Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Enjoy Latest Commencement Photos!

Collage of images from graduation ceremony

We are delighted to share the latest photos from our May 2, 2019 commencement ceremony.

Feel free to download, share and tag! 

We will post more photos as they become available.

You can purchase additional images from GradImages. Photo proofs are available at www.gradimages.com.

Congratulations Rio Waves!

Honoring Memorial Day, May 27

Poster for Memorial Day.  Text: Memorial Day Remember and Honor.  Maricopa Community Colleges will be closed on Monday, May 27th

Rio Salado and the Maricopa Community Colleges will be closed on Monday, May 27 in honor of Memorial Day.

Please also take note that the colleges and most Rio Salado locations will be closed on Fridays during the summer.

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 Statue 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.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Benefits of a Career in Senior Living

After getting your certificate of completion in Senior Living Management, there are numerous careers waiting for you in the senior living field. 

From resident caregivers to CNAs, seniors need a lot of people in their lives to ensure their golden years are truly golden. Perhaps you haven’t considered these options before, but they’re certainly worth thinking about. With numerous senior living jobs available, you may just find the perfect line of work.  

Outstanding Job Growth

It’s natural to want to get into a field you will be able to work in for the rest of your life. Fortunately, senior living employers are not going away any time soon. The aging population will only increase in the years to come with medical advances. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of home health aide jobs will increase by 47 percent between 2016 and 2026. Considering the average job growth for all jobs stands at 7 percent within the same timeframe, this is excellent growth to consider for a long-term career. The demand will increase as people live longer, and job-seekers can benefit greatly by getting into the field now.

A Multitude of Careers

When most people think of senior living jobs, they think about nurses at senior care facilities who supervise the residents. In reality, however, the truth is that there are numerous other jobs you can get in this field, which means that no matter what your passion is, you can find a way to express it in a field that matters. The exact job titles will vary according to region, but for the most part, you can find the following opportunities in this industry:

Facilities directors
Cooks and chefs
Office Managers
Nursing assistants
Wellness directors
Activities directors
Marketing directors
Sales managers
And more!

Mobile Work Options

You can certainly work at a nursing home if you want to, but working a regular 9-to-5 in the same place every day is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you enjoy work that is a little more flexible, then you may want to consider becoming an assistant living resident, a generally mobile position. You can go to different people’s homes to check up on them, make sure they’re safe, and provide care. Many people are bedridden but do not want to go to a nursing home for whatever reason, which gives you the freedom and flexibility to drive to different people’s homes every day, rather than work in an office or facility setting.

Heartwarming Stories

Working in this field give you the opportunity to aid an array of people in nursing homes. Some will be easier to work with than others, but one thing is consistent across the board: they will almost always want to talk with you. Many of them are eager to share their stories, tell tales about their life, and give advice. The sad reality is that many residents or patients may not always have family and friends coming in to see them, so you will be providing more than just care: you’ll be providing friendship. If you love television or going to the movies, then you’ll probably enjoy hearing a one-of-a-kind story from someone’s youth. You can learn so much from your residents, and with your help, their stories will live on for years to come.

Pay it Forward

Most parents do a lot for their kids, who aren’t always able to return the favor directly. Instead, consider paying it forward by working with the older generation and showing how much you care. Some seniors are not as independent as others, so you may need to do a lot of work for some patients, including feeding, bathing, and administering medication to them. Work up some good karma for yourself later in life; Mom and Dad will be so proud!

Numerous Training Programs

Working in this field give you the opportunity to aid an array of people in nursing homes. Some will be easier to work with than others, but one thing is consistent across the board: they will almost always want to talk with you. Many of them are eager to share their stories, tell tales about their life, and give advice. The sad reality is that many residents or patients may not always have family and friends coming in to see them, so you will be providing more than just care: you’ll be providing friendship. If you love television or going to the movies, then you’ll probably enjoy hearing a one-of-a-kind story from someone’s youth. You can learn so much from your residents, and with your help, their stories will live on for years to come.

There are other training programs available that will teach you CPR and other basic first aid techniques at no cost to you. These are great skills to learn and add to your resume. Not only can you apply first aid and CPR to patients at the facility or residence, but you will know what to do should an emergency arise in your everyday life.

High Level of Job Satisfaction

Out of all the senior living benefits, none are greater than the level of satisfaction you get from helping others. A major reason why many people get burnt out from their jobs is simply because they aren’t happy and don’t understand how they are making a difference in the world. When you assist senior citizens, every day is an opportunity to see how you make a direct impact on someone’s life. Your job entails making people smile and laugh and ensuring that they are happy and well-provided for. These jobs naturally come with their own set of challenges, but most people find that their passion is enough to keep them in this field for many years. After all, this is the perfect opportunity to leave at the end of each day with a smile on your face and the knowledge that you brightened someone’s day.

There are numerous benefits to helping senior citizens. For people who are still unsure about where their passion lies, they should consider joining this industry. You can get the education you need to excel in this field with Rio Salado College. Contact us today to get started!   

Insurance Studies Summer Camp Starts June 10!

Insurance Studies Summer Camp Header Graphic

Explore a career in insurance, meet with industry professionals, and earn 3 credits toward your Certificate of Completion (CCL) in Insurance Studies with our Insurance Studies Summer Camp, starting June 10!

Insurance professionals are the first to admit that when they were young, they never dreamed of working in the insurance industry. Once they started their insurance careers, however, they quickly realized this industry offers competitive pay and benefits, diverse career paths and growth potential, and a unique opportunity to help others when they need it most.

This hybrid INS100: Insurance Industry Profession course will give you the chance to see what your career path could look like in this thriving industry. Classes will be held in-person at Rio Salado College - Tempe on Mondays from June 10 to July 1 and will continue in an online format until Aug. 3. Light snacks and lunch will be provided.

In-Person Schedule (June 10, 17, 24, and July 1)

9:00am - 9:30am       Networking (Light Snacks Provided)
10:00am - 11:00am   Lecture/Activity
11:00am - 1:00pm     Guest Speaker Presentation
1:00pm - 1:30pm       Lunch with Guest Speaker (Lunch Provided)

Best of all, scholarships are available here, which means the program could be completely paid for!

To register, simply add INS 100 Section #18821 to your summer schedule. For questions, please contact Insurance Studies Faculty Chair, Lily Davidov at lily.davidov@riosalado.edu.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Here’s to the HSE #RioGrad Class of 2019!

YouTube snapshot of graduation ceremony

We celebrated the accomplishments of 200+ students who have successfully completed Rio Salado’s GED® test prep classes and passed the GED® test at our annual HSE Graduation Ceremony, Thursday, May 16 at North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix. 

Photo of Hoffman on stage shaking hands with a new HSE graduate

The ceremony was held on #GEDGradDay—a nationwide celebration to recognize the accomplishments of new GED® graduates-- and to inspire other adult re-entry students to fulfill their potential.

Among the guests at this year’s event was Arizona Department of Education’s new Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, who shared inspirational remarks with guests. Watch her speech now

Rio Salado College serves as the principal provider of GED test preparation programs for the Maricopa Community Colleges and the largest provider of adult basic education in the state of Arizona.

Snapshot of Cuevas at graduation ceremony delivering his speech

This year’s HSE Student Speaker was Javier Cuevas, who decided to earn his HSE diploma to improve his career prospects. 

There are many things in a person’s childhood that can forever shape their future: parents, neighborhoods, peer pressure, cultural and societal influences. All of these left an imprint on Javier Cuevas.

“Growing up in a bad neighborhood takes its toll on the youth,” Cuevas said. “The influences, the peer pressure, the need to fit in. I was never a bad kid. I just made the wrong friends.”
Photo of Cuevas in cap and gown at Rio Salado Tempe

After spending time in juvenile detention, Cuevas had to drop out of high school to move to Mexico with his father.

“I was a 15-year-old American kid living in the most dangerous city in Mexico,” Cuevas said. “One day, a car pulled up on the curb. A man jumped out with a shotgun and pointed it to my head. I thought this was it. It seemed that time froze. Suddenly the driver yelled out, ‘it isn't him’ and sped off.”

The next year Cuevas returned to the U.S. to live with his mother. He had to re-start high school as a 16-year old freshman but caught up to being a senior in two years. However, he dropped out again when he learned he was going to be a father.
“As an adult, I learned that it’s extremely difficult to find a decent job without a diploma,” Cuevas said. Working long hours with low pay and stressing over how to pay bills led Cuevas to finally earn his high school equivalency diploma.
Cuevas credits Rio Salado College for helping him reach his goal.

“The friendly demeanor of the teachers made it easy to adapt and feel comfortable making mistakes,” Cuevas said. “They understood the struggle of balance between work, family, and school. I wouldn’t be here without them.”

Cuevas also thanks his family for seeing him through school.
“I want to thank my wife, who motivated me to go back to school, and my mom, for not giving up on me and being here tonight to see me graduate.”
Cuevas plans to continue his education by studying music business at Mesa Community College.

Thanks to Maricopa Community Colleges Television, you can watch Cuevas speech now and the entire graduation ceremony at youtu.be/3Z_BaiZ7Ye8.

We encourage you to share your grad stories using #GEDGradDay #RioGrad.

Event Photos 
We will share event photos as soon as they’re available via our Facebook account. Additional photos are available for purchase by GradImages® at www.gradimages.com 

Learn more about Rio Salado’s GED® test prep program at www.riosalado.edu/programs/abe.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Phoenix Fan Fusion: Inspiring Education

Image result for phoenix fan fusion

The Phoenix Fan Fusion is Thursday, May 23 - Sunday, May 26, 2019, at the Phoenix Convention Center. Our Dual Enrollment Team will be representing! 

Phoenix Fan Fusion has a long history of bringing real science to our favorite shows, comics and movies. K-12 students, including many current Dual Enrollment students, will be at Fan Fest this year soaking up their favorite fandoms and learning the science behind them.

Workshops this year will be highlight STEM workshops, biology, psychology, astronomy and much more. Some of the workshops include "Simply Electrical Signals Interpreted by Your Brain: The Ethics of VR," "Adventures and Disasters in Science: How Does Science Get Done Anyway?," and "Cellpai Noticed me!: Science of Cells at Work." 

Our Dual Enrollment team will provide information to various workshops about how Dual Enrollment can help a high school student's academic career.  One of the workshops that will help highlight Dual Enrollment will be "6 Universal Truths of all Successful STEM K-12 Programs," presented by Shawn Hardina on Thursday.

Dress up as your favorite sci-fi charter and join us at the Phoenix Fan Fusion!

Phoenix Fan Fusion

May 23 - 26, 2019

Phoenix Convention Center

100 North 3rd Street

Phoenix, Arizona 85004

Monday, May 13, 2019

Friday Summer Closures Begin May 17

Rio mascot Splash on beach, sign reads, "Friday summer closures!"

The Maricopa Community Colleges and most Rio Salado locations and services will be closed on Fridays, May 17- Aug. 2 in an effort to conserve energy during the slower summer months.

The following services will be available on Fridays:
Services normally available 24/7 such as RioLearn, Technology Support Helpdesk, Ask a Librarian and My.Maricopa.edu will remain available. Students are also encouraged to use self-serve enrollment options at My.Maricopa.edu.

The college will resume regular hours Aug. 5. Please visit our locations pages for details about hours of operation for each of our locations.

Have a great summer!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Hiring Hub for #JobSeekers 16-24, May 14

Poster for event, featuring a group of young people smiling.  Text in blog.

Here's a great opportunity for job seekers ages 16-24! Opportunities for Youth is hosting a Digital Hiring Hub at our Northern location in Phoenix, May 14 to provide free resume and job application guidance. 

Register now: oppforyouth.org/event/2019-digital-rio

We are proud to join Opportunities for Youth, the Maricopa Community Colleges and other community partners n this effort to help Maricopa County youth find gainful employment.

Free and open to all job seekers ages 16-24!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
2-6 p.m.

Rio Salado College - Northern 

1715 West Northern Avenue
Phoenix, AZ, 85021

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Free Dental Clinic for Kids June 22!

Poster for Give Kids a Smile Dental Clinic, featuring dental students and young paients.  Text in blog.

The Rio Salado Dental Clinic will host a free clinic for children and teens ages 17 and younger on Saturday, June 22, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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.

Register now for guaranteed service by calling 480-377-4100 or emailing dental.hygiene@riosalado.edu.

Baby smiling at doctor, holding a tooth brush.

Services Available
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. Walk-ins are welcome and will be accommodated if time and space permit.

logos for Arizona Dental Foundation and American Dental Foundation
This June 22 clinic is made possible in part by the Arizona Dental Foundation and American Dental Association.

Rio Salado Dental Clinic for Kids
Saturday, June 22, 2019
7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Rio Salado College Dental Clinic
2250 W. 14th Street
Tempe, Arizona 85281

Remember, tooth decay is almost entirely preventable with good oral hygiene and regular check-ups!

Dental student showing a young girl how to brush

The Rio Salado Dental Clinic provides quality preventive dental hygiene services at discounted rates for the public all year longFor more information, call 480-377-4100 or visit riosalado.edu/dentalclinic.

Veteran Student Hiring Expo May 16!

snapshot from PipelineAZ web landing page.  Image of a veteran talking to an employer.  Text: PipelineAZ Veteran Student Hiring Expo.  This is not a career fair.  all candidates are pre-matched for interviews to be conducted the day of the event.

Here's a great opportunity for transitioning military, veterans and military families in search of employment!

Join the Maricopa Community Colleges and PipelineAZ on May 16 to explore the possibilities! Meet with employers who value your skills and experience.  Don’t have a resume? Use the step-by-step resume builder to quickly create one. All candidates are pre-matched for interviews to be conducted the day of the event.

Registration deadlines
Job Seekers: May 10, 2019
Employers: April 15, 2019

Veteran Student Hiring Expo
May 16, 2019
9 a.m. - 4 p.m

GateWay Community College
Central City Campus
Community Room 
1245 E. Buckey Rd. 
Phoenix 85034

Let's Get to Work!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

2012 #RioGrad Jennifer Papworth Pays it Forward

snapshot of Papworth at commencement lectern

Among the guest speakers at our 2019 commencement ceremony on May 2 was Rio Salado alumni Jennifer Papworth, who graduated in 2012. Listen to her speech now.

After graduating from Rio Salado with an Associate Degree in Public Administration, Papworth transferred to Arizona State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Service and Public Policy.

As a Rio Salado student, Papworth served as president of the college's Phi Theta Kappa Omicron Beta Chapter and earned several scholarships from the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation.

Photo of Papworth

“I chose Rio because I still had one child at home and wouldn’t have to pay for childcare,” Papworth said. “Online classes fit into my schedule and meant that I didn’t have to spend time away from my husband and kids.
As a community leader, Papworth served on the Avondale Elementary School District Governing Board for five years, worked as an accredited La Leche League Leader and advised on local political campaigns.

Today, she is a Federal Relations Manager in the Office of Government and Community Engagement at Arizona State University.

Papworth said that the key to being a successful online student is the same as being a traditional student. “Plan your time wisely, keep your mind open and enjoy the learning experience.”

Monday, May 6, 2019

Reflections of 2019 Commencement

Collage of graduation photos featuring students at May 2 commencement ceremony

A record number of Valley high school students and a mother and son who are completing their degree programs simultaneously were among the class of 2019 college graduates who celebrated at Rio Salado College’s commencement ceremony at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix on Thursday, May 2, 2019.

Interim Rio Salado President Kate Smith
with Dual Enrollment Grads
Among the 200+ graduates in attendance were approximately 103 dual enrollment students, who represent the 187 high school students who have earned or on track to earn associate degrees during the 2018-2019 academic year. Students attend Deer Valley, Heritage, Brophy College Prep, Desert Vista, Horizon, Mountain Pointe and Xavier College Prep in the Phoenix metropolitan area and Corona del Sol, McClintock and Tempe high schools in Tempe. 

“We had just one dual enrollment graduate seven years ago,” said EJ Anderson, director of Rio Salado College’s dual enrollment program. “Today, no other college in the state has as many dual students or graduates.”

Rio Salado serves approximately 7,000 dual enrollment students at 37 Valley high schools, providing in-person, college-level instruction at each school so students can get a jump start on earning college credits, certificates and degrees.

Anderson says teachers and parents have played a key role. “Parents are usually the ones to convince students to take advantage of the cost savings, seamless university transfer options, time savings and other benefits of our dual enrollment programs.” Dual enrollment credits transfer to Arizona public colleges and many colleges and universities across the country.

Dylan Dixon
Among the Tempe McClintock High School dual enrollment students was Dylan Mitcham who is on track to earn an associate of arts and associate of science in general studies this summer.

“My mom convinced me and we both thought it would be a great opportunity,” said Mitcham. “I’ve been able to get my degree very early. It also means I don’t have to take that many classes at college – all around it’s pretty awesome.”

Mitcham is also a Rio Salado Achieving a College Education (ACE) Youth Scholar, a program designed to help high school students-- who may not otherwise have the means to attend college-- prepare for and succeed in their academic pursuits.

“Dylan could not have done this without the ACE Puente scholarship,” said Mitcham’s mother, Gigi Dixon Mitcham. “From the moment that they accepted his essay… amazing things were happening and will continue to happen.”

“I’m pretty proud of myself,” said Mitcham, who plans to attend Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering as a computer science major. “I’m glad that I was smart enough to take that opportunity because it’s really helped me, especially with my computer science degree that I’m planning on getting. Since I already have the associate (degree) I’m basically halfway done toward a bachelor’s, so I have extra time and don’t have to spend so much on college.”

Gigi Dixon Mitcham and Dylan Mitcham
Mitcham attended the graduation ceremony with his mother, who is also on track to earn her Associate of Arts in General Studies this summer. Dixon Mitcham said she was inspired to return to school because of her son. “I thought it would be wonderful to have that experience together and to graduate together.”

Dixon Mitcham has been teaching K-5 reading intervention at Tempe’s Nevitt Elementary School for the last ten years and has enjoyed a lifelong career as a musician.

“I was a full-time musician my whole life up until I worked at Nevitt… playing 5 nights a week-- traveling around the country, recording out in Nashville and writing songs… piano, guitar, singing—all of it,” said Dixon Mitcham, who still performs once a month at the San Tan Flats. “I’ve had quite a life, which makes me more proud to finish this part of it, or have this be a stepping stone for more education.”

She said Rio Salado’s Dual Enrollment Early College Success Coach Robert Brown “played a great role in motivating me and keeping me on track and helping me register for the right courses.”

“This is one of those memorable graduations,” said Brown. “I normally work exclusively with high school students, and this year I had the honor and privilege to help this family reach their educational goals together.”
“We feel extremely blessed to be part of this family and part of Rio Salado and the ACE Puente program,” said Dixon Mitcham. “I just don’t know where we would be without it right now. And because of Dylan being part of it, he encouraged me at my age to finish something I started many decades ago. My road led me to a different place but I ended up back here with my son which is amazing. It’s heartwarming.”
Dixon shares a great deal in common with other Rio Salado students, many of whom are parents, working full-time and returning to school to get ahead and be good role models for their kids. Her advice to adults who are considering returning to school: “Go for it. Don’t be afraid. Learn you must. I’m sure that’s a quote by Yoda from Star Wars. And as I like to say to all my students at the elementary school, you are smarter than you think. That is my mantra; you are smarter than you think-- in every situation.”

Snapshot of azgamily.com story on web site, featuring photo of Gigi and Dylan dressed in cap and gown.  Text: Mother, son graduate college together in Phoenix

This Arizona Family 3TV CBS 5 story by reporter Spencer Blake provides some additional insights about the Mitcham family’s educational journey.

Gigi and Dylan Mitcham represented nearly 2,500 Arizona graduates and more than 100 graduates from across the country who are expected to earn more than 3,000 degrees, certificates and credentials from Rio Salado College during the 2018-19 year*.

For more details about Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program, visit www.riosalado.edu/programs/dual.

Check out the first set of commencement photos by visiting this Facebook album. You will also have an opportunity to purchase images from GradImages. Photo proofs will be available at www.gradimages.com.

A big thank you to all the graduates, guests, faculty and staff who helped to make Thursday’s graduation ceremony a magical, memorable night. We are so proud of you, #RioGrad #Classof2019—and honored to be of service to you and your family. We admire your perseverance and commitment to higher learning. Congratulations!

*FY2018-19 awards data as of April 30, 2019.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Meet 2019 #RioGrad Student Marshal Kari Reinhart

Photo of Kari in grad cap and gown

Rio Salado’s 2019 Commencement Student Marshal is Kari Reinhart, an honors graduate, a single mother, dog lover and long-distance runner. And if that wasn’t enough, Reinhart also worked two jobs to help her dream of graduation become a reality.

“I have persevered by using every possible spare moment to study, research and write,” Reinhart said. “It is an amazing feeling of accomplishment of attaining my goal while providing a living breathing example for my child to never underestimate yourself.”

Reinhart’s academic accomplishments include being a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“I owe my success to my brother for convincing me to go back to school, and my daughter for giving me a reason to make a better life for the two of us,” Reinhart said.

Reinhart is earning an Associate Degree in Administration of Justice and is already working in that career field.

“The most enjoyable part of my current job is working with law enforcement canines and military working dogs,” Reinhart said. “It is my goal to continue down this path in some capacity full-time.” 

Get the latest news about our graduation ceremony, including a downloadable event flier. And don’t forget to download your grad badge.

Learn more about Rio Salado’s Administration of Justice program at riosalado.edu/criminaljustice.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Graduation Snapchat Filter, Live Stream and More!

Poster for snap chat.  Images of students keyed into filter, which includes image of Rio Salado mascot, Splash with text: I made it happen.  Text: Oh Snap! We have a filter.  Download Snapchat to use it.

Can you feel it? T-minus one day before our 2019 graduation ceremony! Woohoo! 

We look forward to celebrating your special day with you and your loved ones. Here are a few reminders to help you prepare. 

Oh Snap!
Commemorate your memories by downloading our Snapchat commencement filter on graduation day, May 2, as you make your way into Comerica Theatre.

Event flier.  Download at http://www.riosalado.edu/about/teaching-learning/student-life/graduation/commencement

Watch the ceremony on YouTube!
We will have a live stream of the event, courtesy of MCTV. Share this link with family and friends so they can tune in: youtu.be/Cb0GTYMoo8Y!

Closing early!
As a reminder, Admissions, Records and Registration, Advisement and Financial Aid services will be closing at 5 p.m., Thu., May 2 to prepare for the commencement ceremony. We will resume regular business hours, Friday, May 3. Please plan accordingly. 

Event News!
Get the latest news about our graduation ceremony, including a downloadable event flier. And don’t forget to download your grad badge.

Share your stories and memories using #RioGrad and #RioWaves.

Here's to you, Rio Grad!  Congratulations!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

2019 #RioGrad Student Speaker Desiree Williams

Photo of Desiree Williams in graduation cap and gown

Desiree Williams is the Rio Salado College 2019 Student Commencement Speaker. 

The formula Desiree Williams used to reach her goal of graduation is simple: hard work, dedication, a ridiculous amount of coffee, and her 3-year-old son. 

“Although I don’t wear a cape or have Incredible Hulk strength, my son has always viewed me as a superhero and I couldn’t let him down,” Williams said. “Growing up, I was a really good kid. After high school, I had a major set-back. I made some really poor choices and had to live with the consequences.” 

Williams chose Rio Salado College to get her life back on track. 

Photo of Desiree Williams

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunities and flexibility that Rio Salado offered,” Williams said. “Being able to stay home with my son, work and attend school seemed absurd, but Rio made it possible.”

Williams had some motivational help to get her through the rigors of school.

“My fiancĂ© was there any time I was overwhelmed or felt like giving up,” she said. “And my son often pretends like he’s going to school by typing on the computer to take an imaginary test.”

Williams hopes this experience will leave a lasting impression on her son.

“I want him to view education as important and put great effort into whatever he chooses to study in the years to come,” she said. “I also want him to know he was my biggest motivation and never my excuse.”

Williams has earned three associate degrees at Rio. She plans on transferring her credits to a bachelor’s degree program in medical laboratory science, and to ultimately work in the fields of microbiology and biochemistry.

"Someday I will trade in my metaphoric mom cape for a lab coat,” Williams said. “I will still be a hero in my son’s eyes, but hope to also be a hero to my patients and their families and friends.”

The Commencement ceremony takes place Thursday, May 2 at 7 p.m. at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix. Learn more.

Contributed by Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Free Financial Aid Verification May 3!

Grad cap sitting over a pile of money.  Text: Financial Aid Verification Assistance Opportunity

Need help with your financial aid application?

  • Were you selected for verification for the 2018-2019 or 2019-2020 aid year?
  • Are you having difficulty with completing your verification documents?
  • Do you need help resolving selective service or veteran status on your “to-do” list?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you'll want to join the Maricopa Community Colleges financial aid team at Rio Salado College on May 3. Staff will be on duty to help answer your questions and guide you through the process!

Verification Assistance Event
Friday, May 3, 2019
10 a.m.–noon

Rio Salado College Tower–Room 515
2323 W. 14th St., Tempe, AZ 85281

College financial aid is available to help eligible students pay for college expenses. College financial aid comes in many forms such as grants, scholarships and student loans. Learn more at www.riosalado.edu/financial_aid.

An Interview with Doreen Pollack, Sustainable Food Systems Adjunct Faculty

Be the you the world needs know banner image

With efforts towards sustainability on the rise, learning how to create sustainable food systems is more important than ever.

Food waste has reached staggering numbers, and over-consumption has created many problems for our environment that must be eradicated in order to create a sustainable future. Here to provide insights on solving this problem is Doreen Pollack, an adjunct instructor here at Rio Salado College within the Sustainable Foods Systems program. Check out our exclusive interview with her below to learn more about our program and discover ways to support local, sustainable food!

Q.   Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Doreen Pollack, and I am an adjunct instructor for Rio Salado College. I have been teaching with Rio Salado for five years, but have been teaching people how to garden for nearly ten years as a Master Gardener. I received the Master Gardener certificate in 2007. I have been sharing my love of gardening and specializing in growing food, all through the Master Gardener program, Home and Garden shows, garden clubs, and workshops and classes through both Tempe and Phoenix. I have also been on local T.V. news shows to discuss topics like growing fruit trees and composting. I have also studied Permaculture, which is defined as an agricultural system or method that seeks to integrate human activity with natural surroundings with the goal of creating highly efficient self-sustaining ecosystems. I was on the board of and the executive director of the Valley Permaculture Alliance, a non-profit whose mission was to teach and inspire people to create a sustainable life-style. I also held a board member position with the American Community Gardening Association.
 Q.   What kind of courses do you teach? What can students expect to learn in your classes? 
I teach AGS 182, Gardening Practice and Techniques. This is a hybrid course, which means we meet both online and in person. There are two labs in the 8-week course where we meet in person at the Rio Salado campus in Tempe. During the labs, we work in the garden, applying the principles covered in the lessons. It is great way to see first-hand how to plant seeds, prepare the soil for planting, identifying plants and pests, and working with compost. Students also share their personal experiences as well.
Photo of tree in Rio Salado College garden Q. What made you decide to teach for Rio’s Sustainable Food Systems program? 
I met the former program director when we were on a committee to put on a Community Garden Conference at Rio Salado several years ago. He and I connected well, and when he was moving on to another college, he asked me if I would like to teach the course. I jumped at the chance!
 Q.   How did you get into the sustainable foods industry? 
My focus is in producing food. This really blossomed after I learned the basic principles and the right time to plant in the Phoenix area. Once I had the rules down, the rest came with practice. We learn all these rules in the AGS 182 course. 
 Q.   If you could tell someone considering enrolling in this program one thing, what would you tell them? 
Speaking for my class, many of the students have told me they really enjoyed the course because of the labs - getting their hands dirty, digging in the dirt, actually seeing compost. It gave them the confidence to garden at home.
 Q.   What steps can we take to make our food systems more sustainable?
We often speak of a carbon foot print, but we need to also consider a food-print. How far does your food travel for you to eat? Grow your own. Buy from local farmers, eat foods in season. No waste. Learn to can or put up what you grow. Share your excess with your neighbors. As consumers, our dollars help drive what is made and sold.
 Q.   What do you think is the greatest detriment to sustainability that we commit as a society? What can we do to solve this? 
Photo of plant growing in Rio Salado College garden
Mass consumerism and the way we easily dispose of items we no longer want or need. The more we buy, the more the companies make. Everything becomes so disposable, and we do not dispose of things properly. Buy less, reuse more. Just simply recycling is not a solution.  
 Q.   What are some ways we can support local food systems? 
Buy from the small farmers. Seek them out at farmers markets, purchase CSA baskets. You usually pay for the season in advance, which provides the money farmers need to get the crop in the ground and harvested for you.
 Q.   Is there anything else you would like to add or other insights you can provide? 
Grow something. When you grow a garden of food, you will learn to appreciate the cost of food at the markets or stores. You will see how long it takes a seed to become a plant to provide you food. All of that takes human involvement, water, and time.
To learn more about the Sustainable Food Systems program and how you can start your sustainability career, please visit riosalado.edu/sustainable.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Preparing for Your Graduation Ceremony May 2!

Image of a student taking a selfie at graduation, dressed in cap and gown, in front of commencement banner and stage.  Images of 2019 grad badges.  Text: Prepare for Your Graduation Ceremony, May 2, 2019!

T-Minus one week to celebrate your graduation! Ready to take part in Rio Salado’s May 2 commencement ceremony? Please refer to this event page for the latest details. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for your big night.

The ceremony will take place at the Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85003. Students should arrive and register at the Comerica Box Office entrance door on 4th Ave beginning at 5:45 p.m. Lobby doors will open for guests at 6 p.m.

Caps, Gowns & Tassels 
Students can pick up their cap and gown between now and May 2 (before noon) at the Rio Salado headquarters in Tempe. For more information contact 480-517- 8540 or graduation@riosalado.edu.

Rio Salado 2019 grad badge

Grad Badge
Download and share your favorite grad badge. You have three options. This selection is trending as a favorite pick among Rio Wave grads.

Image of a smiling female grad in cap and gown

GradImages will take photographs of graduates receiving their diplomas and when they exit the stage. Proofs of these photos will be made available at www.gradimages.com and can also be purchased directly from GradImages by calling 800-261-2576. Please email inquiries to giservice@gradimages.net.

We will post event photos in the coming weeks via our Facebook account. You are welcome to tag, download and share these photos.

Live Stream
The event will be available via live stream, courtesy of MCTV. Will will share that link with you soon!

snapshot of Rio Salado Snapchat filter, featuring images of students embedded into a filter.  Text: Oh Snap!  We have a filter.  Download Snapchat to use itGo Social
Share your stories, smiles and celebrations using #RioGrad #RioWaves or by using our Snapchat grad filter at Comerica Theatre on May 2.

We look forward to celebrating your big night with you! 

Way to Go #RioGrad Class of 2019!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Opioid Crisis Dialogue April 26, 12-1 p.m.

Poster for event.  Photo of a highway leading into horizon.  "Recovery" is spelled out on roadway.  Text: Rio Salado College A Maricopa Community College Opioid Crisis and Substance Abuse Dialogue, April 26, 2019, 12-1 p.m.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people die after overdosing on opioids every day in the United States. 

Learn how we got here, how this public health crisis is impacting our communities and what tools are available to help make recovery possible by taking part in a community discussion this Friday with Rio Salado’s Faculty Chair of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders program Kirk Bowden, who is a leading authority on the subject.

Opioid Crisis & Substance Abuse Dialogue
April 26, 2019
12-1 p.m.

Rio Salado Tempe Headquarters, Room 515
2323 W. 14th St.
Tempe, AZ 85281

Event questions? Please contact katherine.ricker@riosalado.edu, 480-517-8575.

Poster with a woman's eyes staring into camera.  Text: Rio Salado College, Help Make Recovery Possible.

Rio Salado is one of Arizona’s top educators of addictions counseling professionals, offering online classes, certificates and an associate degree in Addictions and Substance Use Disorders. Visit www.riosalado.edu/ASD to learn more.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Stand Up for Women, Free Community Event 4/26

Stand up for Women poster, featuring silhouette of a woman holding the sun.  Text includes event details as listed https://www.facebook.com/events/338454930131367

Take advantage of Stand Up for Women, a free community event hosted by Women in Transition Services, Fri., April 26 at Fresh Start Women's Foundation in Phoenix!

This one-day event is designed to help women overcome challenges and find resources and employment opportunities to support themselves and their families.

Look for our Phoenix College and Rio Salado College information booth. Staff will be on duty to help advise attendees about the financial aid and admissions process.

For more insights about this event, check out this 99.9 KEZ web page and interview between Marty Manning and Jessica Starr, District Manager of Abacus Staffing and Women in Transition services.

We look forward to being of service to you!