RSSAuthor Archive for Alex Fruechtenicht

Video: The Word – Who is your NBA MVP?

Video: The Word – Life Aspirations

Aztec Press Fall 2016 Staff

Phoenix College Championship Post-Game Fight

Fashion Trends at PCC

Paying for convenience? Eating at PCC

THE WORD: Which music genre motivates you the most?

THE WORD: Which music genre motivates you the most?

Pg03-Anmol

“When I’m studying, I listen to symphonies by Schubert because they have no lyrics in them.”

Anmol Jain

Major: Computer Science

Pg03-Ariela

“I grew up listening to jazz. It helps me focus and relax myself.”

Ariela Edelman

Major: Medical Lab Tech

Pg03-Jonathan

“Anything hardcore or heavy, like hip-hop or metal.” 

Jonathan Vasquez

Major: Dental Hygiene

Pg03-Kaity

“It varies. Whatever fits my mood that day.”

Kaity Lopiccolo

Major: Nursing

Pg03-Tyler

“While I work out, I generally listen to something uptempo that I can sing along with to keep me going.”

Tyler Mercer

Major: Undecided

Fall 2015 Issue 8 Horoscope

Fall 2015 Issue 8 Horoscope

by MICKEY LAMB

 

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Your pace may be a bit more than the world is ready for, Aries. Have you thought about giving the mountain a slow climb? It may allow you time to reflect on your purpose, as well as save you in aspirin costs.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Taurus, everybody loves a generous host. As you stampede through this season with your holiday herd, provide liberal luxury unto your loved ones. You may find your confidantes better company than your wealth.

Gemini (May 21-June 21)

If something doesn’t look right upon first glance, Gemini, get a second set of eyes on the target. Your gifted gaze and Sagittarius’ skilled shot make for one accomplished association.

Cancer (June 22-July 22)

Cancer, your mood has as many shifts and turns as the moon that guides it. Consistency isn’t just a legend on your road map, it’s the roadmap to your legend. Moving latterly as you walk the shores would be a crabwise decision.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Make an attempt to not let your pride cloud your judgment, Leo. Many will seek your council, so don’t be afraid to tell someone you don’t have the answers. Giving poor advice is worse than giving no advice at all.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept.22)

Virgo, you could gain from allowing your passion to take you when and where it will. Keeping your wits about you has always kept you safe but holding back on your emotions will hold you back as well.  Live a little, give in.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Well-balanced decisions lead to a well balanced lifestyle, Libra.  Avoid decisions that will weigh on your conscience. Tipping the scales in either direction could prove disastrous, calibrate appropriately.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov.21)

It’s your turn to feel the sting, Scorpio. All who’ve gotten close enough to you have fallen victim to your poisonous intentions.  Asserting your dominance may not be in your best interest for once.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec.21)

You’ve remained sharp as an arrow and still manage to maintain your free spirit.  Your partner may wish to tighten the reigns on your relationship. Show them why so many fall under Jupiter’s orbit. Break their will as they wish to break yours.

Capricorn (Dec.22-Jan. 19)

Your ambition to rule over others will be your undoing. Not until you learn to allow others to live as they wish will you ever find yourself at their court. Leave judgment upon the fates and find yourself butting heads less often.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb.18)

Why do you fear taking charge, Aquarius? You watch as the world around you crumbles, yet you sit idly by. Only you can unite all under one banner. You have been called upon for your unorthodox measures.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Pisces, your creativity has been wasting away as of late. With all of your foresight you only forecast visions of doom.  Use that creativity and passion for love to illustrate a beautiful future for you and those around you, and marvel in your premonitions.

Positive thinking drives away fear

Positive thinking drives away fear

By Kit B. Fassler

The world dictates how we live.  Horrible news reports of war, bomb explosions and shootings are constantly seen in the media that distract our minds and make us fearful.   We can’t allow fear to dominate our minds.  The remedy is quiet, centered thoughts to obtain hope and get rid of the fear.

Let’s turn to the history of mankind and evaluate the causes of war.   It is obvious that inequality, oppression and even corruption are the causes of conflict, struggles and migration.

Exodus, a book in the Bible, tells the  story of the Israelites fleeing from Egypt to seek freedom, is an ancient example of man’s struggles.  It is a never-ending cycle.

During Thanksgiving at the White House, President Obama spoke about the plight of the Plymouth pilgrims in the New World.  He made a point that this is the same struggle that refugees in the Middle East experienced.

There was also a time between 1880 and 1920 that two million Russian Jews escaped from oppression. They left Russia and most of them migrated to the United States.

When the Wall of Berlin was torn down, the world thought that was the end of the Cold War.  But then, the results of the war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria caused more upheaval and unrest.

The rampage in Paris shocked the world again.   There is a feeling of fear.  We struggle to calm our agitated minds, but I do believe that there is still good in every human being.  That good will always triumph.

Government leaders and the United Nations are trying to find a solution to slow down the flow of refugees. Terrorist groups are also a serious threat.

As ordinary citizens we also play a role in making this world a better place to live.   We have the capacity to give hope and improve the lives of our fellow citizens in our community.

Let’s start with the basics and remind ourselves that we can be a part of the solution.  We don’t want war anymore.  We choose peace.  It’s really up to us.

Why not give opportunities to poor people to move up to the middle class?   Upward mobility gives opportunity to realize the American dream.  Providing education is one remedy, and an education gives dignity to a human being.

We jeopardize our future because of the monopoly of the few rich, and leaving the rest of humanity behind.  Complacency, greed and power won’t work because even the rich and famous are affected by the unrest.  Every pain and struggle affects each one of us somehow because we are part of the human family.

Another important role every citizen can take is in civic engagement.   We are political forces as voters.  We mobilize our youth to get out and get political power.  We put our politicians to work on prioritizing quality education that opens up a better job.

Former President Abraham Lincoln understood the importance of equality and balance in a society.  Thus, the Emancipation of Slavery was approved by Congress during his term.  At this point in time it’s up to us, the living, to carry on the mission to pursue justice and peace in order for humanity to thrive.

Fassler is a social advocate and will always be.

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Black Friday is a shopper nightmare

Black Friday is a shopper nightmare

by Steven Fowler

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the holiday season and it’s gotten to the point where it disrupts the real November holiday. Thanksgiving is a time where family and friends come to visit one another and give thanks for their blessings and good health.

Every year, it seems as though businesses open their doors earlier, forcing family members to leave their loved ones to work. Everyone should have the option to stay with their loved ones and spend their hard-earned money.

Celebrating a delicious early dinner with family on Thanksgiving is a joyful time. No one should leave that for shopping.

This past Black Friday was shocking. At 6 p.m., the Walmart on Speedway and Kolb must’ve had 300 cars in their parking lot and an endless line of anxious customers standing in chilly weather.  What was so special to buy when they could be enjoying time with their family?

Most people feel that fighting for a spot in line while attempting to buy a $1,000 television at a deep discount is no way to spend Thanksgiving.  While some families are sitting comfortably in their home cutting into the turkey and scooping out the mouth-watering mashed potatoes and gravy, others brave the weather and mobs for their discount.

It’s not just Walmarts that open prior to Black Friday. According to a Nov. 26 report by CNBC’s Krystina Gustafson, JC Penney opened their doors at 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving while three other stores including Kmart, Target and Macy’s opened their doors at 4 p.m. that same day.

It seems that executives of these corporations are trying to tear families apart by forcing their employees to work during such a time. Spending money, at times, is a good feeling. So is working to help secure your family’s future. But, there comes at least one day when everyone just needs to be with family.

I am in favor of businesses making money, don’t get me wrong. I believe we all have the constitutional right to go out and buy what we please but for me, sitting down at the dinner table with family comes first.

I admit that I went out with a few of my friends and spent money on Thanksgiving. We went out at 10 p.m., a few hours after dinner while most were at their houses. It was a great opportunity to go out and spend time with friends.

There should be a certain cutoff for Thanksgiving that corresponds with Black Friday, such as starting the sales at midnight, the day after the holiday. This gives people more quality time to be with family that one typically may not see. This permits for a chaotic 24-hour window to buy gifts at a cheap price.

It’s a long shot but we need to write to or call the executives of companies asking them to push back their stores hours.

Fowler is a journalism student attending Pima Community College who aspires to be the next great influence in the world of sports reporting. He believes that families should be together during the holidays.

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A generation without words

A generation without words

by Travis Braasch

It may be hard to believe that there was a time without cellphones; a time where children would walk to a friend’s house to see if they wanted to hang out, rather than send a text message. Times have changed with the evolution of technology, but the outcome isn’t what some may have expected.

According to the National Consumers League, 56 percent of children between the ages of 8 to 12 own cellphones and use them regularly. Not only do many young children have unlimited access to cellphones, but 21 percent of children age 8 or younger own smartphones.

With the waves of violence in schools the past decade, it isn’t unusual for parents to want to be in contact with their children in case some horrific event unfolds. Cellphones allow parents immediacy to contact their child without going through the complicated school channels.

However, despite the obvious logical benefits, cellphones have caused just as much harm to younger generations than most may realize. From cyber-bullying to sexual harassment, cellphones opened the doors to different worries for parents.

Teenagers seem to rely on their cellphones to do everything for them, from help with schoolwork to networking with friends. It is now easier than ever. The problem is that cellphones  have somehow enabled teenagers to become lost when trying to do anything for themselves. An example would be a simple problem of addition or subtraction that can’t be executed without the dependency of a smartphone.

This may stem from the fact that parents have given their children phones at younger ages than ever before, thus becoming reliant on phones earlier. This doesn’t give them the chance to grow up and learn how to process information for themselves. Like all technology, cellphones break and it’s amazing to see how lost some become when they cannot Google an answer for their homework assignment.

The most damage cellphones have created for the younger generation is their inability to verbally communicate in-person with their peers, affecting their confidence in social situations. Many teenagers strictly communicate through text messages, about 60 per day according to the PEW Research Center, and over a two year period the rate rises to over 100 per day.  Although the quick messages are handy, it seems that almost all conversation has been compacted to little words on a screen. The art of communication has digressed to a text.

There are no more conversations between human beings in that generation. This fact became obvious during a session of job interviews conducted with people that averaged the age of 18. They couldn’t seem to hold a schmoozy conversation. Many young teens out of high school avoided eye contact with their interviewer and played with their hands because they were not used to communicating with their voice. Some wouldn’t even look up when asked a simple question about their work skills, and mumbled responses at the table.

It became all too clear during a session of job interviews conducted by yours truly with people that averaged the age of 18.

As a manager of a local pizza place, it was clear in their awkwardness that they couldn’t even hold a simple conversation for a position in customer service. Most avoided eye contact, mumbled and played with their hands. No confidence. No communications. It is like talking to an empty shell of a human.

This shows how cellphone addiction has crippled our youths’ skill to communicate, which can harm their future.While cellphone use has allowed for communication, at some point even created a sense of safety, they’ve taken away from human interaction. It’s made our future leaders completely reliant on this piece of plastic and metal to function in almost any capacity.

Instead of buying an 8-year-old the latest smartphone for Christmas, perhaps the parents could enthusiastically settle for a bike, tell their kid to play outside and be creative. This technology has the power to rob them of their function to think and socially communicate.

Braasch is a reporter and is concerned about the progression of technology dependence.

Pg06-Opinion Travis

Women’s squad starts 2-0 in conference

Women’s squad starts 2-0 in conference

by DEANNA SHERMAN

The Pima Community College women’s basketball team (4-1, 2-0 in ACCAC) took down the defending region champs at West Campus on Nov. 22.

In a 61-46 victory over Phoenix College, the Aztecs avenged their nail-biting 53-55 loss from last years Region I, Division II semifinals.

It seemed as though the game might be another close one with a little more than five minutes left in the game Pima was only up 48-40. Exceeding under pressure, the Aztecs went on a 13-6 run to finish the game strong.

Freshman Denesia Smith finished with a game high 17 points followed by sophomore Gabby Banales with 14. Fellow sophomore had an impressive 10 rebounds on the night helping Pima control the boards.

“Great win today against the defending region champs. We played solid defense and crashed the offensive boards,” Pima coach Todd Holthaus said.

Pima opened their regular season conference play Nov. 18 at home with a victory over Chandler-Gilbert Community College 77-70.

It was a tight first half as both teams battled basket-for-basket, ending the first half with the Aztecs in the lead 39-36. But it wasn’t until the third quarter that Pima began to keep a strong, consistent lead, putting Chandler-Gilbert in an 11-point deficit 26-15.

Blue had the game high score of 23 points and eight rebounds. Smith and fellow freshman Sydni Stallworth scored double digits as well; Smith with 16 points and six steals while Stallworth had 13 points and two assists.

The Pima Aztecs opened their season playing the Arizona Western Classic tournament in Yuma.

Stallworth came out of the tournament with a total 40 points, 16 rebounds, 14 assists and six steals in the three games.

In the final game of the tournament Pima took down Brookdale Community College (NJ) in a 94-38 blowout to end the long weekend on Nov. 14.

Banales had 11 points and four rebounds on the game while Stallworth had an impressive 16 points, six rebounds and four assists.

The Aztecs had a tough match-up against top 10, Division I school, New Mexico Junior College on Nov. 13.

Despite Stallworth’s game-high 19 points, six rebounds and two assists, Pima lost 55-39 with a disappointing 24 percent shooting from the field.

Fortunately that would be Pima’s only loss and toughest match of the season so far.

In the opening game of the tournament the Aztecs had the opposite effect on the court, destroying Cetys University (Mexico) 86-29, Nov. 12.

Four Pima Aztecs scored double figures and outrebounded Cetys 41-27. Blue led PCC in scoring with 22 points, followed by sophomore Shalise Fernander with 15 points and seven rebounds. Banales had 10 points on the board as well as freshman Aubre Fortner.

Stallworth was named ACCAC Division II Player of the Week for the week after leading the Aztecs to a 2-1 record in the Arizona Western Classic in Yuma. She totaled 40 points, 16 rebounds, 14 assists and six steals.

The Aztecs travel to Thatcher Nov. 27-28 where they will participate in the Thanksgiving Classic.

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Freshman Sydni Stallworth sets up the offense against Phoenix College at West Campus. (Deanna Sherman/Aztec Press)

The name’s Bond... Pima County bonds

The name’s Bond… Pima County bonds

by NICK MEYERS

With all the excitement over presidential debates, campaign rallies and whatever came out of Donald Trump’s mouth this week, it can be difficult to remember that we have local elections this year.

Pima County voters will head to the voting booths on Nov. 3 to vote in our local elections, which is arguably much more important than selecting our future president. However, due to the media monopolization of the presidential race, local elections often get over looked.

This year, Tucson has the opportunity to approve or deny more than $800 million infrastructure and economic stimulus packages. Nearly a billion dollars could be spent improving our roads, parks, neighborhoods and businesses, but only if voters approve.

Members of the Pima County community have spent the last nine years developing seven distinct proposals worth nearly $100 million apiece to be paid for with general obligation bonds.

A 25-member committee has held more than 100 hearings to gather public insight as to what specific projects comprise each bond and these seven propositions are the culmination of nearly a decade of debate and compromise.

Bonds are similar to loans from private investors, except these loans are payed for by taxpayers. Over the next 15 years, property taxes will increase to fund these projects.

But worry not, for the average property owner tax will increase by a mere $17.54 per year while the highest valued properties ($250,000 or more for 13 percent of primary residences) will increase by $28.75 per year.

While it seems the vast majority of the public supports these propositions, there are some who disagree with the justification of spending $800 million of taxpayers’ money. One group, Taxpayers Against Pima Bonds, has even created a website (that belongs in 1996) to persuade voters against voting for the bonds.

The main argument against the bonds is that businesses will experience a much higher tax increase than homeowners. This is partially due to the fact that average commercial property is valued at roughly six times that of residential property. The average business owner can expect a tax increase of about $200 per year.

As compelling an argument as it may be, the life of a business depends on the lives of its customers and these packages not only stimulate economic development and tourism, but transportation and public health as well; all of which are beneficial to businesses as well as citizens.

Additionally, Pima County has an exemplary history with bonds and currently holds a AA credit rating, the second highest possible. Since 1974, Pima County voters have passed 54 bonds worth $2.03 billion in 12 elections. Only four have ever been denied.

The decision is ultimately left to the voter. So to help you decide here is a brief summary of each of the seven propositions. For more information, head to pima.gov/bonds2015.

 

Proposition 425: Road and Highway Improvements

Total: $200 million

This is the largest proposal this cycle with the majority of the spending designated to road repair and pavement preservation to be completed over the next 12 years. It’s no secret that Tucson’s roads are in desperate need of repair and in tandem with Prop 431 for flood control and drainage, this $200 million will go further than funds for repairs in the past.

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Proposition 426: Economic Development, Libraries and Workforce Training

Total: $91.4 million

What else does Tucson need? Business! This package is aimed at helping the unemployed prepare for and land a job as well as help out existing businesses. The largest parts of the package are the $20 million going to the University of Arizona Tech Park for a new building; $18 million for the new Southern Arizona Regional Orientation Center, a tourist resource for learning more about the Southwest; and $15 million for the Oro Valley Business Accelerator, a center for industry and academia to collaborate on research.

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Proposition 427: Tourism Promotion

Total: $98.6 million

While the proposition sounds like it’s aimed towards tourists, much of this package goes towards places Tucsonans love to visit as well. The Music Hall and Leo Rich theaters are the big winners of this proposition, as both are slated to receive renovations. The rest of the funding will go towards many of Tucson’s museums and the zoo.

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Proposition 428: Parks and Recreation Facilities

Total: $191.5 million

The second largest proposal on the ballot, Proposition 428 will funnel money into several of Tucson’s parks for renovations and expansions. Kino Sports Complex would receive $25 million for a new indoor sports complex and new fields and $3.5 million for a velodrome.

About $77 million will go towards various recreational facilities like YMCA, municipal golf courses and swimming pools and the remaining $85 million will be spent improving more than 20 parks in Pima County.

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Proposition 429: Public Health, Welfare, Safety, Neighborhoods and Housing

Total: $105 million

Nearly a quarter of this package will go towards improvements in Pima County’s most “stressed” neighborhoods for improvements such as street lamps, sidewalks, parks and community in the interest of reducing many negative societal impacts such as crime and drug abuse.

Other funding will go towards the Pima County Affordable Housing Program ($20 million), Pima County Medical Examiner ($15 million) and the Sahuarita Food Bank ($300,000).

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Proposition 430: Natural Area Conservation and Historic Preservation

Total: $112 million

This one is interesting as nearly the entire proposition aims to spend $95 million on a land acquisitions. The proposal would allow the county to purchase up to 450,000 acres of private and state land in order to maintain and facilitate wildlife and environmental preservation.

Though the county may not necessarily purchase all the eligible land, the land it does purchase becomes public and open to hiking, biking and horseback riding. The county will place new trails and trailheads that will be open to the public.

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Proposition 431: Flood Control and Drainage

Total: $16.9 million

This one is sure to be a favorite among voters, as it aims to better prepare Tucson’s rivers for the monsoon season. Almost half of the bond ($7 million) will be spent to reinforce the banks of the Santa Cruz and Rillito rivers and Canada del Oro, connecting river parks, bike paths and trails along both banks.

Other parts of the proposition will go to the Tohono O’odham San Xavier District ($2 million) for drainage improvements and acquiring flood-prone land for the county ($5 million) to relocate residents who may be at risk.

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New Marana outlet mall is a shopper’s oasis

New Marana outlet mall is a shopper’s oasis

by NATE KEZER

Tucson Premium Outlets, the new outlet mall located just off the Twin Peaks exit, celebrated their grand opening on Oct. 1.

The celebration included special events and prize giveaways, as well as entertainment. It all started with a ribbon cutting ceremony and keynote speech from the mayor, followed by several features and events that lasted throughout the weekend.

“It was pretty busy,” said Janiece Gracia, the business and training specialist at Old Navy in the new mall location.

“We didn’t have a long line in the morning like we expected, but later in the afternoon we did get really busy.”

The stores included in the mall are Old Navy, Adidas, Dress Barn, Forever 21, Levi’s, Converse, Famous Footwear, Vans and Helzberg Diamonds, just to name a few, with a total of 60 stores currently open.

The facility is owned and anchored by Simon, an international corporation in retail-based real estate ownership, management and development

“We’re so happy to see this partnership here,” said Marana Mayor Ed Honea at the grand opening celebration. “Simon is a world-wide recognized leader in building malls. Now all I have to say is, ‘it’s open.’”

Richard McKeown, the general manager, spoke highly of Premium Outlet’s home in Marana in an email.

“Working with the Town of Marana has been a one of a kind, positive experience,” he said.

“They have been productive and supportive in many areas in order to make this project a reality.  We appreciate their understanding of this project’s significance, not only for the Town of Marana but for the entire Southern Arizona region.”

This mall differs from common indoor malls, like Tucson Mall and Foothills Mall. Marana’s outlet is primarily outdoors, like La Encantada, with courtyards and pathways and stores placed side-by-side.

All of the buildings are constructed in a way that they seem to blend into the local environment. There are countless palm trees located all around the facility, as well as several water misters to help keep the area cool. It creates the illusion of an outdoor shopping oasis.

According to Town of Marana officials, the outlet mall should create approximately 800 new retail jobs. The Mayor also noted that there will be two new hotels built across the street from the new facility.

“The center’s diverse retail offerings are a direct response to shopper preferences and will provide a premier outlet shopping destination for area residents, as well as those visiting the area’s many attractions,” McKeown said in a news release.

Construction of the new mall began in September 2014 and an estimated two million hours were put in to the building.

It will be just a portion of the overall new Marana center, which measures in at 170 acres, according to Tucson News Now.

The two hotels are part of a master plan for an entire shopping center that is planned to have a grocery store, a theater, a fitness center and four auto dealers.

“We look forward to doing a lot better than we did at the Foothills Mall, especially because now we are right of off the freeway,” Gracia said.

Tucson Premium Outlet Mall is located at 6401 W. Marana Center Blvd., just off the Interstate 10 at the Twin Peaks Exit.

The regular hours for the store are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.  on Mondays to Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.

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North side corridor of the new Marana outlet mall. (Nate Kezar/Aztec Press)

Grad speaker values diversity

Grad speaker values diversity

By KIT B. FASSLER

Student Kenneth Lee will emphasize diversity when he delivers his commencement address during the Pima Community College 2015 graduation ceremony on May 21.

The college will award certificates and associate degrees to 3,732 graduation candidates at the Tucson Convention Center Arena. The ceremony begins at 7 p.m.

Lee, who was selected from numerous applicants, will speak about the value of multicultural diversity.

“The theme just fits in my life,” he said. “I’ve traveled a lot. I met different people from different cultures. They spoke different languages. Meeting them widened my world. It made me appreciate and understand humanity.”

Lee will graduate with an associate of applied science degree to be a clinical research coordinator.

Clinical research is a branch of health care science that determines the safety and effectiveness of medications, medical devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens intended for human use.

Pima’s clinical research coordinator program trains students to manage clinical research trials involving human subjects while preparing to take the Association of Clinical Research Professionals certification exam.

Lee credits his passion to learn for his success in finishing the program. He looks forward to helping improve lives for those who suffer from incurable diseases.

“I want to live in a better place different from before,” he said. “What if we find the cure for Ebola? That will really make a difference to our world.”

Lee was born in Baltimore, Md., and has one older brother, Steven. His father served in the military as a helicopter pilot and his mother was a stay-at-home mom.

At one point, the family moved to Iran for his father’s job. His dad later re-enlisted with the military, and worked as an Army helicopter flight instructor.

The family moved to Copperas, Ga., and finally settled in Tucson. Lee graduated from Canyon del Oro High School in 1990.

During high school, he fell in love with the French language. After graduation, he attended Grand Canyon University seeking a double major in French and German.

“I ended up leaving GCU to go to Western Catholic University in Angers, France,” he said. “In Angers, I received a diploma for French Language Arts and a translator’s certificate from the government of France.”

Lee has lived in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver and Wisconsin while working as an instructor with Berlitz Languages International. His final assignment with Berlitz was managing multiple language schools in southern California.

“I returned to Tucson for family reasons,” he said. “I was bored and thought of studying math, a subject I had been terrible in. I found Pima, registered for a course, was totally impressed and never looked back.”

Lee thought nursing would be a good fit, but switched to the clinical research coordinator program when he learned there are possibilities to help people on a global scale.

Lee likes to talk about his parents, and calls them his role models for finding a career that serves humanity in a special way.

“My parents are both from the same small town in New Bern, N.C.,” he said. “They were from simple southern backgrounds. They didn’t have degrees until later in life.”

Lee’s father earned a master’s degree and his mother became a dental hygienist. From a very early age, both parents stressed the importance of cultural diversity.

From raising their kids in Iran to sending them to school abroad and throughout West Africa, his parents emphasized to their children that we are all of value in our big world.

“Ken loves to read and study,” said his father, Curtis Lee. “I found him to be compassionate and respectful to others.”

Tobin Bryant, a friend and a classmate, had known Ken Lee for more than a year.

“Ken has been really a good friend,” Bryant said. “Things happen in my family that sometimes I’m absent. Ken will help me catch up with my schoolwork.”

As Lee prepares his commencement speech, he seeks to provide suggestions that deliver hope.

“In today’s violent world, we need to see our differences as our strength,” he said. “I hope to give some really concrete guidelines on how we can improve all the lives around us, here in Tucson and in our great world as well.”

Lee plans to travel to his favorite international city, Paris, the day after graduation.

When he gets back, he’ll apply for a job in virology.

After one year of work in the field, he’ll take the national exam to be certified.

“Fortunately, the CRC program allows Pima graduates to work in many diverse fields,” he said.

“I also plan on using my degree and language experience to take what I’ve learned to local and global levels.”

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Commencement speaker Kenneth Lee, who will graduate with an associate of applied science degree, jokes around with a teaching dummy at a West Campus lab. Lee wants to be a clinical research coordinator. (Alex Fruechtenicht/Aztec Press)