Meet the Staff

Karen DeBari

Veteran Student Mentor | English Instructor

Karen DeBari has been an English adjunct professor at Tunxis for many years. She is also known for her role as the veteran students’ mentor and advisor, and has been since 2009. Karen has fundraised and received thousands of dollars in donations, on behalf of the OASIS initiative. She is well known for making herself available to listen to student veteran concerns and offering support for a healthy acclimation from military to civilian life. She goes above and beyond to help veterans select classes, apply for scholarships and graduate. She has also brought in job placement specialists to help students find jobs and write resumes. You can find Karen stocking the cookie trays or making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for students in the OASIS throughout the week. She can be reached at

Helen Lozada

Certifying Official for Educational Benefits | Financial Aid Director

Helen Lozada is the certifying official for education benefits. Call 860.773.1516 or email

As Enrollment Management Specialist, I play many roles; Academic advisor, Veteran’s advisor and certifying official, financial aid administrator and advisor to the campus Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa. My dad served in the Korean War as part of the Royal Canadian Army.

I have served as acting associate director of financial aid, and as of September 2017 was promoted to Enrollment Management Specialist. In December of 2017, I was appointed the new Veterans Certifying Official. The easiest way to reach me is by email at I’m typically in my office in the academic advising area from 10 AM until close. Come find me!

Dr. Kirk Peters

Dean of Students

Dean of Students, Kirk Peters, has been working as a student affairs professional for over 40 years. His knowledge about the certifying of educational benefits is one of the many reasons he stands out on Tunxis campus. From attending trips to popping in the OASIS, Dean Peters is an avid supporter of the OASIS. His office is located near financial aid, and he can be reached directly at

Dean Peters began his tenure as a Residence Hall Director at the University of Massachusetts in 1978, his bachelors alma mater. He received his doctorate from the University of Hartford and launched his Tunxis career in 2001, his first experience in a community college. Along his career he has coached Division III men and women student athletes in volleyball and in tennis. Dr. Peters grew up as an Air Force “brat” living on bases in Delaware, Arizona, Germany, Alabama, New York, and Massachusetts.

After the 2016 retirement of David Welsh as Veterans Certifying Official, Dr. Peters served as the interim Certifying Official through the Fall 2017 semester. He views the OASIS as a signature program at Tunxis and is proud to serve as an advocate for the Tunxis veteran population.

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Deborah Pavelchak

Assistant to Dean of Student Affairs

Tunxis Community College has been my second home for 30 years. My role has always been in Student Affairs division and for the last 15 years as the Assistant to Dr. Kirk Peters, Dean of Student Affairs.

Personally I have very strong connections with the military specifically the Air Force. My youngest brother is a retired Chief Master Sargent, my son is active Air Force reservist at Barnes Air National Guard formerly crew chief for F-15’s and currently Quality Assurance chief inspector. Nieces and nephews are career Air Force and Army personnel. Having been on the sendoff end to many of my son’s and brother’s deployments I empathize greatly with supporting families and friends. It is so important for our returning veterans to have as much support and guidance upon their return and beyond. I am very grateful for the support the Tunxis Oasis currently does and has provided to our veteran students.