Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rio Staff Raise $1800 for Student Fund

photo of Rosslyn Knight

Pictured above is Rio Salado Faculty Chair for Reading Rosslyn Knight proudly holding a check for $1,800, which will benefit the Maricopa Colleges Faculty Foundation.

Knight, along with other Rio Salado faculty and administrators helped to raise the money during a recent holiday party by raffling gift items.

In addition to granting scholarships, the Foundation provides just-in-time funds to help students avoid having to drop out of school as a result of unforeseen financial emergencies. Foundation dollars are also helping students pay for bus passes, baby food, rent, car repairs and other daily expenses.

You can make a difference too. Donate Now.

The Maricopa Colleges Faculty Foundation is a 501(c)5 voluntary labor organization composed of current and retired residential faculty from the ten Maricopa Colleges.

Winter Break Service Hours

Happy Holidays.  The college will have limited service hours during winter break.
Rio Salado and the Maricopa Community Colleges will be closed from Wednesday, Dec. 24 at noon until Saturday, Jan. 3.

Some specialty services will be available at select Rio Salado locations. Please visit this web page for details.

We will resume regular hours on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

RioAchieve Student Success Strategies & Results

Rio Salado Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Jennifer McGrath shared a blog post with Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) about the underlying strategy and initial results of RioAchieve-- a grant funded program designed to target five specific interventions that support student success, retention, and completion.  

Check it out now.

RioAchieve is funded by a $ $970,000 NGLC grant, which was awarded to Rio Salado in October 2012. NGLC is a partnership led by EDUCAUSE, which is primarily funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Check Out the Latest Job Opportunities at Rio

Image of Rio Salado Testing Employees

Rio Salado College is looking for a part-time employee to serve as a Testing Technician at the Communiversity at Queen Creek. Job duties include administering paperwork and computer-based exams to students, providing general clerical assistance, greeting visitors and directing traffic.

The ideal candidate will have experience working with computers, including a knowledge of spreadsheet and digital data management. A strong detail to attention is a must, as is the ability to follow written and oral directions.

Are you the right fit for the job? We'd love to hear from you.  Apply Today!

Rio Salado College also has several, part-time student Federal Work Study (FWS) opportunities.

FWS jobs are based on student need and do not have to be repaid. For a list of job openings, visit and look for listings under Part-Time Student Federal Work Study Opportunities.

For other employment opportunities with Rio Salado College and all Maricopa Community College District locations, visit

The Maricopa County Community College District is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rio Salado Teaches English through Music

For generations, cultures around the globe have used the power of music to facilitate and enhance learning, to share stories and perpetuate traditions. Honoring this approach, Rio Salado College’s Southern location at 3320 S. Price Road, has created a unique musical club where traditional folk music is used to help English as a Second Language (ELAA) students master the English language.

Every Wednesday, students gather around as Adult Basic Education Instructor Peggy Lux leads the group in a handful of catchy songs that are geared to help with language comprehension, pronunciation and annunciation.
“Our music club was created for students who like to make a joyful noise while receiving practical benefits from learning this way,” said Lux. “Our accents tend to disappear when we sing.”

Students have the opportunity to learn classic American songs like “Old McDonald,” and even festive favorites such as “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

“Music and singing are traditional learning tools,” Lux said. “Think of the alphabet song. Music is a great way for students to learn proper pronunciation through muscle memory. I've use this technique in my ELAA classes.”

The music club complements the ELAA program, which helps local residents of all skill levels improve upon their written and verbal English language competency.

Francisco Alberto De La Torre-Gutierrez, a Rio Salado lab technician and trained guitarist, said he enjoys sharing his passion for both music and English with students.

“It’s really a learning environment,” said De La Torre-Gutierrez. “Students are able to apply what they learn in music club to what they are currently learning in ELAA. It seems to really help them better comprehend the English language.”

Khurram and Francisco
Music club participants represent a diverse network of countries and cultural backgrounds.

Socorro Alicia Leon relocated to Phoenix from Guadalupe, Mexico, where she ran her own business for more than 30 years.

Khurram Shahzad recently relocated to Phoenix from Pakistan and embraced the opportunity to combine learning English and music.

“It was something I really wanted to learn, and when the opportunity was offered to students at this location for free, I couldn’t wait to sign up,” said Shahzad, who was also inspired to take up the guitar.

When asked what she most enjoys about instructing the music club, Lux said, “It is a relaxed way to share American music and its traditions with our students. It’s exciting to be a part of their learning process.”

Music club is available to all students who have completed registration at the RSC Southern location, at no additional cost.

To learn more about Rio Salado College’s ELAA program, please visit

This story can also be found in some December 13 issues of the Arizona Republic. By Aubrie Artiano, PR Assistant for Rio Salado College.

PHOTO 1: Socorro Alicia Leon, Rio Salado ELAA student, participates in music club with Francisco Alberto De La Torre-Gutierrez, Rio Salado lab technician.

Success Skills from a Success Instructor

abstract image of a key to success filled with "success" words like: experience, responsibility, vision, competence.
Students often want to know what skills are required in order to help them complete their college degree. I constantly relay to my students that they need to possess the abilities to think critically, question and analyze information, as well as maintain patience, perseverance, and a commitment to their academic goals. However, I believe that some success skills are not as frequently discussed or even known about that are critical to students’ success in college and life.

The tools of emotional intelligence and interdependence are among the hidden or forgotten competencies of success. Emotional intelligence simply refers to the ability to effectively manage one’s emotions, as well as others’ emotions (Downing, 2010).

The other significant success skill of interdependence is described as the ability to collaborate with others successfully by seeking, receiving, and applying feedback from others (Downing, 2010).

So you may be thinking how do I begin to acquire these skills and enhance the abilities I already have? Rio Salado offers a course to facilitate the development of such competencies called CPD150 Strategies for College Success. Enroll Today.

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

Reference: Downing, S. (2010). On course strategies for college success. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Benefits of Internships

As a counselor, I have met with numerous recent college graduates who are seeking their first professional job after finishing school. A common problem many students encounter is a lack of related work experience. This is especially an issue when most job postings list “experience required” as one of the qualifications.

You think to yourself, “how am I supposed to get experience if I can’t get a job?” My best recommendation is to get an internship. It is the perfect way to get experience in your field and to apply what you’ve been learning in the classroom. Some academic programs require an internship as part of the curriculum but if your program doesn’t require it, you need to take the initiative.

Internships can come in all different “shapes and sizes”. They can be full time, part time, for credit or non-credit, paid or unpaid but the goal is the same: gaining experience.

This is an opportunity to gain experience you can’t get in the classroom. An internship should have parameters in place on what you will learn on the job and what the employer’s expectations are for your contributions. The length of your internship should also be agreed upon before starting.

If you are still trying to decide on your future career path, working as an intern is an excellent way to explore a career you’ve been considering. What better way is there to truly see what a future job would be like than to actually “test the waters?” The earlier you do this in your college career the better. You want to give yourself time to change your major if you decide this career is not a good fit.

Finding an internship is just like the job search process. It takes an excellent resume, solid interviewing skills and networking. If you need help with these skills, Rio Salado offers Creative Job Hunting (CPD 102AC) as a two-credit course. The Counseling department is also available by appointment to discuss your career goals and to offer guidance on how to find an internship.

Finding a job is always a competitive process but with internship experience on your resume you are a step ahead of your competition! Or even better, your internship ends with a job offer!

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Kamela Craig on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services-- helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

Now you can earn college credits toward Rio Salado’s many Business and Public Administration programs through our new Internship Program.

To learn more, including
application guidelines, visit

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

KJZZ Hosts International Journalists

Group of students pose together for a photograph.
On December 1, the news staff at 91.5 KJZZ hosted a group of international journalists who are visiting the the United States as part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

The journalists are learning about the responsibilities of a free press in a democracy, social issues, press law and investigative reporting in the U.S.

The Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program is arranged by the Institute of International Education.

Pictured above: Jude Joffee Block (KJZZ Senior Field Correspondent), Mwape Zulu Kumwenda (MUVI Television Zambia), Asmau Habibu Shagari (Nigerian Television), Al Macias (KJZZ Managing Editor), Zuzana Hanzelova (Radio and TV Slovakia), Mark Moran (KJZZ Associate General Manager of News and Editorial Content ), Rosen Veselinov-Tsvetkov (BTV Media Group Bulgaria), Zied Dabbar (Dar As-Sabah Tunisia) and Gloria Masanza (Zodiak Broadcasting Station Malawi). 

Photo credit: Tracy Greer KJZZ Digital Media Editor

KJZZ is a community service of Rio Salado College.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Rio Dental Clinic Volunteers Services for MOM

Rio Salado students work with a patient at the Rio Salado Dental Clinic
Rio Salado's Dental Clinic is pleased to provide oral education supplies and volunteer services for The Central Arizona Dental Society (CADS) Foundation's third annual Mission of Mercy (MOM) event at the Arizona Fairgrounds in Phoenix-- December 12 -13.

The event will take advantage of 100 portable dental units and 1500 volunteers, including Rio Salado Dental Clinic staff and students. Approximately $1,500,000 in free care is expected to be delivered to 2,000 children and adults.

When was your last dental checkup? The Dental Clinic offers discounted services to the public-- all year long.

Services include: blood pressure screening, oral examination, X-rays, cleaning and polishing, fluoride application, gum disease screening, oral hygiene instruction and other selected services-- including sealants and dietary counseling. Services are available to adults and children 4-years of age and older.

The Dental Clinic is located at 2250 W. 14th Street in Tempe. Clinic hours and appointments may vary. All new patients must have a screening visit prior to a dental hygiene appointment. To schedule a screening appointment, call (480) 377-4100.

For more information, visit

Grant Helps STEM Pros Recareer as Teachers

a group of conference attendees pose for a picture beside a welcome banner.

Fifteen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals have a chance at recareering as secondary classroom teachers through Rio Salado’s Noyce Scholars Program. Qualified candidates will benefit from a generous $16.5K stipend provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Rio Salado’s fast-track teacher education program. The deadline to apply is Feb. 3, 2015.

Rio Salado’s Noyce Scholars Program is ideal for Valley STEM professionals who’ve been thinking about making the transition to teaching. The stipend funds are part of a $1.2 million NSF grant awarded to Rio Salado in 2011 as a way of encouraging STEM professionals to bring their industry experience to the classroom, combat the shortage of qualified STEM teachers and help Arizona teens prepare for high-need STEM careers.

It was a natural decision for Phoenix resident Katy Westersund to enter the program. “I started to think about my prior career as an environmental engineer, and about what I can do now,” said Westersund, a full-time mom who also volunteers at her children's school.

image of Catherine Westersund
Westersund joins other Noyce Scholars to talk about
the benefits of Rio Salado's Teacher Ed program.
“I attended Rio’s Post Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Orientation,” said Westersund. “The instructor put up a slide with three questions: Do you like math and science? Are you needing to recareer? Do you want to help others learn? And I said, yes, that’s me.”

“I decided to pursue a career as a secondary math teacher because I loved my career as an environmental engineer, said Westersund. “I think I saw that as a mother I could advocate for my children, to give them the best opportunity and to love math and science. By me becoming a secondary math teacher, I can be an advocate for a classroom of students.”

Westersund completed a student teaching assignment at Tempe Union High School in November. By January, she will be certified and ready to teach high school math. She is one of 20 students currently participating in the program.

Qualified applicants will have an opportunity to earn a Secondary Arizona Teaching Certificate in math or science for grades 6-12. They will be provided mentoring, assistance with job placement and first-year classroom support.

The 15-month post-baccalaureate program is online, making it accessible and convenient. “Students are supported throughout the program with their coursework by a success coach and a mentor during the first year of teaching to assist with classroom management and other first-year teacher challenges,” said Noyce Scholars Program Manager Karen Nave.

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, three or more years of experience in a non-education STEM career-- and a passion for teaching. The application process includes a subject knowledge exam, a teaching seminar and screening interview.

For more details, visit or call 480-517-8066.

Pictured above: Rio Salado Teacher Ed staff accompany Noyce Scholars at February 2014 National Title I Conference for Educators Conference in San Diego.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Rio's Testing Services Make Valley-wide Impact

photo of Linda Lukey at testing center in Tempe

Tucked away in each of Rio Salado College’s nine locations are testing centers serving thousands of Valley residents and visitors including U.S. Military personnel, U.S. Postal Service workers, FBI agents, GED® test-takers and yes— lots of college students. They also offer IT exams like the one passed by Ayan Qureshi, the five-year-old boy from the UK who recently became the youngest Microsoft certified IT professional in the world.

Rio Salado Testing Centers aren’t getting that kind of international attention-- but they’re getting a share of local and national merit.

“Rio Salado College Testing Centers were the first in Arizona to become Nationally Certified Testing Centers by the National College Testing Association,” said Linda Lukey, Rio Salado director of testing and prior learning assessment.

Lukey, who has been instrumental in the development and growth of the testing centers, is proud of that distinction— and the national recognition from the College Board, which has recognized Rio Salado since 2002 as a Top 100 College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP®) testing center. It also recognized Rio Salado as a Top 25 Military Testing Center for CLEP exams in 2013 - 2014.

Each of Rio Salado’s Testing Centers offers 33 CLEP exams, which assess subject matter proficiency and provide an opportunity for students to receive college credit with qualifying scores. For example, Spanish CLEP test-takers can earn up to 16 college credits.

Students can apply knowledge they’ve gained through prior course work, independent study, internships, job training, professional development and personal pursuits.

There are testing services for IT professionals who need to keep certifications up-to-date, including Pearson Vue CompTIA Certification exams, which are recognized by thousands of companies as a predictor of employee success. All Maricopa students, faculty and staff are eligible for significant discounts on these exams. Students pursuing A+ certification save about 55%. Network+ certification students pay approximately half the normal rate. Rio Salado students may also receive college credit for their certifications.

The Testing Center provides proctoring services for other educational institutions so students can take midterms and finals at a location that’s convenient for them. “We are also part of the Consortium of College Testing Centers, offering proctoring services for students worldwide,” said Lukey.

The Pearson Vue GED® test has become quite popular. More than 10,000 people have taken the exam since the college began offering it in October of 2013.

There are a series of tests you can’t fail. ACCUPLACER exams are free of charge and help new students gauge their current skill levels for Reading, English and Math. Academic advisors use the results of the assessments along with details about students’ academic backgrounds to determine appropriate college courses.

Rio Salado Testing Centers also offer Adobe Certified Associate and Microsoft Office Specialist Certiport Exams; exams that assess English language skills and more.

For a comprehensive view of the types of services offered, the locations, hours of service, forms of identification required and other details, visit: 

Pictured above: Linda Lukey, Rio Salado director of testing and prior learning assessment.

This story can also be found in the December 6 edition of the Tempe Republic. By Annette Flores, manager of Rio Salado College media relations.