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THE WORD: Where’s your dream vacation?

THE WORD: Where’s your dream vacation?


Interviews and photos by Ebony Stoglin at Desert Vista Campus

 Pg03-Word-Alejandra Flores

“Brazil. I think the culture is really beautiful.”

Alejandra Flores

Major: Nursing

Pg03-Word-Michael Larson

“Probably Germany. I grew up there and I haven’t been there in a while.”

Michael Larsen

Major: Nursing

Pg03-Word-Marissa Amezcua

“I’d go to Hawaii. I have a cousin that lives over there and I haven’t seen him since we were kids. I also love the beach!”

Marissa Amezcua

Major: Dental Assistant

Pg03-Word-Andy Recinos

“Rome. It has a lot of cool sights and the architecture is amazing.”

Andy Recinos

Major: Biology

Pg03-Word-Daver Salazar

“Probably to the Himalayas. I’ve never been there and I like nature.”

Daver Salazar

Major: Aviation Management

Romantic love: A neuronic narcotic

Romantic love: A neuronic narcotic


Of all the highs, synthetic and otherwise, love is our favorite drug.

Metaphysically speaking, “romantic love” is an obsessive connection, consuming people with optimism to form a romanticized view of reality.

Characterized primarily by extreme craving, intense motivation and compulsive thinking, the intoxicating effects of infatuation mimic that of an obsessive-compulsive mind on cocaine.

While sex may satisfy our basic biological needs for reproducing, romantic love strives to refine our selection process in mating, providing optimal odds for ideal conception.


Chemistry of courting


From the sweaty palms, pounding heart and racing thoughts, love’s addictive effects are easily observed through the physical angst of initial attraction.

Communication studies performed by UCLA Professor Emeritus of Psychology Albert Mehrabian demonstrate that mate-screening within the mind emphasizes the subliminal side of our interactions.

Verbal exchange allots for just seven percent of attractive-factoring during an initial encounter. By contrast, 55 percent of match-determining comes from body language and 38 percent is based on vocal tones and pitch patterns.

With infatuation taking a mere 90 seconds to four minutes to initiate, attraction is a subconscious process of selection.

Thus, contrary to cynics, romantic chemistry prompts love at first sight.

Once sight has played its seductive role, touch takes control through the chemical courting of caressing and kissing.

Saliva stores immense amounts of testosterone, the hormone of sexual desire.

During a kiss our cheek cells, conveniently designed to absorb the hormonal exchange, send testosterone directly to the brain.

Male bodies utilize this saliva-swapping system as means of injecting testosterone to trigger sex drive in their partner.

Hence men’s preference for “sloppier kisses,” according to studies by biological anthropologist Helen Fisher.


Why I’m a dope for you


Love is an addiction that begins in the brain.

Being in love releases four core chemicals: dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and oxytocin.

Each assists in creating the insatiable drive and pleasurable pursuit of attaining life’s grandest prize: a perfect mate.

Dopamine and norepinephrine make up the most addictive agents of love’s chemical construct.

Individuals in love receive a constant surge of dopamine throughout their brain.

Dopamine acts as a natural stimulant within the brain, encouraging the desire to “win” through pleasurable sensations such as elation and arousal.

As levels of dopamine increase, pain and aversion centers within the brain begin to decrease activation.

Norepinephrine, an adrenal hormone, acts as the physiological respondent to love. It provides elevated energy levels for achieving one’s desires.

This surge serves to lower thresholds at which reward regions fire.

The resulting chemical imbalance distorts lovers’ perceptions of life for the better and rose-tints the bitter.


Parting’s sweet sorrow


Alas, as with any great rush, the higher we fly, the farther we fall.

In order to maintain a high, we need a consistent dose of our chosen stimuli to keep the rush alive.

Its absence leaves the brain’s chemical craving unsatisfied.

The body then begins to withdraw from its former euphoric state.

After a devastating breakup, overactive levels of dopamine reach catastrophic proportions.

Identified as the “protest stage” of rejection, the brain becomes hyperactive with motivational energy to win back what was lost. That stimulates erratic behavior in a heartbroken brain.

Examples include obsessing over the lost love, calling and incessant emailing, or refusing to believe it’s over.

Like all chemical dependencies, the brain never develops complete immunity towards craving love. It simply adapts, evens out and learns to live without.

Consequently, a brain never falls “out of love.”

In fact, heartbreak only intensifies romanticized longings of a lost love.

Thus, our brain’s lust for love brings out the dope in all of us.

Plans not so carefree in the summer of ‘44

Plans not so carefree in the summer of ‘44


The semester is ending and summer break is almost upon us. Students are making plans for interesting trips and rewarding activities.

Whether you’re enjoying a vacation or chasing your destiny at a summer job, take a few minutes to contemplate why you are able to do those things.

Consider the big plans college-age Americans were making 70 years ago in the summer of 1944.

They were about to strike some of the decisive blows of World War II.

The most popular summer destinations in 1944 were German-occupied France and the Japanese-held Mariana Islands of Saipan, Guam and Tinian.

On June 6, 1944, about 160,000 soldiers, roughly half of them American, parachuted or rode landing craft into Normandy, supported by thousands of aircraft and the largest gathering of ships the world had ever seen.

D-Day, as the invasion is now known, was a gamble with enormous stakes.

If the Allies succeeded in establishing a beachhead, Nazi Germany would find itself squeezed between the advancing Soviet armies to the east and the forces in France. This would mean almost certain doom for the Nazi regime.

Failure would extend World War II for years, and possibly turn the tide in favor of the Axis powers.

American Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the commander of what was then known as “Operation Overlord,” was acutely aware of the day’s importance. Shortly before the attack, every participant received a message from Eisenhower. This is how it began:

“Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark on a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.

The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you.”

He was not exaggerating.

D-Day was one of the most momentous days in human history.

Despite suffering nearly 20,000 casualties in the first 24 hours, including more than 4,000 killed, the Allies prevailed. They established a beachhead and Adolf Hitler’s days were numbered.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the United States Marine Corps was preparing to take the Mariana Islands from the Imperial Japanese Army.

This was crucial to the war effort, as the Marianas were within heavy bomber range of mainland Japan. Several airfields were already in place.

The Marines attacked Saipan on June 15, Guam on July 21 and Tinian on July 24. The Americans took all three islands, thanks to the efforts of nearly 150,000 Marines and soldiers and hundreds of ships and planes.

About 6,000 American troops were killed and another 20,000 wounded attacking the Marianas, but they captured the airfields. That made possible the strategic bombing that crippled Japan.

On Aug. 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber took off from Tinian and dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. A few days later, the Americans dropped another nuclear bomb on Nagasaki.

Within days, the most devastating war ever fought was finally over.

The importance of the Allies’ victory in World War II cannot be overstated. It was won in large part by college-age Americans and their allies in the summer of ’44.

Pg08-D-Day landing

Soldiers from company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division wade toward Omaha Beach on D-Day. Two-thirds of this company were killed or wounded in the opening stages of the attack. (Wikimedia)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: World Future Society predicts Tucson issues

Editor’s note: This regular feature examines topics explored in past issues of Aztec Press.


Tucson’s chapter of the World Future Society hosted its first meeting at Pima Community College 33 years ago.

WFS is a non-profit organization that was founded in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1966. The society examines how social and economic developments will affect the future.

At the PCC meeting in 1981, panelists discussed practical land, energy and water usage and efficient transportation.

One guest speaker was Andrew Laurie, a local Realtor.

“Water is the main issue for the growth of Tucson,” Laurie said. “The water deficit in the valley is due to agriculture and the mines.”

Panelists discussed the benefits and drawbacks of relying exclusively on the Central Arizona Project for water. CAP is a system of pipes, pumping plants and tunnels that spans more than 300 miles to provide water for the majority of the southwest.

Laurie predicted that CAP would not be sufficient to meet the growing needs of Pima County

“We will get less than what we need,” he said. “It will be expensive and will be so greasy that it will need to be treated first.”

The topic of transportation was less of a pressing issue at the time. However, the panel noted that as Tucson continued to grow, so would the need for public transportation.

Another speaker at the meeting was Roger L. Caldwell, director of the Council for Environmental Studies at the University of Arizona.

“It is urgent that we recognize energy and energy shortages as a social economic and political problem,” Caldwell said.

He predicted there would be confusion and uncertainty in the following decades regarding energy usage and a considerable reduction of gasoline and oil supplies.

Laurence J. Victor, then a PCC instructor and psychologist, stressed the importance of communication and education.

“Tucson has the potential for the people, for the learners, for quality education movement,” Victor said.

He predicted that education would experience a form of metamorphosis and said it is crucial that students and teachers work together as the process unfolds.

The WFS is still working today toward enhancing the world for future generations.

More information about upcoming events, conservation efforts and technological innovations can be found on their website.

The group is also on Facebook, click here to visit their page.

THE WORD: Favorite Tucson activity?

THE WORD: Favorite Tucson activity?

Photos and interviews by Jennifer Graham on West Campus


Pg03-Word-Alex Romo

“Tucson Meet Yourself, and the biking trails are always nice.”

Alex Romo
Major: Pre-med



Pg03-Word-Antonia Morado


“I like to go down Fourth Avenue, just like to walk
up and down.”

Antonia Morado
Major: Education



Pg03-Word-Derrick Helton


“Play sports, wheelchair rugby. It’s stress relief and fun to hang out with the crew.”

Derrick Helton
Major: Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering



Pg03-Word-Richard Larkin


“Save up to leave Tucson, probably California or Colorado. Somewhere with a good
art school.”

Richard Larkin
Major: Game Design



Pg03-Word-Chantel Romero


“Go to Starbucks to chat with friends and drink coffee.”

Chantel Romero
Major: Nursing

FROM THE ARCHIVES : Recycling efforts expand, websites offer tips

FROM THE ARCHIVES : Recycling efforts expand, websites offer tips

Editor’s note: This regular feature explores topics discussed in past issues of the Aztec Press.


A 1991 Aztec Press article focused on U.S. handling of a major export: trash. Few recycling programs were in place and people were beginning to realize the importance of sustainable materials.

Environmental organizations such as Tucson, Clean And Beautiful formed in southern Arizona in the mid-1980s.

Pima Community College joined the expanding recycling efforts in 1990 by placing recycling bins at campuses.

“One of the main facets of the program is to educate people,” PCC recycling coordinator Catalina Sanchez said.

The program would not be possible without the help of dedicated and driven volunteers, Sanchez added.

A special Earth Day issue from 1990 featured an interview with Scott Harper, then hazardous waste coordinator for the PCC Risk Management and Safety Department.

He stressed the importance of waste management education, saying most safety violations stem from unclear communication.

“We have to go beyond Earth Day; my job doesn’t stop because Earth Day has passed,” Harper said. “We must not be reactive; instead, we must be pro-active with the environment. We have a responsibility to the community.”

Currently, education is still necessary.

Many Tucson residents have blue barrels provided for curbside pickup, yet there is confusion about which materials are acceptable.

A diverse range of plastics, metal, glass and paper materials are recyclable. Neither Styrofoam nor plastic bags are permitted, with the exception of a plastic bag containing shredded paper.

The recycling program recommends participants bring their blue bin to the curb only when it is more than half full to help reduce fuel consumption.

The website  provides information about how to properly dispose of potentially hazardous materials such as batteries, computer parts, various chemicals and fluorescent lamps.

To find out more about individual and group projects, visit

A complete list of guidelines and recyclable items can be found on the City of Tucson website,

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Global Art Project celebrates 20th anniversary

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Global Art Project celebrates 20th anniversary

Editor’s note: This regular feature explores topics discussed in past issues of the Aztec Press.


When Katherine Josten formed the Global Art Project 20 years ago, she was a Pima Community College instructor seeking a way to unite people from around the world.

Her idea began to take shape in the spring of 1994 as she worked with fellow artists and collaborators to organize the first Global Art Project.

Within six years, the project had grown to such an extent that Josten decided to resign from teaching to dedicate more time to the nonprofit organization.

Josten said it was a sacrifice because she thoroughly enjoyed working with students and faculty at PCC for more than a decade. However, she was ready to commit to the growing vision.

GAP takes place every two years and continues to expand its reach. Today there are 87 countries involved, with recent additions including East Timor, Bulgaria and Peru.

The process involves participants from around the world who submit a piece of art that represents their image of peace and unity. Josten and fellow coordinators handle an assortment of mediums.

Approximately half of the submissions come from children. They are typically collected by the end of February, and exchanged near the end of April to coincide with Earth Day.

The Aztec Press interviewed Josten about GAP in 1994.

“It’s a perfect way of expressing that we are all one,” she said. “It’s also a way for all people to connect, by putting an idea in the physical form.”

GAP’s aim is to connect participants from one household to another. It begins by pairing participants, typically based on the geography and age of contributors. The size of a group may range from two to 2,000.

Each participant creates artwork and displays it locally in coffee shops, libraries or anywhere the artist deems suitable.

The artist then exchanges with another contributor as a symbol of connection and peace. Artists are encouraged to include a photo and/or personal note for their recipient. Recipients can display the artwork or take their newly acquired gift home. A digital copy is stored in the GAP Art Bank.

There is no official exhibit scheduled in Tucson this year.

Josten recently spoke with Arizona Public Media about the project’s evolution. She said GAP has become more involved with schools, ranging from kindergarten to the graduate level.

Many teachers find participation to be a valuable tool that demonstrates the importance of self expression and global harmony.

“Peace is so needed, especially at this time when there is so much change going on,” Josten said. “We can’t find peace within this world until we find peace within ourselves.”

Josten encourages anyone interested to start planning for the 2016 exchange. Organization will begin in 2015.

She admits that even with 200 regional coordinators, administration of such a vast program can be a hassle.

However, when Josten sees the works submitted and hears the stories of their creation, her enthusiasm is renewed.

For more information about future submissions and upcoming events, visit Information is also available at


Artist Maggie Matthews sent this painting from the United Kingdom to Tucson. The local recipient displayed the art in the Downtown Library.

THE WORD: What would you pick for a last meal?

THE WORD: What would you pick for a last meal?

Azalea Morha


“Menudo. It has a lot of fatand stuff but it wouldn’t matter anymore.”

Azalea Morhaim



Scott Rebeck


“I’m just a steak and potatoes guy. It’s my all-time favorite meal.”

Scott Rebeck


Andria Pellesh


“Linguini and clams with a glass of pinot grigio wine.”

Andria Pelleshia


Patrick Brock


“Just a cheeseburger for me. I could probably eat one for every meal.”

Patrick Brock


Sam Mulla


“Gumbo! Mardi Gras is my favorite holiday and it just kind of reminds me of that.”

Sam Mulla

FROM THE ARCHIVES: States debate freedom of religious beliefs

FROM THE ARCHIVES: States debate freedom of religious beliefs

Editor’s note: This regular feature explores topics covered in past issues of Aztec Press. This column is the second part of a two-part series.


Students and employees at Pima Community College represent a wide range of religious beliefs. This is seen in the pages of the Aztec Press dating back to its earliest issues.

The newspaper featured an interview in the late ‘70s with instructor Donald A. Graham, who practiced Sufism, a form of mysticism with Islamic roots.

“At some point, every being will feel a sense of emptiness and will begin to seek something to fill that emptiness,” Graham said. “It is then he will turn to a spiritual path.”

Graham explained that Sufis are open to various paths of enlightenment.

“The real unity of Sufism is the realization that everything is a part of the same thing,” he said.

Like many religions, Sufism encourages self-discipline and sacrifice of frivolities and indulgences.

A 1992 article focused on the presence of Hare Krishna members at West Campus. They were handing out pamphlets, accepting donations for copies of the Bhagavad Gita and chanting in the gym courtyard.

“Chanting is a recommended process of self-realization for this day and age,” said Vaishnava Swami, a Hare Krishna member from the Chaitanya Cultural Center.

PCC students provided mixed opinions about their presence.

One student said he enjoyed the chanting and thought the members added “a little atmosphere to the campus.”

Another student considered the Hare Krishna members loud and distracting. He also found their appearance “too freaky.”

A second  article from 1992 looked into the Tucson chapter of American Atheist Veterans. PCC student Orin R. “Spike” Tyson had recently been named head of the local branch.

“An atheist is someone who does not have a set of beliefs,” Tyson said. “If you said ‘one plus one equals two,’ I’d ask you to prove it. We demand proof of anything.”

Tyson said there were laws in place to protect many religious beliefs, but the laws often left atheists without protection.

He cited Article 19 of the Arkansas Constitution, which does not allow atheists to hold office or testify in court. The restriction is still in place today.

Provisions in several other state constitutions also prohibit atheists from being elected.

For instance, Section 2, Article 9 of Tennessee’s state constitution reads, “No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s recent veto of the controversial Senate Bill 1062 speaks volumes about the ongoing debate concerning religious rights.

THE WORD: What was your best April Fools prank?

THE WORD: What was your best April Fools prank?

Pg03-Word-Gabriel Gudenkauf


“My friends and I in high school got to school really early and painted a fake crime scene.

We splattered a bunch of fake blood around a body outline and freaked everyone out.”

Gabriel Gudenkauf
Major: Science


Pg03-Word-Gertrude Donovan


“My boyfriend and I told his parents I was pregnant.We printed a fake sonogram and everything.

When we told them it was a joke, they started crying.”

Gertrude Donovan
Major: Public health


Pg03-Word-Rodney Haywood


“My little brother put syrup on the toilet seat. I woke up at seven in the morning to use the bathroom and didn’t even notice it.

I then wondered why my ass was stuck to the seat.”

Rodney Haywood
Major: Visual Performing Arts


Pg03-Word-Karson Krieg


“My best friend in high school told me she was transferring schools to join an elite choir program.

I found it strange since the school was in Marana and we went to Sahuaro High School.”

Karson Krieg
Major: Music education


Pg03-Word-George Smith


“This girl told me she was pregnant after I only smashed her once.

She even showed me some other girl’s pregnancy test that was positive.”

George Smith
Major: Chemistry

Photos and interviews by Robert Hernandez on West Campus





FROM THE ARCHIVES: Religious practices make headlines

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Religious practices make headlines

Editor’s note: This regular feature explores topics covered in past issues of Aztec Press. This column is the first in a two-part series.


The recent controversy over SB 1062 has brought the question of religious practices back to the forefront of public debate.

Religious freedom has been a highly debated topic dating back to the earliest issues of the Aztec Press.

An article from January 1974 featured an interview with Bill Lowery, a preacher and coordinator of “Christ is the Answer,” a nonprofit street ministry and traveling commune. The ministry was reportedly welcome in Tucson during its brief stay.

Lowery traveled with a team of about 200 people, including his family, and a tent the size of a football field.

He explained that only half of the tent was set up in Tucson because of relatively low attendance.

“We thrive on donations,” Lowery said. “The other night we took in $32 for a collection. Try feeding 200 people on $32. We find that every day is a miracle.”

As the group trekked from city to city, some new recruits joined the ministry while others departed. Lowery said some members would leave quietly in the middle of the night.

“Usually they do so because they can’t take the rough living, they didn’t count on the cost or they don’t get enough privacy,” he said.

The ministry included The Joyful Noise, one of the first Christian bands to incorporate electric guitar. It attempted to appeal to the younger generation.

A 1978 article focused on controversial disciplinary methods in a youth home run by Texas evangelist Lester Roloff.

Several teenage girls from Pima County had been sent to Roloff’s Rebekah Home in Corpus Christi, Texas.

They told their parents that disciplinary measures used in the house included solitary confinement. There were also reports from other girls about severe whippings with leather belts.

Roloff denied the harsh whippings. However, after a court hearing in 1973 he publicly declared, “better a pink bottom than a black soul.”

The evangelist spoke at a press conference in the Tucson City Council chambers about the Pima County teenagers. “The first thing we do is brainwash them because their brains are dirty, but we use the King James washcloth,” he said.

Roloff also said that brainwashing is common in our society and media is the main instrument of accepted influence. He also claimed that “children do not have any rights as long as they are wrong.”

The Rebekah House had been temporarily shut down in 1973 for failure to comply with government licensing standards. Roloff’s arguments citing religious freedom failed to stand up in court.

In the years that followed, Roloff’s methods were publicly scrutinized by some and supported by others. Some programs he launched decades ago remain in operation today.

Part 2: Religious beliefs.


BY THE NUMBERS: Spring Break

BY THE NUMBERS: Spring Break

Compiled by Will Willcoxson



Year the first spring break took place, according to Time magazine. A swimming coach from Colgate University in New York took his team to Fort Lauderdale to stay in shape.



Estimated number of spring break participants in Fort Lauderdale in 1959.



Estimated number of spring break participants in Fort Lauderdale in 2011.



Year that “MTV’s Spring Break” premiered. The annual tradition continues today.



Legal drinking age in Mexico, hence the popularity of spring break trips to the country.



Low-end cost for a three-day vacation in Mexico.


$1 billion**

Estimated amount spent during the spring break period.



Number of alcohol-related arrests during spring break in Florida in 2004.



Percentage of parents who worry their kids will drink over the break.



Average number of drinks that female spring breakers consume daily.



Percentage of males who intend to have sex with someone they meet over the break.




** - Aztec Press

Novelist has Pima roots

Novelist has Pima roots


Former Pima Community College student Nancy E. Turner is among the many celebrated authors leading workshops at the Tucson Festival of books.

Turner’s latest novel, “My Name Is Resolute,” follows a young woman who is sold into slavery and abducted from her home in the Caribbean.

She winds up in colonial America on the precipice of revolution with a set of skills that help her wage her own war against the British.

Turner described the historical epic in an email interview.

“My character, Resolute Catherine Eugenia Talbot, is the child of aristocrats who is kidnapped and sold as a slave in New England,” Turner said.

“As she reaches maturity, she learns to weave cloth. When the Revolutionary War begins, she smuggles clothing to the Patriot army through British lines.”

Turner said she honed her skills with writing instructor Meg Files while attending PCC. She  believes the lessons she learned in class and her life experiences helped her succeed as an author.

“At any stage of your life, if you were to take a certain class, you bring to it your own history and your own goals,” she said.

Going from student to author was no easy feat, Turner said. She started like many others by finding an agent, who then found a publisher after a lengthy search.

Even then, Turner said, it took two years for “My Name Is Resolute” to get published and on shelves.

Turner believes student-authors who are serious about getting published can achieve their goal.

“You are going to have stories that start then fizzle, projects you no longer have time for, books that go unfinished because you fell out of love with them,” she said. “These are not wasted, these are part of the process. Don’t quit.”

Turner believes literature plays an important role in today’s world. Because books are so closely tied to films and reach so many people that way, it is vital to our freedom that they be uncensored and available, she said.

“Literature has always had the task of illuminating social issues, whether in fiction or non-fiction,” she said. “Writers have changed the world in every generation.”

Pg11-Author-Nancy Turner

Nancy E. Turner signs copies of her new novel, “My name Is Resolute” at a Tucson bookstore. (Aztec Press photo by Sebastian Barajas)

The Word: What are your plans for spring break?

The Word: What are your plans for spring break?

Christopher Corrington

“I’m going to Disneyland with friends.”

Christopher Corrington

Major: Business

Christina Andrews

“I will be studying for my veterinary tech exam.”

Christina Andrews

Major: Veterinary Technician

Eric Mcneely

“I will probably spend some time with my girlfriend.”

Eric McNeely

Major: Anthropology

Tyrene Daoey

“I’m going to SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park.”

Tyrene Daoey

Major: Nursing

Steve Smith

“Calculus and chemistry homework, then I might see the movie ‘Divergent.’”

Steve Smith

Major: Aerospace Engineering

Interviews and photos by Will Willcoxson at Northwest Campus

Upward Bound gives teens a boost

Upward Bound gives teens a boost


Upward Bound students seemed unfazed by the presence of a famous drug cartel member as they enjoyed snacks during a Pima Community College family night celebration Feb. 24.

In fact, the teens asked the celebrity for autographs.

The visitor was Lou Pimber, an actor best known for his role as a cartel henchman in AMC’s hit show “Breaking Bad.”

As a demo reel of Pimber’s work ended, he took the stage at Downtown Campus to provide motivational words of advice.

“I had powerful mentors in my life who spoke and I always knew I wanted to pay it forward,” Pimber said. “My message is always, you can’t let a bad past be an indicator of your future.”

Upward Bound is a federally funded program that helps high school students from low income families pursue higher education. Participants are first-generation college students, the first in their family to attend college.

Downtown Campus works with teens from Amphitheater, Presidio and Rincon high schools.

“This area of Tucson is one of the worst off in the country,” Upward Bound Program Manager Lyn Olsen said. “The median family income is about $15,000. Our students deal with a lot of issues but they are very motivated and want a better life.”

Upward Bound provides a wealth of resources for members to utilize. The 60 teens enrolled at Downtown Campus are required to volunteer in the community, take classes over the summer and keep their grades up.

Their time and dedication earns them free tutoring, assistance with scholarships, practice with standardized testing, counseling and cultural field trips. As long as students meet participation requirements, they may receive a stipend for their classes.

Olsen stressed the program’s high level of involvement by parents.

“They are key to everything,” Olsen said. “I found the No. 1 reason why students succeed in school and go on to college is mom.”

Pima honored the families participating in Upward Bound by hosting the family night.

Actor Lou Pimber addresses teens enrolled in Upward Bound at Downtown Campus. (Aztec Press photo by Jamie Verwys)

Actor Lou Pimber addresses teens enrolled in Upward Bound at Downtown Campus. (Aztec Press photo by Jamie Verwys)

The age-diverse crowd was welcomed into the Amethyst Room with lively music and an assortment of snacks. As students and parents took their seats, Pimber mingled comfortably among them.

Pimber has called Tucson home since a childhood spent on the city’s south side. Before his journey into film, he served in the Army and in law enforcement.

While working as an undercover drug and gang task force agent, Pimber was attacked by a fellow law enforcement officer. The physical and emotional injury led to his retirement.

In 2006, the Mexican cable network Cablé Vision set his acting career into motion. Due to his knowledge of weapons and self-defense, Pimber was brought on as a technical advisor. He later found himself in front of the camera for a small role.

Pimber is currently working on two television shows called “Gang Related” and “Talk of Tucson.”

High school students interested in the Upward Bound program may visit for more information and application packets.