Monday, March 31, 2014

Grant Gives STEM Pros Chance to Pay it Forward

RSC Noyce Scholars Matthew Ford and Alma Parker
Calling all math and science enthusiasts! Are you looking for a way to give back to your community? Have you ever thought about teaching? If you answered yes to these questions, and have experience as a STEM professional, Rio Salado College’s Noyce Scholars program wants you!

In 2011 Rio Salado College received a 1.2 million dollar grant through the National Science Foundation to provide secondary 7th – 12th grade Arizona Teaching Certificates to approved applicants who have at least a bachelor’s degree and industry experience in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

“Rio Salado received the grant to help combat the shortage of qualified STEM teachers in the state of Arizona and to raise up the next generation of scientists and mathematicians,” said Karen Nave, Noyce Scholars Program Manager.

Participants receive a $16,500 stipend for the 15-month intensive, online program. Upon completion, successful participants will earn a teaching credential and must commit to teaching for two years in a high-need Arizona school district. The program partners with 22 high-need school districts in Arizona.

“When my life changed quite recently, I reevaluated what I was doing and where I was going,” said Alma Parker, a retired Honeywell senior quality engineer who participated in the first Noyce Scholars cohort. “I decided to use my expertise as an engineer and a scientist to give back to the community and to become a teacher.”

Parker is working as a substitute teacher this semester and is looking for a math teaching position this fall.

Current Noyce Scholars participant Matthew Ford spent time as a fisheries biologist in the Peace Corps and with the Alaska Department of Game and Fish before deciding to transition into teaching.

“Teaching is doing something for the future,” Ford said. “I hope to bring a realization that biology can be fun and exciting to the classroom.”

Ford, a Prescott, Arizona resident, was enticed by the program’s online model and flexibility to stay in his community to complete the in-person field experience and student teaching requirements.

To participate in the Noyce Scholars program, students must:
· Be a U.S. citizen
· Undergo a fingerprint background check in accordance with Arizona Department of Education
· Have a bachelor's degree or higher in a STEM area
· Have three or more years of experience in a non-education STEM career

Qualified students must complete an application process that includes passing a subject knowledge exam, participating in a teaching seminar and attending a screening interview.

“Students will also have to show an aptitude for teaching,” Nave said. “Knowing your subject area well is only one component of successful teaching. A good teacher is also someone who has keen listening skills, is an effective communicator, and can motivate and connect with their students.” 

Nave said students in the Noyce Scholars program receive mentorship throughout their student teaching experience, as well as assistance with job placement.

“Students are supported throughout the program with their coursework by a success coach and two mentors during the first year of teaching to assist with classroom management and other first-year teacher challenges,” Nave said.

For more information about Rio Salado’s Noyce Scholars program, visit or call 480-517-8066.

This story can also be found in the March 29 edition of the Tempe Republic.
By Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator at Rio Salado College.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Financial Aid News: Your FAFSA Status

RSC will begin communicating with students about their 2014-15 Federal Student Aid applications (FAFSA) during the later-part of April. 

You can monitor the status of your application at

Visit this RSC page for instructions on how to access this feature.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Paying for College: Words of Wisdom

Monday starts and Block Calendar scheduling can be unfamiliar concepts for new students and can create confusion for those who aren't familiar with the terminology. The following list of words and phrases are unique to Rio Salado College and will help new students navigate the registration and financial aid processes.

Academic Program – A prescribed series of classes designed for a specific degree, certificate, or other credential.
  • Program Seeker –Students who have declared a Rio Salado certificate, degree or transfer program in, ESF (Electronic Student File), or by talking to an advisor. 
  • Non-Program Seekers – Students who have not declared a Rio Salado certificate, degree or transfer program. Students who take a la carte classes for transfer to another college or university program are NOT classified as program seekers at Rio Salado College. 
  • Excluded Program – Declared programs that are excluded from the program seeker qualification. Examples include: Dual enrollment, educational service partnerships, and non-credit programs. 

Note: Federal regulations require students to commit to an eligible academic program to qualify for financial aid. 

Block Calendar System – exclusive to Rio Salado College, the block calendar system uses semester blocks to provide students with flexibility in class scheduling.

  • Academic Term – Academic Terms are similar to semesters at other colleges. Rio Salado has a Fall, Spring and Summer term. 
  • Semester Block –Each term is broken into semester blocks. Each semester block has a start date and a corresponding end date. Students choose from the available semester blocks to customize when their semester will start and end. 
  • Term Block – Semester blocks are sometimes referred to as term blocks. 
  • Semester Block Start Date – The date on which a semester block starts. 
  • Semester Block End Date – The designated end date of a semester block. 
  • Class Start Date- The designated start date listed for the class (typically a Monday). Students may choose multiple course start dates within their selected semester block. 
  • Monday Starts - Refers to multiple start dates available in the Block Calendar System. 
  • Course End Date – The last day on which course materials may be submitted. 
  • Out of Block – Classes that do not start AND end within the timeframe of the selected semester block. Classes for the next term that are scheduled to start before the student’s current semester block is scheduled to end are also considered Out of Block. 

Semester blocks may not overlap from one term to the next. Students may find their next available block using the Block Calendar Widget.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Information Overload Survival Guide

Information Drives EVERYTHING Sign up for IFS101, IFS102, or IFS105 Today
Do you ever feel like you're drowning in a sea of information? Do you want to become more skilled at locating and evaluating information to improve your papers and to make better informed decisions about important issues in your personal or professional life?

Are you interested in learning about the global culture developing around the Internet and how people in other parts of the world use the Internet and related technologies? Try one of the great Information Studies courses featured below!

IFS101: Information Skills in the Digital Age (3 credits)
Development of skills and competency in accessing, evaluating and using information resources while examining the social and historical context, as well as the technological implications of the use and organization of information. General Education Designations: L

IFS102: Introduction to Information Skills in a Global Society (3 credits)
A comparative study focused on access to digital information in a global environment. Explore the global culture developing around the Internet and the impact of local, national and global cultures as well as economic and social factors related to the flow of information in a global society. Examine emerging technologies to produce and distribute information across cultures in a global society in an ethical manner. General Education Designations: G

IFS105: Finding Health Information Online (1 credit)
Development of skills and competency in accessing, evaluating, and using online medical and health information resources.

Best of all? There are no required textbooks to purchase for any of the IFS courses. Save your book money and become a more informed citizen today!

Image by Saad Faruque under a CC-BY-SA license.

Free In-Person Resources for Online Students in Arizona

Submitted by the Rio Salado College Counseling Department

Online students often seek face-to-face resources to assist with specific computer-related questions, such as learning the basics of how to use a computer; how to type or enhance their typing skills, at little to no cost. The public libraries throughout the Phoenix area have these specific resources and many additional services, which are all complimentary to anyone interested. 

The Maricopa County Library District has workshops with one-on-one computer assistance on topics such as how to use the new Windows 8 software, or how to download e-books to any reading device. To locate and sign up for the valuable resources available through the Maricopa County Library District, go to and click on Calendar of Events. 

The left-hand side of the Maricopa County Library District homepage will display the link Our Libraries & Hours, to search for a specific branch in your area and the events at that particular location. Additionally, the Phoenix Public Library has similar events, as well as, helpful information sessions such as tax preparation and health insurance enrollment. For more information on the Phoenix Public Library’s free services go to and click on Calendar.

Friday, March 21, 2014

RSC's John Jensen Recognized For Excellence

Rio Salado College would like to congratulate John Jensen, faculty chair of mathematics for being recognized with a 2014 John and Suanne Roueche Excellence award.

The award celebrates outstanding contributions and leadership by community college faculty and staff. Jensen was presented the award by the League for Innovation in the Community College at the organization's Innovations Conference held March 2-5 in Anaheim, California.

“John Jensen is a constant advocate for his students and community leader in math education,” said Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante. “As Rio Salado’s faculty chair for mathematics, he is forward thinking and innovative in the technologies and instructional theory included in his online math courses. His community advocacy, trainings and guest lectures about the importance of mathematics and instruction are unsurpassed.”

Jensen said he felt particularly honored because the award requires the nomination of his peers.

“The John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award from the League for Innovation holds special significance for me because it is a recognition that comes from my college and my colleagues,” Jensen said. “In an institution like Rio Salado, where innovation and ingenuity are hallmarks, there are scores of employees who work every day to make education more accessible and more affordable to students.”

Jensen, who served as an adjunct faculty member in Rio Salado’s inaugural year, is proud of the history he shares with the college.

“My first acquaintance with Rio Salado College was in 1978, when I was hired as an adjunct faculty member. I taught mathematics at some of the college’s Phoenix locations for about 5 years. I returned to Rio in 2002 as a residential faculty member. By that time, I had already had over 30 years’ experience in public education.”

Jensen said he believes his success as an educator can be credited to the culture of innovation and collaboration with co-workers at Rio Salado College.

“As a faculty member at Rio Salado, I was struck by two things early in my employment,” Jensen said. “The first was that the entire institution operated with a collaborative spirit. You could depend on other departments within the college to help with a project or a task. The second – and more important – was that every project, initiative and program was evaluated by how well it served the interests of students.”

Jensen, who is reluctant to boast his own accomplishments, instead shares the recognition with the entire Rio Salado organization.

“When I accept this honor, I do so in the name of all of us who strive to make Rio Salado a special place for learners.”

This story can also be found in the March 21 edition of the Tempe Republic.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Volunteering Helps Build A Strong Resume

Students with very little work history can sometimes struggle to write a compelling resume.

It's important to remember that nearly everyone has acquired skills that transfer to the work world. For example, stay at home parents possess the ability to multi-task, budget, and prioritize tasks. Young people may find that experiences during high school or small jobs house taught them valuable work skills.Volunteering with an organization is also extremely helpful in obtaining much needed job skills.

In fact, volunteering is a great way to learn a lot of different things in a short period of time while also helping the community. No matter what type of volunteer experience students participate in, they will always be helping themselves as much as they are helping the community. Volunteering allows you to connect with individuals that otherwise may have been out of reach, gain new experiences, and helps raise self-esteem.

Whether the goal is gaining admission into graduate school or obtaining employment, those who choose to give freely of their time are looked highly upon. A few hours volunteering could be the deciding difference between one candidate and another!

There are a multitude of organizations seeking volunteers.  A career counselor can help students find a good fit. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Rio Library

Are you wearing green today? Do you know why?

Learn more about the curious traditions honoring the “Saint of the Underdog” whom the Irish have revered for over 1,500 years in St. Patrick: The Living Legend. This streaming film is brought to you through Films on Demand, a collection of over 7,000 titles that are freely available to Rio Salado students through the library.

Maybe you’re more in the mood for making a tasty treat? Check out the article “Celebrating St. Patrick,” which contains recipes for Shamrock Pinwheels, Trinity Meringue Cookies, St. Patrick’s Shepherd’s Pie, and more. This article is brought to you through MasterFile Premier, a large collection of general magazines on a wide variety of topics that are available electronically through the library.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Online Education Empowers Women

Online education at Rio Salado College empowers women
by providing flexible and accessible educational options.  
The landscape has changed significantly for women since the feminist movements of the 1970s. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, women now outpace men in educational attainment. Women are not only welcome, but sought after in skilled career paths like technology and health care, and they experience a much lower wage gap in those fields.

While education is a recognized tool for those seeking equality, access to education can be difficult for women for a variety of reasons.

Women often take on the role of caregiver for children or aging parents, and, according to a 2013 report from the Pew Research Center, women are increasingly taking on the responsibility of sole or primary wage earner. Balancing family and work can make it difficult for women to find time for regularly scheduled classes.

For students like Shayna Andrews, finding a way to make it happen wasn’t optional. When her marriage ended after 10 years as a stay-at-home mom, Andrews struggled to find her place in the workforce.

“I often took low paying jobs so that I could work a schedule that allowed me to be home in the evenings and weekends. After a year of working an awful job, I knew I needed to go back to school,” Andrews said, “I just didn’t want to live the rest of my life working like that.”

Andrews turned to the flexible online classes at Rio Salado College to help her balance her work schedule, school and motherhood.

“I am incredibly grateful that higher education is available to me,” Andrews said. “It affords me the ability to be home to do the ‘mom thing’, and that I can work hard to accomplish something that is forever mine.”

For Rio Salado graduate Jana Easley, education was more than a career move, it was a second chance for survival.

"I started my journey at a domestic violence shelter," Easley said. "At age 35, after 8 years in an abusive relationship, I was able to leave with my daughter and my life.

After overcoming addiction and homelessness, Easley enrolled in the high school equivalency program at Rio Salado.

"I had heard through the grapevine that if I put a certain amount of hours in on my HSE from Rio Salado College, they would pay for my first three classes at any Maricopa County Community College.”

"That's what I needed to hear,” Easley said. “I was ‘all in.'"

After earning her HSE diploma, Easley followed the Rio Salado College Bridge Pathways model and immediately started working on her associate degree. She graduated in 2010 and went on to ASU where she earned her bachelor’s degree and was accepted to a master’s program in social work.

This story can also be found in the March 15 edition of the Tempe Republic. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Withdrawal From Class Could Impact Financial Aid

Students earn their financial aid by attending class and completing coursework. Students who withdraw from class may be asked to return all or a portion of the financial aid they used to pay for that class.

The amount to be returned is based on how much of the course the student completed. Because Rio Salado allows students to customize their schedule with the block calendar system, it can be difficult to understand the mathematical formula used to determine what percentage of the student's financial aid must be returned.

Students who are considering dropping a class or withdrawing from college should contact the financial aid office to see what impact that decision will have on their financial aid eligibility.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rio Library Featured New Title: Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less

Brought to you by Food Network host Ellie Krieger, Weeknight Wonders contains over 150 healthy recipes that can be prepared with minimal fuss.

Check out the complete list of new titles below:


This list is updated throughout the month as new books arrive. To view the complete list of new titles from previous months, please see the Library New Titles Archive

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Communiversity at Queen Creek Test Center Now Open

Rio Salado College testing services are now available inside the Communiversity at Queen Creek. The brand new testing center offers Rio Salado midterm and final exams, Accuplacer placement tests and proctoring services.

Location and Hours:
Communiversity at Queen Creek
Room 1053C
21740 S. Ellsworth Rd.
Queen Creek, AZ 85142

Tuesday-Thursday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Call 480-384-9317 or email for more information. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Financial Aid Tips: How To View Enrollment Verification Data

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), operated by the U.S. Department of Education, is a centralized database that tracks student loans from the time they are approved until they are completely paid off.  NSLDS includes the enrollment information needed to defer existing student loan payments.  When a deferment is requested, the lender checks NSLDS to make sure the student qualifies. 
As a Maricopa County Community College District college, Rio Salado submits enrollment information to NSLDS through National Student Clearinghouse.  

Students can view their enrollment information or print their enrollment verification by following these steps:
  1. Log in to your Student Center
  2. Click Enrollment Verification under Academic History
  3. Select your college from the drop down menu
  4. Click Continue to National Student Clearinghouse.
  5. Click the button to continue to the Clearinghouse website.
  6. Choose the option that best applies to your situation.
  7. Print your enrollment verification.
  8. Log out and close your Clearinghouse browser window.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Featured Library Database: OmniFile Full-Text Select

Forty two years ago, a group of feminists did the unthinkable: They started the first magazine ever to be created, owned and operated by women. Harry Reasoner, a popular news commentator of the 70’s, famously said, “I’ll give it six months before they run out of things to say.” The first issue sold out in eight days, and Ms. Magazine is still going strong today!

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Rio Salado Library invites you to read about the origins of a publication that changed history. The article “How do you Spell Ms.?” discusses the impact of the debut issue, assembling the staff, getting (or not getting) ads, debates over Ms. covers, intra-feminist discord, and the legacy of the magazine. Best of all, this oral history is provided by the women who were there!

How do you Spell Ms.?” is brought to you via the OmniFile Full-Text Select database, one of several excellent article databases that are freely available to students via the Rio Salado Library.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Student Feedback Drives Relentless Improvement at Rio Salado College

When students talk, Rio listens.

RSC prides itself on a culture of relentless improvement. The college readily adapts to the changing needs of its students and incorporates student feedback as a tool for measuring the success of new initiatives. Rio Salado also uses student comments to identify areas of opportunity and to correct service related issues.

The best way for students to submit comments, both positive and negative, is through the online feedback form. The form can be found on the Rio Salado College website or in the contact us section of the Rio Salado College mobile app.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

RSC Students Selected for All Arizona Academic Team

Rio Salado College students Roberta Albinda of Goodyear and Shawnie Cahuya of Tempe were recently selected for the All-Arizona Academic Team.

Students are selected and ranked based on academic achievement, leadership, school participation, service, and a significant endeavor essay. The All-Arizona team is broken up into three teams—first, second, and third. Cahuya was chosen for the first team, and Albinda was chosen for the second team.

First team students receive a $1,000 cash award, with students on the second and third teams receiving $750 and $500 respectively. All team members also receive a two-year tuition waiver at any one of Arizona’s state universities. The recognition is sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges, the Arizona Board of Regents and the Arizona Community College Presidents’ Council.

Albinda said she was following her daughter's example when she joined Phi Theta Kappa.

"My daughter Sarah was an officer in her chapter at Phoenix College and went on to win the Coca Cola scholarship," Albinda said. "By participating in PTK, she was able to network and lay the groundwork for her career. She definitely inspired me to join."

Being chosen for the 2014 All Arizona Academic team is particularly rewarding for Albinda who said she has struggled with her return to academics.

"The most exciting part for me is the honor of being chosen," Albinda said. "Education was not an easy path for me, so this stands as a high achievement and an encouragement to never give up."

According to Albinda, interacting with other students who are driven and energetic is the highlight of her PTK experience.

"The best part of being a PTK member is the opportunity to engage with like-minded people who are purpose-driven and motivated," Albinda said. "People like the ones in PTK are the people who change the world."

After she completes her associate degree at Rio Salado, Albinda plans to transfer to Arizona State University to study nonprofit development.

“I was impressed by ASU's Edson Business Initiative and wanted to have something similar for people who need a second chance. I was also impressed by Bio-Excel's program to offer office space and support to technology start-ups,” Albinda said. “I want to start a non-profit that's somewhere in the middle of the two that also offers educational training to help breed success.”

Cahuya, who is currently in the dental hygiene program at Rio Salado, said PTK has helped her to become a leader in her community and to get involved.

"PTK has allowed me to portray leadership outside of my program," Cahuya said. “It has inspired me to get the best grades and to get involved in my community."

Cahuya said she appreciates the service learning elements of PTK membership and its focus on volunteering.

"PTK provides opportunities to learn and grow as an individual while helping others and providing a service to those in need," Cahuya said.

Cahuya said she plans to continue her education at Northern Arizona University where she will pursue a bachelor's degree after completing the Dental Hygiene program at Rio Salado College.

Visit to learn more about Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Rio Salado College.

This story can also be found in the March 1 edition of the Tempe Republic.