitoba and her MFA in printmaking from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. In 2012-13 Margaret was honored to spend a year as an ACE (American Council on Education) Fellow at UCCS (University of Colorado Colorado Springs), immersed in Higher Education Leadership Development opportunities. Since returning to ASU she has been serving in a split role as Art Department Chair and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Doell spent time as a resident artist at the Banff Centre for the Arts and the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op and taught at Concordia University, Mount Allison University and the University College of the Cariboo (now Thompson Rivers University) before coming to Adams State in 1996.

She has exhibited her work across Canada and the United States and her work in printmaking was included in the book "The Best of Printmaking: An International Collection." Margaret has taught art criticism, all levels of photography and printmaking, and a variety of graduate level theory classes during her time at Adams State.


Dana Provence

Professor Dana Provence received his MFA in sculpture from the University of North Texas of Denton and his undergraduate degree from Baylor University of Waco, Texas.

Professor Provence is responsible for instruction in all levels of sculpture and metalsmithing, in addition to teaching art appreciation. He taught at Midwestern State University prior to joining Adams State. Dana is a nationally exhibited artist and a member of the International Sculpture Center and a charter member of the South by Southwest Regional Sculpture Organization.


O. Gustavo Plascencia

O. Gustavo Plascencia was raised in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila and attended the Escuela de Artes Plasticas “Ruben Herrera” in Saltillo, Coahuila Mexico before immigrating to the USA. He received his Master of Fine Arts at the University of Colorado in Boulder in Photography and Media Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of Texas at Arlington. Plascencia is currently teaching all levels of digital photography, traditional film methods, and art appreciation.

Plascencia’s works have been shown nationally and internationally including: Museo de Las Americas (Denver, Colorado), Instituto Fotografico de Medellin (Medellin, Colombia), The International Center of Bethlehem (Bethlehem, Palestine), The Polytechnic University of Valencia (Valencia, Spain), and the Academia de Bellas Artes San Carlos (Mexico city, Mexico). In addition, Plascencia has participated in the artist-in-residency programs at; Arte Studio Ginestrelle (Assisi, Italy/2011), Contemporary Artists Center (Troy, NY/2011), Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (Saratoga, WY/2012), and Old School Residence (Gorna Lipnitsa, Bulgaria/2012).