Massage Therapy Faculty Bios

See the Campus Directory for a full listing of Massage Therapy Faculty and Staff.

Staff Photo of Alan Nunes

Alan Nunes, AAS, LMT, NCBTMB

Program Director

Alan entered the world of massage therapy in 2002 at National Holistic Institute in Emeryville, California and began a rewarding career helping others. Fascinated by the effects of massage therapy and their ability to allow clients to reconnect to their health, he set out to broaden his practice and  pursue education, eventually leading him to COCC in 2008.

Alan embraces both eastern and western massage and loves passing on the rich traditions of Shiatsu, Thai massage, and western-based massage techniques. His work over the years include: a 6 month massage internship at a mental hospital for those affected by severe schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, spa and clinical work, private practice and instructional workshops throughout Oregon and California. He has traveled the country, spoken at national massage conferences and served on committees for the AMTA and ABMP.

Alan serves as the current Program Director for The COCC Licensed Massage Therapy Program in Bend, Oregon. He is a dedicated advisor, passionate instructor and alongside program staff, provide an academic experience that is both engaging and diverse that cultivates student success. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing bass and mountain biking.

Staff Photo of Kristan Banks

Kristan “PeaceBird” Banks, LMT

Kristan, known also as “PeaceBird” or “PB”, is excited to be joining the team at COCC once again, bringing nearly a decade of body and energy work experience through her work with local non-profit OMfield; a sustainable eco-village and healing community.  Her time with OMfield provided a platform for personal and spiritual growth which jump started her passion to fulfill a lifelong dream of connecting with others in the most beneficial way. 

It was from this passion that Kristan was inspired to begin offering her intuitive services and alternative healing modalities, thus the creation of her practice Healing Spaces, which until 2019 had been largely grassroots as a “pop-up healing space” found mostly at festivals and backwoods barter fairs.  Drawing from her interests in psychology, biology, and the spirit that connects us all, Kristan discovered a way to blend her unique qualities and talents, and later, massage therapy, into a healing opportunity that goes beyond the surface of the physical. 

With a passion for helping individuals identify the source of their “dis-ease”, Kristan is continually practicing the arts of self-care, and fine tuning the inner and outer layers of releasing that which no longer serves us, both individually and collectively.  She is convinced that the philosophy of “as one heals, we all heal” holds as much truth as “everything happens for a reason”, further inspiring her to reach out as a facilitator of healing the spaces within.   

Her years of living off grid and learning the language of the universe have brought with it a vibration that lets her know when it’s time to get outside of the four corners of town, and back into nature… a place to recalibrate, realign, and center.  

Brandy Hert

Brandy Hert, LMT, AAS

Brandy started her health care journey working towards a career in Physical Therapy. After about 3 years of the pre-med program at Oregon Institute of Technology, she decided it wasn't the direction for her. She discovered massage therapy after moving to Bend in 2007 and graduated from COCC with an AAS degree. Since then she has worked alongside chiropractors developing deep tissue and sports massage techniques. Brandy is excited to be back home in the COCC LMT Program to teach and pass on over 14 years of experience in the profession. She looks forward to learning from students and faculty alike - - we all come with different skills and abilities in this world of massage, and there is another world to explore when we share and discover together! Outside of the classroom or working with clients, you can find Brandy outside with her family and dogs.

Staff Photo of Christina Inman

Christina Inman, PT, DPT, OCS

Christina Inman is a Certified Athletic Trainer and Board Certified Orthopedic Physical Therapist.  She has worked closely with Massage Therapists throughout her career and highly values their role in the health and wellness setting. 

She comes with over 10 years of experience in the Outpatient Orthopedic setting and is fascinated with helping people move better and feel better!  She loves being in the classroom and thrives off the students enthusiasm to learn.

In her spare time, Christina loves being active and outdoors with her family of four.  Her kids and English Bulldog help keep her grounded and enjoying all of life's simple yet wonderful moments!

 Staff Photo of Alissa Locke

Alissa Locke AAS LMT

Born and raised Oregonian, Alissa moved to Bend in 2001 and has been enjoying the beautiful views and amazing running and hiking trails ever since! 

Her massage education started in 2003 at our very own Central Oregon Community College where she received her AAS in massage therapy with a focus in Deep Tissue Massage. Her massage style has evolved into a Therapeutic-Swedish blend to gently help clients achieve their health and wellness goals.

Alissa's love of massage and desire to be part of the community led her to join our wonderful massage program team at COCC. Beginnin​g as a Teaching Assistant of kinesiology in 2010 and growing into her new role as Adjunct Instructor. 

"I love working with our students and remembering what is was like to start the journey to the wonderful world of massage."

 Staff Photo of Stephanie Manriquez

Stephanie Manriquez, BS LMT 

Stephanie Manriquez came to massage therapy late in life after a career as a cake-decorating technician, diaper service business owner, and a single parent of 6 children.  

She graduated from the COCC LMT program in 1999. She served as the LMT Program Director for several years and continues to teach as a part-time instructor for the COCC LMT program.

Stephanie has volunteered on the NCBTMB ethics committee and the NCBTMB CE Approved Provider committee. She served on the AMTA School Summit committee. and currently teaches Ethics for LMTs and Ethics and Cultural Competency and Cultural Competency Online classes for COCC Continuing Education Department.

Stephanie has had a massage therapy license in Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii. She earned an Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy from COCC and a Bachelor of Science in Business & Psychology from Eastern Oregon University

Stephanie served eight years as a board member on the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists and currently serves as a public member on the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers.

She is excited to share her life experiences with others and enjoys gardening, camping, and family gatherings with her 13 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

Staff Photo of Erica Rolniak

Erica Rolniak, LMT, CMMP

Erica is a Licensed Massage Therapist and certified Medical Massage Practitioner with 18 years of experience in the profession. Her interest in massage stemmed from her studies in exercise physiology and physical therapy while attending the University of Arkansas. Erica has had the privilege of utilizing massage in a variety of settings throughout the US: teaching clinical massage in Seattle, being a featured massage specialist in the Caribbean for Aman resorts, working in the athletic department as an LMT for University of Virginia, and general ski-bumming, kayak guiding, trail-crew for GTNP, and of course - - massaging for Amangani in Jackson, Wyoming.

Erica settled in Bend to pursue teaching, practicing massage, and enjoying the outdoors. She is the owner of Action Dynamix Massage, is an instructor for the COCC LMT program, and a group fitness instructor from time-to-time.

Erica has been pursuing entrance into nursing school and building a business to better serve the community of Bend. 

Staff Photo of Christy Schultz

Christy Schultz, LMT

Christy has always had a passion for helping others She left the business world to attended massage school at RCC in southern Oregon in 2007. She started out her massage therapy career in the physical therapy field and also became a physical therapy aide. She primarily focuses on medical and deep tissue massage, but has studied many other forms of massage as well. 

She is passionate about helping people recover, heal, and feel their best. Outside of work, you can find her enjoying time with her animals, husband, and son. 

Staff Photo of Katy Taylor

Katy Taylor, LMT

Born and raised in beautiful Hood River, Oregon, Katy moved to Bend in 2009 to start pursuing her massage therapy career. She attended the COCC massage program from 2010-2012 and has been working as an LMT since. Her hobbies and interests include hiking, camping, cooking, and DIY projects. She has worked in many different settings and is passionate about helping people.

Staff Photo of Cassandra Wheeler

Kasey Wheeler, LMT

Kasey has thoroughly enjoyed her massage practice for the past twelve years serving our beautiful community. She graduated from Central Oregon Community College in December 2005. Kasey found her training as a competitive gymnast in her youth to be a natural transition to Thai Massage, her specialty. She also offers Swedish, relaxation and Deep Tissue Massage. She has traveled twice to Thailand to study in the North and South. Kasey has a compassionate and empathetic spirit that allows her to connect easily and openly with her clients. She believes massage therapy is a key component for promoting a long and healthy life. When she is not working you will find her out in nature, hiking, skiing, or sitting by the river with her dogs and husband. Possessing boundless energy, in addition to her private practice at Desert Lotus Wellness Center, she worked at a local physical therapy clinic for 10 years. She teaches Thai Massage in the massage therapy program at COCC. Her clients have been known to say that she has "magic hands" and her massages are a gift. Make an appointment with her today and enjoy a nurturing and healing treatment.

Staff Photo of Elyse Williams

Elyse J. Williams, MS, CNS, RH (AHG)

Clinical Herbalist, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Reflexologist, Reiki Master/Teacher Elyse brings nearly two decades of experience studying and practicing herbal medicine. Her early fascination with plant medicine led to over eight years of self-study with native people in rural Alaska, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize and Peru, and prompted her to pursue a Master of Science degree in Herbal Medicine at the Maryland University of Integrative Health.

As her Washington, DC practice grew, Elyse connected the need for healthy functioning digestion to properly utilize herbal medicine, and became a Certified Nutrition Specialist through the National Board of Certified Nutritionists. Not long after, she saw the need to engage her clients emotional and energetic imbalances in order to promote the physical healing they were seeking. This led to further study and certification at the Baltimore School of Reflexology, training in essential oil therapeutics and Aromatherapy, Mahatma Reiki Master/Teacher training and becoming a certified instructor of SynergyDance, based on Randolf Stones Polarity Therapy methods.

Since moving to Bend in 2010, Elyse has continued to expand her personal practice with new powerful tools, including HeartMath-based energy work and chakra clearing/trauma release. Elyse serves as an instructor at Central Oregon Community College where she teaches Aromatherapy I & II, and Reflexology classes. She also teaches professional/community continuing ed courses, including an Elemental Herbal Medicine series, Healing with Essential Oils series, and Reflexology for Everyone through COCC's Community Learning Program. Elyse is a Registered Herbalist (RH) through the American Herbalists Guild (AHG).