Wednesday, May 31, 2017

PTK Water Bottle & Toiletries Drive June 12-24

Image of a young person holding a sign that reads homeless

Take part in the Full Throttle Reusable Water Bottle & Toiletries Drive hosted by Rio Salado’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Theta Omicron Chapter and the André House to help collect reusable plastic water bottles and toiletries for people in need, June 12 – 24.

Participants can drop off donations at the Rio Salado Tempe headquarters during regular business hours. Bins will be located near the front reception areas of the Tower and Hohokam buildings.

image of volunteers unloading boxes of donations

The PTK team chose to take part in this effort as part of its annual community service project. The proceeds of this drive will go to the André House, which helps hundreds of homeless individuals every day.

“Water is a necessity, but plastic recyclable water bottles often just become garbage, get hot quickly and are hard to refill,” said Rio Salado PTK student president Evea Morrow, who is helping to spearhead this initiative and also serves as an Honors Program assistant for Rio Salado. “By providing reusable water bottles we reduce the need for recyclable water bottles.

Morrow said the hard-plastic bottles can also provide water-proof storage during rainy weather, and storage for leftover food or vitamins.

Other Donations the PTK Team Will Accept:

• Reusable water bottles (non-metal)
• Washcloths
• Feminine Hygiene Products
• Deodorant
• Sunscreen
• Lip Balm
• Razors and Shaving cream
• Shampoo & Conditioner
• Travel size unscented or mildly scented Lotion
• Body wash/bar of soap
• Travel-size toothpaste
• Toothbrushes
• Q-Tips
• Multi-vitamins, cough drops, ibuprofen, aspirin
• Band-Aids
• Combs and hairbrushes
• Sunglasses
• Gallon Size ZipLock Freezer or Storage Bags

Items that will not be accepted
• Hand sanitizer
• Mouthwash with alcohol in it
• Cases of recyclable water bottles (These can be donated directly to André House)

For additional details, please contact Evea Morrow at 480-517-8521 or

We appreciate your generosity and participation!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

RSVP for Enrollment Express Day June 15

Poster for Enrollment Express Day.  Maricopa Community Colleges logo.  For New Students.  Thursday, June 15, 2017, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

All Aboard! Take part in Enrollment Express Day for new students, Thursday, June 15! It’s a quick and easy way to complete enrollment in ONE DAY-- at Maricopa Community Colleges all across the Valley!

To reserve your spot, go to:

  • Apply for Admission
  • Take the Placement Test
  • Seek Academic Advisement
  • Student Orientation
  • Explore Payment Options
  • Register for Classes

Rio will provide Enrollment Express Day services at:
  • RSC Headquarters, Tempe
  • RSC Northern, Phoenix
  • RSC LLC, Surprise
  • RSC Communiversity at Queen Creek
For more information call 480.384.9966

Thursday, May 25, 2017

AZ K-12 Ed Tech Conference Aug. 5

Poster for AZ K-12 Ed Tech Confrence: Empowering the Student-Centered Classroom. Image of a teacher working with young students and technology.

Learn how to wow K-12 students with Technology! Inspire students to find the joys of STEM!

Learn how to use innovative tech applications and strategies in the classroom!

NSF Logo

Rio Salado College's Educator Prep Program and National Science Foundation Noyce Scholar Program will host AZ K-12 Ed Tech Conference: Empowering the Student-Centered Classroom, an educational technology conference this August.

This conference provides hands-on professional development for pre-service teachers, educators and homeschooling parents who are looking for new ways to engage children with technology. Sessions will focus on leveraging educational technology to impact learning in innovative ways. Presenters are experienced K-12 teachers with a national presence in the ed tech world who will share several tools and ideas you can incorporate into your curriculum and classroom right away.

AZ K-12 Ed Tech Conference
Aug. 5, 2017
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Rio Salado College Conference Center
2323 W. 14th St., Tempe, AZ 85281

Please note: Attendees are responsible for supplying their own laptops, tablets and chargers.

Register Now!

Registration is required. Cost $14, includes catered lunch.

Continuing education credits will be offered.

Learn More
Get the latest event details by visiting or call 480-517-8743.


For additional details about Rio Salado's Noyce Scholar program, visit

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Check out Rio Salado HSE Graduation Photos!

Image of an HSE grad smiling at the camera, in processional lineup.

We are pleased to share photos from Rio Salado's 2017 High School Equivalency (HSE) Graduation ceremony on May 18. Check them out now on our Facebook accountCongratulations graduates!

Feel free to tag and download photos.

We encourage you to share your moments using #RioGrad and #GEDGradDay.

Additional photos are available for purchase by GradImages® at

Learn more about Rio Salado's High HSE Prep program for #GED ® test-takers by visiting

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rio Library Mental Health Awareness Guide

Poster for Mental Health Month.  Text: May is Mental Health Month.  Risky Business.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 43 million American adults have mental health issues—that’s one in five people. 

Mental illness is sometimes called an "invisible illness" because it's not always easy to tell when someone is suffering from it. For example, many people who experience chronic anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems disguise their condition behind a facade of good-natured cheerfulness. The stigma of mental illness prevents many sufferers from confiding in friends and loved ones or getting the help that they need.

This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is Risky Business. It is designed to educate the public about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illness, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. These include activities such as risky sex, prescription drug misuse, internet addiction, excessive spending, marijuana use, and inadequate or excessive exercise.

The Rio Salado Library is proud to support Mental Health Awareness Month by pooling together resources to help support this important initiative.

Check out the Mental Health Awareness Guide today!

Rio Closed in Honor of Memorial Day May 29

United States Marine Corps War Memorial by Felix de Weldon  (Iwo Jima Memorial)  Arlington County, Virginia,

Rio Salado and the Maricopa Community Colleges will be closed on Monday, May 29 in honor of Memorial Day

Please also take note that most locations will be closed on Fridays during the summer. Services normally available 24/7 such as our Technology Support Helpdesk, Ask a Librarian and will remain available.

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May to remember the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives while serving in the armed forces.  

The National Moment of Remembrance Act was passed in 2,000 to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity.”   

The Act encourages all Americans to pause at 3 p.m. for a minute of silence on Memorial Day.

flags at half-mass, in front of Satue of Liberty at sunset

There is a traditional way of displaying the U.S. 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.

poster with a star with American flag design.  text: memorial day.

Visit this azcentral web page for a list of Memorial Day gatherings in town.

Image 1: United States Marine Corps War Memorial by Felix de Weldon, Arlington County, Virginia.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Don’t Miss Out on Honors Scholarships

image of hand putting coin into graduation cap piggy bank

Are you looking to get the most out of your educational journey through academic excellence? 

Students like you may be eligible to join Rio Salado College’s Honors Program for exclusive opportunities, including distinguished classes, cultural opportunities, and scholarships.

Being a part of the Honors Program opens the door to opportunities that not every student will have during their college career, such as scholarships that only Honors students are eligible to apply for – don’t count yourself out when it comes to scholarship opportunities! The Honors Achievement Award is an Honors scholarship that requires part-time enrollment (6 or more credit hours) and can be awarded to Honors students who are also receiving financial aid!

If you have completed 12 or more 100 or 200 level classes and have a GPA of 3.25 or higher with the Maricopa Community College District, you may be eligible to join the Honors Program. Other restrictions to eligibility may apply.

To learn more about the Honors Program and your potential eligibility, visit or call 480-517-8521.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Give Kids A Smile - Free Dental Clinic 17 & Under

photo of dental student and child patient

The Rio Salado Dental Hygiene Clinic will host a free dental clinic for children and young adults ages 17 and younger Saturday, June 24, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Rio Salado College Dental Hygiene students, instructors and support staff will volunteer their time and expertise to provide comprehensive dental hygiene care to more than 100 children at the free clinic.

Services include exams, X-rays, cleaning, fluoride varnish, and educational tips on staying healthy. Each child will also receive a wellness goodie bag to take home.

To schedule your child for free dental hygiene services, please RSVP to 480-377-4100 or email to make an appointment. Appointments will be made on a first-come-first-served basis. Walk-ins will be accommodated if time and space are available.

child and dental student holding dentchers and toothbrush
Give Kids A Smile Day
Saturday, June 24, 2017,  8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Rio Salado College Dental Clinic 
2250 W. 14th Street 
Tempe, Arizona 85281

Rio Salado Dental staff will also be available to talk about careers in the dental field and its programs.

This June 24 clinic is made possible in part by the American Dental Association and the Arizona Dental Foundation.

The Rio Salado Dental Clinic provides quality preventive dental hygiene services at discounted rates for the public all year long. Fees range from $25-75 depending on the age of the patient. For more information, call 480-377-4100 or visit

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Today's the Day - HSE Graduation at 7 p.m!

Image of student in cap and gown with family members

Congratulations to Rio Salado’s High School Equivalency (HSE) graduates – you did it! We look forward to celebrating your hard work and accomplishments with you tonight.

Join us for the HSE Graduation Ceremony tonight, Thursday, May 18 at 7 p.m. at North Phoenix Baptist Church, 5757 North Central Avenue, Phoenix 85012.

Can’t make it? No worries! The event will be live streamed for your convenience here.

Not only is today the HSE Graduation Ceremony, but it is also GED® Grad Day! Share your story on social by using #GEDGradDay and #RioGrad

For more details about tonight’s ceremony, please visit this page.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Meet HSE Student Speaker Heather Lyn Ashman

image of heather lyn ashman in cap and gown

Heather Lyn Ashman moved to Arizona three years ago in pursuit of happiness and better health. An avid writer who is passionate about storytelling, she decided to attend Rio Salado College’s High School Equivalency (HSE) program to earn her high school equivalency diploma and attend college.

“Obtaining your diploma is more than a life milestone, and more than a piece of paper,” Ashman said. “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.”

Since receiving her diploma, Heather has been busy with community work. She is a volunteer teacher’s aide at Rio Salado College Southern and a volunteer with Friends of the Tempe Public Library.

Last month, Heather represented Arizona for Capitol Hill Day in Washington D.C. thanks to a scholarship from the Coalition on Adult Basic Education, a national organization that supports adult education.

Heather’s other recognitions include being a panelist at a gaming convention, freelance writer, webcomic creator, and voice for various gaming community websites.

In addition to those feats, she once walked twenty-five miles in a few days’ time to collect invisible creatures for a mobile game and believes that, with enough enthusiasm and a good pair of shoes, you can do anything!

When she is not writing, reading, or at school, Heather enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She also indulges in painting, taking pictures, and exploring Tempe where she resides with her wife, Erika, and their cat, Sebastian.

In the fall, Heather plans to attend a Maricopa Community College to pursue a degree in English (Creative Writing) while also being part of Rio Salado’s Adults Achieving a College Education (AACE) Program. Her dream is to become an adult educator and an author.

Heather will serve as the student speaker during Rio Salado's HSE Graduation ceremony on May 18, which can be seen live via streaming video at

Illustrated image of graduates celebrating.  Text: GED Grad Day.  Celebrate May 18, 2017  #GEDGradDay

May 18, 2017 is also GED® Grad Day-- a virtual party to help new GED® graduates celebrate their accomplishments and to encourage others to fulfill their potential. Learn more at

We encourage you to share your story using #RioGrad #GEDGradDay.

Friendly Reminder - Summer Hours Start Friday

image of the beach and a pineapple

Summer is right around the corner, Rio Waves!

In an effort to take advantage of cost-saving, energy benefits during the slower summer months, most Maricopa Community Colleges and Rio Salado locations and services will be closed on Fridays, May 19 - Aug. 11.

The following Rio Salado services will be available during the Friday closures:
We will resume regular hours beginning August 14. Please visit this web page for links and details about closures and special service hours for each location.

Students are encouraged to use self-serve enrollment options at Have a great summer!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mental Health Awareness Month - Know the Signs

Text in quote box: Text: May is mental health month 2017 #mhm2017
18.5% is just a percentage, right?

It doesn't have much meaning without context and awareness. What if you got an 18.5% raise in your wage, or on the opposite end of the spectrum, what if you received an 18.5% increase of your taxes?

Numbers matter – especially when close to 1 in 5 adults (or 18.5%) in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Ten is also just a number, but do you know the 10 common warning signs of a mental health condition?

• Feeling very sad, withdrawn or unmotivated for more than two weeks
• Making plans or trying to harm or kill oneself
• Out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors
• Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing
• Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or weight gain
• Severe mood swings causing problems in relationships
• Excess use of drugs or alcohol
• Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping habits
• Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still
• Intense worries or fears getting in the way of daily activities like hanging out with friends or going to classes

When you feel your best, you can do your best. A recent article by NAMI mentions four areas of focus for maintaining good health: understanding how stress affects you, protecting your physical health, taking time to recharge, and practicing good mental habits. To learn more about how to practice self-care, see the article by NAMI.

If you or someone you know is living with mental illness, Rio Salado’s counseling team is here to help. Please call 480-517-8785 to talk to a counselor or visit

If you’re in need of immediate assistance, please contact these crisis resources provided by Rio Salado Counseling called ASK AZ and Magellan Health Services.

Ready for A Career Change? Be a Super Teacher!

Kids getting on a school bus

Do you want to positively impact your local community? 

Do you have a passion for learning and sharing knowledge? 

Do you believe that people deserve to be empowered by education to pursue their dreams? 

You might be a teacher at heart if you said yes to any of those questions. Teaching is more than smartboards and books - it's about helping students succeed and shaping future generations. 

The need for preK-12 teachers is greater than ever, especially in Arizona. There’s an even larger shortage looming. Approximately 23%, or 26,000 educators, will be eligible for retirement by June 2018.

Ready to answer the call?

Rio Salado College offers Arizona Department of Education approved Educator Preparation programs that provide convenient and cost-effective ways for undergraduate students and working individuals with a bachelor’s degree transition into teaching.

Undergraduate Bachelor's Degree Pathway
This is a unique, innovative educator preparation program that allows students to complete 90+ credits at the community college level and then transfer to Northcentral University for the remaining courses toward earning a bachelor's of education degree.

Post-Baccalaureate Programs 
Designed for individuals who have a bachelor's degree or higher (in any area) from an accredited university and would like to complete an educator preparation program that leads to certification.

This unique program allows individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university to receive employment in a preK-12 classroom while simultaneously completing their teacher certification coursework.
Super teacher in comic font
Join us for free orientation, in person and online to learn more.  Here’s a look at the next available sessions.

Teacher-In-Residence In-person Orientation
May 17, 2017
June 14, 2017
Rio Salado Conference Center
2323 W. 14th St., Tempe, AZ 85281
Time: 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Teacher-In-Residence Virtual Orientation 
June 7, 2017
July 12, 2017
Time: 6 – 8 p.m.

No need to wait.  Get started today!  For more information visit or contact a Rio Salado College Academic Advisor at (480) 517-8580. 

Check out this blog for expert advice on how to become a teacher.

Check out azfamily #RioGrad Spotlight Now!

snapshot of CBS 5 story.  Image of anchor and student Richard Audrain.

Check out last night's azfamily 3TV CBS 5 story by reporter Ashlee DeMartino about Rio Salado's dual enrollment program! 

A special thanks to Desert Vista High School graduate Erick Rivera and Brophy College Preparatory graduate Richard Audrain for taking part in this story and helping us get the word out about the many benefits of dual enrollment!

Learn more by visiting or call 480-517-8080.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dual Grads Featured on azfamily 3TV & CBS 5!

Photo with reporter Ashlee DeMarino and dual grad students Erick Rivera and Richard Audrain

Tune in tonight at nine and ten with azfamily 3TV CBS 5 reporter Ashlee DeMarino to learn about Rio Salado's extraordinary dual enrollment grads!

Pictured above is DeMarino with Brophy College Preparatory graduate Richard Audrain (l) and Desert Vista High School graduate Erick Rivera (r).

DeMarino also met with Desert Vista High School Spanish professor Shawna Thue, who discussed the many benefits of dual.

DeMarino with Thue
Learn more about Rio Salado's dual enrollment program and 2017 graduates in this blog feature.

Rio Salado's Adjunct Faculty Honorees Announced

Bob Wilson and Chancellor Maria Harper-Marinick

Each year, the Maricopa Community Colleges honor outstanding adjunct faculty.  Rio Salado College is pleased to announce its two honorees this year, Elena Matus McDonald from Counseling and Career Services and Robert Wilson (Bob) from Paralegal.

Adjunct faculty are nominated and chosen based on three criteria which includes teaching, service, and dedication, professionalism, and compassion.  

Matus McDonald was recognized for her effectiveness as an instructor who provides timely, motivational and relevant feedback to her students.  In terms of service, Matus McDonald has donated time to the United Way’s Project Connect, which aims to eradicate homelessness in the greater Phoenix area.  She also contributes to student success initiatives by contributing to blogs that provide students with tools for success.

"It is a humbling experience to be recognized among such amazing and talented professionals. I am grateful for the opportunity to change the lives of students through a valuable course that they can always use, no matter what transition they are facing in their lives,” said Matus McDonald.

Wilson has been teaching at MCCCD since May 1995 and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at Rio Salado College. He teaches courses for the Paralegal Program and has a background in teaching Business Law. In addition to instructing, Bob aided in the development and execution of the Paralegal Program itself.

“It was an honor to be selected for this Award, we adjuncts try very hard to inspire our students to be successful and become outstanding citizens, and not let anything stop them from their goals in life,” said Wilson.

Congratulations to our Rio Salado honorees! Thank you for your efforts and the impact you have on our students and educational community. 

Photo 1: Wilson with Maricopa Community Colleges Chancellor Maria Harper-Marinick 
Photo 2: McDonald (center) with Chancellor Harper-Marinick (r) and Rio Salado Interim Dean / Instruction and Academic Affairs Rosslyn Knight (l).
Photo 3: Wilson (center) with Chancellor Harper-Marinick (r) and Rio Salado Interim Dean / Instruction and Academic Affairs Rosslyn Knight (l).

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Wishing You A Happy Mother's Day!

happy mother's day with flowers

Happy Mother’s Day to our students and staff! Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate the mothers who impact our lives every day.

We are happy to support motivated mothers who are pursuing their educations. Thank you for the positive impact you have made and the inspirations that you are in our community.

Enjoy your special day!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

High School Equivalency Graduation Coming Soon!

image of 4 Rio Salado HSE Graduates

Congratulations to Rio Salado’s High School Equivalency (HSE) graduates! We look forward to celebrating your hard work and accomplishments with you. 

We invite you and your loved ones to join us for the HSE Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, May 18 at 7 p.m. The ceremony will be held at North Phoenix Baptist Church, 5757 North Central Avenue, Phoenix 85012. Here are some additional details you will need.

5:30 p.m. Lobby opens to graduates and guests
6 p.m. Auditorium doors open
6:30 p.m. Graduates line up with marshals
7 p.m. HSE Graduation ceremony begins

  • Parking is available first come, first served (large parking lot at venue).
  • Consider taking the Valley Metro.
  • Arrive early for the best parking and to avoid traffic delays.
Ceremony Streaming
For those who cannot attend in person, the event will be streamed live during the event. Watch Graduation Ceremony Live.

GradImages will take photographs of graduates. Proofs of these photos will be made available at and can also be purchased directly from GradImages by calling 1-800-261-2576.

GED® Grad Day
May 18, 2017 coincidentally is the second annual GED® Grad Day when the GED Testing Service® throws a virtual party for GED® graduates, celebrate all that they have accomplished, and encourage the next generation of students to fulfill their potential.

It takes place primarily on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It's open to everyone, whether you’re celebrating your own accomplishment, congratulating your bestie, or a teacher feeling proud of your student. Visit the GED® Grad Day page to get involved or use #GEDGradDay.

Share Your HSE Story
Rio Salado encourages you to share your story and tag us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ and use #RioGrad. We are excited to learn about your educational journey on this special day. 

We look forward to celebrating your achievements with you!

Learn About Jewish American Heritage Month

Jewish Heritage Month Banner

Jewish American Heritage Month is a time to recognize the history of Jewish contributions to American culture. 

It is an opportunity to learn about and celebrate the achievements of American Jews in fields ranging from sports, art, entertainment, medicine, business, science, government and military service.

The 2017 theme of Jewish Heritage Month is American Jews in Medical Research.

Chances are that you or someone you love has benefited from one or more of the Jewish American contributions to the medical and biological sciences.

The Rio Salado Library is proud to take part in this celebration and has created a guide that highlights Jewish American accomplishments in the medical field as well as library and web resources that can help you learn more about the rich cultural history of Jewish Americans. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Secret to Becoming a Better Teacher

Pictured Left Victoria Reid Pictured Right Shawndra Reid holding awards
Shawndra Reid (r) with her daughter Victoria Reid
The opportunity to grow as a teacher is as easy as the click of a mouse, bringing new information to your fingertips. With so many tips and tricks, it can be difficult to know what works and what doesn't. Learn the secret to becoming a better teacher from someone who has experienced it first hand, Rio Salado's Shawndra Reid, Program Supervisor for the Teacher in Residence Program:

I’ve always considered teaching to be a performance profession like actors, professional athletes, or musicians.  In order to become a master of their performance, teachers must continually strive to perfect their craft through coaching. You need someone to watch you teach and give honest feedback with clear pathways to improvement, which did I mention doesn’t have to be your formal evaluator? 

Some of the best feedback I have ever received was from colleagues I invited in to my classroom to watch me teach. You can ask someone to observe to give general feedback or for something specific like questioning strategies, management style, or even how many times “um” slips out during a presentation.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses so take the opportunity to decide what you want to improve and have someone help you! 

We also need to watch ourselves teach. Yes – that means we need record our own lessons and watch them which can be painful, I know. Just remember, our students watch us teach every day, we should be able to watch ourselves teach without cringing! 

When you see yourself doing something amazing, take note so you can be sure to do it again next time. When we watch ourselves doing something clumsy, keep practicing and improving!  We need to celebrate big (think: end zone dance!) when we do well and conversely, we need to own up when we don’t do well (think: awkward TV interview) and reflect on how we will improve. It’s easy to avoid this kind of reflection and feedback because it can make you feel vulnerable, but this is the only way to truly improve – take it from someone who knows. 

Teaching is a performance which requires an audience. Can you imagine a professional athlete who never watched their own games to see how they did? Or an actor who never watched their own plays/movies to analyze their performance? Of course not! True performers are never done learning, never done improving, never done honing their craft.  This type of focus and determination keeps you fresh and on the front edge of the teaching profession. 

So, what’s the next step? Pin point the area you want to improve (most likely whatever made you cringe) and seek out the knowledge and skills you’ll need to succeed.  I typically have two areas of focus at all times, one instructional strategy and one content area and I hope that this technique will work for you, too.

Recently, I have tried Socratic Seminar as an instructional strategy.  It wasn’t perfect, and I will do things differently next time I hold a seminar, but I will keep trying! I have also started teaching Shakespeare.  I was intimidated in the beginning, but I focused on overcoming my nervousness through learning. I read teaching guides and analysis, watched movies, and attended several live performances at the local theatre.  I developed a love for Shakespeare and my enthusiasm spreads to my teaching. 

What will your focus be?  What will you choose to improve? Who will you choose to watch you teach? 

Contributed by Shawndra Reid, Program Supervisor for the Teacher in Residence Program

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Find Your Grad Photos on Facebook

image of rio salado student smiling with flowers and diploma

Hey RioGrads! Did you see the latest graduation photos on Facebook? Go check it out and save a copy of your favorites. Feel free to tag yourself and share on social media using #RioGrad!

Bustamante Recieves Shirley B. Gordon Award

image of President Bustamante Receiving award

Congratulations, President Bustamante!

Dr. Bustamante was recently honored as one of 19 college presidents in the nation to receive the prestigious Phi Theta Kappa Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction at Phi Theta Kappa’s 99th Annual Convention held in Nashville, TN. 

This award was named in honor of Phi Theta Kappa’s longest serving Board of Directors Chair. College presidents and campus chief executive officers, nominated by their Phi Theta Kappa chapters, were carefully selected for this award based on their outstanding support of the Phi Theta Kappa organization.

To learn more about the Alpha Theta Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Rio Salado, please visit

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Rio Salado Awards Record 93 High School Grads

image of Rio Salado Dual Enrollment Students with President Dr. Bustamante in caps and gowns celebrating

A record 93 high school students are on track to graduate from Rio Salado College this month, earning associate degrees before their high school diplomas. 

Of these students, 65 attended Rio Salado’s commencement ceremony at Comerica Theatre on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 7 p.m. in downtown Phoenix.

“It is very rewarding to see so many high school students take advantage of early college options and achieve this great accomplishment,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College.

Taught by certified instructors at their respective high schools, dual enrollment students earn college and high school credit at the same time.

Cassie Riggs, a senior at Mountain Pointe High School, is earning two degrees at Rio’s commencement ceremony, an associate in arts and an associate in science.

“Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program helped me reach my academic goals because I was able to get ahead of the game,” Riggs said. “While all of my friends are getting their high school diplomas, I will already have two college degrees. I can't wait to display my AA and AS degrees in my room.”

Riggs plans on attending Arizona State University to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Image of dual enrollment student in cap and gown taking a selfie at graduation
“I believe dual enrollment has done a lot for me and I can't wait for the new chapter in my life,” Riggs said.

Richard Audrain, a senior at Brophy College Preparatory, is using his associate degree to propel him toward a teaching career.

“With dual enrollment, I had the ability to study teaching and education on a collegiate level while in high school,” Audrain said. “I especially enjoyed participating in discussions with college students.”

Audrain hopes to one day teach Latin or work in education policy.

“I am proud and humbled to have been afforded the opportunity to earn a college degree before I graduated from high school,” Audrain said. “I know, however, this is just the beginning. Rio has proven to me that I am capable of achieving my goals.”

Desert Vista High School senior Katherine Niemeyer credits her determination for her academic success.

“I took dual enrollment classes at my high school, and online classes at Rio Salado,” Niemeyer said, admitting that the process was rigorous. “Earning an associate degree was my biggest motivation.”

Niemeyer has earned a scholarship to attend Colorado Christian University in the fall, and plans to become a youth pastor and teacher.

“This jumpstart I have will allow me to step into the workforce much sooner than that of my peers,” Niemeyer said.

“Dual enrollment has so many wonderful benefits for students,” said EJ Anderson, director of Rio Salado College’s dual enrollment program. “We are just thrilled so many students are taking advantage of this. Not only do students get a jump start on their college education, research has shown that dual enrollment students are more likely to stay in college, graduate from college and have better G.P.A. once they are in college.”

Along with improving academic achievement and graduation rates, dual enrollment courses also help with job placement, said Anderson. “This is one of the best things students can do to prepare for success in college.”

2017 Dual Enrollment Graduates Attending Commencement (by High School)

  • Brophy College Prep: Richard Audrain
  • Corona del Sol: David Ross, Isabella de Leon, James Miller, Mark Papala, Nicholas Tieri
  • Deer Valley: Kimberlee Balkeney, Tia Boudreau
  • Desert Vista: Audrey Larson, Basia Adeleke, Carly Rogers, Elena Kalina, Erick Rivera, Garrett Penna, Jacob Fisher, Jason Rattner, Jenna Vanderhave, Jodi Kreiner, Joshua Caballero, Julia Ziesmer, Katherine Niemeyer, Kelly Tabarez, Nicole Trujillo, Olivia Pinkowski, Paige Martin, Steven Oeberst
  • Heritage: Brady Haws, Kalli Naylor
  • Horizon: Courtney Fried, Nicole Padgett
  • Marcos de Niza: Rida Imtiaz
  • McClintock: Emma Ryan
  • Mountain Pointe: Cassie Riggs, John Marshall, Madeline Greve, Noah Lopes, Payton Mackey, Sara Bacon, Saul Favila, Terryn McDonald, Valeria Smith, Vlada Markov
  • South Mountain: A'lira Underwood
  • Xavier College Prep: Aleeha Noon, Alexandra DeLeon, Allyson Dowse, Alyssa Cerna, Annika Christensen, Ashley Martin, Camille Hays, Carolyn Blake, Deziray Morales, Elena Zurek, Eizabeth Hall, Emma Ciulla, Francesca Caruso, Gabrielle Gaspard, Hailey Barrell, Isabella Rose, Jessica Smyth, Jocelyn Jones, Jordan Krueger, Julianne Olloren, Kaiti-Lynn Zendejas, Karly Hrasky, Katherine Witt, Maeve McIntyre, Malia Hernandez, Megan Piotrowski, Olivia Campisano, Quinn Blake, Samantha Marx, Stephanie Burchhard, Thien Le

For more details about Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program, visit

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Congratulations Rio Waves Class of 2017

Image of Splash mascot wearing cap and gown

Tonight is the big night and we are excited to celebrate with you, Rio Waves! 

There can be many motivations behind pursuing your education – to provide a better life for your family, to get experience in the field you are passionate about, to prove to yourself that you can achieve your goals, just to name a few.

Many late nights, early mornings, and cups of coffee later, your goals have become a reality! With the support of your friends, family, and Rio Salado community, you have completed this part of your educational journey.

Whether you go off to become a scientist, business person, even an artist, or if you are continuing your journey as a student – Rio is proud to have successful grads like you!

Screenshot of youtube video with text: Live in 4 hours. May 3, 7:00 PM Set reminder. Take the next step Rio Salado College logo and banner

If you or a loved one is unable to attend the 2017 Rio Salado Commencement Ceremony, the entire event will be streaming live HERE.

Commencement Credentials Snapshot
260+ candidates plan to participate in the ceremony Degrees, Certificates and Recognitions of Achievement.

Degrees, Certificates and Recognitions of Achievement
  • 746 Associate Degrees
  • 51 Academic Certificates
  • 4,034 Certificates of Completion
  • 52 Post-Bacc. Teacher Certifications
  • 133 Teacher in Residence Certifications
  • 5 Ed. Bachelor Partnership Degrees
Total: 5,021

Honors & Distinctions
  • 129 Academic Honors
  • 97 Distinction
  • 75 High Distinction
  • 79 Highest Distinction
  • 3 Phi Theta Kappa
  • 3 Honors Program
  • 27 National Society of Leadership and Success
  • Special Acknowledgement: 74+ Dual Enrollment students will participate in commencement.
Congratulations Rio Waves – class is dismissed! Share your stories, smiles, and celebrations using #RioGrad #RioWaves or by using our Snapchat filter at Comerica Theatre today!

Hey RioGrads!! Paid Assessment Opportunity

Image of Spash in front of keyboard keys
Hey Spring 2017 Graduates! Want to earn $25? Look for the Paid Assessment Opportunity email in your inbox for more detail.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Kick Back & Relax With These New Titles

Fantastic beasts and where to find them 11.18.2016 official movie poster with eddie redmayne is newt scamander

Hey Rio Waves! Summer is right around the corner and it's time for some well deserved R&R (reading and relaxation), so stop by the Rio Salado College Library to check out the latest additions including Academy Award winner, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


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

Rio & St. Mary’s Partner to Feed the Community

Image of Rio Salado employees volunteering

Rio Salado College recently partnered with St. Mary’s Food Bank by offering up its locations including RCS Downtown, RSC Northern and RSC Southern which served as Mobile Pantries (food distribution sites) that provided fresh produce to people in need. 

Image of Rio Salado employees volunteering

Food insecurity is defined as “is a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food” according to the Economic Research Service. Food insecurity affects close to 18% of Arizonans which is higher than the national average. Close to 1 in 5 people may not know where their next meal is coming from. On top of that, Arizona ranks third in the U.S. for high child food insecurity rates where over 456,760 children face hunger every day, according to St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

As an alternative to the standard food bank which includes packaged, processed and canned goods, food distribution sites, such as Rio Salado locations, enable St. Mary’s to provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables to people who are struggling with hunger and food insecurity.

Image of Rio Salado employees volunteering

According to Tamara Cochran, Director of Community Partnership Programs, Rio Salado staff packed and distributed fresh food to nearly 2,000 individuals at the three RSC locations. Rio Salado College is proud to partner with St. Mary’s Food Bank by being used as mobile pantry locations to successfully feed the hungry and positively impact our local community.

If you or someone you know is struggling with food insecurity, please visit to learn more about the resources that St. Mary’s Food Bank can provide.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Join Student Speaker Gloria Mendoza Wed. May 3

Rio Salado College holds its annual commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, at Comerica Theater in Phoenix. For commencement student speaker Gloria Mendoza, graduation is a dream that is finally coming true after an 18-year long wait.

“At the age of 16 I dropped out of high school to escape a difficult home situation,” Mendoza said. “I took on a full-time job and lived on my own but promised myself I would return to school and graduate as soon as it was possible.”

Then life happened, and at the age of 18, Mendoza found herself on a new life path.

“I became a mother and a wife and dedicated myself to raising my family” Mendoza said.

Then in 2014, facing challenges in the employment field, Mendoza decided it was time to make a change.

“At the age of 32, with the support of my family, I started my journey back to school,” Mendoza said.

She earned her high school equivalency and enrolled at Rio Salado College to pursue a degree program.

“Thanks to Rio’s online classes and flexibility, I was able to continue to work, raise a family and work toward obtaining a college degree,” Mendoza said. “And even though there were long hours, sleepless nights, homework, exams and times that I wanted to give up, I am grateful to finally be at this point.”

Mendoza sought full advantage while at Rio, she joined Rio’s chapters of the national Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) student honor society and the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS).

"Through these memberships I was able to meet advisors and students who offered me support and guidance through my journey and helped me excel," Mendoza said. "They became a second family for me of genuinely wonderful and caring people who support each other and rejoice in each other’s successes.”

Mendoza is earning an Associate in Arts degree from Rio Salado, and plans to transfer to Arizona State University to pursue a psychology degree. She ultimately hopes to attend law school to become an attorney.

“Rio will always hold a special place in my heart,” Mendoza said. “As it allowed me to find that link that had been missing in my life for so long: education.”