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FOOTBALL: Aztecs fall late to Eastern Arizona

FOOTBALL: Aztecs fall late to Eastern Arizona



The Pima Community College football team lost a heartbreaker to Eastern Arizona Community College on Oct. 8.

The Aztecs were coming off of two straight bye weeks and looked fresh in the first half.

Freshman quarterback Justin Martin went to work early, finding sophomore wideout Jeff Cotton for a 66-yard touchdown.

Pima’s defense likely played its best first half of the season, forcing five punts and one turnover. The momentum allowed Martin to connect with Cotton once more in the first half for 47 yards and another touchdown.

Cotton finished the game with four catches for 134 yards as well as the two touchdowns.

An Aztec field goal ended the first half and Pima took a 17-0 lead into the break.

The second half was a different story, as Eastern Arizona completely changed the pace of the game. The Gila Monsters moved the ball consistently, with the defense stepping up to take away the long pass.

After 21 unanswered points, the Aztecs found themselves in trouble.

With one final attempt at a game-winning drive, Martin completed first down passes to sophomore Sirgeo Hoffman and Cotton, but took a sack on the final play as time expired.

The team was visibly frustrated afterward.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a starter, second string, third string,” sophomore lineman Jordan Agasiva said to his teammates. “Everyone come out next week and do your job.”

That is exactly what the Aztecs need to do as they prepare for arguably their toughest task this season and head coach Jim Monaco knows it.

“Please allow us to realize that we have a short week and that we have to go up and play Snow,” Monaco told his players after the game.

“Please allow us to realize that we have a short week and that we have to go up and play Snow,” he said after the game.

The Aztecs seem to realize that they must maintain a short-term memory and prepare to go on a familiar road trip to face a team that was ranked No. 2 in the nation in the preseason. The game also serves as a rematch of last year’s WSFL Championship game, which Pima lost 26-16.

Despite the result, Pima’s debut Aztec Spirit Night was a success as the program saw one of its best turnouts for a game this season.

Students, parents and various other supporters attended to show school spirit and participate in extra activities and events. As promised there were jumping castles, food and an appearance by the U.S. Marines.

Pima football will continue to hold events on game nights to provide extra incentives to support the college and its teams.



Oct. 15: @ Snow College, Ephraim, Utah, 1 p.m.

Oct. 22: Arizona Western College, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.

Culinary students get careers cooking

Culinary students get careers cooking



Pots and pans clang. Timers go off. An instructor yells that the meat is too raw to serve.

This isn’t “Master Chef” with Gordon Ramsey. It’s a culinary class at Pima Community College’s Desert Vista Campus.

PCC offers two ways for students to complete culinary studies.

A Culinary Training and Development option provides a certificate upon completion. With Culinary Credit, students earn an associate of applied sciences degree in culinary arts.

CTD student Andrea Encinas already runs a home-based business baking for family and friends but wants to earn a certificate and begin selling to the public.

“I kind of wanted to pursue it a little further and go back to school after five years,” she said. “I’m in the process of opening my own bakery.”

Culinary credit student Johnathan Felix said respect for his aunt’s cooking spurred his decision to obtain a culinary degree.

“I want to own my own restaurant later,” he said. “It’s going to be another 10 years, but I’ll get there.”

Mario Diaz de Sandy, widely known as Chef Mario, said both programs concentrate on culinary arts but take different approaches. “It’s all kind of like a web that fits together,” he said.


Culinary Training and Development


CTD students clock in Monday-Thursday at 7:30 a.m., and clock out at 2:30 p.m. On Fridays, their day ends at 11:30 a.m.

“They can start any Monday, which is the beauty of that program,” Chef Mario said.

Before enrolling, applicants obtain funding, undergo an interview and sign an attendance agreement. Chef Mario personally escorts students to obtain their uniform and book.

There are numerous certificate paths students can take, ranging from a 335-hour kitchen helper course to a culinary skills fundamentals class that takes 1,000 hours.

Most options require a 160-hour internship.

“The whole idea is to get them that job while they’re still in school,” Chef Mario said.

For more information about the CTD program, call 206-5142.


Culinary Credit


In the Culinary Credit option, students attend an information session and then start traditional academic classes in the spring semester.

Many of the culinary credit instructors are also professional chefs.

Jan Osipowicz, for example, is executive corporate chef for Tucson’s Hilton El Conquistador. He received the Hilton Diamond Chef gold medal in 2007.

Student chefs might get an opportunity to work with Osipowicz at the Hilton, but only if he sees something he likes.

“I’m looking for a high level of discipline and strong work ethics, combined with book knowledge and practical hands-on experience,” he said.

Felix is one such student.

“I’m just waiting for my paperwork to push through,” he said. “I have the lead line cook position.”

For more information about the credit program, call 206-7694.


Student Culinarian Invitational


Anyone interested in culinary topics is invited to attend a free Student Culinarian Invitational on Oct. 19 from 3-5 p.m. at the commercial kitchens in the Desert Vista

Pueblo Building.

Pima instructors and other professionals will demonstrate topics ranging from ice and fruit carving to garden management.

Instructor Elizabeth B. Mikesell will coordinate the event

“It’s about exposing high school and college students to aspects of the culinary industry,” she said.

One special presenter will be master gardener Marcy Bell of ARBICO Organics.

For further information, contact Mikesell at or 206-5128.


Chris Christiansen squeezes dough to create a dessert for his culinary project. The class makes every course from appetizers to dessert. Photo by Nicholas Trujillo.

Chris Christiansen squeezes dough to create a dessert for his culinary project. The class makes every course from appetizers to dessert. Photo by Nicholas Trujillo.

Farm hosts Marana Pumpkin Patch and Festival

Farm hosts Marana Pumpkin Patch and Festival



My worst nightmare had come true. I was lost in the corn maze at Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival with my 9-year-old grandson.

Chase had been certain we could find our way through the maze. After 20 minutes, his confidence began to waver. After 45 minutes, he sat down and declared we were lost.

Luckily, he had brought along the map of the maze. Along with the diagram, there’s a phone number listed. Call the number and Wayne Homeier will come to save the day.

“I mowed this maze and I know it like the back of my hand,” Homeier said as he led us to the exit.

Thankfully rescued, we went on our way to explore the farm and enjoy a myriad of other activities.

The 4,000-acre Post Farms will host the Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival through Oct. 30.

Admission includes a wagon ride to the 50-acre pumpkin patch. Choose the perfect pumpkin to take home for 50 cents per pound. Most visitors leave that until the end of their day, as the ride ends close to the parking lot.

You can also ride around the farm on either a quarter-scale diesel train, or through the corn aboard a pumpkin train. Kids can ride pedal carts through either of the two corn mazes and around a farm trail.

Other kiddie activities include climbing Straw Mountain or visiting the petting zoo, which contains ponies, lambs, miniature donkeys, chickens, mini cows, pigs, baby doll sheep and goats. For $1, staff will provide a cup of food for feeding the animals.

The jumping pillow is popular with all ages. It’s similar to a trampoline but designed for 20-30 people, and the inflatable pillow allows jumpers to bounce safely. Unlimited jumping is included, in timed increments.

Not included with festival admission is a zip line ($5), pony rides ($4) or the cannons, which shoot apples or pumpkins ($1 per shot).

Breakfast, lunch and dinner choices are available at the Cattleman’s Café, which features both carnival food and healthier options such as salads and wraps.

Festival admission costs $12 plus tax per person on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission Monday through Thursday is $10 plus tax per person. Children less than 32 inches tall are free.

For information or directions, call 305-5481, email or visit Plan to arrive at least one hour before closing so you’ll have time to enjoy all the fun.


A map of one of the corn mazes. Photo by Robyn Zelickson.

A map of one of the corn mazes. Photo by Robyn Zelickson.


Many families and visitors to the festival search the vast 50-acre pumpkin patch for the perfect gourd. Pumpkins come in green, orange or white and in various shapes and sizes. Photo by Robyn Zelickson

Many families and visitors to the festival search the vast 50-acre pumpkin patch for the perfect gourd. Pumpkins come in green, orange or white and in various shapes and sizes. Photo by Robyn Zelickson

VOLLEYBALL: Pima battles through string of losses

VOLLEYBALL: Pima battles through string of losses



With the regular season wrapping up, the Pima Community College volleyball team is hoping for a strong finish.


Sept. 28: PCC 1, Mesa CC 3


The Aztecs avoided a sweep by No. 17 Mesa Community College, but ultimately fell at home in four sets, 25-16, 25-22, 20-25, 25-1.

Freshman Hannah Gerard finished with 19 assists and 17 digs. Freshman Anissa Conrad led the team with 20 digs. Sophomore Aleksandra Palmer had 12 kills and 13 digs.


Sept. 30: PCC 0, Glendale CC 3


PCC lost in three straight sets on the road at No. 2 Glendale Community College, 25-13, 25-18, 25-13.

Freshman Kayli Riesgo had 16 assists, five digs and two aces, while Palmer finished with eight kills and six digs. Conrad had 10 digs and one ace.


Oct. 5: PCC 2, Phoenix College 3


Facing Phoenix College at home, Pima battled to a five-set match.

The Aztecs fell behind in the first two matches but rallied to win two. They couldn’t keep the rally going into the fifth match and lost the tie-breaker, 25-14, 28-26, 17-25, 21-25, 15-7.

Gerard finished with 19 assists and 15 digs, while Conrad produced 33 digs.


Oct. 7: PCC 0, Scottsdale CC 3


The Aztecs lost at home in three straight sets, 25-16, 25-19, 25-17.

Freshman Trae Johnson led the team with 10 kills, while Gerard finished with 18 assists and nine digs.

The loss brought Pima’s season record to 8-15 overall and 2-9 in ACCAC play.




Oct. 14: Chandler-Gilbert CC, West Campus gym, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19: at Central Arizona College (Coolidge), 7 p.m.

Oct. 26: at South Mountain CC (Phoenix), 7 p.m.



Celestial Rites serves eclectic clientele

Celestial Rites serves eclectic clientele



Michael and Jennifer Kraych both offer spiritual advice at their Fourth Avenue shop, Celestial Rites. Photos by Katelyn Roberts.

When I walked into Celestial Rites and took a seat on a couch in the shop’s cozy backroom, one of the owners told me not to be nervous.

He could tell I was nervous? Of course he could. Michael Kraych reads energy for a living.

With his partner Jennifer Kraych, Michael has owned Celestial Rites for five years. The shop started on Seventh Street and Hoff Avenue, but the Kraychs outgrew that space and moved to a storefront on Fourth Avenue.

“It was great for starting out, but it was only 600 square feet,” Michael said of their first shop.

Michael has been a palm reader for three years. He sought a form of divination and began palmistry after having his palm read.

Jennifer, on the other hand, has performed tarot readings for 19 years. Her sister gave her a tarot deck when she was 17.

She also became a Wiccan at age 17, but the shop focuses on more than the Wiccan faith. Books on Satanism, Nortic magick, Celtic magick, black magick, Voodoo and herbal remedies line the shelves.


Delicate stones and crystals hang on the branches of a tree display. A collection of small cauldrons and figures are thoughtfully placed throughout the store, along with an assorted supply of incense, oils, powders, tinctures and card decks.

Two crystal balls are set up underneath the glass counter top.
“I tried to use a crystal ball once,” Michael said. “It just gave me a headache.”

The shop owners also make and sell dream pillows, puppets, herbal blends and magickal herbal candles.

Celestial Rites is for “everyone with an open mind,” the owners insist. They cater to most religions but agree there isn’t much Christian influence.

When it comes to acceptance in the community, the couple hasn’t received negativity beyond a Bible verse written in chalk on their front door.

The verse was Leviticus 19:26: “You shall not eat any meat with the blood still in it; neither shall you use enchantments, nor practice sorcery.”

“There are extremists everywhere,” Jennifer said.


A deck of tarot cards is framed in the back room reserved for readings.


Beneath the glass counter top, crystals are for sale.

Jennifer comes from a background helping mentally disabled hospital patients at University Medical Center, and has a passion for helping people.

The Kraychs agree more Tucsonians are open to the idea of the metaphysical. In fact, Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States.

“It seems like a lot of people are drawn to the goddesses we have on display, like a relation to Mother Earth and environmentalism,” Michael said.

The rising normality of feminism also has a lot to do with the increasing love for goddesses, Jennifer added. But even more so, she said a rise in spirituality has drawn more people into Pagan culture.

The shop will host a henna artist for the street festival and a psychic who can communicate with animals and the dead later this fall.


Celestial Rites sells leather-bound journals and a myriad of figures from many different religions.

With Halloween nearing, the Kraychs expect the usual customers looking for capes and kitschy costumes.

“It’s all Hollywood,” Michael said, referring to customers who expect to cast a spell or dress the part.

Rather than “Happy Halloween,” the Kraychs might offer a “Blessed Samhein” greeting.

Samhein, pronounced saw-wen, is the witch’s new year in the Wiccan faith.

“It’s the thinning of the veil, or when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest,” Michael said.

The Kraychs will celebrate together and have a private ceremony after Halloween.

Jennifer plans on dressing as Hecate, the queen or goddess of the witches.

“I’m not green,” she said. “I don’t have warts on my nose.”




Celestial Rites
543 N. Fourth Ave.
Monday-Friday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday: Noon-7 p.m.
Sunday: Noon-5 p.m.

Battle not over for LGBTQ rights

Battle not over for LGBTQ rights



We are still here and we are not silent.

America has always had a problem with minorities, and members of every minority have made efforts to advocate for their rights as human beings and as Americans.

We are supposed to be a land of the brave and a home of the free. It still doesn’t feel that way in the LGBTQ community. It feels like we are unrepresented and unprotected, because we are.


Orlando massacre


The massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando last June represented the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. I refuse to say the shooter’s name because he does not deserve the same recognition as the 49 individuals who lost their lives.

A vast majority of Americans mourned for those slain. However, not everyone was sympathetic. Some people blamed the wrath of God.

The attacks were not caused by the wrath of God but by the wrath of man. They were the aftermath of gun laws that allow purchase of a weapon that is capable of mowing down an entire room of people who deserved better than to die in a hail of bullets.

When I heard what happened to my brothers and sisters, I broke out in a panic attack. Knowing their loved ones would no longer see them vibrant and alive left me with feelings of sorrow and devastation.

I took comfort in a quote I read: Death does not end a relationship, it merely ends a life. Still, it is tragic to have lives end so suddenly.

After I calmed down, I became enraged because I saw on Twitter that many people congratulated the gunman for his work.

We need to help LGBTQ individuals. We need to make this country safer for them, and that starts with giving them the same rights as any other American.


LGBTQ discrimination


The LGBTQ community has been making strides in the right direction lately. However, we can’t become complacent with our progress.

We are still treated as second-class citizens in an age when we as a society should be past this prejudice.

“I have almost no rights,” says Pima Community College student Jenny Melendez. “As a lesbian, every time I hear LGBTQ rights I think to myself, ‘What rights do I actually have?’”

Although we have won the fight for marriage equality, we have not been so fortunate with issues such as job and housing protection.

A man can marry the love of his life one day and be denied service, be fired from his job or lose the lease on his apartment the next day simply because he married Steve instead of Eve.

It’s a shame our country hasn’t yet accepted the idea that every human being on this planet deserves the same equal rights.


Stalled Equality Act


Many people believe that federal laws protect the LGBTQ community. However, we don’t have ironclad protection.

A large part of our country will remain underrepresented and unprotected until the U.S. Congress passes the federal Equality Act. We also need civil rights protections at state and local levels.

The Equality Act legislation has more than 150 co-sponsors. That sounds optimistic, but it’s not. Not one co-sponsor is Republican, and the bill is dead in the water without Republican support.

The LGBTQ community isn’t asking for larger tax breaks or a free jet ski. We are simply asking for basic human rights that are supposed to be available to all U.S. citizens.


Religious prejudice


Much discrimination takes place with individuals who think their religious freedom allows them to freely discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

Religious freedom doesn’t give you a free pass to discriminate against individuals due to ethnicity. However, there really aren’t any specific prohibitions against LGBTQ discrimination.

Businesses can refuse service in ways as minuscule as not selling you a wedding cake to as serious as denying your request for medical care.

Yes, there have been cases of doctors refusing service to LGBTQ individuals. Imagine a gay couple taking their baby to a pediatrician, only to be refused treatment.


Transgender bathrooms


Let’s consider another disaster: bathroom bills. They’re a heinous way to target our transgender community.

Bills such as the one passed by North Carolina force transgender individuals to use a bathroom that matches their birth gender rather than the gender with which they currently identify. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and even jail time.

It is encouraging that North Carolina is facing fallout for its action. Still, it’s discouraging that legislators would even consider such a bill.


Make an effort for change


This overview of wrongdoings against the LGBTQ community merely touches the surface.

Employment and housing rights, refusal of services and bathroom bills are just a few of the issues that need work.

We must treat people based on their character and not on their sexuality. We must start talking and keep talking. Nothing will change until we make an effort.

Discrimination can’t be our legacy as a nation.


David Pujol is waiting to see the day when the LGBTQ community receives basic human rights. Until then, he’ll continue advocating.

“FRIDA KAHLO: ART, GARDEN, LIFE” Tucson Botanical Gardens lands major exhibit

“FRIDA KAHLO: ART, GARDEN, LIFE” Tucson Botanical Gardens lands major exhibit



On a sunny September Saturday, a construction crew from Pima Community College gathers in the Children’s Garden at Tucson Botanical Gardens to reconstruct a blockbuster exhibit.

As the men labor in the hot sun, layers of a famous pyramid associated with artist Frida Kahlo appear.

Exhibit curator David Klanderman sits in the shade on a piece of the pyramid’s top layer, watching with great enthusiasm as the structure takes shape.

“PCC is making it happen,” he says.

Tucson will be the only location in the United States outside of New York City to display “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life.” It opens to the public on Oct. 10 and will run until May 31, 2017.

The exhibit, which was transported from the New York Botanical Gardens, needed reconstruction after its long journey in a 54-foot truck. The Tucson exhibit will offer cultural experiences including lectures, photography, poetry, food and music.

PCC performing arts volunteers helping with the project include advanced program coordinator Todd Poelstra, theater technical director Anthony Richards, instructional faculty member Patrick Lawless and adjunct faculty member Hoge Day.

They’ve enjoyed support from Klanderman, from Tucson Botanical Garden’s staff and gala committee, and from exhibit designer Scott Pask.

Pask, a Tony Award-winning Broadway stage designer who graduated from the University of Arizona, lives part time in Tucson.

The “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life” exhibit was on display at the New York Botanical Gardens in 2015 from May until December. It included presentations of art, poetry and lectures that gave historical and cultural context to Kahlo’s life and work.

In Tucson, a lecture series co-sponsored by PCC will include instructional faculty member Guadalupe Cruikshank giving a special lecture “The Popol Vuh: The Sacred Stories of the Maya,” which references the creation story of the Maya in relation to Kahlo’s work.

Cruikshank will speak on Thursday, Feb. 9, at Tucson Botanical Gardens. Other talks will take place from Oct. 13 through April 13. (See sidebar for complete schedule.)


A treasured artist


Kahlo was a Mexican artist whose work has strong connections to nature and the natural cycles of Meso-American culture. She was raised in a home known as “La Casa Azul” or The Blue House.

She married painter Diego Rivera at age 22. The two remained in La Casa Azul, though Rivera sometimes lived in a separate dwelling during turbulent times in their relationship. Kahlo lived in La Casa Azul until her death in 1954.

Pask traveled to Mexico City and visited La Casa Azul to recreate some features of the home for “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life.”

However, the heart of the exhibit is a recreation of a pyramid that Rivera built in 1937.

In its original form, the pyramid was home to Kahlo and Rivera’s collection of pre-Columbian art. The Tucson exhibit recreation will display an assortment of cacti and succulents native to the Sonoran desert.


A tale of serendipity


The story of how “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life” came to Tucson is a true tale of serendipity.

The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences awarded New York Botanical Gardens a grant in 2014 to create a new exhibit based on Kahlo’s art.

Karen Daubmann, NYBG associate vice president for exhibitions and public engagement, shared the good news with colleague Michelle Conklin, executive director of Tucson Botanical Gardens.

During ongoing discussions, Conklin often expressed her desire to bring the exhibit to Tucson because it was such a perfect fit for southern Arizona’s landscape and cultural heritage.

Conklin’s persistence was rewarded in September 2015, when she received a call that led her to view the exhibit in New York. Last January, select pieces of “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life” arrived at a PCC warehouse.

As a result, exhibit construction is now well underway and Pask is enthusiastic about the results.

“I am so thrilled that the exhibition, especially the pyramid, will be experienced not only in my home of Arizona but in an outdoor garden setting,” he said.


Gala kickoff


Current TBG members and new members who join by Oct. 3 can purchase tickets to a gala titled “A Butterfly Affaire: A Night at Casa Azul” at the Gardens on Oct. 9 from 5-8 p.m.

For more information on the gala, call TBG at 326-9686 or visit



“Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life”

Where: Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way

When: Oct. 10-May 31, 2017

Hours: Mon-Fri, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sat-Sun, 6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Last admission at 3:30 p.m.

Admission: October-May – $13 adults; $12 students, seniors, military; $7.50 children

Phone: 326-9686



Lectures series runs through April

Cultural experiences in Tucson include a lecture series called “Frida’s Roots: Frida Kahlo’s Cultural, Artistic and Botanical Influences.”

The series, presented by Tucson Botanical Gardens and Pima Community College, is co-sponsored by Kathy Alexander and Paul Lindsey.

PCC will host a free talk on “Frida Kahlo as Subject and Object in Contemporary Art” on Friday, Feb. 3, at the District Office, 4905 E. Broadway Blvd.

All other lectures will take place at Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way, from 6-7:30 p.m. Cost per lecture is $10, or $8 for TBG members.


Thursday, Oct. 13                

“To Follow Nature in Her Walks: Botanical Inspiration in Art”

Thursday, Oct. 27

“Fridas of Film: Women Directors in Mexico”

Thursday, Dec. 1

“Kahlo’s Casa Azul”

Thursday, Dec. 8

“Understanding Mexican History through Frida Kahlo and Her Art”

Thursday, Jan. 12                

“Face to Face with Frida”

Thursday, Jan. 26                

“The Evolution of Archetypes and Identity in the Corridos of the Borderlands”

Friday, Feb. 3

“Frida Kahlo as Subject and Object in Contemporary Art”

This free talk will be held at the PCC District Office, 4905 E. Broadway Blvd.

Thursday, Feb. 9                  

“The Popol Vuh: The Sacred Stories of the Maya”

Thursday, March 9

“Frida: She Wore It Her Way”

Thursday, March 23            

“Getting to Know Frida”

Thursday, April 13              

“Frida Kahlo and the Revolutionary Art Crowd in Mexico”


From left, Pima Community College volunteers Todd Poelstra, Hoge Day and Anthony Richards complete the third layer of a pyramid reconstruction at the Tucson Botanical Gardens in preparation for a blockbuster Frida Khalo exhibit that will open to the public on Oct. 10.

From left, Pima Community College volunteers Todd Poelstra, Hoge Day and Anthony Richards complete the third layer of a pyramid reconstruction at the Tucson Botanical Gardens in preparation for a blockbuster Frida Khalo exhibit that will open to the public on Oct. 10.

STOMPING GROUNDS: Autobahn satisfies need for speed

STOMPING GROUNDS: Autobahn satisfies need for speed



Accelerating from red light to red light is not only irritating but hard on the environment. Sometimes you just have to buckle in, put the pedal to the metal and rev the battery up.

Autobahn Indoor Raceway can scratch that adrenaline itch.

Pre-race jitters start hitting your gut as you exit the pit for your first warm-up lap. After you test maneuverability by power-sliding around corners like you’re starring in “Tokyo Drift,” workers remove the speed controller and it’s off to the races.

The drive is both physically taxing and a mental challenge. Maintain your concentration or you might end up in a wall.

Autobahn recently opened downtown on Toole Avenue, bringing East Coast innovations to our growing town.

Drivers get behind the wheel of an electric-powered “pro-kart” and zip around a course. The karts have a top speed of 50 mph, and are perfect for the little speed demon that lives inside everyone.

The high level of technology deserves some respect, so everyone must watch a short safety video before hitting the track. Then, it’s time to suit up for the race while you wait in a briefing area for loading instructions

Just like the pros, you wear an official helmet equipped with a GoPro camera attachment. As workers strap you in with a high-quality restraint system, a pit crew guy double-checks that you’re good to go.

Once on the track, you can’t tell if time has sped up or slowed down. You lose track of laps from all the accelerations and drifting. Colors on the walls make you feel like you’re at the Indy 500.

Before you know it, the race is over with the results printed and waiting. Rankings are based on your average and fastest lap times, not on starting and stopping positions.

Don’t worry about ditching the kids: 8-12 year olds can drive junior karts that get up to 35 mph. There are two different courses to choose from, to keep them from getting dizzy.

Conference rooms can be rented for birthdays, banquets or bachelor/bachelorette parties, and there’s plenty of room for catering companies to set up.

Tucson’s venue, one of 10 Autobahn franchises across the country, provides the biggest indoor speedway in Arizona.

Sean Superville, Autobahn’s director of sales, praised the company for providing a “low-stress working environment.”

Pit crew member Wylie Yaw teaches at Amphitheater High School during the work week.

“Teachers don’t get paid enough, so this is a cool weekend job,” he said.

Autobahn offers 10 percent off with a student ID. Weekday and lunchtime deals are also available for students who must stretch their dollars.

Prices include:

  • Annual license fee: $6
  • Arrive and drive: $20
  • Weekdays, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: $5 off race
  • Ladies night (Friday after 6 p.m.): female drivers receive $5 off each race
  • Three races (Monday-Thursday): $40
  • Three races (Friday-Saturday): $50

The fleet of Italian-made karts is something to admire, with each kart plugged in to its charging tower. With no real competition on the market, Autobahn has the best racing experience in town and offers a fun escape from the sun and speed limit signs.

Tucson slowly is becoming more modern and Autobahn reflects that growth. With a building still smelling new, it’s out with the old combustion engine go-carts and in with the super-fast electric “pro-karts.”



Autobahn Indoor Raceway

Address: 300 S. Toole Ave.

Phone: 369-5720


Mon-Thurs: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Fri: 11 a.m.-midnight

Sat: 10 a.m-midnight

Sun: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.



A Go-Pro camera attachment provides a birds-eye view of the race course at Autobahn Indoor Raceway, which recently opened downtown on South Toole Avenue. Photo by D.R. Williams

A Go-Pro camera attachment provides a birds-eye view of the race course at Autobahn Indoor Raceway, which recently opened downtown on South Toole Avenue.
Photo by D.R. Williams

Recreational marijuana on Nov. 8 ballot

Recreational marijuana on Nov. 8 ballot



Whether for or against, most people have an opinion on the legalization of recreational marijuana. This fall, Arizona residents have a chance to vote on it.

Fifty percent of registered Arizona voters support legalization, 40 percent are opposed and 10 percent are undecided, according to an August poll by Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News.

Proposition 205 will be on Arizona’s Nov. 8 general election ballot. A “yes” vote will legalize possession and consumption of marijuana by those 21 years and older. A “no” vote keeps existing state laws against possession and use of marijuana in place.

If passed, individuals age 21 and older would be allowed to possess and use one ounce or less of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their home.

Passage would also establish a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation and sale of marijuana.

A 15 percent tax would be levied on the sale of marijuana. Proceeds would be used to fund school districts, charter schools, the Arizona Department of Health Services and localities where marijuana establishments exist.

The proposition is also designed to allow medical marijuana establishments to transition into recreational outlets.

Fines would penalize individuals caught violating any of the restrictions, such as underage use, unauthorized production and possession over the legal limits. The maximum fine would be $300 and community service.


Arguments in support


The Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control would oversee a controlled system to regulate stores, cultivation, product and licensing.

“It’s worked in Colorado,” said Carlos Alfaro, deputy campaign manager of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “It’s set up to work like the Arizona Board of Alcohol Control.”

The system would include a law enforcement unit responsible for enforcing regulations and investigating violations.

The department would require businesses to test their product and adhere to strict packaging and labeling guidelines. Supporters say the requirement would ensure safer products being used recreationally.

The 15 percent tax would be used in three major areas. The money, after expenses, would be distributed as follows:

  • 40 percent to the state Department of Education for school construction, maintenance and operating costs.
  • 40 percent to the state Department of Education for schools with full-day kindergarten programs.
  • 20 percent to the state Department of Health Services for public education of drug and alcohol abuse.

When the Joint Legislative Budget Committee of the Arizona Legislature completed a required fiscal analysis, it estimated the initiative would generate revenue of $53.4 million in the 2019 fiscal year and $82 million in fiscal 2020.

Colorado has collected $135 million in tax revenue since legalizing marijuana in 2012, according to Alfaro.

“It created about 30,000 jobs there,” he said.

Washington state collected $83 million in tax revenues and is funding youth and substance abuse programs, according to a one-year status report released by The Drug Policy Alliance in July 2015.

The alliance said 77 percent of Washington residents think the law has had a positive effect or has had no effect on their lives.

Alfaro refutes business owner concerns that legalization of recreational marijuana will affect their existing employment policies.

“Employers absolutely can fire someone with THC in their blood,” he said.

The legislation does not change any pre-existing employment policies regarding drug use. It also does not allow individuals to use marijuana in public and does not change existing laws related to driving under the influence.

“Nobody wants people to drive while impaired,” Alfaro said.


Arguments in opposition


The Arizona Small Business Association Small opposes the marijuana initiative.

“Big government, more taxes, it protects a certain segment of business – i.e. the marijuana business – better than other businesses under the law,” interim CEO Jack W. Lunsford said.

Opponents filed a lawsuit on July 11, seeking to remove the measure from the ballot because of its ambiguous wording and challenging the funding mechanism as unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was ultimately unsuccessful.

“It’s fascinating we’re going to put money that’s illegal under federal law into education,” Lunsford said.

He also predicted that little money would remain to fund education programs once expenses are deducted.

The Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control would consist of seven members, three of whom have controlling interest in the industry and four who are unaffiliated.

“They can control who can get the licenses,” Lunsford said.

No standard test for marijuana currently exists. Lunsford said tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can remain in the blood for 30 days and it becomes impossible to tell when an individual has used it.

Despite assurances that employer policies won’t change, Lunsford said small business owners are nervous that employees will sue if they are fired for being under the influence of marijuana while on the job.

“It is just bad legislation,” Lunsford said.


Voter registration ends Oct. 10


Arizona residents who want a say in the November election must register to vote by Oct. 10.

Voter registration drives are underway throughout Tucson, including on Pima Community College campuses.

One example: Mi Familia Vota will register voters on Sept. 29, Oct. 4, Oct. 5 and Oct 10 at Downtown Campus in the atrium of Room CC-115 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

For online registration information, visit


Photo Illustration by Coral Yankey.

Photo Illustration by Coral Yankey.

Out with the Old Pueblo; In with the New Pueblo: Tangible Technology comes to Tucson

Out with the Old Pueblo; In with the New Pueblo: Tangible Technology comes to Tucson


Turn on your device. Connect to Wi-Fi. Plug into power. Agree to terms and conditions. Wait.

It’s simplicity and ease in five steps. All you have to remember is your password.

Whether it’s a quick software update or an app that helps you fight evil unicorns from entering your nightmares, almost all of our interactions with electronics exist behind a screen.

We tap on it, use multi-touch gestures, move a cursor, click, scroll, drag a stylus and swipe right (but usually left).

And that gets the job done. It gets some of the most important code in the world done. It does the math. It makes the app. It designs the logo. It clicks the link. It shows you how many likes you have.

But what about physical and discernible technology? What about tangible technology? Something you can create on your computer and see the results of not behind a screen, but in the palm of your hand.

For Ivan Davis, that something is 3D printing, and it’s alive and thriving.

David has 25 years of software development under his belt and operated a lot of specialty machinery throughout his career. After carpal tunnel surgery, however, he didn’t want to go back to typing for a living. So, he thought about opening a 3D print shop.

3D printing technology has been around since the ‘80s, but it’s only become accessible within the last five to 10 years. Maybe your high school shop had one. Now your techy neighbors and co-workers do.

ivan_3itgirl2ivan_1The most common type of printing is called fused deposition modeling. FDM 3D printers are like laser-jet printers for photos and documents, except a third dimension is added by stacking layers as well.

Filament is melted by a hot tip. The user’s computer-drafted model is created layer by layer.

“I tried to do a lot of research,” he said. “Tucson has 100 embroidery shops, but not much 3D printing, and I can’t really sit around a desk writing code for 80 hours a week anymore.”

“I managed to use the rest of my savings from my corporate days,” he said.

Soon after, New Pueblo Tech was born.

David plans to keep the store focused on 3D printing services, sales, support and creative DIY technology. New Pueblo Tech will sell various gadgets, including wearable technology.

Cyclist jackets that light up when you signal, 3D-printed gun parts, fishing lures and smart watches are all for sale in the shop’s Adventure Tech section.

“I’d like people to be able to work on their own stuff too,” Davis said, referring to his three 3D printers, dye-cutter, stifling machine, hologram lab, and laser engraver and laminator lined up on tables in his studio.

David just sold his first printer to the University of Arizona’s 3D print lab.

“I wish I could keep 15 printers in my inventory, but I’m not Walmart.”

David is also making DIY kits for customers to make the tech life a little more accessible.

“I want to use everything I have to make stuff for people,” he said.

In Suite 153 of the former Firestone building located in the Warehouse Arts District at 439 N. Sixth Ave., the shop is preparing to open its doors. The first week of October will mark the opening of Tucson’s first 3D print shop.

Davis rented out a unit inside of the building, which hosts galleries, studios, shops and even a gym and is already planning collaborations with his neighboring renters for Tucson’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

“I’m really glad I found this space,” Davis said.

For more information, visit, or contact Davis at


Ivan Davis displays his latest 3D-printed toys, photographs and even bottles with working screw-on lids on top of his desk in his studio. (Katelyn Roberts/Aztec Press)


CROSS COUNTRY: Teams earn fourth place at conference competition

CROSS COUNTRY: Teams earn fourth place at conference competition



The Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross country teams each finished fourth at the ACCAC cross country championships on Sept. 23 at Villago Park in Casa Grande.

In the men’s competition, sophomore David Fernandez accomplished the best finish for the Aztecs in the 8K race, placing seventh out of 48 runners with a time of 26:34.2. Fernandez’s effort earned him first team All-ACCAC honors.

Sophomore Armando Antonio Jr. earned second-team All-ACCAC honors with a 15th place finish and a time of 27:47.1.

Freshman Alonso Sodari earned All-ACCAC honorable mention with a 17th place finish and time of 27:59.0. Sophomore Nick Hald finished in 27th place.

The Aztec men had a team score of 89 points.

On the women’s side, sophomore Samantha Felzien was Pima’s top runner. She finished in sixth place out of 41 runners with a time of 19:09.9 in the 5K. Her performance earned her first team All-ACCAC.

Freshman Alondra Carrasco finished the race in 25th place with a time of 22:04.1. Fellow freshman Erika Rios finished in 27th with a time of 22:15.6.

The Aztec women had a team score of 109 points.

Both teams have some time off before competing again Oct. 8.

The Pima teams also finished in fourth place overall out of five teams at the Dave Murray Invitational held Sept. 16 at the Randolph North Golf Course in Tucson.

Felzien earned the best finish in the 4K at 30th with a time of 16:19.1. Carrasco finished in 38th with a time of 17:55.3.

Freshman runners Erika Rios, Arianna Roche and Monique Ochoa finished in 41st, 42nd and 44th place.

For the men, Fernandez earned the top finish for the Aztecs at 23rd out of 47 and a time of 20:27.5.

Antonio Jr. finished the race in 30th place with a time 21:19.7.

Sodari and fellow freshman Gerrit Ralston finished in 37th and 38th place respectively.



Oct. 8: Thunderbird Classic, Mesa CC. Women’s race 7 a.m., men’s race 7:45 a.m.

Oct. 14: Mount SAC CC Invitational, Mount San Antonio CC, Walnut, California. Women’s race 10 a.m., men’s race 10:45 a.m.


Sophomore Samantha Felzein finds her stride at the Dave Murray Invitational on Sept. 16 in Tucson. Felzein earned first team All-ACCAC honors at the Sept. 23 championships.

Sophomore Samantha Felzein finds her stride at the Dave Murray Invitational on Sept. 16 in Tucson. Felzein earned first team All-ACCAC honors at the Sept. 23 championships.

FOOTBALL: Pima survives early season test

FOOTBALL: Pima survives early season test



The Pima Community College football team played an extremely tight contest against Scottsdale Community College on Sept. 18, ultimately pulling out a one-point win.

Each team traded blows in the high-scoring 34-33 game.

The Aztecs (2-1, 1-1 in ACCAC) heavily utilized the passing game to stay competitive.

Freshman quarterback Justin Martin added another good stat line to his repertoire, throwing for 400 yards and four touchdowns.

Martin critiqued his performance as “good but it could have been better” during a post-game interview.

“Holding onto the ball is something that I’ll be focusing on this week when preparing for Eastern,” he said.

Martin threw one interception and the offense found it difficult to maintain possession at times, but the Aztecs still found a way.

“Tonight’s win feels good because we did it as a team,” Martin said. “We didn’t give up and we just kept fighting.”

Freshman Jalen Edwards was Martin’s favorite target, catching two deep touchdown passes for a total of 157 yards. Edwards’ second score ended up being the go-ahead game winner with just under six minutes to play.

Turnovers set the tone for the game, with Pima committing six. The Aztec defense forced Scottsdale into three turnovers in the second half to even things out.

Two Pima players stirred conversation by kneeling during the national anthem before the game, a move likely inspired by similar protests by professional athletes in recent weeks.

Neither player could be reached for comment but their message was loud and clear. Many will be watching to see if the protests continue during future games.

PCC will have some time off before returning to the field for a home game against Eastern Arizona College on Oct. 8.

The team will host a new family-friendly event, Aztecs Spirit Night. Admission to the game will be free for all PCC students and employees with a Pima ID. The first 100 attendees will receive a special gift.

Activities will include a jumping castle, halftime activities and a U.S. Marines pull-up challenge.

The game starts at 7 p.m. Mark your calendars and arrive early to get a head start participating in the extra activities.


Freshman Christian Wilridge beats a defender and looks upfield.



Oct. 8: Eastern Arizona College, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.

Oct. 15: at Snow College, Ephraim, Utah, 1 p.m.

Saguaro National Park honors southwest icon

Saguaro National Park honors southwest icon



There are few places in the country where you can go from mid-city to national park in 30 minutes. Tucson happens to be one of them.

Saguaro National Park is split between two districts. The east district sits in the Rincon Mountains while the west district is located in the Tucson Mountains. Each offers different advantages for visitors.

The largest saguaros reside in the east district and are accessible on hiking trails. They are most easily seen on horseback.

The western location hosts more out-of-towners due to easy access off Interstate-10. It also offers photo opportunities of clustered saguaros.

Ranger Vanessa Gonzalez stayed neutral on the question of which district she thought was better to visit, leaving it up to each person’s preference.

“The west side’s ratio of saguaro per square acreage is higher, but they are smaller than the ones on the east,” she said.

If you’re interested in Southwestern history, the west district’s Signal Hill Trail provides a chance to see ancient Hohokam petroglyphs on many of the rocks along the way.

The eastern district has a wider variety of wildlife, being home to javelinas, mountain lions, turkeys, coral snakes and a small number of black bear spread over much larger acreage.

Hikers can spend a few hours exploring short trails around the visitor center or go on a three-day camping trek up the Rincon Mountains to Manning Camp at 7,900 feet elevation.

Each district offers a driving loop but the east-side road is fully paved and is three miles longer.

Bicyclists can train for El Tour on the eastern district’s paved eight-mile Cactus Forest Loop Drive, or use a mountain bike on one of the trails.

The elevation gain is far greater in the Rincons, topping out around 8,600 feet at Spud Rock. The west side’s highest point, Wasson Peak, reaches 4,600 feet.

Arizona is home to 22 national monuments and parks, placing it second behind California as one of the best places to immerse yourself in Mother Nature.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, monuments and parks around the country have been offering special promotions with days of free entry to attract new visitors and to reward loyal regulars.

All national parks will offer free entry on Sept. 24 for National Public Lands Day and on Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.

Saguaro National Park superintendent Darla Sidles said the goals for the centennial celebrations are to “connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates.”

The Saguaro districts have you covered no matter what you like to do outdoors. Both sections are open daily from sunrise to sunset except on Dec. 25. The visitor centers are open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day.


Entry rates are as follows:

  • $10 weekly pass (single non-commercial vehicle/motorcycle with all passengers)
  • $5 weekly pass (one individual entering by foot or bicycle)
  • $35 annual pass (Valid for 12 months from date of purchase)
  • Free (for individuals 15 years or younger)


For park information, visit or call 733-5100.



Saguaro National Park


East district: 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail, Tucson

West district: 2700 N. Kinney Road, Tucson

Hours: Open year-round except Dec. 25, sunrise to sunset

Details: or 733-5100


Saguaros – by the numbers


Compiled by D.R. Williams



Number of deserts in the world where saguaro cacti grow.


Age at which a saguaro begins to produce flowers.

*40 million

Number of seeds a saguaro can produce in its lifetime


Average life span of a saguaro.


Number of feet a saguaro cactus can grow.


Possible height in inches of a 10-year-old saguaro.


Depth in inches of saguaro roots.


Number of tons an adult saguaro may weigh.


Possible age of a saguaro with five arms.


Average number of seeds within each saguaro fruit.




A giant saguaro towers over a nearby mesquite tree just off the Forest Loop drive in the east district, providing nesting for cactus wrens. (Photo by: D.R. Williams)

A giant saguaro towers over a nearby mesquite tree just off the Forest Loop drive in the east district, providing nesting for cactus wrens. (Photo by: D.R. Williams)

The challenges of being a military wife

The challenges of being a military wife


Being a military wife is one of the most rewarding experiences that has come into my life thus far.

My husband is a very brave and smart man because of what the military has given to him. It taught him customs and values that we both can use for the rest of our lives. The endless opportunities we’ve both been granted are extraordinary and we’re very grateful.

But along with all of the positive opportunities, being a military wife also brings challenges.


Illustration by Katelyn Roberts


My husband and I have been together four years and he has been deployed sporadically for 16 months during that timeframe.

When he is gone on his tours, I am left with the responsibilities and stresses of everyday life without my partner. He can only do so much when he is in a different country and time zone, so I end up taking charge.

Taking over the responsibility really made me grow into my own. I became an adult because I had to know what to do in situations that my husband previously handled.

Staying in contact is one of the hardest things we try to do. When he is deployed, all he is doing is working and trying to keep sane without the luxuries of home.

I try to keep all the stress from what’s going on at bay so he won’t worry or start to feel guilty about working to defend our country.

My husband and I communicate late at night or early in the morning through Facebook. We only get to video chat a couple of times a week because of our different schedules and time zones.

It gets very lonely on days that I start to miss him a lot. I try not to let it get to me and try to fill my days as much as possible. If I just worried about the next time I get to talk to him, I’d go insane.

Keeping myself busy with work and school can sometimes be very helpful, because I’m concentrating on the now and not counting down the days until he returns.

I also have a great support system with my family, which consists of my parents and my sisters. Whenever I’m feeling lonely, they give me a pep talk about how about brave I’m being and how great it will be when he comes back home.

Having lots of friends who are there to have my back can also be a great gift during this challenging time. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I have several people who I can confide in.

During the hard times, it is especially good to have a strong support system.

There have been many times during past deployments when our video chats have ended because of dangerous activity at his location. Two weeks would go by without a call or message from him, and I nearly went crazy with worry.

Not knowing if my husband was alive made those two weeks the hardest and most emotional of my life.

My mind started to play tricks on me because of the constant worrying. I started to get paranoid because I thought my husband was dead.

The moment I got back into contact with my husband was like a ton of weight being lifted off my shoulders.

When you’re a military wife from any branch of the service, you have to be strong for your husband. They are in a dangerous part of the world without all of the luxuries we have here.

Sometimes it’s hard for them to sleep. The overwhelming responsibility puts a lot on a person. When they come back to the States, they are different people.

Some tend to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, from their experiences in a foreign and dangerous country. My husband is currently suffering from minor bouts of PTSD, to the extent of having night terrors when he sleeps.

When dealing with PTSD, you have to give the person space and just be very supportive of what they’re dealing with. Some are willing to talk about their experiences during their deployment. My husband shields me from the terrors of his tours.

But once your spouse comes home safe and sound, you can be each other’s shoulder to lean on again. You begin to grow back as a couple, but even stronger because you were there for one another during an extremely difficult time in your life.

To me, being a military wife is about being as strong, smart and independent as my husband.


Katie Vacio is a Pima Community College student and a former Aztec Press editor who has been studying to obtain her pharmacy technician certificate. Her husband, Christopher Vacio, serves in the U.S. Air Force as a staff sergeant. He is currently deployed in Kuwait.


You've got females!

You’ve got females!


When Cindy Dooling began her career at Pima Community College’s Computer Sciences department more than 30 years ago, the same number of women occupied her department as men.

Over the years, however, the numbers changed. “Soon, all faculty were men,” Dooling said.

“I was concerned that we were not attracting women into technology positions and believed that if women are not engaging in entry-level positions, there would be a significant lack of women in leadership positions,” she added.

Dooling was eventually promoted to assistant vice chancellor for information technology. As her retirement grew closer, Dooling organized a professional development workshop for women in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

The vision of the workshop, “to provide networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities to support women in all stages of technology careers,” would become Women in Technology’s mission statement.

There’s no ‘I’ in STEM

IT Principal Analyst Aleksandra Knezevic formed Pima’s Women in Technology organization a year and a half ago with help from Dooling, Keith McKintosh and Steve Chang.

Dooling retired and, with her husband, funded a Women in Technology scholarship.

“My husband and I funded the first of what we hope will be many scholarship opportunities for women,” she said.

Knezevic continues to oversee WIT. The group is relatively new, but its members are anything but inexperienced.

Knezevic has studied math and computer programming since her high school days in Sarajevo in former Yugoslavia. She took C programming, math and business intelligence courses in college.

The first of many scholarships

Scholarship recipient Rosalyn Norman served in the United States Marine Corps and has a background in meteorology. She plans to use her $500 scholarship for school supplies and books.

Norman is a math tutor at PCC and a member of Pima’s Engineering Club. That involvement lead her to opportunities at Xerocraft Hackerspace and Women in Technology, along with NASA-funded student projects NASA ASCEND! And the NASA RockOn workshop.

She now works at TECAccessories, an online distributor for inventions and techy gadgets.

Taking a different path

Freshman Lydia Stinchfield’s story of success within the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields is a little different.

Stinchfield isn’t the caricature of an administrative networking major. She isn’t a poster child for hackers and she’s definitely not trying to be a female role model in the world of technology.

Stinchfield wakes every morning at 5:30 to pull on a pair of muddy rubber boots and feed llamas, goats, chickens, roosters, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, quail, pigs, dogs and sheep on the multi-acre ranch where she lives and works.

Receiving a Women in Technology scholarship was a “sweet surprise.”

Graduating without debt by using federal aid and earning scholarships has been Stinchfied’s plan since she decided to go back to school.

She previously tried to make ends meet by working as a freelance pastry chef and for a general contractor.

Growing up as her household’s personal IT kid, her interest in computers started at age 10.

“I’m fascinated not only with the intricacies of how things work in the digital world, but also in the physical world,” she said.


Photo by Katelyn Roberts

Ranching by day, cybersecurity by night

Stinchfield plans to transfer to the University of Arizona to specialize in cybersecurity.

“We’re the people who build protection for you, whether it’s your online banking, taxes or online profile,” she said. “There are a lot of people who are there to protect you, but there are also a lot of people who try to counteract that protection.”

Stinchfeld maintains her own VPN, or Virtual Private Network, setup in her two-bedroom home on the ranch. She spends most of her time there because all of her IT classes are online.

Books on cybersecurity and coding stack up next to her bed.

Down the hall, four computer monitors powered by her laptop sit atop a large desk next to a bearded dragon lizard’s tank. A cage occupied by two sugar gliders, a type of gliding possum, stands caddy-corner to her desk.

Tiny spotted eggs fill a yellow plastic container plugged into the wall next to her laptop. The container serves as an incubator that simulates a mother quail sitting on the eggs.

She’s documenting the features of her fertilized quail eggs in an Excel document.

Maintaining a balance

Stinchfield finds ways to incorporate technology into her life on the ranch for projects she is excited about, such as her quail research. However, she’s not as high-tech as you might assume.

“I have like 90,000 books and I only watch VHS tapes,” she said. “The ranch and my love for the outdoors are the reasons I can say I’ll be successful in network security because I have this balance.”

Stinchfield may look like she lives two lives: one as a technologically inclined computer coder and the other as strong and hard-working ranch hand, but she’s got it figured out.

Her favorite part of her major is that she can live the life she wants. “I can be in the cabin, stuck in the middle of the woods, and work remotely,” she said.

Networking possibilities

Paula Borchardt has been an online instructional web designer at Pima for the past 12 years, and currently works at the Center for Learning Technology. She joined WIT earlier this year.

“Women shouldn’t be shy or hesitant to join male-dominated fields,” Borchardt said. “Connecting with other women through networking groups like WIT is a great way to feel more comfortable in tech fields.”

Students or faculty members in STEM, those pursuing a career in technology or anyone interested in learning more about Women in Technology can email for more information.


Women in Technology scholarship recipient Lydia Stinchfield candles a fertilized quail egg, using the light to study details. She's documenting the results in an Excel spreadsheet. (Photo by: Katelyn Roberts)

Women in Technology scholarship recipient Lydia Stinchfield candles a fertilized quail egg, using the light to study details. She’s documenting the results in an Excel spreadsheet. Photos by Katelyn Roberts.