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Graduation speaker applies philosophy

Graduation speaker applies philosophy


Athanasia Chalkiopolous strives to be an “inspirational warrior” and an enthusiast of a better future for everyone.

These are a few of the qualities that led to Chalkiopolous being chosen as Pima Community College’s 2014 commencement speaker.

Chalkiopolous applies one of her favorite Greek philosopher’s principles — Aristotle’s principle of collective happiness through democracy — to conclude that solutions to modern problems can be found by looking to the past.

This philosophy will be the theme she conveys in her commencement speech.

“I looked back to the past to outline how practicing democracy has been redefined throughout the decades, to represent either an extreme individualistic ideology or an oligarchy,” she said.

“Unfortunately, the ideal principles of democracy are not being upheld.”

Chalkiopolous then wondered, “how do we raise our expectations?” She reflects on her experiences at PCC for an answer.

“I realized that the teacher holds the key to unlocking the mental door of apathy,” she said.

Chalkiopolous said she learned that when people are challenged to excel beyond expectations and impose greater standards upon themselves, “they will also become inspired to support nothing less than the best for all people around the world.”

As a future history teacher, Chalkiopolous hopes to emulate the spirits of her heroes for her students in the same way that her instructors have done for her.

“Pima personally reignited idealism for me and reinforced the concept of what a community means,” she said.

Chalkiopolous is graduating with an associate degree in liberal arts and transferring to the University of Arizona to obtain a bachelor’s degree in secondary education.

“With hard work, self-discipline and perseverance, I earned this diploma,” Chalkiopolous said.

Christine Yebra, events coordinator for PCC, said the committee looks for a student that not only has an inspirational message, but one that will unify students.

“Athanasia exemplified our expectations and her words were profound in a way that made her stand out from the other outstanding applicants,” Yebra said.

“I think she’s going to be an excellent teacher because her passion in the world was so vivid.”

How was Chalkiopolous able to achieve so much during her college career?

“With support from my husband, family, friends and Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church – this is the spirit of collective happiness – people working together to make life better for everyone,” she said.

She credits much of her success to the assistance and she received from her instructors and tutors at the library and learning center.

“No one succeeds alone,” Chalkiopolous said.

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Athanasia Chalkiopolous clutches a graduation teddy bear. (Nicholas Quihuis/Aztec Press)

‘Dead Meat’ premieres May 19-20

‘Dead Meat’ premieres May 19-20


A sleepy western town occupied by colorful characters is shaken from its slumber when a stranger appears and a curse wreaks destruction.

This is the premise of “Dead Meat,” a gore-filled tale just wrapped by Pima Community College advanced cinematography students.

The horror-western will premiere during free screenings May 19-20 at 7 p.m. at the Proscenium Theatre in the West Campus Center for the Arts.

The screenings will also include film and video work from students in PCC’s beginning and advanced digital arts classes, with a different program each night. Raffles will also be held.

PCC students shot and edited “Dead Meat” over two semesters, led by veteran film instructor David Wing. Digital arts student Jet Guido wrote and directed the movie.

A student crew spent four days last semester shooting footage at a movie set and tourist attraction near Bisbee called Gammons Gulch.

After a turbulent day or two, Guido said the film crew pulled themselves together and learned to work as a team.

“I was wary about how the film would turn out, especially after how the second day of filming went,” Guido said. “After watching the final cut, I’m happy to see how it ended up.”

Guido attributes much of the success to the crew and to Aaron Lochert, who was director of photography last semester and editing supervisor this semester.

“I worked with a great group of people who were dedicated to solving problems on the fly,” Guido said. “Aaron had a heavy hand in the shooting and editing. He did an outstanding job.”

Lochert said his job this semester essentially involved overseeing teams of editors.

“I worked closely with the director to see that his vision was carried out,” he said.

Lochert also handled visual effects and color.

“As far as VFX goes, I composited muzzle flares, smoke and blood elements so that gun shots look and feel real,” Lochert said.

Despite being low-budget, “Dead Meat” promises to strike the audience with fear. The film contains adult content and language.

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“Dead Meat” actors Bob Flyzic (bartender) and William Killian (Toots) chat at a small-town saloon. (Photo by David Wing)


Multicultural Convocation honors grads

Multicultural Convocation honors grads


Pima Community College’s 2014 graduates celebrated academic achievements and diversity at a Multicultural Convocation on May 1.

Aaron Dinius, Jennifer Goudeau and Michael Joseph Hernandez were selected as student speakers from more than a dozen applicants.

Lucia Cavallo, who will graduate with an associate degree in applied science and business management, read an original poem.

Each of the three speakers shared stories about their college journey.

Aaron Dinius

Aaron Dinius, 29, was born in Seoul, South Korea. He was adopted by an American family when he was 10 months old and spent six years in Grand Junction, Colorado, before moving to Tucson in 1992.

Dinius received his GED diploma from PCC’s adult education program in 2005.

He returned to school in 2010 and studied for an associate of applied science degree in computer-aided drafting.

In 2013, he declared a second major in machine tool technology with a concentration in manual machining and computer numerical control. He will graduate with a 3.97 GPA.

In addition to working full time while attending PCC, Dinius joined numerous organizations.

He served as an officer of the Alpha Beta Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, as a student government officer at Downtown Campus and as a student representative to the PCC Board of Governors.

“All of these things combined have made for some difficult times, but I have succeeded with the help and support of those around me,” Dinius said.

His convocation talk focused on sharing his journey through college and the importance of diversity. He also offered words of encouragement and inspiration.

Jennifer Goudeau

Jennifer Goudeau, 29, was born in California but has lived in Tucson since she was 10. She attended Santa Clara Elementary School, Apollo Middle School and Desert View High School.

Goudeau will graduate with two degrees, one in paralegal studies and the other in general studies.

As a single mother, Goudeau balances classes, work and being a good parent.

“‘Me time’ definitely took the back burner while I accomplished my goals,” Goudeau said, “but I’m finally there.”

In her convocation speech, Goudeau admitted to her fondness for food and included an analogy comparing food and diversity.

“Everyone loves food and it’s definitely diverse,” she said.

Michael Joseph Hernandez

Michael Hernandez, 22, is a native Tucsonan who attended Immaculate Heart Academy and Salpointe Catholic High School.

Hernandez will graduate with an Arizona general education curriculum-science certificate, an associate of arts in liberal arts and an associate of science degree.

After graduating from high school, Hernandez attended the University of Arizona for two years. During those years, he struggled to cope with the declining health of his grandmother and her eventual death in 2010.

“Aside from my parents, she was the most important person in my life and the two of us were incredibly close,” he said.

Hernandez reevaluated his priorities and decided to transfer to PCC because it was more cost-effective to take the same classes. He found the more intimate setting to be beneficial while still dealing with the death of his grandmother.

In his convocation speech, Hernandez spoke of the importance of diversity and why it is vital to society’s advancement.

He explained how each individual can contribute something unique to collective development.

“I’m grateful for all the inspiration and encouragement given by my professors,” Hernandez said.

He is also thankful for the friendships he made at Pima and the experiences that have helped him mature as an individual.


From left, Chancellor Lee Lambert and students Lucia Cavallo, Aaron Dinius, Jennifer Goudeau and Michael Joseph Hernandez sit on stage. (Nick Meyers/Aztec Press)

STOMPING GROUNDS: Titan Missile Museum one of a kind

STOMPING GROUNDS: Titan Missile Museum one of a kind


Mutual assured destruction. The phrase is chilling, yet this is the strategic doctrine adhered to by the United States and its adversaries in the Soviet Union (and later Russia) from the mid-1950s to this day.

Mutual assured destruction is the idea that a nuclear war is unwinnable because both sides possess enough nuclear weapons to destroy the other, even if surprised.

This strategy required each side of the “Cold War” to maintain dozens of underground missile silos, hundreds of heavy bombers and dozens of submarines ready to fire their missiles and drop their bombs at a moment’s notice.

Of all the nuclear missile silos built in the 20th century, only one is open to the public. As luck would have it, it is right down the road in Sahuarita at the Titan Missile Museum.

During the early 1960s, America built 54 Titan II missile silos, each containing a 103-foot-tall Titan II and a nine-megaton warhead.

“Titan II was born of our nation’s deepest fears, not only that an attack on our country could bring about an end to our way of life, but could bring about an end to the world as we know it,” museum historian Chuck Penson says in a taped presentation that precedes each tour.

There isn’t much to look at above ground, just some fences and antennae of various sorts. That changes once you enter the super-hardened interior of the silo complex.

To get to the control room from where the missile would have been launched, you must descend 35 feet. You then pass through an entryway secured by a 6,000-pound blast door that is so delicately balanced a small person can close it.

This door and the other security measures mean the facility could survive basically anything but a direct hit by a nuclear weapon.

From the blast door, you head down a long corridor to the control room. There the guide describes the launch procedure. One lucky visitor on each tour gets to turn the key and simulate an actual missile launch.

If a launch order was received, it had to be authenticated by a system of codes. Once a message’s authenticity was confirmed, it would only take 58 seconds to send the missile on its way.

Just over five minutes of powered flight would follow, taking the missile about 600 miles up.

From there, it would descend for roughly 30 minutes before reaching its target, up to 6,000 miles away.

The missiles were accurate enough to be dropped into a mile-wide circle.

The Titan II silos were active from 1963 to 1987, when they were replaced by Minuteman missiles. The museum complex went off alert in 1982. Fortunately, none were ever launched in anger.

Volunteer tour guide and Pima Community College graduate Roy Gregston put it this way: “For its time, this was a spectacular weapons system that did exactly what it was supposed to do … nothing.”

The underground complex is quite impressive, especially when you consider that there were 18 of them in Tucson’s immediate vicinity.

Tourists and school groups regularly visit from around the world.

On a recent visit, there was currency from America, Hong Kong and Japan in the donation box. The tour group included a German couple. Penson estimates that 20 percent of visitors live outside the United States.

Consider watching either “WarGames” (1983) or “Dr. Strangelove” (1964) to acclimate yourself to the Cold War before visiting this relic.

There is literally nothing else like it in the world.

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Visitors can view the missile on display at the Titan Missile Museum in Sahuarita. Titan IIs were also used as the booster rockets for the Gemini two-man space program from 1962-66. (Michael Anderson/Aztec Press)

Soto brings mojo to tennis teammates

Soto brings mojo to tennis teammates


Pima Community College sophomore Brian Soto is an athlete, student and father.

The Arizona native is 33 years old, making him the oldest player on the men’s tennis team, but his age doesn’t show when he competes.

Soto is the father of three girls: 8-year-old Belani, 4-year-old Bella and 11-month-old Bryanna. Belani already plays tennis and shows great talent.

“I’m playing tennis to set an example for my kids,” Soto said. “I wanted to play collegiate tennis so my oldest daughter could see it.”

Soto knows his responsibilities and what’s most important to him.

“Family and finishing school with a degree,” he said.

Soto used to own his own business, Soto’s Pawn Shop. He opened the shop in 2010 but closed it in 2013 because of what he calls a bad decision to change locations.

As a child, Soto played baseball until his dad signed him up for tennis lessons. He quickly picked up the game.

“I started at the age of 12,” Soto said. “After high school graduation in 1998, I took a 12-year break.”

Coming out of high school, Soto was more interested in soccer but learned about the Pima tennis team from tennis players he knew from Nogales.

Pima men’s tennis head coach Brian Ramirez calls Soto a “great role model for the guys.”

Ramirez also admires the way Soto handles himself in life and on the court.

“He has a lot of responsibility with work, school and family,” Ramirez said. “He works hard at practice and he’s a good teammate. He competes well with a good attitude and treats people correctly.”

His doubles partner for the season is freshman Richie Foitik and together they dominate at the No.1 spot.

What does Soto bring to the team?

“Himself,” Foitik said. “He brings a sense of team spirit and uplifting.”

Soto plans to finish his associate degree this year and apply to business school at Northern Arizona University or University of Arizona. He would like to continue being involved with tennis, whether as a player or a coach.

He has had a successful two years at Pima and was twice named second all-conference. In his first season, his only losses came to Scottsdale Community College three times. This year his only losses were against Mesa Community College.

In addition to talent, Soto has brought valuable mojo his teammates can emulate.


SOFTBALL: Season ends in regional championship game

SOFTBALL: Season ends in regional championship game


The Pima Community College softball season came to an end May 10 at Arizona Western College in Yuma. The Aztecs finished the season with a 29-30 record.

No. 4 seed PCC reached the championship series of the Region I, Division I tournament playoffs but fell 6-0 to No. 1 AWC in the first game.

AWC scored four runs in the first inning after capitalizing on errors, then scored two more runs in the sixth inning. The Aztecs left nine runners stranded on base and made five errors during the game.

Pima had five hits, with sophomore Stacey Ramirez and freshman Alexis Dotson going 2 for 3. Sophomore Valerie Luera finished 1 for 2.

Sophomore Stephanie Vejar took the loss, dropping her record to 13-13 for the season. She gave up six runs, four earned, on seven hits with one strikeout and one walk.

Ramirez and sophomore Victoria Mariscal both said the Aztecs had nothing to lose.

“I wasn’t too happy about the season but in the end, when it all mattered. we showed up and proved ourselves,” Ramirez said.

“In the playoffs, we just came together and played for each other so I couldn’t have asked for anything else,” she added. “We finished with everything we had.”

Mariscal said the season was bittersweet.

“We had it really rough during the regular season, so rough it seemed we almost gave up,” she said. “But we knew we had an opportunity at regionals and we looked at the regular season as practice games to better ourselves.”

The team showed a lot of heart during the playoffs, Mariscal added. “Not many teams can say they did what we did, and I’m so proud of all the girls. I wouldn’t change them for the world.”

In an earlier game on May 10, the Aztecs eliminated No. 2 seed Eastern Arizona College with an 8-0 shutout.

Freshman pitcher Celina Martinez improved her overall record to 9-12 after giving up six hits with two strikeouts and one walk. She set down Eastern in order with three straight pop-ups to close the game.

Dotson got the Aztecs on the scoreboard in the third inning when she led off with a double, and later scored off of a groundout by sophomore Danielle Strensby. Dotson scored her second run in the fifth inning when Luera hit into a fielder’s choice.

Mariscal hit a sacrifice-fly RBI to score freshman Jackie Hernandez to make it 3-0.

Pima added another run in the sixth inning when Dotson hit an RBI double to score freshman Ariana Murrieta, but the Aztecs really turned it on in the seventh when they scored four runs.

Freshman Alyssa Montoya hit a bunt single RBI to score Mariscal, and Dotson hit a three-run RBI triple plating freshman Taylor Fabing, Ramirez and Montoya.

Dotson went 4 for 5 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Mariscal and Montoya each had an RBI and a run scored.

The Aztecs eliminated No. 3 Central Arizona College on May 9.

Both Eastern Arizona College and Central Arizona College swept the Aztecs during the regular season.

Pima advances in regional playoffs


The Pima Community College softball team was on the brink of elimination before a couple of its stars saved the day.

Having already lost the first game of the Region I, Division I tournament on May 9, PCC was down late in the second game before rallying for the dramatic victory.

The fourth-ranked Aztecs were down to No. 3 seed Central Arizona College 7-2 in the fourth inning before storming back.

Pima scored four runs in the fifth inning and two in the sixth to pull within a single point of Central.

Sophomore Danielle Stensby completed the comeback with an RBI single, followed by sophomore Valerie Luera’s go-ahead RBI single.

Sophomore Victoria Mariscal gunned down a runner at the plate in the seventh inning to maintain the 8-7 lead.

Sophomore Stephanie Vejar pitched a complete game, earning three strikeouts and improving her record to 13-12 on the season.

Mariscal finished the game 2 for 4, including a two-RBI double, while freshman Alexis Dotson went 3 for 4, hitting two triples and a double and scoring two runs.

Pima started the day with a tough 3-0 defeat to No. 1 seed Arizona Western. Freshman Celina Martinez took the loss.

The Aztecs will need to win three games on Saturday to qualify for the NJCAA National Tournament.

Pima will play whichever team loses between Arizona Western and Eastern Arizona College. The game will start at 11 a.m. in Yuma.



The Pima Community College softball team will be the No. 4 seed in the Division I regional tournament beginning May 9.

“We can do it if we play our best,” sophomore Victoria Mariscal said. “If we lose our first couple of games, then it’ll be tough.”

The Aztecs closed out the regular season on a four-game winning streak, ending May 3 with a sweep over Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

Pima won the first game 5-3.

The Aztecs took an early 2-1 lead. In the third inning, sophomore Valerie Luera hit a solo home run. In the sixth inning, sophomore Danielle Stensby drove in sophomore Mariah Rodriguez to pad the lead.

Sophomore Stephanie Vejar picked up the win, bringing her season record to 12-12.

Rodriguez finished the game 3 for 3 with two runs scored, while freshman Alexis Dotson was 2 for 4 with a run scored and a triple.

In the second game, the Aztecs scored six runs in the second inning to take a 9-1 victory in five innings.

Freshman Celina Martinez pitched five innings, giving up one run and improving her record to 8-11.

Sophomore Stacey Ramirez finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a run scored while Luera finished 2 for 2 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Sophomores on the team were recognized after the game.

On April 29, Pima swept GateWay Community College.

They won the first game in six innings, 11-3.

Mariscal hit a solo home run in the third inning. The Aztecs followed with a five-run fifth inning.

Martinez picked up the win after pitching all six innings. She had three strikeouts.

Freshmen Dotson and Jackie Garcia both finished the game 3 for 5 with an RBI.

Pima won the second game 19-0. They scored 11 runs in an explosive third inning.

Vejar threw a five-inning shutout, allowing six hits and picking up one strikeout.

Dotson finished the game 4 for 4 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Stensby finished 3 for 3 with three RBIs.

On April 26, PCC split a doubleheader in Yuma against Arizona Western College.

The Aztecs won the first game 5-2. Pima held a slim lead most of the game, until Mariscal hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to provide a little more cushioning.

Mariscal finished 2 for 3 with a home run and Stensby finished 3 for 4 with an RBI.

Martinez pitched four innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and picking up a strikeout.

Vejar came in for the save and retired all nine batters she faced.

Pima lost the second game in five innings, 17-4.

Mariscal gave the Aztecs an early 3-0 lead with a three-run home run in the first inning. AWC quickly answered in the bottom of the first inning, scoring seven runs.

AWC went on another scoring rampage in the fourth inning, tacking on seven more runs.

Stensby was named ACCAC conference Division I Player of the Week for April 21-27.


Diligence pays off for graduate

Diligence pays off for graduate


Pima Community College graduate Jeanette Alcaraz is no stranger to hard work and discipline. Those qualities helped her receive a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke scholarship.

Alcaraz is one of just 85 students nationally to receive the $30,000 scholarship.

“This scholarship means everything to me,” Alcaraz said. “It means being able to continue my education and starting a new life.”

The Alcaraz family moved from Hermosillo, Mexico, to the Phoenix area in 1998. They relocated to

Tucson a few years later.

“I was just a little kid, so this is all I’ve known,” Alcaraz said. “I’m pretty happy where I’m at.”
Alcaraz graduated from Flowing Wells High School in 2009 and attended PCC after receiving a Pima Merit scholarship. She graduated in 2011 with an associate degree in liberal arts and an honors certificate.

She currently works as an administrative assistant at a law office. During her time off, she enjoys running, rock climbing and dancing.

Alcaraz grew into a leadership role while attending PCC and was a founding member of the Honors Club in 2011.

“That’s something I’m proud of,” she said.

Alcaraz hopes more people become aware of the honors program and how helpful it is.

“If it wasn’t for the honors program, I wouldn’t be able to receive this scholarship,” she said. “The program allowed me to develop my goals and my leadership skills.”

Alcaraz also credits her instructors for her academic success.

“All of my instructors have been super helpful and super patient,” she said.

“Dr. Ken Vorndran, the honors coordinator, was really motivational and told me to go for the scholarship, that I had nothing to lose,” Alcaraz said. “Another person that became a big help to me was Dolores Duran-Cerda. She was a nice person to be around and someone I could count on.”
Vorndran called Alcaraz likeable and trustworthy.

“I trust Jeanette completely,” he said via email. “I trust her to be responsible, thoughtful and deliberate in her actions. I trust her to work hard and to give her best. I trust her to see the complexity of situations and to consider multiple points of view when she is making decisions.”

Alcaraz found ways to overcome hard times and find success in college.

“You have to be very motivated and self-disciplined,” she said. “You also have to be determined and set goals for yourself.”

She advises fellow students to actively communicate with their instructors.

“Get in contact with your instructors because they’re there for you and are there to support you and can become good mentors for you,” she said.

Alcaraz currently works as an administrative assistant at the law office of Patricia Mejia.

“I enjoy working there since she is an immigration attorney and my work impacts people’s lives directly,” Alcaraz said.

Alcaraz plans to attend the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona to pursue a bachelor’s degree in management. After that, she wants to attend law school.

“A business degree can be helpful in getting into law school because it sets you up with a good foundation,” she said. “It covers a lot of aspects like good writing skills and being disciplined.”

Alcaraz will receive the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship during an honors program ceremony on May 1 in the Downtown Campus Amethyst Room.

Exhibits of student honors projects will be on display from 6:30-7 p.m., and the formal program begins at 7 p.m.

Alcaraz said she will always be thankful for what she learned at PCC and to all those who helped her reach her goals.

“Pima does make your dreams come true,” Alcaraz said.

Jeanette Alcaraz, a Pima Community College graduate, makes a return visit to the PCC library. (Aztec Press photo by Beto Hoyos)

Jeanette Alcaraz, a Pima Community College graduate, makes a return visit to the PCC library. (Aztec Press photo by Beto Hoyos)

Tutoring helps college students succeed

Tutoring helps college students succeed


In addition to attending classes full time, Pima Community College basketball player Stephen Hadley practices for hours after school.

Hadley has little time for homework, and his busy schedule makes it difficult to maintain a decent grade point average.

“I’m struggling in my classes now,” Hadley said. “If it wasn’t for one of my tutors, I would not be passing.”

PCC students, as well as students worldwide, have the solution to this common problem right in front of them but fail to make time for it.

The answer is tutoring.

“Working with the tutors and learning the material helps me feel more confident in the classroom,” Hadley said.

Studies show tutoring helps

A recent study by the San Luis Obispo Cuesta College research department compared student success rates to the number of tutoring sessions the students attended for three semesters.

Sixty-five percent of students who never attended tutoring sessions passed their classes.

Approximately 86 percent of the students who attended 10 or more tutoring sessions passed.

Students ranging from elementary school to college may have a negative gut reaction to the word “tutoring.”

It might be a pride issue. Some people have a hard time admitting that they don’t fully understand a subject or concept.

Or it could be twisted priorities. Some people would rather do other things with their time.

Whatever excuse a student makes, it doesn’t change the fact that tutoring is extremely effective.

Statistics reveal that college students need tutoring now more than ever.

According to a recent report from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, “43 percent of all students attending public two-year institutions and 29 percent of those attending public four-year colleges said they had been required to enroll in a remedial course.”

The data does not include the approximately 1.2 million students who dropped out of college, the report notes.

Tutoring can help unprepared students catch up. However, some students must pay big money to see results.

Tutors generally charge based on their level of education and experience, according to tutoring website

“Expect to pay 10 to 15 dollars per hour for a high school student, and up to 75 dollars per hour for a certified teacher with experience,” the site says.

Pima sessions are free

Money is no issue for PCC students seeking help. Every campus has a Learning Center offering free tutoring sessions.

“It’s so easy,” math specialist Kai Lindstedt said. “You just pop up a flag, the tutor comes and sits right next to you, and you get your question answered right then and there.”

Lindstedt is one of many accredited tutors who work in a Pima Learning Center. Although tutoring is their main priority, the tutors also host workshops and recently started a mentoring program.

The findings of a Fall 2012 student feedback survey conducted by Pima revealed that tutoring sessions help students immensely.

Fifty-one percent of students said they would have dropped or failed their classes without tutoring.

Seventy-three percent said the tutors explained concepts in a way they could easily understand.

Penny Turrentine, assistant program manager of the West Campus Learning Center, said she wants students to enjoy themselves when studying instead of being stressed out.

“One of the things that I think is just amazing is that even though they are from all different backgrounds and different ages, we still have such a good time in here,” she said.

“I think that that is one of the things that the students appreciate when they walk in the door. They feel that. It’s a really good working environment, a very friendly environment. We have fun here!”


West Campus math tutor Kai Lindstadt, right, explains mathematical methods to student Jasmine Jenkins. (Aztec Press photo by Nick Meyers)

West Campus math tutor Kai Lindstadt, right, explains mathematical methods to student Jasmine Jenkins. (Aztec Press photo by Nick Meyers)












Our goal: teach how to learn


I have been a private tutor for seven years, ever since helping my peers with chemistry and physics classes in high school.

There seems to be a misconception that seeking tutoring help means a student is below average, that they’re dumb. Nothing could be further from the truth.

At the West Campus Learning Center, we help students enrolled in classes ranging from pre-algebra to multi-variable calculus.

Tutoring has shown me that you can’t say someone is an “average” student because everyone is at an individual level. There is no reason to be embarrassed about learning, no matter what math class you’re in.

Our goal isn’t to help you get a better grade or pass a class (although that usually happens during the process) but to help you learn how to learn. Everyone can do that.

We want to bring students to a place where they don’t need tutoring. We want to give you the skills and confidence to continue college, and tackle any challenges in your path.

When I attended the University of Arizona, I struggled with my math and science courses. Not only did it destroy my GPA, it nearly demolished my will to continue college.

In hindsight, tutoring would have changed that.

Now that I’m a tutor, I want to help people avoid the same mistakes I made and make them feel comfortable with whatever problems they face. That’s why we make the Learning Center a fun place to be.

Not only do we help you find answers to your homework, we help you to reach those answers yourself and to take that ability with you for the rest of your life.

It makes sense that Learning Center tutoring is free, because what you’ll learn is priceless.

Groups work to end sex trafficking

Groups work to end sex trafficking


Sex trafficking is the most common form of modern-day slavery and one of the fastest growing organized crime businesses worldwide, according to

Tucsonan Cynthia Magallanes, 29, dedicates her time to ending sex trafficking by promoting public awareness of the crime and helping those who have suffered.

“I survived and healed from a traumatic experience that led me to teenage years of promiscuity,” Magallanes said. “I felt used. I felt worthless. I felt dirty. But none of those determined my value.”

After learning more about prostitution and demand for sex trafficking, Magallanes felt an urgent need to get involved locally.  Her drive to help victims of sexual exploitation led to her creating Free Ever After.

“I was asking God to really help me make a difference,” she said. “In that moment, it was as if a light bulb turned on because it was so clear.”

Magallanes explains she saw a wedding dress in her head and recognized the potential.

“A wedding dress is beautiful and very valuable,” Magallanes said, “but once it’s used, its purpose is now to hang in a closet or in a box in storage with no chance to shine.”

Free Ever After sells donated wedding dresses and formal gowns.

All profits go to victim services and prevention programs such as Sold No More, a nonprofit organization working to eliminate child sex trafficking in Tucson.

Sold No More and Free Ever After work together to collect dresses. The nonprofits have received more than 250 donated dresses and recently opened a boutique at 2469 N. Country Club Road.

The boutique’s motto is “a used dress for a new bride, a new life for a renewed girl.”

Former Pima Community College student Simone Taylor wanted to volunteer with an organization that fights child sex trafficking, and discovered Sold No More in February.

“Everyone at Sold No More and Free Ever After is loving, kind, inspiring, encouraging, funny, intelligent and caring,” Taylor said.

“We are all able to share our faith with each other and I am inspired.”

Magallanes said her favorite part of being involved with the groups is seeing the community come together and spark new passions for important causes.

“To see each woman bringing in their most treasured keepsake and give it to us so in turn a girl can have a new life is priceless,” she said. “It’s the kind of thing that gives you hope in humanity.”

Free Ever After is open Tuesday-Friday 1-5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

The organization is looking for interns including administrative assistants, social media marketing, fashion designers, bridal consultants, fashion bloggers, graphic designers and an event coordinator.

To apply for internships, send résumés to Write “internship résumé” in the subject line.

Cynthia Magallanes sorts through donated wedding dresses at Free Ever After. (Aztec Press photo by Loc Tran)

Cynthia Magallanes sorts through donated wedding dresses at Free Ever After. (Aztec Press photo by Loc Tran)














Comedy fundraiser slated for May 9

A “Free to Laugh, Laugh to Free” comedy fundraiser will be held May 9 from 7-9 p.m. at Victory Worship Center, 2561 W. Ruthrauff Road. Tickets cost $20 each and all proceeds benefit Sold No More.

For further information, email

Dead Retina eyes Tucson’s music scene

Dead Retina eyes Tucson’s music scene


Nostalgia often lends itself to art in unexpected and relevant ways. Little pieces of someone’s history work into the chords of a song.

Music that captures something relatable becomes a time portal, transporting us back to our past.
A local band, Dead Retina, pays homage to punk rock source material in its debut EP, “Two Young Cops.”

The five tracks feel like flipping through a buddy’s record collection. There’s a sound you can identify with immediately, but it’s been re-imagined.

“We are kind of creating a punk rock experience,” guitarist Samuel Doane said. “It’s a living art piece that’s partially a tribute to the punk that we love, as well as creating something new. Hopefully between all of us, we can do something innovative.”

Vocalist and bassist Peter Leon formed the four-member band in November 2013.

Originally, Leon simply asked friends to humor him.

“It evolved into something that’s actually pretty good,” he said.

Leon met bandmate Doane while attending Catalina High School. The two became friends and met drummer Michael Huerta. When the band formed, Leon recruited gym trainer Randy Lopez to play guitar.

Pre-Dead Retina, the bandmates had already begun to cultivate their individual creativeness through film and music. Leon’s movie, “Heavy Nova,” premiered Sept. 28, 2013 to a packed crowd of science fiction fans at Crossroads Theater.

“I got into filmmaking and started making some real low-budget short films,” Leon said. “I just did that for years. After filmmaking, I decided to go back into music making.”

“Two Young Cops” will be released on April 25.

The EP pairs moody and aggressive vocals with catchy harmonies. The guys have drawn from their cinematic understanding to see songs on a subjective, visual level.

Doane said their goal is to “create a punk rock, action movie comedy universe for whomever. Creating a world.”

The first single, “Another Life,” is as musically tight as the compact storage unit in which the band rehearses.

Leon’s voice travels through a pile of power cables, transitioning with ease into an impressive scream.

His classic punk bass line dips up and down through Huerta’s crisp drumming.

Each crash of the symbol is like sweat bouncing to the floor in their un-air-conditioned rehearsal space.

Doane and Lopez contribute an interesting and subtle bit of light-heartedness with their backing harmonies. They confidently juggle peppy “woahs” with layered guitar work. Theirs is an upbeat riff, which explodes into an instrumental crescendo at about the 2-minute mark.

“Musically, it’s 60 percent screaming, 40 percent singing and the tempo is pretty mid-tempo,” Leon said. “We are going to say ‘medium-core.’ We are making up a genre right now, 100 percent rocking.”

Having found their sound, they will begin to build their stage presence.

Their first performance was scheduled at The Trunk Space in Phoenix on April 22, to serve as a warmup before they debut in Tucson’s music scene.

The band will play a record-release show at Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave., on April 25. They will be joined by two local bands, The Boogie Nazis and Brass Tax. The show begins at 9 p.m. It is free, but restricted to ages 21 or older.

“We can pick our shows,” Doane said. “We’re not kids just looking to play any gig anymore. We want to have a full experience, a lot of people there who want to rock. The world sucks but our music doesn’t.”

The EP is available for order at

For more information, visit

From left, Sam Doane, Peter Leon, Michael Huerta and Randy Lopez rehearse for their April 25 show at the Surly Wench. (Aztec Press photo by Jaime Verwys)

From left, Sam Doane, Peter Leon, Michael Huerta and Randy Lopez rehearse for their April 25 show at the Surly Wench. (Aztec Press photo by Jaime Verwys)

BASEBALL: Pima takes split in final home games

BASEBALL: Pima takes split in final home games


The Pima Community College baseball team split its last home games of the season against Arizona Western College on April 22, bringing its season record to 32-21.

Pima won the first game 2-1 after a strong effort from freshman Marcel Renteria.
Renteria went six and two-third innings while giving up one run. He had nine strikeouts to earn his sixth win of the season.

The Aztecs dropped the second game 17-8.

Sophomore James Lynch hit a fourth-inning home run to bring the score to 10-7 but the pitching just couldn’t stop the bleeding.

Freshman Trey Stine finished 4-4 with 2 RBIs and a run scored.

Pima split an April 19 doubleheader against Cochise College.

Sophomore pitcher Cole Plouck led the Aztecs to an 8-0 win, throwing a shutout in the first game.
Plouck went seven innings with nine strikeouts and gave up two walks and four hits.

Sophomore Dan Kennon also contributed, going 3 for 3 with three RBIs.

The Aztecs dropped the second game 2-1.

Pima scored in the first inning when sophomore Kellen Marruffo hit an RBI ground out, but the Aztecs couldn’t manage any more runs for the remainder of the game.

Sophomore Ethan Rosebeck took the loss despite going five and one-third innings while only giving up one earned run. He racked up seven strikeouts.

Pima swept Eastern Arizona College in a doubleheader on April 15.

The Aztecs won the first game 4-3 after sophomore Steven Still came through in the clutch with a game-winning RBI.

Renteria got the no-decision after throwing six innings, giving up two runs to go with seven strikeouts.

Freshman Ben Skuro got the win pitching in relief.

The Aztecs won the second game 10-4.

Freshman Scotty Watson earned the win, going five innings and giving up one earned run. Lynch hit a home run and finished 2-3 with two RBIs, two runs and two walks.

Kennon was named ACCAC Division I Player of the Week for April 14-20. He had six RBIs, three walks and two doubles in two games.

Pima split a doubleheader versus Yavapai College on April 12.

The Aztecs dropped the first game 4-3 after giving up the game-winning run in the eighth.

Stine went 2 for 4 with an RBI and Marruffo went 3 for 4 with three runs scored and a solo home run.

Pima bounced back in the next game and won 13-2.

Rosebeck got the win, going seven innings. He gave up two runs while racking up six strikeouts.

Marruffo brought the power again, hitting two home runs and an RBI double. He finished 3 for 5 with three runs scored and five RBIs.

Marruffo and Renteria earned ACCAC Division I Player/Pitcher of the Week honors for their performances during the week of April 7-13.

Pima had eight players or pitchers chosen for conference awards during the season.

Sophomore James Lynch races home in a March 25 West Campus game. (Aztec Press photo by Nellie Silva)

Sophomore James Lynch races home in a March 25 West Campus game. (Aztec Press photo by Nellie Silva)

Soccer star kicking into university gear

Soccer star kicking into university gear


Sophomore Gisel Duarte has a lot to smile about these days. The former Pima Community College women’s soccer star will be continuing her playing career at the University of the Southwest in Hobbs, N.M.

Last season Duarte had six goals and three assists in 20 games for the Aztecs. Her shining moment came during a three-goal performance against South Mountain Community College on Aug. 31.

The San Luis, Ariz., native has come a long way since she first laced up her cleats in the fifth grade. She has played every position on the soccer field during her career, but prefers to play forward.

She started to realize she was pretty good during high school, but Pima wasn’t her first choice for continuing play after graduation.

“My first option was Mesa Community College because my sister went there and I knew their coach,” she said. “But when I came to visit Pima the environment here was something I wanted to be a part of.”

For the next two years she did everything in her power to become the best soccer player she could be.

“She is serious about soccer and has a great passion for the game,” head coach Kendra Veliz said. “She really wants to do well for herself and her teammates.”

Veliz thinks University of the Southwest will be a great fit for Duarte and said the coaches there are excited to have her join the team.

Soccer runs in the Duarte family. Her older sister played at Mesa Community College and her younger brother is an up-and-comer at San Luis High School.

Duarte feels it’s important for her to maintain good grades so that she can set a good example for her two younger siblings.

“I tell my brother all the time to keep his grades up and don’t be like me when I was in high school,” she said. “I realize now how important grades are and what the value of an education can do.”

Duarte plans to earn her degree in parks and recreation. She hopes one day to teach kids how to play sports, preferably soccer.

For right now, however, she plans on playing soccer for as long as she can.

Her goals for the upcoming season at University of the Southwest is to score goals and get good grades.

She knows if she can do those two things, everything else will fall into place.

Sophomore Gisel Duarte will play soccer next fall for the University of the Southwest in New Mexico. (Aztec Press photo by Jaime Hernandez)

Sophomore Gisel Duarte will play soccer next fall for the University of the Southwest in New Mexico. (Aztec Press photo by Jaime Hernandez)

‘THE MOUSETRAP’: Popular play catches audiences

‘THE MOUSETRAP’: Popular play catches audiences


Eight strangers in Monkswell Manor are in a race against time to discover the culprit of ongoing and mysterious murders.

Death waits around every corner, and one of the guests may be the killer.

Agatha Christie’s popular “The Mousetrap,” directed by Mickey Nugent, will run from April 17-April 27 in the Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre on Pima Community College’s West Campus.

“In a world of high-tech special effects, what is brilliant about ‘The Mousetrap’ is simply Christie’s astute and imaginative writing ability – impeccably crisp with all the British properness and sensibilities, yet extraordinarily entertaining,” Nugent said.

“Who doesn’t like a good old-fashioned murder-mystery?” he added.

Currently the longest running play in the world, “The Mousetrap” had its world premiere at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, England in 1952.

Tradition says the cast, crew and audience are sworn to secrecy about revealing the killer. This convention preserves the crime-solving mystery for future theater-goers.

Student Aeric Azana, who plays Mr Paravicini, said the PCC cast and crew wants it to be the best show possible, and takes steps every night toward that goal.

“What’s great is we have a solid cast of eight people who are so focused on making this show the best it can be,” said Aeric Azana, who plays Mr Paravicini.

“When you have eight people who come in every day wanting to see what we can try, how we can make a scene better or what we can flip around to make the dialogue or the scene more intriguing, it’s always fun,” he said.

Costume designer Cné Serrano praised the production team’s synchrony.

“It’s awesome,” Serrano said. “We have ideas that we just throw out and our ideas merge. We’re very in sync.”

Serrano said she and Maryann Trombino worked together to create many of the costumes.

“I’m actually usually acting, but this year I was more backstage,” Serrano said. “It’s different from acting. It’s very different.”

Nugent called “Mousetrap” the classic of all classics.

“It’s really fortunate that we get to do it and that they chose me to do it,” he said.

Nugent enjoys working with a smaller cast size.

“It’s so nice to have such an intimate cast,” he said. “All eight of them are so passionate about the show.”

“I always have to say ‘thank you’ to everyone that is involved,” he said. “The reason I’m here at Pima is because of all those people.”

Show times are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15, with discounts available. American Sign Language interpreters will be available at the April 24 showing.

For more information, contact the box office at 206-6896 or


Taking a liberal puff from his pipe, Yelsin Rugamas (Major Metcalf) oversees an investigation as Pam Fowler (Mrs. Boyle) scrutinizes her tea-beaing toter, Anna Hagberg (Molly Ralston0. “The Mousetrap” murder-mystery play opens April 17 in the Black Box Theatre. (Nellie Silva/Aztec Press)


Aztecs running and jumping to victory

Aztecs running and jumping to victory


Pima Community College’s men’s and women’s track teams will have to go far this season if they are to deem it a success.

Both the women’s and men’s teams had runner-up finishes in regionals last year.

A majority of their core players have returned this season, giving the Aztecs confidence they can compete for the region championship.

Head coach Greg Wenneborg feels his team is deep and talented at every position except for the sprint team.

He said the sprinters are talented, but he wishes there was a little more depth on that side of the team.

“Our goal this year is to have as many high-caliber contenders qualify for the indoor national championships in the Armory in New York City on March 7,” Wenneborg said.

Currently, Pima has 13 athletes who qualify. Wenneborg feels that 11 of them will be top-five finishers in their events.

The loss of some key players from last year’s team means new faces will have to step up for the Aztecs.

On the women’s side, sophomore Kathy Fisher, who holds Pima’s record for the hurdles, is back. So is sophomore Nikki Regalado, who holds the PCC record for the 5000 meters.

With these players on the roster and a slew of new talent coming in, the Aztecs are looking forward to the upcoming season.

Pima took several first-place finishes at the Glendale indoor invitational on Feb. 8.

The Aztec women’s distance medley relay team of Fisher, Regalado and  freshmen Heidi Lopez and Raelene Yocupicio finished with a time of 12 minutes 57.02 seconds. That is the second best time in the country so far this year.

Freshman Maggie Prillaman also took first place in the long and the high jumps.

She jumped 17 feet 4 inches in the long jump and 4 feet 11 inches in the high jump.

On the men’s side, freshman Anthony Spendlove took first place in the 5000 meter run with a time of 16:55 and Wilcox took first place in the high jump with a jump of 6 feet 7 inches.

Pima also recorded an impressive first meet of the season, setting six national qualifiers on Jan. 25.

The Aztecs didn’t let the cold and the rain slow them down.

Freshman Christian Gutierrez took first place in the 35-pound throw with a throw of 46 feet.

“I was very pleased with our performance,” Wenneborg said.

“In this meet I think we finished with 13 first-place finishers so even though the weather wasn’t ideal I was still happy.”

Among those first place finishers was Fisher, who tied her own record in the 60 meters with a time of 9:33.


Pima freshman Maggie Prillaman, left, and sophomore Beca Harris jump hurdles at the Aztec Invitational. (Nellie Silva/Aztec Press)


Nursing program getting triage

Nursing program getting triage


Pima Community College is taking corrective action after receiving a Notice of Deficiencies statement from the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

On July 30, the ASBN gave the college one year to either make significant progress towards, or completely correct, the deficiencies highlighted in the notice.

The state board issued the formal action after receiving an anonymous complaint and completing an investigation. The complaint said Pima undermined the authority of Marty Mayhew, the dean of Pima’s nursing program.

The notice says any interference compromises nursing education, places patient safety at risk and undermines the authority of the nursing program administrator.

If the college fails to address the ASBN concerns, the board could restrict nursing student admissions at Pima or remove state approval of the PCC nursing program.

PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert outlined a plan of corrections and met with ASBN in September.

Pima’s nursing program must follow strict guidelines set by the Arizona Nurse Practice Act.

“There are rules and regulations that in order to have a nursing program, the college has to abide by,” Mayhew said. “Things that are not necessarily in my control.”

Katy Challenger, Pima’s nursing program department chair, stressed the state action did not criticize the nursing program itself.

“It wasn’t something the nursing department did that they felt was inappropriate,” she said.

According to the notice of deficiencies, the violations began in December 2012.

The ASBN findings say, “On or about May 13, 2013, Ana Jimenez, President of Pima Community College Education Association (PCCEA), a representative faculty group, attempted to reverse a decision regarding clinical assignment of faculty made by the nursing program administrator (Mayhew) based solely on the report of the involved faculty.”

West Campus President Louis Albert said he reversed Mayhew’s decision to place a faculty member in a specialty-nursing course. Albert said he took the action due to pressure placed on him by PCCEA.

“I probably should not have leaned so hard, but I did,” Albert said. “It’s the one decision I regret.”

Jimenez denied the state allegations.

“Please know that PCCEA did not interfere with the administration of the nursing program,” she said in a written response. “In every case, PCCEA’s only role is to ensure uniform enforcement of policies that govern all Pima Community College faculty members.”

Jimenez said PCCEA was unaware of the sanctions placed on the nursing program and was not provided any opportunity to address the reported violations.

The ASBN notice also accused PCCEA of other violations, including:

  • Not supporting an increase in salary for nursing faculty.
  • Not supporting drug screening policies for faculty, despite the fact they relate to patient safety.
  • Admonishing Mayhew for instituting a ‘dress code’ for faculty when there was no evidence that a dress code had been implemented.
  • Requesting an opportunity to talk with faculty to seek out other areas of dissatisfaction.

Based on Arizona law, all nursing programs must provide an organizational chart that identifies the relationship, lines of authority and channels of communication within the program, and between the program and the parent institution.

Lambert wrote in his response, “The college recognizes that during the events described in the AZBN findings,

PCCEA was allowed to interfere with the administration of the nursing program contrary to the applicable AZBN standards.”

His letter was addressed to Pamela Randolph, ASBN associate director of education and evidence based regulation.

At a PCCEA informational meeting held Nov. 22, Jimenez said she was tired of the secrecy but was unable to fully disclose any information due to the ongoing investigation.

“When I read the complaints, I was pretty taken aback, and I don’t feel like the nursing board’s investigation was thorough,” Jimenez said. “I didn’t feel like I had an opportunity to provide a perspective.”

Albert said he expected that Pima would be contacted in August after ASBN completed its investigation.

“It didn’t surprise us, because we had all been asked questions about it by the state board,” he said. “We knew there was going to be a report coming later in the summer.”

Nursing students interviewed by Aztec Press were mostly unaware of the implications of the notice of deficiencies or were not overly concerned with administrative issues.

Instructors have kept their students on task as Pima nursing certification test scores rose to 92.49 percent, which is greater than the Arizona state average of 89.49 percent.

Albert said it was ultimately his choice to either disclose the notice of deficiencies and potentially negatively impact nursing students, or internally reform Pima’s policy shortcomings. His intention was to meet the requirements of ASBN and not add unwarranted concern to the student body.

“It was the students I had in mind,” Albert said.