After 17 years the Massage Therapy Program director
Stephanie Manriquez bids farewell to the campus. Manriquez
began her educational career in 1998 when she came
to Central Oregon Community College as an aspiring massage
Today she owns her own private practice, has a total of
13 grandchildren and just bought a vintage camper that she
plans to use for camping after she hands the reins over to the
new director come September.
“I started the program at [COCC] in 1998 and went
through the certificate and the degree program, then I had
my own practice for several years before I got on the Oregon
State Board of massage therapy and spent eight years there,”
After her time at the state board, Manriquez felt it was
time for a change and so came back to the school and program
she called home.
“I began teaching in the program in 2001, and was interim
program director in 2003 and 2004,” said Manriquez.
After a brief period where she left her position to pursue
other ventures she made the decision to come back to
COCC and officially become the director of the program, a
position that she’s had as of March 2015. Though it hasn’t
been easy and there have been issues within the programs
that had to been address Manriquez managed to not only
overcome the obstacles but propel the program to the best
its been in years. Recently, the Massage therapy Program
received accreditation under COMTA.
“COMTA is the only accreditation available for schools
that teach massage therapy in the nation. We weren’t required
to but we decided to do it because it shows that our
program goes above and beyond what’s expected,” Manriquez
Manriquez cites that is not only her that make the program
the success that it is but the staff and instructors that
back her every step of the way.
“When I took over the program there were several internal
classroom conflicts so we began cleaning out the program
and making it more congruent and hiring staff that to
this day are still here with me which are awesome staff,”
said Manriquez, “If i’ve done my job correctly when I leave
the program it will be as strong as it ever has been, not because
of whose leading but because the staff is good and
As for who will be the next director of the program, Manriquez
stated that she is very please and happy that one their
very own will be taking the reins. Adjunct Professor of Massage
Therapy Alan Nunes who was hired into the position
after COCC concluded a national search.
Nunes stated that, “Stephanie Manriquez has been an instrumental
force of strength and knowledge” since shes been
part of the program, and that she “will continue to be part it
in different ways come September.
“I look to continue our ongoing dedication for excellence
within our program, our curriculum and our faculty,” said
Nunes, “We constantly look for ways to raise the bar for our
program and what we offer students who decide to pursue
massage therapy as a career.”
Nunes has been an instructor for COCC for the last seven
years, and its excited about the next chapter for the program,
but always keeping the students best interest in mind.
“Our growth in the quality and balance of both Western
and Eastern studies has been substantial since I came on
board,” said Nunes, “it is my plan to continue that growth in
the best way possible while maintaining a strong presence in
our community outreach work.”
As for what’s next for Manriquez; she plans to still practice
massage therapy in her own private practice and also
states that she will be spending much needed time at home
with her grandchildren and make use of the her newly restore
“I’m 67 years old and its time to change direction, I have
6 kids, and 13 grandkids. So I have plenty of things to do at
home,” said Manriquez.