Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy #EarthDay Sustainable Super Heroes!

Poster featuring illustrated image of earth and Rio Salado mascot splash dressed as a super hero.  Text: Earth Day, Save the Planet April 22

We are committed to our Sustainability Pledge, which we adopted as a college core value. It’s not just a matter of teaching others how to be sustainable-- we strive to be a leader in environmental responsibility by incorporating earth-friendly practices throughout our daily operations.

We hope you will join us in this effort by championing Earth Day every day!

Change the World as a Sustainability Super Hero!

Poster featuring a young man working in a garden.  Text: Be the You the World Needs Now.

Ready to start your eco-friendly education? Learn more about Rio Salado’s sustainability programs now.  Be sure to ask about scholarship opportunities to help you get started!

Our program is designed for people who have a passion for food, fair trade and sustainable practices that protect our environment. You can earn a certificate or degree-- and gain real experience with industry experts.

Rio Salado Hosts Insurance/Risk Management Career Night

Photo of panelists at Insurance/Risk Management Career Night
Left to right: Dana Schmidt, Catherine Gleason, Sherry McFadden, Jazmyn Miller

On April 16, the Rio Salado College Insurance Studies program and Arizona Christian University welcomed students, industry professionals, and community members to an Insurance/Risk Management Career Night to learn more about this thriving industry. 

The event featured time to network with hiring employers and a diverse lineup of speakers including:
  • Dr. Edward A Clavell, Associate Professor of Leadership and Pastoral Theology at Arizona Christian University
  • Dr. Lily Davidov, Insurance Studies Faculty Chair at Rio Salado College
  • Chris Behymer, Insurance Studies Faculty at Rio Salado College
  • Chris Nero, Ottawa University and Rio Salado College Student
  • Cindy Angelini, Apprenticeship Manager at The Hartford
  • John Walters, Senior Branch Manager at Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Lamont Boyd, CPCU and Insurance Market Director
  • Sherry McFadden, Director of Custom Care (Sales) Center at State Farm
  • Jazymn Miller, Lead Sales Representative at Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Dana Schmidt, Human Resources Business Consultant at Nationwide
  • Catherine Gleason, Team Leader at The Hartford

John Walters shares his insights at Insurance/Risk Management Career NightThe focus of the event was on the diverse career opportunities available in the insurance industry.
“The insurance industry is one of the most welcoming and holistic industries,” said John Walters, Senior Branch Manager at Liberty Mutual Insurance. “We have a spot for every one of you.”

Lamont Boyd shares insights with attendees at Insurance/Risk Management Career NightLamont Boyd, facilitator for the panel discussion, expanded on this idea:
“Study what you feel comfortable with, what you are good at, and make sure and be able to communicate, problem solve, and work in groups, and there will be an opportunity for you in the insurance industry.”

Attendees left the event with a much better understanding of the industry and the kinds of opportunities that await them.
One student shared, “My biggest takeaway was that the insurance industry is actually an amazing industry for any student looking to build a long-term full-time career. It completely broke the stereotype that I had about insurance agents being just sales people, and it is amazing how insurance keeps the world running and helps people achieve dreams.”
To learn more about the Insurance Studies program and how you can start your insurance career, please visit

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Meet Rio Salado’s 2019 All-AZ Honorees

Left to right: John Bastian, Kate Smith, Macyn Bradley, Karen Bradley, Andrea Martinez,
Melanie Abts, Rachelle Clarke and Vincent Martinez.


Each year, participating Arizona colleges nominate two students for the All-AZ Academic Team. The honor includes tuition to one of Arizona’s three state universities and a cash scholarship. Students are chosen for demonstrating academic excellence and leadership and service to the community.

Rio Salado’s 2019 All-AZ honorees are Karen Bradley and Andrea Martinez.

Bradley with Rio Salado
Interim President Kate Smith
Karen Bradley
At one point in her life, Karen Bradley was belittled for not having a college degree. Today she is a champion for early childhood education, advocate for at-risk women and children, single mother to six children, caregiver to her mother and a Rio Salado College honor student.

“Going to college at this stage in my life was a hard decision, both emotionally and financially,” said Bradley. “Receiving the All-Arizona Academic Team scholarship made me realize that I made the right decision. It also bolstered my confidence and helped me realize that earning a college degree is a goal I can achieve.”

With a passion for helping those in need, Bradley decided to pursue an associate degree in family life education at Rio Salado College.

“Because I enrolled at Rio Salado, I had the opportunity to complete my studies online while continuing my community and volunteer activities,” Bradley said. “To be able to take what I was learning and immediately put it into practice was a wonderful opportunity.”

Those efforts include founding The House of Timothy, a non-profit organization that supports pregnant women and new parents with the education and skills they need to create strong family environments.

She also leads “Mom and Me” classes at the Compassion Care Center, and volunteers with the New Mercies Pregnancy Center, both in San Tan Valley.

“As a former foster parent, I saw a tremendous need to educate parents and provide them with education, resources and crisis prevention,” Bradley said. “All too often I saw children removed from their homes because parents were never given these tools.”

In recognition of her extensive volunteer work, leadership and outreach awareness, Bradley was named 2018 Pinal Champion for Young Children by First Things First.

Her educational accolades include being named to the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Bradley has already started taking classes at Northern Arizona University to earn a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration.

“My goal is to become a family life educator and to ultimately manage a family resource center, a place where parents can find support, education and the resources to grow healthy families.”

Andrea Martinez
As a self-described “student of the world,” Andrea Martinez has a diverse background.

She lived in Sweden to study its culture and language. She learned about the stock market while working at an investment firm. She deepened her compassion for humanity while working for an international health non-profit. And she grew curious about how laws are passed while working at a governmental organization.

The one thing missing in her career? A college degree.

“I wanted to expand my education so that I can make a difference in the quality of life for our Arizona communities,” Martinez said. “This knowledge will open more doors for my professional growth and opportunities in public policy.”

Career growth is one reason Martinez decided to earn a college degree. The other is her parents.

“I look at my parents as the most influential people in my life,” said Martinez, who was the sixth of seven children. “My father was a veteran who worked at a job for 25 years that offered no advancement, and my mother maintained our home and didn’t attend college.”

“Having survived WWII, my parents were very practical and humble,” Martinez continued. “At age 61, my mother returned to the workforce as a retail clerk, to later retire at 74 as a university dean’s assistant.”

“No longer do I frame their life together as uninspired,” Martinez said. “Rather, it is a legacy, a tribute to loyalty and self-sacrifice. Finishing my degree is my goal and the legacy I wish to leave to my own two daughters.”

A successful Rio Salado College student, Martinez earned a certificate and associate degree in public administration (2014-16) before returning for her associate degree in general studies.

As a member of the college’s PTK chapter, Martinez participated in many activities including Healing Arts Day, and Free Arts for Abused Children Arizona. She also volunteered for the Be A Leader Foundation and gave her time to a local high school senior girls’ leadership program.

“As an enthusiastic advocate for others, it brings me great satisfaction to help individuals see their worth and value as it unfolds,” Martinez said.

She plans to transfer to Northern Arizona University’s online program to earn a bachelor’s degree in humanities and hopes to one day work at the state level as an executive assistant in public policy. 

Photo of Karen and Andrea at awards ceremony

Congratulations Karen and Andrea!

Contributed by Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator.

Spring GED Test Prep & ESL Classes

Poster featuring a woman smiling at camera.  Quote: “I started my new life at Rio Salado College. They gave me the opportunity to grow. So now I have strong roots and all the tools I need to succeed.” - Maria Gomes.  Text: English Language and GED Test Prep Classes.  Enroll Now.  Register for June 10 GED Test Prep classes by May 29 deadline!

Ready to go back to school? We’re ready for you! 

Our adult re-entry programs are designed to help students learn the English language, prepare for GED® tests and transition to college.

Get started now:

Flier for Rio Salado GED TEST Preparation In-Person Classes.  Text in blog.  Additional details at  Image of Rio HSE student speaker Heather Lyn Ashman. Quote: “Returning to school was a stepping stone on a path to becoming the person I always was, but needed to prove to myself to be.”
The next set of GED test prep classes begin June 10. Apply by May 29 to get started. Call 480-517-8110, email or visit

Rio Salado College serves as the principal provider of GED test preparation programs for the Maricopa Community Colleges and the largest provider of adult basic education in the state of Arizona.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Opioid Crisis & Substance Abuse Dialogue April 26

Poster for event.  Photo of a highway leading into horizon.  "Recovery" is spelled out on roadway.  Text: Rio Salado College A Maricopa Community College Opioid Crisis and Substance Abuse Dialogue, April 26, 2019, 12-1 p.m.

Has your family, friends or community been touched by the opioid epidemic? Join Rio Salado College for a discussion about our country’s substance abuse and addiction public health crisis-- and how it’s impacting our communities, Friday, April 26 at the Rio Salado Tempe headquarters.

Rio Salado’s Faculty Chair of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders program Kirk Bowden, who is a leading authority on the subject, will be joined by Rio Salado Faculty Chair for Counseling Melanie Abts and Counseling Adjunct Faculty Gary Zarchy to lead the discussion and field questions from guests.

Opioid Crisis & Substance Abuse Dialogue
Rio Salado Tempe Headquarters, Room 515
2323 W. 14th St.
Tempe, AZ 85281
April 26, 2019
12-1 p.m.

Event questions, please contact, 480-517-8575.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people die after overdosing on opioids every day in the United States. Learn how we got here and what tools are available to help make recovery possible.

Poster with a woman's eyes staring into camera.  Text: Rio Salado College, Help Make Recovery Possible.

Rio Salado is one of Arizona’s top educators of addictions counseling professionals, offering online classes, certificates and an associate degree in Addictions and Substance Use Disorders. Visit to learn more.