Saturday, May 31, 2014

June SPOT 127 Youth Media Boot Camp

Learn video and audio production during a two-week boot camp with KJZZ's SPOT 127 youth media center..  June 9-20.  $250 per student.  Full and partial scholarships available.
KJZZ’s youth media center SPOT 127 is hosting a two-week boot camp for high school teens at the Rio Salado Conference Center in Tempe, June 9-20.

Participants will learn about the fundamentals of reporting, writing and multimedia production. SPOT 127 staff, KJZZ journalists and media professionals from across the Valley will take part in the program to share their knowledge with participants.

No prior experience is needed. Cost is $250 per student and there are partial and full scholarships available.

Learn more at

KJZZ and SPOT 127 are a community service of Rio Salado.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Free Educational Program for Veterans

Arizona State University’s Veterans Upward Bound is a free educational program that prepares Veterans to transition to college. Classes will help Veterans improve English, math and computer skills, and are held at the East Valley Veterans Center (EVVEC) at no cost to qualified applicants.

Students receive one-on-one instruction, tutoring, assistance with financial aid and scholarship applications and referrals to other services as needed.

Eligibility Requirements
· Low-income and/or a first generation student
· Served on active duty for more than 180 consecutive days
· Served more than 30 consecutive days and called to active duty on or after 9/11/2001.
· Have discharge status anything other than dishonorable

VUB classes: Classes are non-graded with open-entry start dates.

English (Mon. & Wed., 2 – 4 pm)
· Reading
· Composition
· Grammar

Math (Tue. & Thur., 2 – 4 pm)
· Basic math through pre-calculus

Computer Literacy (Mon. – Thu., 4 – 5 pm)

For more details, call 480-384-9850

Here's a look at the Summer VUB Schedule:


Thursday, May 29, 2014

MCCF Fall Scholarship Deadline June 15

Image of grads: Pursue Your Dreams

Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation Scholarship Applications Open for Fall 2014
—› Foundation Scholarship Application
Apply Now The Foundation scholarship application will be open from Thursday, May 15 to June 15, 2014 at 10pm.

The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation is pleased to announce two new scholarship funds now available for fall 2014.
  1. Salt River Project Scholars Fund will award ten students a $2,500 scholarship for 2014-2015. These awards are available to students majoring in STEM related fields at any of the Maricopa Community Colleges.
  2. Another new opportunity is funding for Maricopa students participating in the Spot 127 program. Spot 127 is a facility and an innovative program at Rio Salado College designed to empower high school students to develop skills in digital media, radio, and journalism. Thanks to a gift from the Carstens Family Fund, each scholarship consists of $2,500 per academic year for tuition and a $1,000 per year stipend for each student to use for textbooks and/or general school supplies.
Please contact the Maricopa Community Colleges at if you have any questions.
The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization designated by the Maricopa County Community College District to receive and manage gifts on behalf of its ten colleges, two skill centers and multiple satellite centers. The Foundation actively seeks contributions from a variety of public and private sources including individuals, corporations and other foundations. It acts as a trustee for donations to assure that gifts are distributed in the manner specified by the donor.

Metacognition - Thinking about Thinking

The scientific evidence based in neuroscience that exerting one’s brain to evaluate information can amplify its strength is profound and inspiring as it recommends a strategy to enhance one’s thinking and intellect.

The term that refers to the process of thinking about thinking is called metacognition. The frequency to which one engages in metacognition facilitates critical thinking, which is a skill college students are constantly required to demonstrate.

One of the benefits of metacognition is the ability to easily retract from a situation, event, or information and process not only one’s thoughts induced by the experience but also the emotions and feelings associated with the specific information received.

Metacognition fosters and strengthens psychological, emotional, and intellectual development. Similarly, the article by Elizabeth (2013) highlights the field of neuroscience and the brain’s capacity to acquire additional neural connections to increase its power to process information.

Another advantage of metacognition is the capacity to evaluate one’s own inner-world and create unique perspectives, ideas, and values that one can integrate into new information received to facilitate their choices, decisions, and overall life satisfaction.

It is particularly important for college students to understand their metacognitive processes as they venture into the world of academia, as they will undoubtedly encounter challenges within their educational pursuits, while balancing the uncertainties life can drop into their personal and professional lives.

Comprehending one’s own metacognitive processes is essential to student success. To learn more about metacognition and the empirical evidence provided by neuroscience for this valuable skill go to Rio Salado’s Library page and search the article databases:

If you need help finding an article and/or using the site feel free to take advantage of the 24-hour live chat with a librarian option. 

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Elena Matus McDonald on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

References: Elizabeth, T. (2013). The social neuroscience of education: Optimizing attachment and learning in the classroom. Harvard Educational Review, 83(4), 655-658.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

2014 Graduation Ceremonies on MCTV

Tune in to watch the 2014 Commencement and HSE Graduation ceremonies in their entirety on MCTV Cox Channel 115 beginning June 6.

There will be multiple broadcasts for each.  Here is the schedule:

HSE Graduation
Friday, June 6  -  8 p.m.
Saturday, June 7 - 1 a.m.
Monday June 9 – 12 p.m.
Approximately 1 hour, 43 minutes
Saturday, June 7 -  8 p.m.
Sunday, June 8 -  2 a.m.
Sunday, June 8 - 8 p.m.
Monday, June 9 - 2 a.m.   

Approximately 1 hour, 50 minutes


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ASU NanoFab RET App Deadline June 2

image of a researcher in a lab
The ASU NanoFab participates in the NNIN sponsored Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program that is available to grade school teachers and community college faculty from the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

The RET participants work with ASU faculty on research projects over the summer, and then take what they learn and adapt it for use in their own classroom setting. Later in the year, our RET faculty attend the NNIN Professional Development Workshop at a chosen NNIN site, where they have the opportunity to present the instructional materials developed from their experience at ASU NanoFab. Click here for details about the ASU NNIN RET program.

The NNIN RET program consists of:
  • A seven week non-residential summer internship on the ASU campus
  • A stipend of $5,300
  • Travel support to attend the annual RET Workshop
  • Classroom materials support up to $1,000
  • Professional Development Credits

To qualify for the program applicants must be:
  • US. Citizens or permanent residents.
  • Teacher Applicants: Must teach in grades 6-12
  • Must teach science or technology
  • Must have a minimum of two years teaching experience

Community College Applicants:
  • Must be currently teaching at a two-year post-secondary institution
  • Must have taught for at least two years at a two-year institution
  • Must teach science or engineering

Interested in applying to the ASU NNIN RET Program?

Then please download the ASU RET Application Form and e-mail a completed copy to before June 2, 2014. Include “RET Application” in the subject heading of the e-mail.

Written by Jeanne Ratliff  Community and Industry Program Development Liaison at Rio Salado College

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Observance

Rio Salado College will be closed on Monday, May 26 in observance of Memorial Day.

There is a traditional way of displaying the US flag on this special day. The flag is raised quickly to the top of the staff and then lowered slowly to the half-mast position, where it remains until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. At noon their memory is raised by the living.

ARTstor - Art Lovers Virtual Library

The Rio Salado Library is proud to subscribe to the ARTstor Digital Library.

This database includes more than 1.6 million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences. Collections are drawn from outstanding international museums, photographers, libraries, scholars, photo archives, and artists and artists' estates.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Class of 2014 Dual Enrollment Grads Shine

Thousands of high school graduates are celebrating across the Valley this week, each worthy of praise--but there’s a special group of students who deservedly belong in the Class of 2014 spotlight.

These students received their associate degrees before completing high school by taking advantage of Rio Salado College’s dual enrollment program. 

There were a total of 13 Rio Salado dual grads this year, 12 from the Tempe Union High School District’s Corona del Sol, Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe high schools and one from Xavier Prep in Phoenix. 

Danielle Papala
“Taking dual enrollment classes was one of the best decisions I made in high school,” said Corona del Sol grad Danielle Papala. "I got to take fun, challenging high school classes while earning college credit at the same time.”

Another benefit—it saved her family a lot of money. “The entire cost of my AA degree was one-third the amount of one full year of tuition at my future college.” 

Papala, who will attend Grand Canyon University as a Health Care Administration major, said the program also jump started her career.

“Because I have completed all of my general education credits, I can now take upper level classes specific to my major and complete my Bachelor’s Degree in just two years instead of four.”

More than 6,700 students from 41 schools earned college credits last year, but these grads made an extra effort to take additional courses at Rio Salado to earn their degrees. 

Bridgett Ott
Desert Vista grad Bridget Ott went a step further. “I was able to earn two associate degrees before graduating high school. This means that when I attend the University of Arizona in the fall, all of my required credits for freshman and sophomore year will already be completed.”  Ott who graduated with an associate in arts and an associate in science plans to major in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science with the hope of becoming a neuroscientist, a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon.

Ott’s Desert Vista peer, Faith DeMent, who will also attend the U of A this fall as a Spanish major, found the courses rigorous but worthwhile. “They can be challenging, but not all of them are insanely difficult, and I think it was worth it in the end. It saved my parents a lot, and I think I can receive my master's in four years.”

“This is an amazing program,” said Dr. EJ Anderson, Rio Salado’s Director Community Partnerships- Early College. “We have had students start medical school at 20, double major and be admitted to prestigious third year college programs at 18. Dual enrollment enhances the rigor of the high school curriculum, introduces students to college expectations, creates a smoother transition to college and saves both time and money.”

Sara Smith from Tempe Desert Vista
with President of Rio Salado College
Dr. Chris Bustamante

Anderson said the key to the program’s success is community support, especially from parents. “This program is really taking off as parents, teachers and administrators see the incredible benefit of students earning college credits while still in high school.” 

Mountain Point grad Adam Grula will attend ASU to study engineering. When asked why he became a dual student, he said, “Probably the same reason as everyone else, my mom signed me up.”

“I cannot tell you how great this program has been for my kids,” said Beth Grula. “Rio and the State of Arizona have something special here.”

Grayson Lee-Kin
Desert Vista grad Grayson Lee-Kin thinks so too. He will attend ASU in the fall as a Business Management major. “I really hope that several years from now, this program is still in full function, that way my brother can achieve just as many, or perhaps even more, credits as I did. And I'm thankful for my mom for all the research assistance she did in the process in selecting my courses… and my dad for all the encouragement and assistance.”

Rio Salado is the only dual enrollment program in Arizona to receive accreditation by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships,

For more details about Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program, including scholarship opportunities, visit or call 480-517-8080.

Top Photo lineup:
Adam Grula (Mountain Point)
Ashlen Nichols (Desert Vista)
Giovanni Badini (Mountain Point)
Sara Smith (Desert Vista)
Terrance Toyser (Desert Vista)
Danielle Papala (Corona del Sol)
Grayson Lee-Kin (Desert Vista)
Briana Bustamante (Corona del Sol)
Madeline Brandt (Xavier College Prep)
Bryanna Lappin (Desert Vista)
Bridget Ott (Desert Vista)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rio Salado Adaptive Learning Experiment

Campus Technology Magazine writer John K. Waters explores the Renaissance taking place in adaptive learning at higher learning institutions funded by a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant program in an article called The Great Adaptive Learning Experiment.

Included is an interview with Julie Stiak, associate dean of instruction and community development at Rio Salado College.

Rio Salado College is one of the 14 schools chosen by the Foundation to develop adaptive learning courses. Rio's first pilot program launched in January with two online writing courses that are being developed in collaboration with Pearson.

What is adaptive learning? In a nutshell, it’s a high-tech way of collecting and processing data that will help instructors determine what students know, how they learn and how to customize coursework that meets their unique needs.

Learn more in the April issue of CT Magazine.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Graduate’s Degree 38 Years in the Making

Some students take a few semesters (or years) off from school to take a break, get a job, travel, or figure out what they really want to do in life. Rio Salado College student Kristi Houston was no different. However, her break lasted 38 years!

“My goal of graduation took 38 years to attain,” said Houston, who did take some college classes after high school.

“My major was the same as most 18-year-olds: ‘I don’t know what I want to major in, but I will minor in fun classes until I figure it out.’”

Houston is a self-described perpetual student.

“It sounds like I am a slow learner, but I took a decades-long break from college to raise a family and run an art publishing business.”

After the recession hit, Houston had to reinvent herself to remain employable.

“I realized that the most basic jobs required skills I didn’t have,” Houston said. “I was determined to go back to school and earn my degree so that I could qualify for a better job.”

Living in Springerville, Arizona, Houston’s educational options were limited. Then in 2010, she discovered that she could take online classes at her convenience through Rio Salado College.

“Being able to take classes online, on my schedule, is what made it all possible,” Houston said. “And the fact that I took the bulk of the classes for my degree after age 50 was a real advantage. I took my studies more seriously than I did in my teens and 20s.”

Houston completed her coursework last November, and earned an associate degree in computer technology in May.

“Just a few days after finishing my last class at Rio, I interviewed for a graphic designer position for the Phoenix Veteran’s Administration, and got it,” Houston said. “This is my dream job. The skills I learned at Rio Salado changed my life, and my quality of life.”

Houston has no regrets for putting college on the back burner. In fact, she credits the support of her husband, three children and three grand-children for helping her stay motivated.

“Any time I would get overwhelmed or burned out, my family encouraged me to not give up and to keep trying to reach my goal,” Houston said.

Houston hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree one day, but is also relishing in her accomplishments.

“It’s never too late to reach for your dreams,” Houston said. “Degree programs are created to let you go right out of school and get a job. You just have to give your dreams a direction.”

This story can also be found in the May 17, 2014 edition of the Tempe Republic. By Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator at Rio Salado College. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How to Launch a Successful Marketing Plan

How to Launch a Successful Marketing Plan Breakfast Discussion with Nancy Sanders.  A Rio Salado College Business Education Seminar
This seminar is ideal for small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to launch or energize their marketing plans.

In 60-minutes, Nancy will make it easy to understand:
* The difference between marketing and sales
* The three must-haves in your marketing plan
* How to ensure your marketing pays off

Nancy has worked for Fortune 500 organizations and award-winning small businesses. She’s generated millions of dollars in revenue and profits by setting SMART goals, building strong, loyal relationships and implementing simple marketing strategies. Nancy is the founder of Galaxy Consulting Services, Three Dog Marketing and provides counseling services through the Small Business Development Center.

Nancy believes that marketing and sales can be easy and her goal is to guide other businesses to the same results.

Date: Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Location: Rio Salado College - Southern

3320 S. Price Road
Tempe, AZ 85282

Time:    7-7:30 a.m. Registration
             7:30 – 8 a.m. Continental Breakfast
             8-9 a.m. Program (ends promptly at 9) 

Cost: $10 (credit cards, cash and checks accepted)
Free to students and lifelong learners 55+

RSVP: 480-377-4167 or 

Presented by Rio Salado College, the Tempe Chamber of Commerce and the Maricopa Community College’s Small Business Development Centers as part of Rio Salado’s 2014 Business Education Seminar Series, designed to address topics that are important to Tempe small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Managing College Debt with Scholarships

The Huffington Post featured an article on May 2 about the skyrocketing debt students are facing. It references a new study published by the Project on Student Debt, which has found that the average student debt has risen to 29,400—up by 63-percent in less than a decade.

What many students don’t realize is that student loan debt generally cannot be forgiven, even in the case of bankruptcy. There are exceptions in the case of extreme circumstances and via loan-forgiveness programs, such as the Teacher Forgiveness Program. Check out the Federal Student Aid site from the Office of the U.S. Department of Education for additional details.

There are a variety of resources to help you pay for college. The most common are grants, student loans, work study programs and scholarships. Students typically use a blend of these resources. A good practice is to apply for at least one or more types of financial aid. The most advantageous of these are scholarships because there is no debt to repay or interest to accrue.

There are a variety of college scholarships and resources at your disposal. For more details about the Rio scholarships available to you, visit this financial aid web page.

Rio’s general scholarship applications are processed through the new Maricopa Community Colleges District Scholarship Application. Students can complete one application and be eligible for multiple scholarships automatically. You’ll see listings for dozens of scholarship opportunities. If you visit that page now, however, you’ll quickly discover that many of these scholarship application deadlines have already ended or are due to expire-- so time and timing is of the essence.

There are other factors that will impact your success in acquiring funding. We highly recommend you visit this web page for tips and a tutorial before you begin the process of submitting your application:

Information Services Unavailable May 18

On Sunday, May 18 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Maricopa Community College District’s Information Technology department will shut down all systems to repair a power distribution unit and to run some tests.

During this time, several Rio Salado College systems will not be available, including Student Information, HR, financial systems, RioLearn, Google and Canvas.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Rio Library May Additions

Here are the latest additions in fiction, non-fiction and DVDs.

Belle Cora: A Novel by Phillip Margulies
Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber
Cold Storage Alaska by John Straley
Death on the Blackheath by Anne Perry
Fair and Tender Ladies by Chris Nickson
Girl on the Golden Coin by Marci Jefferson
Midnight Witch: A Novel by Paula Brackston
My Name is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
A Star for Mrs. Blake: A Novel by April Smith


Contemporary Latin America: 1970 to the Present
by Robert H. Holden and Rina Villars
The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku
Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans that Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden by Nikki Jabbour
The Hidden History of Early Childhood Education
by Susan A. Miller
Hollywood in the New Millennium by Tino Balio

Loyalty 3.0: How Big Data and Gamification Are Revolutionizing Customer and Employee Engagement by Rajat Paharia
Making Peace With Your Plate: Eating Disorder Recovery
by Robyn Cruze and Espra Andrus
Promising Care: How We Can Rescue Healthcare by Improving It by Donald M. Berwick
A Short Guide to a Long Life by David Agus
Takedown: Inside the Hut for Al Qaeda by Philip Mudd

American Hustle
Before Midnight
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Despicable Me
Inside Llewyn Davis
Iron Man 3
Man of Steel
Monsters University
Saving Mr. Banks

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.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Graduation Unleashes Power of Storytelling

Storytelling has been used for millennia to share ideas, entertain and inspire. Attendees of the Rio Salado College 2014 Commencement on May 6 at Comerica Theatre experienced the awesome power of storytelling, especially from student speaker Kaisi Balmer, who captivated the audience with her personal story.

2014 Student Speaker
Kaisi Balmer
Balmer gives new meaning to courage. She came to Rio Salado four years ago on the recommendation of a friend. At the time, she was homeless, unemployed, addicted to drugs and disconnected from family and friends. Through faith, determination and the help of others, including a Rio Salado academic advisor, she mapped out a plan to pursue her true dream of becoming a doctor.
Balmer received her Associate in Arts diploma during the ceremony and plans to continue her studies this fall at Arizona State University to earn a degree in global health, and ultimately become a missionary family practitioner.  
Virginia Lee Contreras
Also among the graduates in the audience was Virginia Lee Contreras. At age 62, Contreras has had a lifetime of experience in the field of early childhood education and currently works for the Maricopa County Head Start program. 
She began her college education 44 years ago but said, “life got in the way.”  When she received her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and Human Development, it was a lifelong goal finally realized. 

“This is what I always dreamed of,” Contreras said. “I strived for this so that my own children would continue their education, and instill this into their children.”

She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree and continue serving as a role model for her son who is also a returning student.
Joining Contreras were 12 dual enrollment students from the Tempe Union High School District’s Corona del Sol, Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe high schools and Xavier College Preparatory.
More than 6,700 students have earned high school and college credit simultaneously at 41 partnering high schools in this last year. These graduates, however, have gone the extra, extra mile to supplement their dual enrollment courses with online courses at Rio Salado to earn an Associate Degree-- before completing high school. 
Included in the dual enrollment cohort was Briana Corinne Bustamante. Her father is Dr. Chris Bustamante, President of Rio Salado College.  It is likely Commencement 2014 will be included in the Bustamante family stories for years to come.
Dr. Bustamante knows about the power of storytelling all too well, especially when it comes to inspiring people and creating positive change, which is why he called on students to take part in this age-old tradition.
There are many people in our community who have yet to accomplish what you have achieved tonight and we don’t want to leave anyone behind. It’s up to you to encourage someone in your family, or circle of friends, to pursue an education. 
Make it your personal mission to help them plan for the future.  Tell them your story!  Share your success, your knowledge, and your experience with those who are seeking to reshape their lives. You are the best role models. You can set an example; be a mentor and make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Commencement Snapshots*
73         Academic Certificates (48 in 2013)
735       Associate Degrees (599 in 2013)
4,339    Certificates of Completion (3,392 in 2013)

Recognitions of Academic Achievement
16         Recognitions of Academic Achievement (Bachelor’s Degree Pathways)
65         Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Prep Recognitions of Academic Achievement 

629 Associate Degree Graduates Academic Honors:
54         Highest Distinction
102       Honors
134       High Distinction
147       Phi Theta Kappa
192       Distinction

*Count at time of publication.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Happy Graduation Day!

Commencement 2014 has finally arrived.

Here are some of the fun ways to share in the festivities:
Use the #RioGrad hashtag in your posts and to see what others are posting.
Join us on Facebook to post photos and comments and to tag photos.
Add the 2014 Grad Badge to your Facebook timeline.
Use Google+ and Instagram to share photos and comments.

We encourage the entire Rio Salado College community to participate.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Rio Grad Lifelong Goal Realized

Commencement is less than 24 hours away! We can barely wait to celebrate this special evening with the Rio Class of 2014. We’re also eager to share that special moment when Virginia Lee Contreras walks on stage to receive her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and Human Development.

Virginia is proud to be a college graduate at 62. She started her college career 44 years ago but said, “life got in the way.”

She got married, started a family and worked for a living. Later, as a single mother, she devoted her time to her two children, but still managed a college class here and there.

Virginia met with Rene Manning from Rio Salado College’s Early Childhood Education department, who helped her get on track to pursue and complete an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education.

When Virginia graduates on May 6, 2014, her lifelong goal will be realized.

“This is what I always dreamed of,” said Virginia. “I strived for this so that my own children would continue their education, and instill this into their children.”

Contreras has had a lifetime of experience in the field of early childhood education and currently works for the Maricopa County Head Start program.

Her next step is to pursue a bachelor’s degree and continue serving as a role model for her son who is also a returning student.

We encourage Rio graduates to follow Virginia's lead and share their personal stories-- to help inspire others who may think education is out of their reach.