Nursing Faculty & Staff

Brenda Chan Portrait

Brenda Chan, DNP, RN-BC, FNP, PHN


Aspired to become a teacher at a very young age, Professor Brenda Chan joined ELAC Nursing as a faculty member in 1998 which provided her opportunity to become both a clinician and a teacher. Her professional expertise include RN pre-licensure nursing education and curriculum designs, DNP evidence-based research project planning, instructional technologies, online hybrid learning, clinical simulation, palliative care and hospice nursing, pain management nursing, family practice, critical care, post-anesthesia care, telemetry, medical/surgical nursing, nursing workforce education and training, and RN new graduate Versant Program.

Approved as the Content Expert for Medical-Surgical and Geriatric Nursing by the California Board of Registered Nursing, she has taught theory and clinical courses in Medical/Surgical Nursing, Preceptorship, Health Assessment, and Pharmacology. As an educator and an alumna of ELAC (A.S., Nursing, 1992), Dr. Chan is passionate about teaching, learning, and is committed to open access and success for community college students. As an advanced practice clinician and a researcher, her goal is to mentor and educate the next generation of nurses to improve population health, decrease health disparity, and increase access to quality care. She is thankful for her family and nursing colleagues for their love and support.

Portrait of Christine Chairez

Christine Cháirez Chandler, DNP, RN, FNP, ANP-BC, PHN


Christine Cháirez Chandler, DNP, ANP-BC, FNP, RN, PHN,  was born and raised in East Los Angeles, City Terrace and she began her educational and professional trajectory here at ELAC in 1977. Dr. Chandler is Indigenous-Yaqui and Mexicana. Her goal has always been to give back what was provided to her as a multi-marginalized and non-traditional community college student herself.

After ELAC, Dr. Chandler attended the LA County School of nursing and became an RN, received her BSN at CSULA, her MSN at CSULB, her Nurse Practitioner Certification at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, and her Doctorate from Western University of Health Sciences.

In her nearly 40 years of experience, Dr. Chandler has worked as an RN and nurse practitioner specialist in HIV/AIDS and women’s health, served as instructional faculty and student-success specialist, lectured locally and nationally, and served as a consumer representative for the FDA under the Clinton Administration. As her journey continues, she is excited to serve as the Chair and Director of the Nursing Program here at ELAC.

“Future nurses, start at ELAC, go anywhere!”

Portrait of Carolyn Du

Carolyn Du, DNP, RN


Professor Du joined East Los Angeles College Nursing Department in 2006. She started as an adjunct faculty and was hired as tenured faculty in 2010. Professor Du has taught Nursing Process, Pharmacology, Fundamental of Nursing, Medical/Surgical Nursing, and Obstetrics in Nursing at ELAC. Her education includes: BSN at USC, NP at UCLA-Harbor Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program, MSN at Cal State University Long Beach, and DNP at Azusa Pacific University.

Professor Du’s passion is to help elevate the nursing students to become critical thinkers, compassionate, empathic, and life-long learners; the qualities that embody a good nurse. Professor Du is provided a platform to teach and mold the nursing students to be the nurse that the community deserves. 

Jennifer Figueroa portrait

Jennifer M. Figueroa, MSN, RN, PHN


Mrs. Jennifer Figueroa joined East Los Angeles College in 2013 as a full time Nursing faculty member. Mrs. Figueroa received an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from East Los Angeles College in 2005, a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science from California State University, Los Angeles in 2008, and a Master’s Degree in Nursing Education from California State University, Los Angeles in 2011.

 She has taught a variety of nursing course at East Los Angeles College, which include: Fundamentals of Nursing Practice, Health and Physical Assessment in Nursing, Pharmacology in Nursing, and Medical Surgical Nursing I. Mrs. Figueroa’s beside nursing experience includes caring for patients in the Intensive Care Unit, Cardiac Telemetry Unit, Same Day Surgery Unit and in the Gastrointestinal Laboratory.

Mrs. Figueroa enjoys teaching at East Los Angeles College because it gives her the opportunity to give back to the college that initiated her nursing career. Mrs. Figueroa has a passion for teaching and helping students achieve their goal of becoming a nurse. She believes that through hard work and dedication all can be achieved.

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Margaret Merino, MSN, RN, FNP-BC

Assistant Professor


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Natalie Mota, MSN, RN

Assistant Professor


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Rachel Plotkin-Olumese, DHSc, MSN/MSHCA, PHN, RNC, FNP-BC


Dr. Rachel Plotkin Olumese joined the ELAC Nursing faculty full-time in 2009 after working adjunct since 2006. Dr. Plotkin Olumese earned her RN-ADN from ELAC, BSN from Excelsior College, Albany, NY, MSN/MSHCA from CSULB, DHSc from Nova Southeastern University, and FNP from Purdue Global University.

Safari Sekiyoba Portrait

Safari Sekiyoba, DNP, RN, FNP-BC

Associate Professor

Dr. Sekiyoba Joined the East Los Angeles College in fall of 2020. He teaches Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. Dr. Sekiyoba is a dual board certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) by both the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). A proud community college graduate, Dr. Sekiyoba received his Associate Degree in both the Science of Nursing and Liberal Art from Los Angeles Trade Technical College, a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in the Science of Nursing (MSN) from California State University, Los Angeles and his Doctorate in Nursing Practice with emphasis in Family Nurse Practitioner (DNP-FNP) from Brandman University; A Chapman University System.

During his doctoral studies, Dr. Sekiyoba’s Clinical Scholarly Project (research) focus was on the dietary and lifestyle modification impact on Hypertension (HTN) in the African American Male population ages 30 and above. Previously, Dr. Sekiyoba had been an assistant/adjunct professor of nursing at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles, El Camino College and Westcoast University, Los Angeles. Prior to entering the academic arena, Dr. Sekiyoba worked as a Mental Health Registered Nurse at University of California, Los Angeles and Kedren Community Mental Health Center, a staff Registered Nurse at California Hospital Medical Center and Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LADHS). Currently in addition to teaching Mental Health Nursing, Dr. Sekiyoba is an active FNP clinician seeing patients at various locations of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Ambulatory Care Network.  

Pauline Sunda Portrait

Pauline Sunda, MSN, RN, PHN


Professor Pauline Sunda joined East Los Angeles College as a tutor when her sister was a nursing student at ELAC in 1993. Because of her love of teaching and being born and raised in Monterey Park, she jumped at the opportunity to gain full time employment here in 1995. She earned her BSN in 1988 and MSN in 1994 both from CSULA. Her clinical background varies from mental health, NICU, home health, pediatrics, and dialysis. She also completed a therapeutic yoga teacher training and a 200 hour yoga teacher training course.

She served as the assistant director in the nursing department, nonconsecutively, for over 20 years and has been the academic senate alternate representative for many years.

She believes that you impact the lives of everyone you come in contact with, and when you see a bit of yourself in others, you may more positively interact with them. Her mission statement is to live a compassionate life of dignity, integrity and meaning while remembering we are all a part of something larger than ourselves. 

Profile Photo of Jade Valmonte

Jade Valmonte, MSN, RN, CPN


Professor Jade Valmonte joined East Los Angeles College as an adjunct instructor in 2013. She became a full time faculty in 2014 and has since taught Pediatrics, Med/Surg, Pharmacology, Fundamentals and Role Transition. She earned her BSN from Gordon College, Philippines in 2007 and her MSN in Healthcare Education from University of Phoenix in 2011. Her clinical background includes Pediatric and Adolescent Med/Surg, Adult and Orthopedic Med/Surg and Home Health.  Professor Valmonte is also a registered 200-hour yoga instructor. 

 Professor Valmonte believes that a student’s success begins with the personal desire to learn. The student’s level of commitment is influenced by the instructor’s enthusiasm and passion for teaching. She believes that developing collaborative student relationships foster a sense of mutual trust and respect. Gaining students’ trust enhances the learning relationship and is reflective of her commitment to caring and her dedication to student success.

Professor Valmonte embraces teaching as an opportunity to motivate and empower the student. Her desire is to inspire each student with a love of life-long learning and genuine caring and kindness for their patients as well as their nursing peers. She finds interaction with students rewarding and takes pride in the role she plays preparing students to become exceptional nurses.

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Quang Vu, MSN, RN

Assistant Professor



Kathaleen Lutz, MA, RN

Professor Emeritus

My name is Kathaleen Lutz a graduate nurse from ELAC. I have been a nurse over 50 years and still loving it. I began working in surgery, then a school nurse followed by nurse educator for EMT classes leading to teaching nursing at ELAC which I am still doing today. Working in various areas of nursing helps us to provide best patient care. My education back ground has degrees such as AA. BSN, PHN, MA. All these letters are good, but the one I like the Best is RN. I was a nurse in the United States Army now a retired Colonel.

Portrait of Geraldine Martinez

Geraldine Martinez, MSN, RN, FNP-BC

Adjunct Faculty

Specializes in family, pain management, and weight loss.

I am a nursing graduate from East Los Angeles College and have been working at the college as a nurse educator since 2006. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Nursing at University of Phoenix 2000, and then earned my Master's of Science/Family Nurse Practitioner in 2002. I hold a National Board Certificate with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner Credentialing Center. 

I have 20 plus years as a nurse educator teaching registered nursing students and have taught in a license vocational program.

My experience as a bedside nurse and nurse educator have all shaped my practice to work with families and teach them about maximizing their health. My experience as an educator gives me the opportunity to adopt effective approaches, foster academic excellence, help and assist students get through their challenges, be supportive, and to familiarize the students with new knowledge and essential needs when caring for clients in a diverse community.

As I reflect on my nursing career and its current direction, I hope to continue to be an exemplary role model for our ELAC nursing students. I will continue to be a part in shaping our future nurses who will impact many patients, families, and other nurses. I’m very proud of my profession and my life experiences have been a blessing. I’ve learned to appreciate every little thing in life.


Virginia Wynne, BSN, RN, PHN

Instructional Assistant

I come to East Los Angeles College as an alumni of the nursing program and now my role is Instructional Assistant for the nursing program. As an Instructional Assistant you will find me in the skills lab assisting faculty and/or students. Our program provides one on one demonstrations and resources to enhance the experience for the nursing student. All practice demonstrations are done in a stress free environment.

I have worn many hats working over 30 years in clinical and hospital settings. My beginnings are humble working as a certified nurse assistant to becoming a registered nurse not following a straight succession.

 My experience in the healthcare industry includes administration, management, human resources, and nursing. Being part of the East Los Angeles College nursing program is my favorite hat that I wear. I am able to support and share knowledge for your success!

My hobbies away from work include fishing and sewing. A good scary movie once in a while and love for all animals, especially dogs. I enjoy reading, learning, and staying current with nursing best practices.