RSSAll Entries in the "Features" Category

The Word: If you could accomplish your biggest dream tomorrow, what would you do?

The Word: If you could accomplish your biggest dream tomorrow, what would you do?

Photos and interviews by Mariana Ceja on Downtown Campus

Pg03-Word-Sabrina Serrano

“I would take action on a book I’m trying to write, and get a job where it’s almost guaranteed I would make something of myself, in case my book fails miserably”

Sabrina Serrano

Major: Computer science

Pg03-Word-Francise Acing

“Learn English well, because right now I am not speaking good English, and also learn computers.”

Francise Acing

Major: English

Pg03-Word-Katelyn Landwelen

 

“I would be playing on the USA female softball team. Probably partying after.”

Katelyn Landwerlen 

Major: Early childhood education

 

Pg03-Word-Carlos Medina

“One of my biggest dreams is to get my four-year degree, my bachelor’s degree in accounting, so I would be celebrating and reminiscing with family.”

Carlos Medina

Major: Accounting

Pg03-Word-Daisy Torres

“My goal is to be a pediatrician, so I guess I would just get right to it — accomplish my dreams, actually start working.”

Daisy Torres

Major: Pre-med

 

Share
The Word: What new movie do you want to see?

The Word: What new movie do you want to see?

Photos and interviews by Alex Fruechtenicht on East Campus

Pg03-Word-Samuel Perez

“Deadpool”

Samuel Perez
Major: Aeronautical
engineering

Pg03-Word-April Harlow

“As Above, So Below”

April Harlow
Major: Liberal arts

Pg03-Word-Rodolfo Canales

“The Hobbit: The Battle
of The Five Armies”

Rodolfo Canales
Major: Mechanical
engineering

Pg03-Word-Bridgette Montano

“The Book of Life”

Bridgette Montano
Major: Liberal arts

Pg03-Word-Ben Paric

“Interstellar”

Ben Paric
Major: Science
associate degree

Share
Pima welcomes international students

Pima welcomes international students

By NICK MEYERS

Forty-nine Mexican students descended the escalators at Tucson International Airport on Aug. 30 to the cheers of Pima Community College students and faculty. A large sign read “Welcome International Students.”

Many of the visitors remained speechless. For some, their shocked expressions were remnants of their first time on an airplane. For even more, it was their first time in America.

“It was a celebratory greeting,” said Geneva Escobedo, assistant to the West Campus president. “It was also emotional. The students saw us with the sign and they stopped.

They looked shocked, and then the smiles came. Even I got a little teary-eyed.”

Preparing for visitors

PCC administrators, staff, faculty and students have been preparing for the arrival of the Mexican international students since February.

Part of a program called SEP-Bécalos-Santander Universidades, the students join 250 more Mexican students who are studying at five other colleges around the United States.

Bécalos is a pilot program for President Barack Obama’s 100,000 Strong for the Americas Global Initiative, in conjunction with a Mexican equivalent named Proyecta 100,000. The programs hope to introduce 100,000 American students to higher education in Mexico and vice versa.

The Mexican students were drawn from three technological bilingual universities:

• Universidad Tecnológica El Retoño in Aguascalientes,

• Universidad Tecnológica de La Zona Metropolitana del Valle in Hidalgo,

• Universidad Tecnológica de Saltillo in Coahuila.

The international students will spend the fall semester studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, subjects on Pima campuses.

They will live in 13 apartments close to the West Campus.

“We are honored to be part of an important initiative that infuses international awareness into our institution,” Chancellor Lee Lambert said in a press release.

“Programs such as this are examples of the college’s commitment to bring the world to Pima and help prepare students for life in an increasingly global society.”

A first visit to America

The students involved are distinctly aware of this.

Aaron Mata lives in Aguascalientes, a city of nearly 1.2 million people about 300 miles northwest of Mexico City. He attends Universidad Tecnológica El Retoño, as do more than 30 of Pima’s Bécalos students.

“I am extraordinarily happy about being here,” Mata said in heavily accented English. “Arriving to America was one of the most exciting and happy moments in my life, because I have never traveled before,” he said. “When I arrived, I was dazed because of the plane. It was a new experience for me, uncomfortable indeed.”

 

Mata wishes to become “a citizen of the world,” a sentiment that pervades his conversation.

Every experience thus far in his life built toward his current adventure, he said.

“I arrived to America with the hope of building a new, better life and learning everything I can to be a better person and a better professional — a human being that is useful for society.”

While many of the Mexican  students know enough English to make conversation, they will take some English as a Second Language classes with a STEM focus intended to develop their language skills..

Thirteen Pima students are involved as ambassadors through the West Campus Student Life Office in a program known as Positive Engagement Education Resources, or PEER.

Mentor hopes to help

Alma Gonzales, one of four PEER mentors who speak Spanish, was born in Mexico and immigrated with her parents to the United States when she was young.

“It was a little awkward not knowing anyone and barely understanding the language,” she said of adjusting to life in the U.S. “You don’t click right away. There’s no mediator, so that’s what we are.”

By now Gonzales has lived most of her life in the U.S., and hopes to transfer to the University of Arizona to continue her studies in psychology.

She juggles responsibilities as the West Campus student government president, a vice president for Young American Libertarians and a member of the cheer team. She intends to run for office in the International Student Club.

“I guess you can say I keep myself busy,” she said.

Gonzales hopes her experience will benefit the new arrivals. “In the end, it worked out. My family is happy and I got a better education,” she said.

“I know it will work out for them, too, but I just want to make their transition easier. It’s hard leaving friends and family behind and sometimes you can’t help feeling just a little homesick.”

How Pima got involved

Bécalos came to Pima after Ricardo Castro-Salazar, an instructor in the social and behavioral sciences department, contacted Maggie Suarez of Fundación Televisa, a large Mexican corporation that supports Proyecta 100,000.

Suarez met Lambert at a conference in Washington D.C. for the 100,000 Strong Initiative.

The two arranged for Suarez to tour the West Campus with Escobedo and Campus President Lou Albert.

Suarez was so impressed with Pima’s leadership and international focus that she insisted on raising the number of students who were to visit from an initial 24 to the 49 who arrived last month.

While the program is still in its infancy, administrators hope it will expand both at Pima and around the nation.

During this semester, Pima officials will evaluate the program and work in conjunction with Fundación Televisa and the Universidades to decide how to continue.

“It is a labor of love,” Escobedo said. “We’re here to teach all students and the international students are part of that too. Frankly, they’re having a blast.”

Pg05-International students-main

Several of the Mexican exchange students attending PCC this semester gather around PEER mentor John Paul Luxardo on the day following their arrival in Tucson. For many, it was their first time in the United States. (Nick Meyers/Aztec Press)

Share
Crash course in Comic-Con

Crash course in Comic-Con

By LARRY GAURANO

Congratulations! After registering on comic-con.org months ago, keeping track of the monthly emails about purchasing badges, remembering your member id, waking up the day of the online sale, logging in at exactly 9 a.m. while never hitting refresh, sticking in your queue although it looked hopeless, having the money required to purchase all those badges on one credit card…

If you have ever tried to register for the world famous, San Diego Comic-Con International, this should all sound very familiar. Every year people from across the globe go through this process for the chance to attend the convention.

When tickets become available on the website, they sell out within minutes. Social media then explodes with exclamations of joy from those who got badges and complaints from those who hate the system. Love it or not, they are doing it again next year.

I’m a native San Diegan and I’ve been going to the SDCC since 1994, way before it was cool to be a nerd. Back then it was much more about the comics. Instead of registering months in advance, you would just show up to buy your tickets.

Things are much different now. The SDCC is considered to be the pop culture and entertainment expo of the year. People have it on their bucket list to attend, and telling people that you have gone before makes you a celebrity.

But is it all smooth sailing once you purchase your badges? After all, the hard part is over right? Wrong.

“If you have no idea what the San Diego Comic-Con is like, you’ll miss the whole thing even if you were here,” an attendee told me as we waited in line for 6 hours.

I will give you the rules on how to survive and get the most out of your SDCC experience, while paying homage to the rules in the film, Zombieland.

Rule #1 Shoes

You’re going to spend 95 percent of your time at the Con on your feet. You’re going to stand in line just so you can stand in another line. Without warning, you’re going to be expected to run or hike countless stairs. It’s best to be prepared. Get those gel inserts to make your feet happy.

Rule #2 Badge pick up

You will get an email about picking up your badges on Wednesday, the first day of the Con. It will say to go to the Town and Country Resort in Mission Valley of San Diego. It will also say you can’t pick up your badges before 3 p.m. that day. A quick, pro tip is to pick them up early, like 12 p.m. early.

Park at the Fashion Valley Mall because the resort will be packed with cars trying to park. The mall is one block north of the resort. Just walk to the resort and grab your badges. Staff will be giving them out as soon as they are done setting up.

Rule #5 Preview night

You just got your badges and were lucky enough to get preview night access. I guess you have time for lunch or to check in at the hotel, right? No, head straight to the Con. It’s a 15 minute drive south in downtown San Diego. When you get there, no matter how early you got your badges, there will already be a ton of people in line.

Rule #11 Hotels

You should stay at the hotels near the Con, right? Wrong. Your car is almost useless downtown during the Con. Public transportation, such as the trolley, will do you better.

You know the saying, “you don’t need a fancy hotel because you’ll just be sleeping in it”? Not at SDCC. All you’ll be using your hotel room for is storage for all your purchases. Go book a hotel in Mission Valley. It’s where the tourists stay, as it is centralized in San Diego. You’ll save money and have access to amenities that are not available downtown.

Rule #12 Mission Valley

I’ve mentioned this part of San Diego multiple times. Your badge pick up is here and the majority of San Diego’s hotels are here. The best part is there are grocery stores and malls here along a direct and short route to downtown.

Stop at Target for snacks that you can carry. You may not want to deal with the hassle of carrying stuff, but do you really want to spend hiked up prices on food at the Con? Every dollar saved is another dollar you can spend at the Con.

Rule #15 Bags

When you pick up your badges, you get a cool, oversized backpack that becomes a badge of honor for attendees. People will use them at other cons as a type of trophy that says, “Look at me, I’ve been to SDCC.”

They usually give out about eight types of bags and they don’t let you pick the design. If there’s a design you want, don’t spend the effort trying to trade or buy someone else’s bag. On the last day of the Con, in the final hours, staff gives out the remaining bags. You can get as much as you want and whatever you want.

Rule #28 Celebrities

From what you’ve seen on television, so many celebrities attend the Con that you’re sure to run into all them, right? Wrong. Most celebrities make brief appearances which are unannounced. While some go to their press conferences then leave, others are in complete incognito. The best way to see celebrities is to spend time in downtown’s restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Pay attention to social media as well for possible sightings.

Rule #29 The Buddy system

Just like in Zombieland, it’s important to have a buddy. You need a friend that can hold your spot in line. A friend that can wait in one line while you wait in another. A friend that can do a food run while you hold your spots in line. Most importantly, you need a friend to hold you as you weep when you find out that the exclusive you want is sold out.

Rule #32 Panels

Professional conferences are meant to educate by sharing information from the industry. The SDCC prioritizes that same purpose. Be sure to attend different panels. Use the guide to plan out your schedule ahead of time. Panels are free to attend, but just like everything else at SDCC, you’re going to have to stand in line.

Rule #39 Going multiple days

You cannot see everything the SDCC has to offer in one day, even if you speed walk. In fact, you can’t speed walk because of everyone in your way. Your best bet is to create an agenda for each day. Spend one day going to panels, another day shopping in the vendor sections and dedicate a day to lining up exclusives.

Rule #40 San Diego

San Diego is considered to be “America’s Finest City”. It would be a shame to go there, attend the con and then leave when it’s all over. Arrive early or stay late to see the sights. Balboa Park, Coronado Island and the beach at La Jolla are all worth seeing.

Rule #51a eBay

Has the idea of selling SDCC exclusives at 200 percent of what you paid for sound enticing? Well, unless you have five people with you to pick up multiples of each item, it’s not worth it.

After online selling fees, shipping supplies and the cost of postage, I find the average net profit to be around 40 percent. This sounds great until you consider how much time you spent waiting in line, what you missed out on while waiting in those lines and the costs associated with your hotel and travel.

The best time to sell exclusives is the day you get them. Prices drop considerably after the Con ends and don’t pick back up until months or years later.

Rule #51b eBay

People must be crazy to pay those prices on eBay when the item only cost half of what they were selling for at the Con, right? After you experience the pain of trying to get the exclusive, only to fail, you’ll realize the prices are worth it, especially if the line you’re in is only for one of many items being offered. The best time to buy is two weeks after the Con, as the market will be saturated.

Rule #67 Exclusives

Hasbro and Mattel are the companies that offer the most coveted exclusives each year. If you want a chance to get them, plan on lining up around 12 a.m. Once you are in line for the exclusive, have a buddy or yourself go purchase them from the smaller companies. These exclusives usually have no limit and no line. They sell out by the second day of the Con.

Rule #71 Security

There are two types of security. There are security staff that work for the exhibitor and security staff that the SDCC has hired. Exhibitor staff are there to help manage lines for their appropriate booths, but are quickly overwhelmed. They rely heavily on SDCC staff.

Befriend both types. There will be times where they will tell you the line is closed off for now, but you can come back later to see if it opens up. People will try and stand around the line but it quickly blocks up, creating a fire hazard. If you become friends with security, just like with bouncers at night clubs, they’ll remember you and hook you up when they can.

Rule #80 Buying decisions

You’re going to be bombarded with different things to buy, but you have a limited budget. When in doubt, buy exclusives, artist alley or small press items. Items that you can find on Amazon are usually going to be cheaper than at the Con. Who knows when you’re going to have a chance at a unique item from an artist here?

Rule #92 Sunday funday

You made it to Sunday, but that probably means you’re also broke. There are so many free things to do at the Con, including video games and movie screenings. They are usually going on at the extended parts of the Con, located at the neighboring hotels.

Rule #95 Collapsible chairs

Invest in a high end, compact, collapsible chair that can easily be carried in a backpack. Sitting on the floor gets old fast. You can find them at outdoor sports stores.

Rule #99 Downtown

There are many other Comic-Con experiences going on downtown. Businesses capitalize on the Con by renting out their businesses to companies who were not able to get a space. For most of these events, you don’t even need a comic-con badge to attend. However, you will have to stand in line.

Rule #101 Your first Comic-Con

If you have never attended a Comic-Con before, don’t let San Diego be your first. Seasoned Comic-Con attendees are overwhelmed with SDCC. Get your feet wet by going to a smaller con. I find the Phoenix Comic-Con much more enjoyable and it’s a great con to start off with.

 

Demo games

Video game developers including Square Enix provide fully functional demos such as the new Kingdom Hearts to play before they are released. (Larry Gaurano/Aztec Press)

Share
Instructor rethinks economic education

Instructor rethinks economic education

By NICK MEYERS

There is an academic economic revolution taking place around the globe, and Pima Community College instructor Amy Cramer has taken up arms in support.

Cramer has been teaching economics at PCC for the past 12 years and taught for six years in the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management starting in 2005.

Now Cramer is taking her methods outside of her own classroom.

With the assistance of the Thomas R. Brown Foundation in Tucson, Cramer has created an initiative called Voices On The Economy.

VOTE aims to expand the teaching of alternate perspectives in high school and college classrooms around the state of Arizona and the United States.

“We have to arm our students with the different types of economic systems,” Cramer said. “All sorts of countries are trying to figure this out. So let’s give our students the power to figure it out.”

Over the course of the school year, teachers from high schools across Arizona will join Cramer as she explains her process to them through the same techniques she uses with students.

From June 18-22, high school teachers of subjects including history, economic and biology participated in Cramer’s method first-hand, taking part in describing each perspective and using them to debate modern topics.

“It’s kinda forcing me to think about my own opinions,” said Kelly O’Brien, a sixth and seventh grade history teacher from the Sonoran Science Academy.

O’Brien intends to use components of Cramer’s style to help teach her students about events in human history, such as the farming revolution that took place nearly 12,000 years ago.

“If they can relate to what they have now, they can better understand it,” she said.

In her classes, Cramer stresses the importance of considering alternative viewpoints in economics. In most modern economic classes, she said, students learn only neoclassical economics supported heavily by graphs and equations.

However, with many different economic systems existing around the world, Cramer sees importance in teaching students the perspectives that helped form modern economic systems.

She relies on Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes, who are considered some of the major influences in modern economics, to describe how today’s various economic systems arose with a focus on neoclassical, classical and radical theory.

“These three perspectives are the theories that largely underlie our law and policies,” Cramer said in a video describing her methods. “Those alternative perspectives allow us to see further into the realm of economics.”

She uses these three distinct perspectives to stage classroom debates in which students discuss modern economic issues such as income inequality, the environment and anti-trust legislation.

“The learning process is enhanced when a student argues a perspective other than his or her own,” Cramer said in the video.

“Students in my classroom are assigned to take rotating perspectives in a series of debates so they get a chance to argue from each viewpoint.”

In this manner, Cramer intends to allow students to find their own voices in order to better understand and interact in today’s world.

“The goal is not to tell our students what to think,” Cramer said. “But to teach them how to think.”

Cramer’s program echoes the sentiment of students and educators alike across the globe. At the head of the charge is the International Student Initiative for Pluralism in Economics.

A group of more than 65 associations from 30 different countries, the student-led ISIPE pushes for use of a variety of theories, methods and disciplines, rather than simply neo-classical theory, in order to describe economics as a more complete social science.

“This lack of intellectual diversity does not only restrain education and research,” the organization explains in an open letter on its website. “It limits our ability to contend with the multidimensional challenges of the 21st century.”

“There are billions of people living in other countries that operate under economic systems other than our own,” Cramer said.

“In a global economic environment it is imperative that our students understand those other economic systems. What I do is invite you and invite our students to join the conversation.”

VOTE students

Instructor Amy Cramer observes as high school teacher Bill Craigs provides impassioned debate. (Nick Meyers/Aztec Press)

Share
Tucson streetcars draw crowds

Tucson streetcars draw crowds

By DAVID J. DEL GRANDE

Tucsonans heading to Second Saturdays Downtown on Sept. 13 will likely pack the city’s new streetcar route.

About 6,700 passengers filled the streetcars during the monthly Second Saturdays event on Aug. 9, and approximately 60,000 people hopped aboard July 25-27 during the transit’s system’s free opening weekend.

Sun Link’s 3.9-mile route runs between the University of Arizona, Fourth Avenue, Downtown and the Mercado area just west of Interstate-10. Visit sunlinkstreetcar.com for full details on using the system.

Travis Hall, 38, stood attentive and eager to board the streetcar from a Fourth Avenue platform on opening day July 25.

Hall works downtown, and receives a monthly bus pass from his employer. He considers himself a foodie who depends on the bus system, and has set a goal of eating at every restaurant on Fourth Avenue.

“I can see myself using it at least two or three times a week,” he said.

He thinks the streetcar system will improve accessibility.

“I’ve been downtown on the weekend and it’s hopping,” he said. “So I suppose it would be easy to get from one place to another if somebody was going to bar-hop.”

Pima County voters approved a Regional Transportation Authority plan in May 2006. The special election set in motion a 20-year $2.1 billion RTA plan that included $87.7 million to build a downtown trolley.

The streetcar service mirrors transit systems found in cities such as Portland, Ore. and Tacoma, Wash.

Daniel Matlick, president of the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association, took to a podium set up at the Sixth and Seventh streets stop during one of many ribbon-cutting events held on opening weekend.

Matlick first delivered a warm good morning and a bright grin that matched his crisp yellow dress shirt.

He welcomed the 50-person crowd before making a pointed acknowledgement to business owners, merchants and patrons who endured almost two years of road construction on Fourth Avenue.

“Today we give thanks and show our appreciation for all of you that displayed perseverance, and had enough creativity to sustain your business through adverse conditions,” Matlick said.

He gave a special shout-out to patrons.

“I would like to especially thank all of our Fourth Avenue customers that remained loyal and true to our local businesses, because that is what sustained us,” he added.

Sun Link’s local funding included $75 million from the RTA, $12.6 million from grants and public utilities, $13 million from the Cushing Street Bridge construction, $20 million from a Tucson Certificates of Participation grant and $2.9 million from the Gadsden Company.

But the streetcar became possible after Tucson was approved for a federal Transportation and Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery grant, according to Sun Link.

The federal streetcar budget included $63 million from the TIGER grant, $6 million from a New Starts grant and $4 million from a Federal Transportation Authority grant.

The Sun Link unveiling hub was centered on Congress Street at South Fifth Avenue.

A tall, well-dressed couple rolled their eyes as they walked toward Fourth Avenue, but said their glare of disapproval stemmed from a shared disdain of crowds.

As they continued north past The Book Stop, the pair said they were excited about the streetcar system and plan to use the trolley regularly.

Nowhere to Land, a self-proclaimed shop of kitsch antique treasures at 414 E. Seventh St., posted a special opening-day message on its sandwich board sign: “Clang. Clang. Clang. Went the streetcar. Yay, it’s here.”

Co-owners Anthony Hinckley and Lori Miller opened Nowhere to Land a block from the corner of Seventh Street and Fourth Avenue in November 2012, at the tail-end of major streetcar construction.

Hinckley is grateful that “awesome” local customers help support his shop, but said he relies heavily on out-of-town visitors.

He thinks the streetcar system will bolster tourism.

“Most of our clientele is tourists and I think the streetcar is going to bring much more tourism,” he said. “And if there’s economic growth down here, it’s going to affect the entire city.”

Hinckley said he is realistic about obstacles the Old Pueblo faces.

However, he believes the streetcar system places Tucson among the handful of U.S. cities developing exponentially, which will provide economic viability for future generations.

“I don’t think there’s any point in complaining about it and we’re all in this city together,” he said.

“Adjustment periods are hard for everyone but a change has come. This is a major project but I think it’s going to be a good thing for the city ultimately.”

Streetcar main

Sarah Harris watches Tucson’s modern streetcar travel south on Fourth Avenue toward the final ribbon-cutting stop during the unveiling ceremony held on July 25. (David Del Grande/Aztec Press)

Share
Graduation speaker applies philosophy

Graduation speaker applies philosophy

By NICHOLAS QUIHUIS

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.

Pg01-Grad speaker

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

Share
‘Dead Meat’ premieres May 19-20

‘Dead Meat’ premieres May 19-20

By SEBASTIAN BARAJAS

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.

Pg11-Dead Meat movie

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

 

Share
STOMPING GROUNDS: Titan Missile Museum one of a kind

STOMPING GROUNDS: Titan Missile Museum one of a kind

By MICHAEL ANDERSON

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.

Pg09-Missile Museum 1

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)

Share
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

Share
Romantic love: A neuronic narcotic

Romantic love: A neuronic narcotic

By RACHEL WHITE

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.

Share
Plans not so carefree in the summer of ‘44

Plans not so carefree in the summer of ‘44

By MICHAEL ANDERSON

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)

Share

FROM THE ARCHIVES: World Future Society predicts Tucson issues

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

By SIERRA J. RUSSELL

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.

Share
Tutoring helps college students succeed

Tutoring helps college students succeed

By EBONY STOGLIN

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 care.com.

“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

By NICK MEYERS

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.

Share
Groups work to end sex trafficking

Groups work to end sex trafficking

By LOC TRAN

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

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 info@freeeverafter.org. 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 info@freeeverafter.org.

Share
VENTOLIN PRICE