Thursday, May 30, 2013

RSC President Chris Bustamante On Today's Campus

Rio Salado College President Dr. Chris Bustamante talks to Ryan Busch, publisher of Today's Campus Magazine about balancing costs, innovation, leadership and the future of higher education.

Ryan Busch, Publisher of Today's Campus Magazine, Interviews Chris Bustamante, President of Rio Salado Community College from Today's Campus Magazine on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Last Day to Declare a 2012-13 MAPP is May 31

Lock in this year's ASU tuition rate.

Students planning to transfer to Arizona State University after completing their Rio Salado College degree may wish to declare their intention this week to lock in significant tuition savings later.

The Maricopa-ASU Partnership Program (MAPP) gives students up to three years to complete an Associate Degree at a Maricopa County Community College and two more years to earn a Bachelor's Degree from ASU.

Participants are guaranteed admission to the ASU college or program offering the degree, and their tuition is based on the rate in effect at the time they signed up for the MAPP.

For example, a student planning to obtain a Bachelor's degree in a business field could start a related MAPP now, take up to three years to complete the Associate in Business degree, and enter the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU as late as spring 2016. Their tuition would be calculated based on ASU's 2013 rate.

MAPP participants also benefit from clear, consistent academic advising at both institutions. The Rio advisors are knowledgable about our degree requirements and how those credits transfer to the corresponding program at ASU. Students can also start working with ASU advisors in advance of transferring.

To sign up for a 2012-13 MAPP, students must complete the Student Acknowlegement Form and turn it into the Rio Salado Advisement Office by this Friday, May 31. They may do so in person at 2323 W. 14th Street in Tempe, by fax at 480.377.4899 or by email at

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Successful Student Credits Family, Military Training

During his 6-year enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps, Cody Critzer learned tenacity and perseverance. He learned to trust in his own ability and to rely on his support team when needed. When Critzer decided to go back to college, his military service provided more than just GI Bill® funds.

“Being a Marine gave me the mental tools needed to push through adversity and complete my mission,” Critzer said. “The most important thing I took away from the Marine Corp was to never take on a big task alone. Work smarter not harder.”

Critzer said the military taught him to analyze a situation and find the resources needed to overcome any problem.

“In the Marine Corp we are taught to constantly analyze the situation, resources, dangers, and support teams available as we progress through a mission,” Critzer said. “While completing my degree, this mindset helped me work through many of the obstacles that presented themselves.”

Critzer faced a range of personal events that could have derailed his education. The addition of two daughters to his family, the loss of his mother and an exhausting custody battle demanded his time and attention.

“At times I felt discouraged, like the mission of finishing out a semester was impossible. During these times, I realized I needed to call in my support team,” Critzer said.

Critzer, who recently graduated with honors from the Law Enforcement Technology program at Rio Salado College, said his wife and family kept him motivated and helped him look for options that would keep him in school.

"While I was the one responsible for my coursework," Critzer said, "my whole family was invested in completing my degree."

Critzer said his instructors also provided support as he struggled to keep moving forward.

"Instead of informing my instructors that I would like to drop my classes, I was asking them about my options," Critzer said. "All of my instructors were empathetic. They worked with me and gave me extensions so that I could finish the class."

As he looks back on his accomplishments, Critzer said he has learned quite a bit about what he is capable of.

"I have learned that giving up on a personal goal is not an option. No one is going to hand me my dream life on a silver platter," Critzer said. "This experience taught me how to celebrate the small wins, like getting an 'A' on an assignment in the midst of a chaotic situation. It also showed me how strong my support team is, and how motivated my family is to see me through to the finish."

"My best advice for working adults who are struggling to complete their classes is to find their support system," Critzer said. "Rio Salado has a great social network, most people have at least a handful of friends on Facebook, and every student has instructors and staff members who want to see them succeed. "

Critzer also suggests taking it one step at a time.

"A big textbook looks intimidating, but a single chapter looks easy," Critzer said. "A couple of times, I made the mistake of looking ahead at everything I had to accomplish in my classes. I was discouraged to see the amount of work I had to do. Once I refocused and concentrated on one assignment at a time, the task became realistic again."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

RSC East Valley is Moving!

Beginning ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Tuesday, May 28, the Rio Salado College East Valley location at 1455 S. Stapley Drive in Mesa will be closed. All services, including GED and ELAA classes, will move to our new Rio Salado College Southern location. Testing services will still be available at RSC East Valley on Saturday, May 25, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will reopen at RSC Southern on Tuesday, May 28, at 8 a.m.

Rio Salado College Southern
3320 S. Price Road
Tempe, AZ 85282
(480) 377-4150

RSC Southern is served by Valley Metro local bus #61 and the Tempe Orbit MARS circulator bus. For a list of all Rio Salado College locations click here.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

School is IN for Summer!

Originally published in the May 18 edition of the Tempe Republic

Taking an online course or two is a great way to stay sharp during the summer months. Summer may not be the preferred season for intense, research-heavy topics, but Rio Salado College offers a variety of stimulating courses that are a perfect complement to summer activities.

The most recent addition to the college’s summer-friendly course offerings is ENG235 Magazine Article Writing. The course is perfect for budding freelance writers, hobbyists and serious bloggers.

“This course was created for those looking for a foundational knowledge of the magazine industry and guidance in crafting publishable articles,” said RSC Adjunct Faculty Member Charlene Jimenez who developed the course. “In addition to writing actual magazine articles, the course will cover how to develop a publishable topic, find the right magazine, establish contracts, and maintain a professional relationship with an editor.”

According to Jimenez, the course is ideal for summer school students because the workload is balanced and flexible.

“It's a great summer elective because there's a good, healthy balance between weeks that focus on writing and weeks that explore more of the fun side of the magazine publishing industry,” Jimenez said. “Students get to write and revise several articles and queries, but they also get weeks in which they create their own freelance contracts, build resources for future articles, and create online writing portfolios. Students will not be continually writing, so they should still have time for summer fun.”

Other summer-friendly classes include:
  • Contemporary Cinema (HUM210) A study of contemporary films, directors and critics. This course will help students appreciate the cinematic artistry (or lack thereof) in this summer's hottest blockbuster movies. 
  • Rock Music and Culture (MHL153) Historical review of the culture, social, political and economic conditions that have shaped the evolution of rock music. This course will add context and depth of experience to the summer concert season. 
  • Renaissance to Contemporary Art (ARH102) Discover artistic issues and controversies ranging from restoration and preservation to accessibility, scholarship and criticism. This class is invaluable for students who prefer to get out of the heat with a visit to the art museum. 
  • Poetry Writing (CRW160) and Fiction Writing (CRW 170) Whether it's a poolside distraction from the summer heat, or a professional aspiration, creative writing is the ultimate form of self-expression. These classes help students understand, evaluate and evolve their personal style and technique.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Rae "Kimo" Ormsby Named 2012-2013 Excellence in Education Teacher of the Year.

Rio Salado College Congratulates Rae "Kimo" Ormsby of Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix for winning the 99.9 FM KEZ Excellence in Education Teacher of the Year Award for the 2012-2013 school year.

Ormsby, won the Excellence in Education award for September 2012 after he was nominated by Amber Kalsow who was a student in Ormsby's Spanish class.

In Kaslow's nomination letter she acknowledged her teacher for his desire to impact students' lives through his Spanish class and give them the best education.

"This course has not only taught me Spanish but it has also made me learn a lot about myself. Kimo makes you think in depth. Kimo is not a person who looks at teaching as only a job. It is what he loves to do."

Ormsby expressed gratitude for both the September and end-of-the-year awards, and was emotional when he spoke about his work with students.

Ormsby was asked how much he thinks he means to his students to which he humbly responded, “Not as much as they [his students] mean to me.”

Ormsby’s spoke about helping students not only to learn, but to improve their lives and overcome the difficulties they face.

Excellence in Education has been a partnership between Rio Salado College and KEZ 99.9 FM for 10 years. Students and parents of students nominate K-12 teachers who are excellent at their profession and have gone above-and-beyond the call of duty to make a difference in their community.

This past school year, a Valley K-12 teacher was selected each month from all the entries to be recognized for their outstanding contribution to education. KEZ’s Marty Manning made a visit to the teacher’s school to surprise them with their “Excellence in Education” Award.

The surprise visit was broadcast during the Beth and Friends Show. All winning teachers were rewarded with $99, an Excellence in Education Award, and a Rio Salado College gift bag.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Student Showcase Hosted at KJZZ's SPOT127 Youth Media Center

KJZZ’s SPOT 127 Youth Media Center hosted its first Student Showcase on Wed., May 15 at RSC Thomas to celebrate the achievements of 29 participants who completed the first, nine-month-long instructional program.

SPOT 127 Director Greg Pereira and Instructional Facilitator/Coordinator of Marketing Tony Valenti stood in front of a packed room of participants and their family members, KJZZ staff, donors and other community supporters to give each of the students a certificate of achievement, to honor the most outstanding students of the year and celebrate their first year’s accomplishments.

And what a year it’s been!  SPOT 127 and RSC Thomas celebrated their grand opening in November 2012. Since that time, the SPOT team has served 150 students through its on site programs and off site programs with South Mountain and Sunnyslope high schools.

Pictured left are three of the most outstanding students who were part of the first cohort of participants to complete SPOT 127’s 9-month-long program. 

Maryvale sophomore BrieAnna Frank received the Best Student award. Maryvale freshman Stephanie Estrada who won the Best Video category for producing a short documentary called The Heart of Dance, which focused on the dance culture in Maryvale. Coronado Del Sol junior Bailey Vogt took home the award for Best Audio for his story about the new Phoenix Sky Train at Sky Harbor Airport.  

SPOT 127 is already accepting applications for its next summer session (June 3-14) and its next nine-month-long program, which begins Sept. 9.  The deadline for summer applicants is May 31 and the deadline for the next nine-month program is Sept. 3.

For more details, visit and visit KJZZ’s facebook page for more photos.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Avondale Teacher Receives Excellence in Education Award

Samantha Foster recently received the Excellence in Education award for May. She is a first grade teacher at Littleton Elementary School in Avondale.

Ms. Foster was nominated by Kerrilyn Chavez who said that Foster is always looking for ways to help students and is an “amazing example to her students and parents.”

“Children need more positive role models earlier in their education in order to foster a positive school experience,” said Chavez. “I believe that Ms. Foster achieves this to the full extent with her students.”

Excellence in Education is a partnership between Rio Salado College and KEZ 99.9 FM, which recognizes Valley teachers. Students and parents of students nominate K-12 teachers who are excellent at their profession and have gone above-and-beyond the call of duty to make a difference in their community.

This past school year, a Valley K-12 teacher was selected each month from all the entries and then recognized for their outstanding contribution to education. KEZ’s Marty Manning made a visit to the teacher’s school to surprise them with their “Excellence in Education” Award. The surprise visit was broadcast during the Beth and Friends Show. All winning teachers were rewarded with $99, an Excellence in Education Award, and a Rio Salado College gift bag.

Phi Theta Kappa Elects New Officers

Copyright © 2013 by Phi Theta Kappa.
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society's Alpha Theta Omicron Chapter elected a new set of officers to support and promote PTK activities at Rio Salado College. The college would like to congratulate the following students:

Chapter President: John Field
Chair of Membership and Fellowship: Matt Moreno
Chair of Hallmarks and Administration: John Williams
Chair of Community Service: Jessica Chapman
Chair of Public Relations: Tracy Morris
Chair of the College Project: Pauline Davis

PTK is the international honor society of two-year colleges. It is the largest honor society in American higher education with over 2 million members and more than 1,200 chapters in all 50 states and abroad. The purpose of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize and encourage scholarship while also promoting leadership, service, and fellowship.

Visit the Rio Salado College website for more information on Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Rio Salado College

Monday, May 13, 2013

Samantha Botsko Recognized for Military Service

Rio Salado College, in partnership with local radio stations 550 KFYI and KNIX 102.5 would like to recognize LTJG Samantha Botsko for her military service. Botsko will be featured on a digital billboard courtesy of Clear Channel Outdoor, and will be entered to win a 2012 Ford F-150 SuperCab XLT.

The following is Botsko's nomination, submitted by her parents, Kathy and Joe Botsko

Samantha, a Phoenix native and graduate of Cortez High School, enlisted in the US Navy after receiving her Associates Degree from Glendale Community College in May 2004. After receiving her basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Training facility in IL she was assigned to the USS Gonzalez, a guided missile destroyer, out of Norfolk, VA. On Samantha's first deployment, the mission was to patrol the Persian Gulf, off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Arden. During this deployment, she worked as a deck hand and during a ship shooting competition became one of the ship's top guns and was moved into the ship's armory to become a Gunners Mate. Upon completion of the NAU online Bachelor's Degree program in 2009 Samantha petitioned the US Navy Officer's Candidate School (OCS) for admission. In May 2010 Sam graduated from the US Navy OCS as a Surface Warfare Officer Ensign and assigned to the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, stationed in San Diego, CA. In 2011 the USS Boxer, USS Comstock, USS Greenbay, and The US Marine 13th Expeditionary Unit were deployed to patrol in the Arabian Sea, Horn of Africa and work with US Allied nations in ridding the area of maritime pirates. Samantha is again preparing for a third deployment this year to patrol the waters of the Middle East. She is currently a Lieutenant Junior Grade looking forward to going to the US NAVAL Post Graduate School for her master's degree so she can achieve her ultimate goal of ship captain and possibly reaching a flag officer position. She is also a single mother of a 6 year old daughter, who lives with her grandparents in Phoenix. Samantha flies back and forth to spend as much time as she can with her daughter. It's a demanding job, but worth it for preserving everyone's freedoms. Signed, Kathy/Joe Botsko 

To nominate an active military service member, fill out the online nomination form, or mail your nomination to: 

KFYI My Military Hero
Attn: Tarah Oliver 
4686 E. Van Buren St., Suite #300 
Phoenix, AZ 85008 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Graduating is Twice the Fun

Shane Cahill celebrates high school
and college graduation in the same week.
For Shane Cahill, today marks the second important event of her busy graduation week. On Wednesday, Cahill graduated from Rio Salado College with an associate degree. Today she walks across the stage at Xavier Preparatory High School to collect her high school diploma.

Thanks to Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program, Cahill was able to graduate from college and high school in the same week!

“My senior year was definitely not the easy year that many high school students have,” Cahill said. “I had to say no to many outings with friends, football games, and many other things because of the amount of work.”

Cahill’s sister had previously taken advantage of dual enrollment, where high school students can earn credit for college-level classes taken at their high school.

“Toward the end of my junior year, I realized that with changing my schedule a bit, I would be incredibly close to an associate degree at Rio Salado,” Cahill said.

Cahill tested out of a few requirements, and took classes over the summer. During her senior year of high school, Cahill added a few more classes at night so that could meet the requirements of an associate degree.

“I took 21 credits in my last semester,” Cahill said. “My parents and sister thought I was crazy. But giving up some sleep and free time was worth it. Achieving this degree will help me get to my dreams even faster than I would have before.”

Because high school students can earn college credit through dual enrollment, they benefit on several fronts. Community college tuition is a fraction of the cost of public universities. Scholarships are available, based on financial need, and credits transfer to many colleges and universities.

Rio Salado College partners with more than 40 local high schools to offer dual enrollment classes, giving thousands of students the opportunity to get a head start on college.

“I would recommend that other high school students do dual enrollment courses,” Cahill said. “It is so helpful in moving your college career along.”

Cahill’s college career plans include attending Coastal Carolina University this fall to major in Intelligence and National Security Studies.

“Having already earned an associate degree, I will be able to graduate in two and a half years, or 5 semesters,” Cahill said. She then plans to attend the Uniformed Services University for Health Sciences for medical school.

“My dream is to become a physician for the United States Navy in order to serve this great nation in the best way I can, by providing medical care to America's bravest heroes,” said Cahill.

Her dream is well on its way.

For more information about Rio Salado College’s dual enrollment program visit

Friday, May 10, 2013

Library Tip of the Week: Business Source Premier

The Rio Salado Library has a great database to help students with business-related research. Business Source Premier provides access to business-related magazines, journals, and other sources such as:

Company Profiles

Country Reports

Industry Profiles

Market Research Reports

SWOT Analyses

For tips on how to search the database, see the following How Do I? video:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Graduation Day is Today!

It's Graduation Day! Here are some of the fun ways to share in the festivities.
  • Twitter and Instagram: use the #RioGrad hashtag to share photos and tweets or to see what others are posting. 
  • Facebook : Join the event on Facebook to post photos and comments. 
  • Grad Badge: Add a 2013 Grad Badge to your Facebook timeline.
  • Google+: Join the event on Google+ to share photos and comments. 
  • Grad Swag: Download desktop wallpaper, phone backgrounds and profile photos on Flickr to show your pride in the 2013 graduates. 
Graduation is a celebration of the accomplishments, work and dedication of our 2013 Graduates. The entire Rio Salado College community is encouraged to participate.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Students Highlight Personal Triumphs at Graduation

Spring is here and that means graduation is in the air. Rio Salado College is getting ready to celebrate the hard work, dedication and determination of our 2013 graduates. Highlighting those attributes to the fullest are the three inspiring students who will be serving as speakers for the commencement and GED graduation ceremonies.

Romell Alexander
For Romell Alexander, commencement represents not only success, but a celebration of healing. One of the main reasons he wanted to complete a degree was to put a smile back on his mother’s face.
“I wanted to bring a sense of healing to the heart of my dear mother who tragically lost two of her sons to gun violence,” Alexander said.
Alexander has done that and then some. He will be the first in his family to graduate when he receives his associate degree in addictions and substance use disorders.
“I was able to complete my entire program online,” said Alexander, who juggled husband, father and work responsibilities while taking classes. “Rio Salado made the impossible possible for me.”
He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology and hopes to work as a psychiatrist in the mental health field.

Sylicia McPhea
Sylicia McPhea wanted her life to follow a structured, precise path into the working world, but things didn’t go according to plan.
“My life unfolded differently,” McPhea said. “I dropped out of high school only to reenter and graduate a year late.”
Soon after, McPhea became a mother and spent the next 10 years raising her daughter. However, she desired to return to her original path and get a college education.
“I thought that my late start would prove too great an obstacle,” McPhea said. However, she persevered by taking online classes at Rio Salado, and squeezing in her homework after hours.
“What I have earned is more than a degree – it is a milestone,” said McPhea, who is graduating with an associate in arts degree and continuing her studies at Arizona State University.

Stephanie Carroll
Stephanie Carroll dropped out of high school at age 15, after her brother was killed by a drunk driver. The next two years saw the births of her son and daughter. Soon after, her son was diagnosed with autism.
“It was devastating,” Carroll said. “I’ve worked with my kids every day since, and have managed to get my son to the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum.”
Carroll also decided to work on herself by going back to school to earn her GED.
“I wanted to further my education to set a good example for my children,” she said. “They are my inspiration and motivation for every step I take toward a better future.”
Carroll is currently taking classes through Rio Salado’s ACE program. She hopes to one day earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Commencement Snapshot*:
    599    Associate Degrees
     48    Academic Certificates
3,392    Certificates of Completion
   143    Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Recognitions of Academic Achievement
   167    Graduates participating in commencement exercises

GED Snapshot*:
   600+  GED Recipients
   200+  GED Graduates participating in graduation exercises

Rio Salado College’s Commencement ceremony takes place Wednesday, May 8. The GED Graduation takes place Thursday, May 23. Both ceremonies will be held at 7 p.m. at the Phoenix Convention Center.

*Projected numbers at the time of publication.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

RSC Featured as Solution to Rising Tuition in AZ

Director of Advisement interviewed by ASU's Cronkite News
Submitted by Advisement Initiatives Liaison Michael Murphy

Rio Salado College Student Mary Flemming-Andres and RSC Director of Advisement David Hall were recently featured in a Newswatch report on ASU's Cronkite News telecast. The story addressed the issue of rising tuition at Arizona's universities and the affordability of community colleges.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Putting the FUN in College Funding

Many students believe they need to be athletic or maintain a 4.0 grade point average in order to earn a college scholarship, but merit-based scholarships aren't the only option. Plenty of businesses and organizations use scholarship competitions to promote brand awareness and garner favor with college -bound consumers. Here are a few annual scholarship competitions that put the fun in college funding:
  • STARFLEET International Scholarships - members of the STARFLEET International Star Trek Fan Association may apply for one of five $1,000 scholarships. 
  • Duct Tape Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest - wear duct tape to prom for a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship. 
  • Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway - students submit a video explaining how they will make an impact in their community. Prizes include either $2,500 or a trip to a College Football Championship Game to compete with other finalists for $100,000 in tuition. 
Note: When looking for out of the ordinary scholarship opportunities, students should be careful to avoid scams. Visit the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation's external scholarship opportunities page to learn more about third-party scholarship opportunities.