AJS Program Faculty Bios


Program Director:

James F. Cerven,  MA

Jim retired from the New York City Police Department in 2005 after 23 years of service in the rank of Detective Sergeant. He worked in the Organized Crime Investigation Division and has extensive investigative experience in upper level drug trafficking and violent drug gang investigations. He was a first responder to the terrorist attacks on 9-11 and subsequently worked on the rescue and recovery effort at the World Trade Center site. Jim has taught for the Administration of Justice Program at Estrella Mountain Community College since 2007. He was formally recognized as a peer mentor by the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society in 2011 and 2013. He was a recipient of the 2013 NISOD award for excellence in teaching.  Jim currently teaches AJS 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice, AJS 109 Substantive Criminal Law, AJS 123 Ethics and the Administration of Justice, AJS 201 Rules of Evidence, AJS 230 the Police Function, AJS 260 Procedural Criminal Law, AJS 275 Criminal Investigation, and AJS20BN, Courtroom Testimony Seminary. Jim earned a B.S. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, an M.A. in criminal justice from Arizona State University and a Masters level Certificate in Advanced Terrorism Studies from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.


Residential Faculty:

Cheryl L. Gipson-Thurman, MEd, BS

Cheryl is a twenty five year plus veteran of the Phoenix Police Department retiring as a Lieutenant Patrol Commander in 2011. While with the Phoenix Police Department, Cheryl worked a variety of patrol, training and investigative assignments. She held supervisory/command positions within all these areas. She received numerous letters of commendation for her job performance throughout her career. She is a member of several professional law enforcement organizations and was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Drug Education and Prevention.  She also proudly serves her church in voluntary capacities.  Cheryl has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University and a Masters’ Degree in Educational Leadership with distinction from Northern Arizona University. Cheryl teaches AJS 109 Substantive Criminal Law, AJS 123 Ethics and the Administration of Justice, AJS 225 Criminology, AJS 270 Community Relations and AJS 275 Criminal Investigation.


Adjunct Faculty:

Mark R. Brown, BS

Mr. Brown retired from law enforcement in 2011, following a 24 year career. His last eight years serving as Chief of Police for the Goodyear Police Department.  Mark has experience in most areas of police work from patrol, tactical operations, investigations, community relations, school resource, budgeting, employment services and senior management. Mark is a member of several professional associations and serves on a board for a local non-profit.  Mark holds a BS degree from Arizona State University in Administration of Justice. Mark is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Southwest Law Enforcement Command College. Mark has taught for the MCC District for 19 years with the past 15 at EMCC where he has instructed Police Function AJS 230, Criminal Procedure AJS 260, Police Planning AJS 211, and Community Relations AJS 270. Prior to his teaching Mark was an AJS student at EMCC.


Jessica Budrow, BS, BA, CCL

Jessica Budrow currently works for the Arizona Department of Public Safety Central Regional Crime Laboratory. She began her career with AZDPS in March 2013 as a laboratory technician and began working as a Forensic Scientist in June 2013. Jessica earned both a B.S. in Criminal Justice and a B.A. in Chemistry from Arizona State University as well as a Certificate of Completion in Evidence Technology from Phoenix College. Ms. Budrow is currently assigned to the Latent Print Unit at AZDPS. She is a member of the International Association for Identification (IAI) and serves as First Vice President of the Arizona Identification Council (AIC). Jessica received her General Instructor certification in 2014 and is an AZPOST certified general instructor. She regularly instructs officers, attorneys, other forensic professionals and high school students.


John Brinker, JD

Mr. Brinker has spent the majority of his professional career working as a prosecuting attorney, with over a decade of experience as a criminal prosecutor. That experience has primarily been as a Deputy County Attorney with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, and he has also served as a prosecutor in Iowa. With this background, John has extensive experience in criminal law including misdemeanor prosecution in local Justice Courts and felony prosecution in Superior Court. He has also worked extensively with the Maricopa County Grand Jury to initiate criminal cases. John has been recognized for his dedication to crime victims and has also been assigned on multiple occasions as a mentor attorney assisting with the supervision of new prosecutors and helping with their development and training. John is active in his local church and also volunteers in the community helping coach the Trivium Preparatory Academy high school Mock Trial Team. John holds a B.A. in Finance from the University of Northern Iowa and a J.D. with Honors from Drake University Law School. He teaches AJS 260 Criminal Procedure.


Adam C. Bunch, MA

Adam has worked in the Criminal Justice System since 1999, where he started his career as a Juvenile Detention Officer in Columbus, Indiana. Adam is currently employed with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office as a Detention Officer since 2005. Adam has been assigned to Estrella Jail, Tents Jail, Court Operations, Durango Jail, and 4th Avenue Jail. He is currently assigned to the Custody Support Division, where he teaches re-entry skills to Inmates that participate in a substance abuse treatment program. Adam is also a Trainer and Facilitator for his division. Adam has also been employed as a Special Deputy Sheriff and as a Probation Officer in the state of Indiana as well. He is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, as well as, the Indiana Army National Guard. Adam earned an Associate of Science and a Bachelor of Science from Indiana Wesleyan University. He also holds a Master of Arts from Liberty University. He is a current member of the American Correctional Association, as well as, the Arizona Gang Investigators Association. He also serves on the Estrella Mountain Community College Administration of Justice Advisory Board. Adam currently teaches AJS 240, The Correction Function, and AJS 101, Introduction to Criminal Justice.


Reymundo M. Cruz, MEd, BS

Ray has been teaching for EMCC since 2007. In addition to being an adjunct faculty member, he is a 21+ year retired Probation Officer of the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department (MCAPD) and 5 years with the El Paso County Probation Department. After serving five years with Southwest Counseling Services in Las Cruces, NM as the DWI Program Director, he joined MCAPD in 1994. He started out as a line officer with five different assignments within the department before being promoted to Supervisor. He was then assigned to the Initial Appearance Court Unit, The Defendant Monitoring Unit with Pre-Trial Services and finished his career as the DUI Court Unit Supervisor. He retired in December 2015.

He has extensive training in Officer Safety and was a defensive tactics instructor for the State of Arizona. He is a member of the Arizona Probation Officer’s Association which was instrumental in helping change and improve officer safety for probation officers throughout the state of Arizona. He is a member of the Adjunct Faculty Association (AFA) and past member of the Arizona Justice Educators Association. Ray currently teaches AJS- 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice, AJS-192 Serial Killers and Mass Murderers and AJS-225 Criminology. He previously taught AJS-123 Ethics in the Administration of Justice and AJS-212 Juvenile Justice Procedures.


Cuauhtemoc “Memo” Espinoza, MBA, BS

Memo Espinoza is a former student here at Estrella Mountain Community College and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, he applied for the Avondale Police Department and became a police officer for the City of Avondale in 1997. He has served as a Patrol Officer, Detective, Sergeant, and Lieutenant. He holds the present rank of Assistant Chief of Police. Memo Espinoza has been the recipient of several commendations throughout his career with the Avondale Police Department to include nominations as Supervisor of the Year, Supervisor of the Quarter and the Distinguished Service Award. Memo was also recognized as Estrella Mountain Community College Outstanding Alumni of the Year in 2010. He is a member or the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, the Latino Peace Officers Association, Hispanic Leadership Institute-West, National Tactical Officer’s Association, and the National Association of Field Training Officers. Memo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Administration and a Master’s degree in business. Memo is also a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command and the FBI National Academy. Memo teaches AJS 113: Crime Control Policies and Practices and AJS 230 the Police Function.


Louis A. Goodman, JD

Lou Goodman retired from the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections (ADJC) in 2013. During his 20-year career with the Department, he held the positions of Chief Hearing Officer, Legal Division Director, Assistant Director for Legal Systems, Assistant Director for Support Services, and Reentry Services Administrator. Prior to joining ADJC, he practiced law with a civil litigation firm whose clients included ADJC, the Arizona Department of Corrections, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Lou also serves as a pro tem justice of the peace and is certified to conduct audits of juvenile and adult correctional facilities under the Prison Rape Elimination Act. He is active in the community and serves on the Board of Directors of one-n-ten, an organization that serves LGBTQ youth and young adults. In 2009 Lou was awarded the Terry L. Chandler Award for excellence in the field of juvenile law by the Juvenile Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona. He earned his BA and JD degrees at the Ohio State University. He teaches AJS 212 Juvenile Justice Studies and AJS 123, Ethics and the Administration of Justice.


Jana Gunn, MPA, BS

Jana Gunn was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She attended North High School in Phoenix, and graduated from Greenway High School in Glendale, Arizona. Jana earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Justice Studies at Arizona State University in Tempe, and a Master of Public Administration from Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City/Provo, Utah.

Jana began her career in the Criminal Justice system as a temporary secretary for both the Arizona Department of Corrections and the Arizona Juvenile Department of Corrections. In 1984 she was hired as a Correctional Officer for the Arizona Department of Corrections working with minimum and medium security female inmates, then worked at a maximum-security male prison. While working at the male prison, she was a member of the state-wide transportation team and transported male inmates of all custody levels around the state of Arizona and nationally. In 1989 Jana began work as an Adult Probation Officer for Maricopa County, and worked there for almost five years. She obtained her Master's Degree, and later joined the Maricopa County Attorney's Office as a Victim Advocate, and also served in this capacity with the Arizona Attorney General's Office. Jana ran unsuccessfully for the office of Arrowhead Justice of the Peace in both 2010 and 2012. She then returned to the Arizona Department of Corrections as the Constituent Services Manager and retired from that position in October 2018. This is Jana’s first semester teaching for Estrella Mountain Community College. She is currently teaching AJS258 Victimology.


Peter Luszczak, MSW, BA

Peter Luszczak has worked for the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections (ADJC) for over 25 years. He joined ADJC as a Youth Program Officer III Clinical Specialist working in the Sex Offender treatment unit at Adobe Mountain School, and has held a variety of positions within the agency, including Youth Program Supervisor, Superintendent, Case Management Coordinator, Secure Care Operations Bureau Administrator, and currently Support Services Chief Administrator. Mr. Luszczak is an experienced trainer, and is a certified trainer in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. Prior to joining ADJC, Mr. Luszczak was a community Social Worker in Great Britain for over 10 years, including working in the areas of Child Protection, Juvenile Delinquency, Adoption and Fostering, Mental Health, and Geriatric Care. Mr. Luszczak holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of York and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kingston University, both academic institutions in Great Britain. Mr. Luszczak is in his fifth year teaching AJS 212: Juvenile Justice Procedures at Estrella Mountain Community College.


Rodney T. Ruiz, MEd, BS

Rodney Ruiz recently retired from the Phoenix Police Department after over 28 years of service. After serving three years with the Arizona Department of Corrections as a correctional service officer, Rodney joined the Phoenix Police Department in 1990. Rodney started out as a patrol officer and graduated to Field Training Officer after a few years. He later spent a short time in undercover assignments before transferring to the investigations division in 1999. While there, he served in detective assignments in the Domestic Violence Detail, Property Crimes Detail, and Sex Crimes Detail until transferring to the Airport Bureau in 2010. Rodney has extensive training in domestic violence to include Train-the-Trainer certification. Rodney has provided domestic violence instruction for the Phoenix Police Department, various statewide law enforcement agencies, other city departments, the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy (ALEA), the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board (AZPOST), a network of professional constituents, and the general public. During his time with the Family Investigations Bureau, he developed, coordinated, and instructed an evidence-based prosecution domestic violence curriculum for the entire Phoenix Police Department Patrol Division. Rodney has been teaching a variety of Administration of Justice classes for Estrella since 2008 and currently teaches AJS-258 Victimology and AJS-113 Criminal Justice Crime Control Practices and Policies. He is a graduate of the Arizona Master Teacher Seminar and is a current member of the Adjunct Faculty Association (AFA). Rodney earned his Masters of Education in Educational Leadership and Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Education degrees from Northern Arizona University. He completed his Associates of Applied Science in Law Enforcement Technology from Rio Salado Community College.


Terri Saunders, MA

Terri earned her Masters of Arts in Forensic Psychology in 2009 from Argosy University (Phoenix) and her Bachelors of Criminal Justice in 1999 from Buena Vista University (Iowa). She started her career with the Iowa Department of Transportation as a Driver’s License Examiner, which required an extensive knowledge of administrative laws. She moved to Arizona in 2003, where she worked for Maricopa County Juvenile Court Administration. In 2004, she promoted to Adult Probation Officer. Over the next 13 years, she worked primarily in Intensive Probation (high-risk offenders) both as a field officer and in a re-entry position within the jail system. She also worked as a GPS Analyst and a Sex Offender Probation Officer. She is a certified facilitator of Real Colors (Personality Assessment developed by N.C.T.I) and a Thinking for a Change facilitator (Cognitive restructuring program adopted by the National Institute of Corrections). Terri promoted to Probation Officer Supervisor in January of 2018 where she supervises 9 standard field officers primarily based out of the south Maryvale area. She has taught for Maricopa Community Colleges since 2012, where she started in the Behavioral Science division at EMCC teaching PSY101 Intro to Psychology, PSY132 Psychology of Culture, and PSY240 Developmental Psychology. Since 2015 she taught AJS258 Victimology at Phoenix College. Terri teaches AJS192 Serial Killers and Mass Murders.


James Thiessen, MEd

James earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Education Counseling/Human Relations from Northern Arizona University. He has over 22 years’ experience in the criminal justice system. James was first exposed to law enforcement as an Explorer while in high school, was a police officer for a short time and served as a probation officer for over 21 years. He has experience in both the adult and juvenile probation systems, and has served in presentence investigation, Safe Schools, Juvenile Intensive Probation Supervision, and federal supervision units. James has extensive experience in investigations, sentencing guideline application, and evidence-based practices. He also developed policy and served on the Critical Incident Stress Management team for Yuma County’s two probation departments, and served on the District of Arizona’s search team and internship program. James retired from the United States Probation Office in May 2019. James has taught criminal justice classes at Mohave Community College, Arizona Western College, University of Phoenix, Estrella Mountain Community College, and Chandler-Gilbert Community College. James currently teaches AJS 240, The Correction Function and AJS 123 Ethics and the Administration of Justice.


Angela L. Walker, JD

Angela is an indigent defense attorney practicing trial-level capital defense in Maricopa County and has experience defending felony cases from possession of marijuana to first-degree murder. Prior to practicing as an indigent criminal defense attorney, Angela clerked for the Hon. Donn Kessler at the Arizona Court of Appeals, a sought after one- or two-year post law-school graduation position. Angela graduated from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law with pro bono distinction. Prior to law school and during undergraduate studies, Angela worked at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office as the legislative assistant, a position that provides assistance to the AGO’s lobbyists. In this position, she gained valuable experience in the law-making process. During this time, she earned a B.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. Angela also has an interest in victim rights and restorative justice, having studied it in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.