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DACA: New administration brings uncertainty

DACA: New administration brings uncertainty


Ana, a student at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, came to the United States when she was 2.

She came with her parents and brother, because her parents thought it was the best thing to do for their children.

“It’s not like Mexico had a bad life for us, it’s just there was more opportunity,” Ana said. “Not only economic rights, but education rights for my brother and I.”

Ana, who asked that her last name not be used, works with the UA Immigration Student Resource Center to create a safe environment for those in the same situation.

“I think that it’s crazy, and as dumb as it is, it also strikes fear,” she said. “Not only in yourself but in the family and your community, and it’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

Aztec Press illustration by Katelyn Roberts


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly referred to as DACA, is an executive order signed by President Obama in June 2012.

The policy allows undocumented immigrants who migrated to the United States before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to be eligible for work permits and protection from deportation for two years, with a renewable application.

Students who take advantage of the policy are referred to as Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAMers.

Those who are eligible pay a $495 fee, an increase from $465 as of December 2016. DACA students must also provide fingerprints and other biometrics for an $85 fee and prove they have not had any criminal convictions.

As of September 2016, over 800,000 DACA applicants have been accepted nationally. Nearly 4,000 of those reside in Pima County, according to the Migration Policy Institute.


The DREAMers were fearful before Obama’s executive order in 2012. The order allowed them to step out of the shadows to continue their education and build a better life in the ‘land of opportunity.’

However, former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer began erecting barriers for DACA students as soon as the policy took affect.

Brewer issued a state executive order to deny the DREAMers driver’s licenses they were eligible for in 2012.

In December 2014, U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell overturned Brewer’s order, allowing DREAMers to receive their licenses.

Before that, Proposition 300 was passed in 2006. It made undocumented immigrants ineligible for in-state tuition. Children who had grown up in Arizona most of their lives were now required to pay out-of- state tuition.

Maricopa County Community College District challenged this; allowing in-state tuition to DREAMers. Former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne took the district to superior court. The court ruled in the college’s favor.

As of Jan. 10, current Attorney General Mark Brnovich has begun the appeal process to block DREAMers from receiving in-state tuition once again.

DACA students at PCC currently receive in-state tuition according to PCC’s website.

After a ruling by Federal Judge Arthur Anderson in 2015, all three state universities have been required to offer in-state tuition for these students.

While DACA students pay in-state tuition they are not eligible for any federal aid, including FAFSA.

Know Your Rights flier provided by UA ISRC


Now that Donald Trump is president,uncertainty fills the air for the DREAMers and all undocumented immigrants alike.

In a press conference, Trump said “DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, because you have these incredible kids, in many cases not in all cases.” He also said he will deal with DACA “with heart.”

However, on Feb. 10, DREAMer Daniel Ramirez Medina was arrested in Seattle.

According to the Los Angeles Times, immigration officials say that Ramirez was a “self-admitted gang member” and arrested him for safety reasons.

Ramirez’s attorney disputed that saying he’d never been convicted of a crime and that he was pressed by immigration officers to falsely admit to the accusations.

Protests around Washington State have already begun in solidarity with Ramirez.

Locally, organizations like the University of Arizona’s International Student

Resource Center, are working to protect the rights of DACA students by supplying training to staff.

ISRC also speaks to the Arizona Board of Regents about making the college a sanctuary zone.

ISRC is also working with a Barrett Honors College student to create an app to alert students of where Border Patrol or other officers are seen around the Tucson area.

Advocacy groups like Scholarships A-Z are also helping DACA students, providing them with assistance in finding private scholarships for school and other immigration resources.

Many volunteers for Scholarships A-Z are also DACA students.


Conozca sus derechos folleto proporcionado por UA ISRC

Although the situation is grim, there are helping hands at many institutions, though some are safer than others. That is evident in letters sent out after the proposal to end the DACA program by the Trump administration.

Chancellor Lee Lambert put out a statement Jan. 30, saying, “The College is reviewing action we could take to ensure students and employees feel secure, respected and supported.”

Pima does stand behind their employees; the email also lists links to help, and others to make an informed decision.

Ann Weaver Hart, president of UA, put out a statement, Nov. 24, 2016. With only 70 DACA students, they represent less than one percent of the student population.

“The UA statement publicly stakes out our position on protecting DACA student information,” she said.

“Providing advice and counsel for those students and ensuring any educational aspiration underway at the UA can be successfully completed regardless of events.”

Although the university had good intentions, many DACA students did not think the letter was clear enough on how it would protect them.

“President Hart, who’s president here at the UA, said she would protect DACA students in all her abilities,” Ana said.

“However coming together with other DACA students we thought it was vague, it didn’t really say anything or like actions to protect.”

A student at the UA felt so unsafe that he transferred to Pima.

“One DACA student left UA to transfer to Pima, because there are more opportunities there and it’s a safer environment,” Ana said.

Ex-Pima student can ‘sea’ opportunities

Ex-Pima student can ‘sea’ opportunities



If the late-1980s smash hit “The Little Mermaid” is to be believed, “flapping your fins, you don’t get too far.”

Tell that to former Pima Community College student Emy Higdon.

Higdon holds an associate of applied science in business, with a concentration in marketing. Odette holds court over the dry rivers and lakebeds of the Sonoran Desert.

Who is Odette? That would be Higdon’s part-time alter ego, Mermaid Odette. The character came into being at an intersection of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

Higdon traces Mermaid Odette’s genesis to her childhood.

“As a kid, I was always really creative,” she said. “Super creative, really.”

She needed an outlet, and found a Tucson performance space known for being off the beaten path.

“I volunteered at Valley of the Moon, and that place sparked my imagination to a new level,” she said.

Her first visit planted the idea for adopting a mermaid alter ego.

“I got to help someone make a tail for a show,” she said. “It was just made of a simple, silvery kind of weird fabric, but it just kind of sparked from there.”

She created Mermaid Odette in 2009, and took the character public soon after. Coincidentally, her first performance happened to be at Valley of the Moon.

“It was a screening of a movie,” she said. “I had a little inflatable pool near the witches’ cauldron area and would splash my fin and get on top of the cement wall and flick my tail at the kids and they would smile at me. So after that I was like, ‘yep, I’m hooked.’”

Parties and other events soon followed.

One happy parent, Jenni Sunshine, happily recounts her 8-year-old daughter’s birthday party in an online review.

“She told interesting stories and answered their every question,” Sunshine wrote. “Perhaps even more important is that Mermaid Odette is a delightful woman who I trust to set exactly the right tone with kids.”

Though she loved doing birthday parties, Higdon felt she needed something. She changed her major from veterinary science and began to focus on business.

“A lot of different classes gave me the best foundation,” she said. “Accounting was absolutely perfect.”

Classes at Pima helped “clarify different parts of how you present yourself and what kind of business you’re looking for and your target audience,” she said.

Those lessons helped Higdon grow her business. They also helped with developing Return of the Mermaids, an annual event held in downtown Tucson and along the Fourth Avenue entertainment district.

“I was their head mermaid entertainer for years and I am super thankful for being a part of it,” she said.

The event has grown each year since its inception in 2013.

“I remember the first year, out of nowhere, just some people coming in to see me splash my tail and then going around to other places,” she said. “Every year I see more and more people and it’s so amazing to see all the different costumes.”

And while Higdon continues focusing on business while seeking a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University, Odette will continue offering performances that make people of all ages believe.

“I’ve always had a want to build some sort of character that was unique, fun, interesting,” Higdon said. “The whole point is to give the experience that will make the customer the most happy, that will be the most memorable.”

Emy Higdon continues her business studies, now at Northern Arizona University.
Eddie Celaya/Aztec Press


Pima Community College business graduate Emy Higdon performs as Mermaid Odette while entertaining a young girl at a birthday party.
Photo courtesy of Joelle Higdon

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PCC awaits accreditation ‘focus visit’

PCC awaits accreditation ‘focus visit’

Pima Community College student Ricquel Burnham studies in the cafeteria at Northwest Campus. The Higher Learning Commission will visit all PCC campuses Sept. 26-27

Pima Community College student Ricquel Burnham studies in the cafeteria at Northwest Campus. The Higher Learning Commission will visit all PCC campuses Sept. 26-27


Pima Community College’s long struggle to maintain its accreditation may be coming to an end, according to college officials.

The Higher Learning Commission will make a “focus visit” to all PCC campuses Sept. 26-27. Its governing board will then meet in February 2017 to review Pima’s accreditation status.

The HLC is an accrediting board that evaluates whether institutions of higher learning meet criteria to have their degree programs recognized by other colleges and universities.

PCC Vice Chancellor of Accreditation Bruce Moses said Pima is ready to get out of the figurative doghouse.

“It’s been almost four years now, two on probation, about 16 months on notice,” he said. “The college is ready to get out from under this. It’s time to shed this.”

Moses believes the current semester is PCC’s most important ever.

“I’ve said that it’s the most critical semester, because it is,” he said. “We don’t need students and the public to be worrying about this, we need to get back to even keel.”

Chancellor Lee Lambert concurs.

“The upcoming HLC focus visit is the first step in getting Pima back,” he said. “You can see evidence of that at every campus.”

Identifying initiatives

Moses is a former research analyst and a current peer reviewer for the HLC. His Pima position was created specifically to help deal with implementation of data tracking systems.

PCC has responded to HLC concerns by identifying areas of deficiency and implementing various information systems.

Moses and his team developed 26 initiatives within 11 areas of concern highlighted by the HLC. From there, they grouped the initiatives into four categories. By last fall, about 40 percent of the initiatives identified had been completed.

All identified initiatives have been addressed, according to Moses.

“To date, based on the report we submitted, we’ve addressed all of them,” he said. “The HLC will say, ‘how much evidence can you produce?’ to try and prove that.”

Humanities instructor Michael Parker, who served as lead writer for Pima’s compliance report to the HLC, echoed Moses’ remarks.

“Pretty much everything has been done to improve towards those standards,” he said. “I know sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.”

Mario Gonzales, chairman for the Tucson-based Coalition for Accountability, Integrity, Respect and Responsibility, said his organization sees things differently.

“As far as C-FAIRR is concerned, there are quite a few areas of concern that definitely need improvement,” he said.

Gonzalez calls C-FAIRR a community-centered watchdog group made up of “mostly retirees and locals.”

The group’s areas of concern include “a continued culture of silence” and diversity issues within Pima’s hiring process.

“We understand the spin that has to go on at the college,” Gonzales said. “It’s not as rosy as the administration wants people to believe.”

The beginning of sanctions

Pima has been in the HLC’s crosshairs since late 2012.

After voicing concerns about the leadership of then-Chancellor Roy Flores, C-FAIRR filed a complaint with the HLC.

CFAIRR’s initial complaints centered on actions by Flores and on concerns about a move away from open enrollment.

An ensuing HLC investigation found unaddressed sexual harassment allegations against Flores, a work environment based on intimidation and policies that conflicted with the purpose of the college.

HLC investigators listed 11 major areas of concern, ranging from the tracking of student learning outcomes to a “culture of fear.”

The findings set off a chain of events that eventually lead to the HLC placing the college on probation. The probation period was lifted in February 2015, and since that time PCC has been on “notice.”

Mark Hanna, chair of PCC’s Board of Governors, said the era of sanctions has deterred new students from enrolling.

“There are many factors involved in our enrollment drop; the specter of uncertainty in terms of accreditation has played a part,” Hanna said. “Once that is completely removed … confidence will be restored and that will have a positive effect.”

Board of Governors fears have been soothed, according to Hanna.

“Based on the reports that have been presented to us and our own personal observations of the work being done by our great faculty and staff, we are optimistic about the upcoming visit from the HLC,” he said.

Addressing key issues

The HLC will require evidence documenting the success of newly implemented programs, according to a letter sent to the college in March 2015.

The letter, which informed the college that it would be moved off probation and put on notice, also listed what PCC must do to reach full compliance with HLC accreditation guidelines.

Actions focus on collecting “evidence of the effectiveness of newly adopted policies, processes and procedures.”

Some systems were easy to implement but it will take time to prove their effectiveness, Moses said. He cited Pima’s new Strategic Student Enrollment Plan as an example.

“The SSEP was something the HLC just told us to implement,” he said. “They didn’t ask us to prove that it was effective, because they realize the difficulty of implementing a plan of this magnitude in one year. It’s going to take time before we realize how effective it is.”

Parker agrees. “Look at the letter the HLC sent us,” he said. “They say, ‘It looks like you’ve put the things in place that are needed to remedy this, but not enough time has elapsed to test their effectiveness.’”

Other systems will prove more difficult, for implementation and data collection.

For instance, the HLC requested “evidence of the effectiveness of the assessment process for making changes to the teaching and learning process based on learning outcomes, including documentation of the completion of assessment cycles in all programs.”

That takes time, Moses said.

“Typically you want to collect longitudinal data which is three years or more, to determine whether a system is effective or not,” he said. “Some of the programs we’ve instituted for just a semester or two. But the HLC understands our timeline.”

Fostering culture change

Pima’s initiatives are part of a larger change, according to Moses.

In past years, he said, the college “would put something in place, and it would die out after a year or so. It wouldn’t be sustained.”

And now?

“There is a strong, conscious effort where we put systems and processes in and we are evaluating them constantly,” he said.

From C-FAIRR’s perspective, that’s just not the case.

“We don’t believe the college’s culture has changed,” Gonzales said. “They still operate under a cloak of secrecy. We don’t believe they are better than when they were placed on probation.”

Focus visit outcomes

Pima’s change in culture, or lack thereof, will be on display and put to the test during the upcoming HLC focus visit.

The visit will bring one of three possible outcomes.

The first is being removed from “notice” completely.

The second would see the college removed from notice but continue to provide the HLC with reports on deficient areas.

The third, least desirable outcome is a “show-cause” finding by the HLC.

Show-cause would essentially give Pima a year to justify why it should keep its accreditation.

The third option won’t happen, Moses said.

“I’m confident we’ll be taken off notice,” he said. “Now, will we have to report to the HLC on some things? Probably. But show-cause? No.”

Chancellor Lambert also expressed confidence.

“I am very optimistic we will come off ‘notice,’” he said. “I am very confident we are moving in the right direction as an institution.”

The Board of Governors thinks so as well, according to Hanna.

“We also are confident that the HLC will indeed remove our ‘notice’ status when their board convenes in February to review our case,” Hanna said.

Continued progress

While all parties connected to the college expressed confidence in PCC’s ability to finally rid itself of the specter of sanctions, Moses stressed that continued progress is especially important.

“It’s real important that the HLC sees progress all the way through this semester, because the decision will be based on data derived all the way up until then,” he said.

Though PCC has come a long way, Hanna said, there will still be oversight of some kind.

“There is no doubt that we will have to strictly monitor and report on the issues they have pointed out to us in their reports, as well as plenty of other challenges our college faces in terms of continuous improvement,” he said.

Students, make your voice heard

Students, make your voice heard


For those who may have been out of the loop, Pima Community College has experienced a series of tribulations for the past several years but things are beginning to turn around.

Problems persisted leading up to the resignation of Pima’s former chancellor, Roy Flores, in 2012. That event served as an impetus for the college’s current situation.

PCC’s accrediting organization, the Higher Learning Commission, placed Pima on probation in 2013 after an audit. The move placed the college at potential risk of shutting down.

The entire college community rallied around a goal of getting Pima off probation. Earlier this year, we succeeded.

But the story isn’t over. The college has lots of work ahead of it, and Pima can’t do it alone.

On March 27, hundreds of college employees met to discuss Pima’s focus for the next several years in an unprecedented “Conversation with the Chancellor.” There was one undeniable necessity: students.

PCC needs help and not just any help, your help. Students, I’m talking to you.

It is time for the largest population at Pima to speak up and get involved.

The administration is already putting in motion ways for students to share their perspectives and ideas on the many decisions the college faces in the near future.

Five students spoke during the “Conversation” event to express concerns felt by students at every campus.

Last semester, students formed the LaPima club to aggressively advocate to local officials for policies that will benefit PCC. On March 23, the Advocates for PCC club met with Tucson City Council members to discuss the state’s $6 million cut from Pima’s budget.

The Aztec Press has covered many issues this semester, from delays for student veteran benefits to a pervasive lack of transparency in providing public documents to the questionable handling of work-study finances. We hope our coverage ignites change.

There are many ways that you can also institute change, whether you’re taking three credits or 20.

Sign up for student government or the Advocates for PCC group. Stop by your campus’s Student Life office and ask about upcoming opportunities.

Talk to your advisers and instructors, and ask how you can get involved. And, of course, read the paper.

Not only do we owe it to the college for the opportunities it has provided us, but we owe it to ourselves.

We all have the ability, right now, to influence the still-foggy future of this institution.

Many of us are grateful for the role Pima has played in our lives. Now it’s our turn to have a role in Pima’s life.

WAITING TO EXHALE! Some student desks a tight fit

WAITING TO EXHALE! Some student desks a tight fit


Returning to school late in life was a monumental move for me. I actually drove to my first class the night before and turned on the lights because I wanted a feel for the room. I planned to pick my desk, then arrive about 30 minutes early the next morning to make sure it was available.

When I was in school 30 years ago, I had a young man’s 29-inch waist. Over the years, my waist size has increased. I was never more reminded of that when I walked into the classroom to discover those wretched, unforgiving desk/chair combinations from middle school. Even back then I found them dysfunctional.

Those kiddie desks are great for classrooms because you can fit a ton of them in the room, and the chairs remain with the desks.

However, this poses a problem for more than just the token fat girl or guy. There are many body types that do not fare well in these metal death grips.

It’s hard to get into some of these desks comfortably. Yes, I know life would be easier if I lost 10 or 50 pounds. I’m working on it, OK?

However there are 18-years-olds who look obviously uncomfortable when they must squeeze into these made-for children-desks. Their breathing is restricted and half of them are hanging off the seat.

Missed opportunities

This is truer for older students like myself who return back to school later. Our bodies generally aren’t as small as they used to be.

You may be aware that enrollment numbers at Pima Community College continue on a downward trend. A tremendous opportunity exists to reverse the trend by marketing the benefits of a community college education to both young and older potential students.

Many students desire to springboard their education from a two-year to a four-year college. But a large demographic exists that wants to learn a new trade or skill, or simply improve their knowledge and expand their horizons.

Older students represent a very marketable group to help fill the empty desks that exist in many of our classrooms. But, they must be able to fit in those desks.

Students asked to comment

Many of the desks throughout all of our campuses are either too small, or made for a right or left-handed student. Some are only accessible on one side, but most have a small kidney shaped desk.

If you’re more than 10 to 20 pounds overweight, take a deep breath and push yourself in. Smile and try to look pretty. You may exhale after class.

I’m sure these desks were state-of-the-art a long, long time ago in a time called the ‘80s in a variety of elementary and middle schools. But by today’s standards and average waist size, they’re a bit out of touch with function.

Recently, PCC’s administration asked students to comment on and pick their favorite desk among a varied selection. There were clear favorites.

Some of the choices didn’t adequately accommodate the basic function of a student — room to sit and put a book or notepad on a flat surface to take notes and study. Others were more fashionable than functional.

Some seemed like over-the-counter, snap-together quality whose longevity and quality could be questionable.

The top two winners were sleek and functional. They were both a table-styled desk rather than a traditional student desk.

The model “F” gave two students space to sit next to each other thus allowing ample space for a laptop, book and notepad. Additionally, you could rest both elbows, lean into it and relax during lectures.

Model “E” allowed the same advantages, but was a table sized for one individual student.

These table/desks are ideal for adult students of any size or frame because there is no restriction between your free-standing table and the disconnected chair.

Why do chairs cost $1,300 each?

Campus Director of Administrative Services Andrew Plucker, who also holds the title, “Support Coordinator, President’s Office,” said the state has granted the Downtown Campus  $129,000 to purchase student desks and chairs.

The following is a paraphrase of my discussion with Plucker:

“How much do the desks cost, so we can figure out how many can be purchased?”

“$1,300,” Plucker responded.



“Per desk?”


“You are kidding me, right?”


“Why do they cost so much?”

“They are rugged and built to last — they come with a lifetime warranty,” Plucker said. “They need to be really well built in order to outlast the rough treatment they get from the students. In fact, there is a whole warehouse full of broken desks and chairs that are not useable.”

Perhaps Plucker shouldn’t have mentioned that.

“I thought they came with a lifetime warranty.”

“They do,” Plucker responded.

“Then why do we have two warehouses filled with broken desks? Why don’t their lifetime warranties fix them?”

“The manufacturers don’t make the parts anymore and no one wants to deal with it after 10-15 years.”

“Then why are we paying exorbitant fees for a lifetime warranty at the time of the original purchase if no one is redeeming them?” I asked.

“My coffee maker came with a lifetime warranty. When it stopped working after six years, the company claimed they no longer made that particular model but they still exchanged it for the latest one they made in its class,” I added. “Someone needs to toughen up and step up to the plate and insist on getting these desks fixed, or negotiate lower prices and warranties that are honored.”

“The state has a department that does that,” Plucker explained. “They negotiate the best price so administrators don’t have to.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “Really? Show me a state employee that’s negotiating the best prices for this campus and I’ll show you a state employee that’s getting taken out to lunch far too much. We’re paying medical equipment fees here, not fair prices for student desks.”

Find a negotiator

The conversation highlights a pressing need for the college to find a good negotiator for furniture and supplies.

Unfortunately, our campus administrators are overworked and underappreciated. They just recently were able to take their own deep breath after an exhausting audit and academic probation period.

Some administrators, like Dean of Students Pat Houston at the Downtown Campus, have been asked to wear two hats during this transitional time.

It’s clear Pima administrators do not have time to negotiate prices when the state has its own department that is supposed to provide that very service for us.

So, who up north is not doing their job? Why are we getting charged these outrageous prices?

It kind of reminds me of the $100 bolts and $500 hammers purchased by the Department of Defense a few years back.

If we have any hope of increasing the enrollment at our college, we need to make sure that there are functional desks.

We also need to make sure there are enough desks to accommodate all students in a way that encourages lifelong learning in comfort and efficiency. Students come in all shapes and sizes.

There needs to be a thoughtful discussion about the type and size of desks required, and then an aggressive negotiation for the best unit price. We cannot afford $120K for barely three classrooms of desks.

How does $300 sound?

I took it upon myself to go online and found $300 desks almost identical to the two student-sized desk that was clearly the winner in our recent student poll. The quote came from the professional division of Office Max.

In minutes, a sales department head returned my call. The company was eager to work with me, and offered a lifetime warranty.

The Internet is an amazing tool for price match or cost comparison.

Pg07-Desk chairs illustration

Travel promotes learning

Travel promotes learning


We tend to get caught up in a world encompassed by cellphone screens, directing all of our attention toward the latest social media drama.

If we took a moment to look around, we would realize there’s so much to see and experience in life beyond what’s in front of us.

Traveling is the most beneficial way to spend your time and money. With so many different places in the world, I constantly wonder why more people don’t travel.

Not only do you get to experience different cultures, lifestyles and ways of life, you get a chance to step beyond the bright screens of technology and into an adventure far more exhilarating than any Tweet.

There is something so incredibly breathtaking and majestic about being immersed in a place where nothing is familiar. With every blink of the eye, something new presents itself.

I firmly believe that traveling can only benefit your life in an utmost and positive way. It gives you the chance to gain a new and positive perspective on life, all while recharging your batteries.

If more people took time to travel beyond their familiarities, life would be a less stressful place filled with peace, knowledge and understanding of others. Even the briefest moment spent in someone else’s shoes can truly open your eyes to a lifetime of experiences.

TLC’s popular ‘90s song said, “Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and streams that you’re used to.”

I think you should chase those waterfalls. Go beyond the rivers and streams of your life. If you keep your feet in one place forever, you’ll never truly experience the many wonders life has to offer.

Anyone who knows me realizes I’ve never been good at keeping my feet on the ground. When I look around, I can’t help but think about the endless possibilities of places that need to be seen.

I crave what I don’t know and what I haven’t seen, and have an unshakable desire to be introduced to people I have never met.

For me, traveling is the key to opening these kinds of doors and I will always chase the waterfalls of my life. There are far too many mountains that need to be climbed, oceans that need to be swam in and unpaved roads that need footprints.

Traveling is my drug.

Given the chance, I would never think twice about overdosing.

Knutzen hopes everyone gets a chance to travel to all corners of the world, without a thought or worry about anything other than what’s around them.

Students in the News

Students in the News

Scholars earn national recognition

Three Pima Community College students have been selected to the 2014 national Coca-Cola community college academic teams for Phi Theta Kappa Society.

Eric Humphrey, a pre-medicine major, and Pamela Contreras, an international business management and marketing major, were selected as silver scholars. They will each receive a $1,250 scholarship and a silver medallion.

April May Ramey, a paralegal studies major, was selected as a bronze scholar. She will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a bronze medallion.

The three were among 12 PCC students earning Phi Theta Kappa All-Arizona Academic team honors, which are based on leadership, service to the community and academic achievement.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society is the largest college-level honor society, with 1,250 chapters in all 50 states and other countries. Pima’s Alpha Beta Chi chapter is one of the largest PTK chapters in the Arizona region. Miranda Schubert is lead adviser.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Program honors 150 scholars every year. They will be recognized on April 25 during Phi Theta Kappa’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla.




Two receive math scholarship

Two Pima Community College students have been awarded the 2014 Art Alberding Math Scholar Award. The winners, Hoang Le and Phillip Showers, both attend PCC’s East Campus.

Le is a math and chemistry tutor and hopes to become a mechanical engineer. “I help other students move from the fear zone, scared of math to love learning math,” Le said.

Showers tutors math, chemistry, physics and writing. He plans on earning a bachelor of science degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Arizona.

“I want to innovate and change our current standards for consumer electronics,” Showers said.

The Alberding award, presented annually to qualifying Pima students, is named after a founding member of the college’s math faculty, Art Alberding.

Alongside donations through the PCC Foundation, the scholarships are funded with proceeds from the annual Alberding Amble 5K and one-mile Fun Run/Walk. This year’s event was held April 12.

“We are really proud of Phillip and Hoang, two exceptional students who are dedicated to using their talents to help others,” mathematics department chair Kirk Mehtlan said in a press release.

Pima's MyCareerLink helps Students Find Work

Pima’s MyCareerLink helps Students Find Work

New Pima site links students to employers




Pima Community College students and recent alumni have a new resource to help them compete in the job market.


MyCareerLink is a way to organize documents such as résumés and cover letters.


Students can also learn about internships, jobs and volunteer opportunities in areas that interest them. The link connects students with employers online.


The free site has other tools as well, such as salary calculators.


To access MyCareerLink, students first log on to MyPima via the website. They next go to the Student Resources tab, then click on “MyCareerLink.” Students can create an individual account and enter their personalized information.


“Over 160 employers are already looking for Pima College students,” PCC Program Manager Michele Betzen said. “Since the beginning of the summer when MyCareerLink started, there have been over 270 different job openings listed.”


Listings range from application developer to X-ray technician.  Most of the jobs are located within Tucson or Arizona.


Students follow a series of steps when creating an account. They can upload documents such as résumés, artwork or assignment papers.


When students submit their résumé, they receive feedback from Pima’s program services office if it needs revision. The goal is to help students create better résumés, and therefore have a better chance of getting a job.


Once a student’s first résumé is approved, the site allows the student to edit documents as needed.


Employers have their own access to the site to upload job information. Students can view each employer’s profile and listings.


“Employers are very happy to have an online system,” Betzen said.


Employers can find more information about MyCareerLink at PCC’s Student Recruitment and Internships webpage,



Compiled by Thomas F. Johnson



Percent of college students who admit to cheating. **



Percent of college students who say cheating is necessary to get ahead. **



Percent of college students who don’t think cheaters will be caught. **



Percent of cheaters who don’t get caught. *



Percent of college students who don’t regret cheating. *



Average GPAs of students who admit to cheating. *



Average GPAs of students who do not admit to cheating. *



Percent of high school students who see no moral issues with cheating. **



Percent of Americans who consider academic cheating a serious issue. **



Percent of college officials who consider cheating a serious issue. **



Average hits a day for the top paper mill site,*