Monday, February 22, 2010

Two Named to All-Arizona Academic Team

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College PR Manager

Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Rio Salado College students Katherine Robinson, of Tempe, and Amber Jensen, of Phoenix, are two people who work hard in the classroom, and, due to their strong work ethics, have earned the opportunity of a lifetime.

On Thursday, Robinson and Jensen were named to the All-Arizona Academic Team during an awards celebration at Mesa Community College.

“We are honored to have these two students represent Rio Salado College,” said Rio Salado Interim President Chris Bustamante. “They are outstanding students who have shown a passionate commitment for education and their community.”

Robinson was named to the first-team, and was awarded a cash prize of $1,000 and a full two-year renewable scholarship at one of Arizona’s three state universities.
Robinson earned her spot on the first team by maintaining a 3.93 grade-point average (GPA), earning 57 credits, and participating in a variety of college and community activities. Her activities include: Vice President of Leadership for the Alpha Theta Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa; editor and writer for The Alpha Theta Omicron Alpha Bits; student coordinator of a Beautification and Community Garden Program; and a victim response member for Pandora’s Project.

As a member of the first team, she also is a candidate for the All-USA team, which will be announced in April. If named to the team, Robinson could win an additional $2,500 and be featured in the USA Today newspaper.

Jensen was named to the second team and received a $750 cash prize and a full two-year renewable scholarship at one of Arizona’s three state universities.

Jensen, who plans to transfer to Northern Arizona University, earned her spot on the team by maintaining a 3.8 GPA, earning 127 credits, and being active at Rio Salado and in the community. She used the skills she has been learning at Rio Salado’s School of Dental Hygiene by volunteering as a hygienist at the Central Arizona Shelter Services, the Dave Pratt Boys and Girls Club, and at the Give Kids a Smile for elementary school students. She also served as a member of the AmeriCorps Project Ayuda where she provided dental hygiene care for special needs patients.

“I am privileged to volunteer my services as a dental hygiene student at the Central Arizona Shelter Services clinic for the homeless,” said Jensen. “Not only am I able to practice technical skills I have learned, but I recognize the impact I can have on someone’s life through my education.”

The All-Arizona Academic Team scholarships are offered every year to two students from each of the state’s community colleges. To qualify, students must have earned a high grade point average and many credits in different academic disciplines at Rio Salado College, be working toward an associate degree, and be an active participant in service learning activities such as block watch participation, charity organizations, political organizations, religious groups and other community groups.

For more information about scholarship opportunities at Rio Salado College, please visit

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Adults may not be able to get their GED's due to budget cuts

Channel 3's Carina Sonn recetly talked to students, teachers and administrators at Rio Salado College's Orangewood Learning Center about proposed budget cuts that could lead to GED classes being elimintaed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kishia Brock Named New Interim Vice President

Kishia Brock, Dean of Student Services, will serve as the Interim Vice President of Student Services, reporting directly to Interim President Chris Bustamante. Brock’s leadership in the development and oversight of major Student Services programs has greatly increased access and student success as Rio’s headcount has surged during the past decade.

In her interim assignment, Brock will join the Executive Council and will plan, organize and direct the Student Services division to include the areas of Institutional Advancement (Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Web, Copy Center, Outreach and Recruitment), and Student Enrollment and Success Services (Admissions, Records, Registration, Advisement, Career Counseling, International Education, Testing and Assessment, Military Advisement and Outreach, Financial Aid, Veterans Affairs, Disability Resources and Services, and the ACE Puente Program).

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rio, KEZ Award Laveen Teacher

On Wednesday, KEZ's Marty Manning and Rio Salado College's David Staudacher surprised Laveen Elementary School teacher Jonathon Clauss with February's Excellence in Education Award.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Appraiser Brings Real-World Experiences to Class

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College

“Art always reflects the period of the artist and society,” said Allison Gee, an adjunct faculty member at Rio Salado College. “Art shows quite a bit of who we are and where we have been. It shows laws, values, and culture.”

Gee’s knowledge of art reaches beyond the classroom. When she is not teaching, she is running her business, Appraisals By Allison. The business is a full-service nationwide fine art appraisal firm based in the Valley, and specializes in the appraisal of American and European paintings, sculptures and works on paper. As a professional appraiser, Gee has had the privilege to evaluate an original painting by Picasso, a sculpture by Robert Indiana, and prints by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Marc Chagall. It is this type of unique experiences she brings to students in her art history and humanities classes at Tempe-based Rio Salado.

“As a professional appraiser, I have to keep up with the art world,” said Gee. “Adding my work to the classroom, allows me to bring real-world experiences to my classes. This is something I like to share with all of my students, especially Valley students who can go to local gallery openings.”

Keeping herself and students up to date with art movements has kept the teacher busy. Gee is active in the Phoenix-Metro Chapter of the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), and was elected to serve as an officer of the local chapter, which included a stint as the group’s president. She is involved in the local arts community and is a member of the Phoenix Art Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, West Valley Art Museum, and a member of the Steering Committee of the Inaugural Quest for Art of the West Valley Arts Council.

Outside of Arizona, Gee has studied art and conducted research at many of the world’s finest museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Casa Buonarroti in Florence, Italy.

She also works throughout Arizona and in neighboring states, but said that it is teaching classes online that has taken her to more places around the world.

“I’ve worked in Texas, California and New Mexico, and my students are all over the world,” said Gee. “I’ve had students contact me from Paris, Milan, and often teach military students stationed in the Middle East. It’s one of the things that make teaching online interesting. Students in different parts of the state, country or world have access to different works of art.”

According to Gee, who holds a lifetime teaching certificate in Art History from the Arizona Community College system, she often suggests places for students to see original works based on where they are located in the world. She also has had experience with students writing about artists she has appraised.

“There have been times when a student has written a paper about an artist, and during the same week or even the same day I was holding an original piece by that particular artist,” said Gee. “It’s moments like this that I feel like I am bringing more to classes.”

To learn more about Rio Salado College, please visit
More information about Allison Gee can be found at

Monday, February 1, 2010

Board Agrees to Buy West Phoenix Building, Land

The Governing Board approved a plan for the District to spend $1.15 million, plus closing costs, to purchase property at 3631 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix. The facility is about 23,500 square feet and sits on 2.3 acres. The property also includes a second piece of plan that contains a parking lot.

The Governing Board in 2008 had approved an agreement with the Isaac School District #5 for Rio Salado College to build and operate a 12,000 square foot Adult Learning Center. Purchase of the Thomas Road property, which is in the same general area, gives the college nearly twice the space at a much lower cost. The college will operate Adult Basic Education, GED, English Language Acquisition for Adults, general and developmental education, workforce education and training, academic assessment for prospectus students, advising, testing and tutoring services.