Associate Director of PCC international studies visits Vietnam to expand college


Daisy Rodriguez Pitel started her new position as associate director for Pima Community College’s International Studies Services this past summer. She previously worked as Advanced Program Manager of Student Life and Educational Outreach at the West Campus.

“The transition was not difficult,” Rodriquez Pitel said.  “I had been doing 20 percent of my job collaborating with the International Studies Services in the past.”

Rodriguez Pitel had also put together big programs in the past, including Justice Advocacy Dialogue Empowerment (a social justice leadership training), Peer Mentors and Bécalos.

She said opportunities for Pima students to be engaged in various programs had made a great impact on other people’s lives.

Kyra Harris, a current student at the University of Arizona, worked with Rodriguez Pitel in the Student Life office in the past.

“She was always a happy person and good mentor,” Harris said.  “She doesn’t micromanage.  She assigned you a job and it was up to you to get results in your own style or way of doing it.”

Yvonne Perez also worked with Rodriguez Pitel. She’s currently the Program Coordinator of International Development.

“She is very committed to serve not only the international students but all the students,” Perez said.  She is a good listener and likes to encourage people to bring their ideas on the table.”

Her new job means new challenges but Rodriguez Pitel is excited to learn.

She will continue to work to coordinate international programs.  One of them is SEP-Bécalos-Santander Universidades International Program.  This is the second year that 58 students from Mexico attend Pima in fall 2015 to increase global awareness and strengthen international partnerships.

She looks forward to being a part of a strong team that works for its students, so they will have a positive experience at Pima.

The team is comprised of  Ricardo Castro-Salazar, Ph.D., the acting vice-president for international development and Weston Brown, the director of International Programs and Recruitment.  Together, they worked on developing cultural engagement for international and domestic students.

Currently, Pima’s international students include people from Algeria, Angola, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Congo, Czech Republic, Germany, Ghana, Hongkong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mauritana, Mexico, Mongolia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

The International Studies Services marketing strategies have been laid out and the program is expected to grow.

Rodriguez Pitel represented Pima in the Higher Education Recruitment Fair that took place in Vietnam’s larger cities of  Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh,  Sept. 26-27.  There were 300 schools that participated in the fairs, sponsored by Access American Foundation.

“It is our intention to recruit and retain our international student population,” she said.  “If our

international students transfer to a university after their associate degree, we help them, too.”

The International Studies Services has a new Vision Statement: Global education without limits, as well as a new Mission Statement: Developing communities through global education.

The ideas and themes presented when working with international students hit close to home for her.

Rodriguez Pitel never forgets where she came from.  Her parents originally lived in the Philippines, but when her father joined in the U.S. Navy, they moved to the United States.  They moved a lot after that. The lifestyle exposed her to people from different cultural backgrounds.

She spent her time in California, where she attended San Francisco State University and majored in speech communication.  It was there that she fell in love with the college environment.

“College is not only taking classes but learning life skills,” she said.  “You develop interpersonal skills, critical thinking, time management, cultural awareness and sensitivity.”

Rodriguez Pitel hopes that Pima international students have positive experience living and studying in U.S.

“I would like them to feel comfortable studying at Pima and be a part of the community,” she said.  “I would like to hear them say, ‘I belong here.’”


Editor’s note:

This article was originally printed with the headline Head of PCC international studies visits Vietnam to expand college. This headline is incorrect. We would like to state that Rodriguez Pitel’s position is Associate Director. 


Student Life aide Uthai Espinoza speaks with Daisy Rodriguez Pitel in her new office. Rodriguez Pitel is spearheading an effort to bring more international students to Pima Community College. (Kit Fassler/Aztec Press)

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