Ms. Fisher Goes to Washington

By JOE GIDDENS

“I didn’t know that I loved politics or was so interested in politics until I really started reflecting on what I actually enjoy. It’s going to sound so ridiculous, but I really realized it through the tv shows that I was watching.’ said Michele Fisher “I was watching Scandal and The Good Wife. … I started paying more attention with the election.”

Originally from Rockford Illinois. Michele Fisher enrolled in Pima Community College in the fall of 2015, after a friend talked her into going back to school. The value of that initial encouragement and motivation has paid dividends throughout the campuses and administration.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I started going to Pima.” said Fisher. “I took one political science class thinking, alright, let’s just give it a shot and see if this is it. Then because I loved it so much … I should probably be involved in student government.”

Michele was elected to be the Student Senator of the Community Campus a role that she’s found professionally and personally rewarding. Every campus including PimaOnline elects two senators. Of these fourteen senators a further three are elected to the All College Council. The All College Concuol is made up of representatives from from the president’s office, administration, Student Senate, Staff Council, Faculty Senate, and Adjunct Faculty. Ms. Fisher has served on both.

“ it was designed to help take perspectives from all of our different constituencies and kind of help give a consensus on issues.” she said.

“She was a dedicated student and took her learning seriously.” said Erich Saphir her political science instructor “and showed real potential for continued success.”

“I hadn’t really been involved in the community here since I’ve been in Tucson.”

Being actively involved in Pima’s Honors Program has changed that. The Pima Honor Club has put together R.I.S.E for Homeless Veterans for the last two years. This year’s event served 160 homeless thanks to the efforts of 85 volunteers. While, all homeless were assisted by the event, vets were of special interest, according to The Tucson/Pima Coalition to End Homelessness vets make up near 16% of the area’s homeless population in 2016.

She was also a part of the Honors Club decorating the VA Hospital last Black Friday for the holiday season. Other participants were fellow members of the All-Arizona Academic Team; John Dickey, Gabby Encinas and Karen Kuciver.

“The VA in general had gone through some scandals and some issues,” she said. “To know that this large amount of veterans are being taken care of is really comforting and heartwarming.”

Community Colleges Legislative Summit

Fisher to the right of Jeff Flake with the Pima delegation

Michele served as Pima’s sole student representative at the 2018 American Association of Community Colleges Legislative Summit in Washington D.C. on Feb 11-14, joining administrators Lee Lambert, Demion Clinco, Luis Gonzales, Mark Hanna and Meredith Hay and more than 1,000 community college leaders from across the country.

“It was a very positive trip. We were able to make our points about some of the things we liked in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.” said chancellor Lee Lambert. “She was an amazing asset. She was articulate, she was passionate and she really spoke well and represented the student body well … couldn’t ask for a better ambassador.”

Pima’s delegation met with representatives of representatives of Tom O’Halleran and Raúl Grijalva offices. On the senate side, John McCain’s staff and personally with soon to retire Senator Jeff Flake.

“We talked about DACA and how that’s impacting especially us here.” she said. “ A lot of these legislative bills are lumping all colleges and to like one group instead of really distinguishing the differences that community colleges have from universities.”

Michele plans to graduate from Pima with her Associate’s of Liberal Arts and transfer to Arizona State University in the fall. To pursue secondary education with a concentration in political science. As a member of the 2018 All-Arizona Academic Team, she’ll have a tuition waiver for her studies in Tempe.

“Getting to teach the next generation about politics is super exciting to me,” she said. She also wants to pursue political public service. “Because after visiting DC I realized how many staffers there really are.”

One of her takeaways from Washington was the value of perseverance in the political arena, and the benefit of thinking about goals as a long term process.

“ … be prepared to lose, like, and be in going being OK with that. (And) not letting it completely damage your pride because they had all run for office and lost an election at some point.”

“I wish you could see how, could have seen her with the legislators with Senator Flake and the other legislative aides … said Board of Governors Member Mark Hanna “She was much more proficient in explaining our positions to them and they certainly were more receptive to hearing from a student than they were from hearing from us. So I really want to congratulate Michele and encourage more of our students to participate in those kind of activities.”

 

 

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