Friday, April 18, 2014

Rio 2014 Graduation Speakers Inspire

Congratulations to Kaisi Balmer and Patrick Valenzuela, Jr.-- Rio Salado’s 2014 commencement student speaker and to HSE graduation speaker Gloria Bauerle. You’ll be hearing more about their amazing stories and accomplishments in the coming days and during the ceremonies. Here’s a glimpse into their extraordinary lives and journeys.

For Kaisi Balmer, graduation means a celebration of self and spirit. She came to Rio Salado College four years ago, on the recommendation of a friend. At the time, Balmer was homeless, jobless, addicted to drugs, and disconnected from family and friends. Thanks to faith, determination and the assistance of an academic advisor, Balmer mapped out a plan to get back on track in pursuit of her true dream: becoming a doctor.

Balmer will receive her Associate in Arts diploma at commencement and plans on continuing her studies this fall at Arizona State University to earn a degree in global health, and ultimately become a Missionary family practitioner. “When life happens, people may give up on their goals, dreams, purpose, and even themselves,” Balmer said. “Then along comes hope in the shape of a person, or opportunity. Take it. You have nothing to lose.”

Patrick Valenzuela, Jr. had three goals in life when he left high school 10 years ago: graduate college, join the U.S. Navy, and become a police officer. He put college on the back burner to join the Navy, and upon completion of his service, was hired as police officer in the city of Glendale. At 22, he had accomplished two of his three goals. Then life happened. Valenzuela got married, had three daughters, and even continued watching over his younger siblings when his father was deployed to Afghanistan.

Valenzuela credits his children with helping him reach that third goal. “I wanted to be a role model for them and to prove that as long as you persevere, are patient, and put in the work, you can succeed,” he said. Valenzuela will accept his associate degree in law enforcement technology diploma during commencement. He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at Northern Arizona University.

Gloria Bauerle had an unstable and traumatic childhood but found the strength and courage to break free from her past and help others coping with abuse as a community organizer and mentor. She has also had her share of adversity as an adult. In June, after mourning the loss of her son, she decided it was time to move forward once again--starting with an education. She successfully completed Rio’s High School Equivalency program and passed her GED test. Now she’s preparing to take the next step as a college student. Bauerle has many dreams, including a degree in communications and to serve as a life coach.

“We are never alone. Not in our struggles, or sorrows neither are we alone in our successes, and achievements. I have come to understand that just when I think I might have figured something out a whole new world of possibilities opens up. Every dream has mountains and waste lands, but every dream also has a promised land and if we do not give up and lose heart in the waste lands we will be better because of them and the lessons we learn while we are there become the stepping stones to our dreams being realized.” -- Gloria Bauerle

We look forward to celebrating the upcoming commencement and HSE graduation ceremonies and the accomplishments of all Rio Salado College students.

Visit Rio Commencement and Rio HSE Graduation web pages for more details about attending these special events.

Rio Commencement
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Comerica Theatre
400 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003
(the corner of 4th Ave. & Washington St.)

Rio HSE Graduation
Comerica Theatre
400 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003
(the corner of 4th Ave. & Washington St.)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stressed out? Read on…

The month of April is Stress Awareness Month. The Rio Salado Library has a wide selection of materials to help with stress management: 

Featured Book
The Tao of Stress: How to Calm, Balance, and Simplify Your Life, by Robert Santee.

“Like most emotions, stress is a natural part of life, but there are ways to manage it and stay balanced. In The Tao of Stress, an expert in Taoist psychology presents daily meditative skills and movement exercises that can help readers simplify their lives, fight fatigue, and calm a busy mind. In addition, the meditation practices outlined in this book will show readers how being in harmony with the changes around them, rather than in conflict, can greatly reduce their stress. The book is simple, fun, and practical for everyday use" (provided by publisher).
More stress management books

Featured DVD
Yoga for Beginners with Desi Bartlett

“Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise, benefiting body and mind. It can also seem mysterious, and even intimidating. Thanks to Desi Bartlett, anyone can get started and get results fast. Includes two unique practices, one an active, easy flow for complete body toning, the other slower and deeper for building long, lean muscles. Even if you’ve never done yoga before in your life, this is for you” (provided by publisher).
More yoga DVDs 

Featured Audio Book
Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing, by Andrew Weil.

“Dr. Andrew Weil's Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing is a double-disc set that comprehensively explains and demonstrates different forms of therapeutic breathing and their benefits”  (from publisher).
More relaxation audio books

ASU Transfer Specialist Tuesday Visits

ASU Transfer Specialist Erika Camarillo is now visiting Rio Academic Advisement on Tuesdays to meet with students interested in completing their studies there after graduating from Rio Salado. To make an appointment to meet with Erika, visit this link.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Financial Aid Widgets and Calculators

RSC's Financial Aid Department offers several automated tools to help students budget educational expenses. Here's a look at what you have at your disposal:

Financial Aid Calculator - Find an estimated monthly student loan payment by entering the loan amount, annual interest rate and loan duration.

Net Price Calculator - Estimate the total annual cost of attending Rio Salado College including things like books, transportation and housing.

Block Calendar Calculator - Determine your next available start date.

Disbursement Calculator - Estimate the arrival of your financial aid refund. (Note: this tool provides an estimate only and does not provide a guaranteed disbursement date.)

Monday, April 14, 2014

RSC Dental Clinic Open House April 15

Join us for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, tour the facility, meet the staff and students and learn about the dental hygiene clinic services available to you.

When: Tuesday, April 15
Time: 3-6 p.m.
Where: RSC Dental Clinic, 2250 W. 14th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281

The clinic is located across the street from the Conference Center @ Rio.

Free Screenings and Discounted Cleanings:
Rio Salado’s dental hygiene students are looking for clinic and clinical board patients. A screening appointment is free and takes about 30 minutes to identify your individual need and type of cleaning. Make an inquiry about this during the open house or schedule a screening appointment by calling the clinic at 480-377-4100.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mission Completed: Veteran Convocation

The Maricopa Community Colleges and Maricopa Veterans Education TaskForce (MVET) are pleased to invite veteran students and their families to attend the 2014 MVET Student Convocation on May 1, 4:30-6 p.m. at Phoenix College.

This celebration will include remarks by guest speaker Carl G. Schneider, Maj. Gen. USAF (Ret.)

The program includes light refreshments and a ceremony for all graduating veteran students.

Regalia is encouraged, but not required for students or faculty.

2014 MVET Student Convocation
Thursday, May 1, 2014
4:30 - 6 p.m.
Phoenix College North Gym
1202 W. Thomas Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85013

Please RSVP by the April 25 at

Contact Darcy Breault at or 480-384-9862 for more information. For the latest event details, visit

All convocations are open to all graduates from all ten Maricopa Community Colleges. Employees, family and friends of graduates are welcome to join in these celebrations.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Summer 2014 Financial Aid Instructions

Students are welcome to use financial aid to pay for summer classes but there are a few things you should know, especially by way of semester blocks.

Federal student aid is determined on a yearly basis so students who have already used their full award for the 2013-14 school year will not have funds available for the summer term.

Federal regulations require that:
  • Your summer classes must begin and end within your chosen summer 2014 semester block.
  • Coursework for the 2014 fall term cannot begin until after the official end date of your chosen summer term.
  • Students in a spring semester block that ends after June 23, 2014 will not be eligible for the 2014 summer term. The next available semester block will be Fall Block 1 which begins Aug. 25, 2014. 
Review the summer 2014 financial aid instructions and filing deadlines web page for more details.

Rio Library April Additions

The Oscar winning film 12 Years a Slave is now available at the Rio Salado Library

In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty at the hands of a malevolent slave owner, as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity.

In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon's chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist will forever alter his life.

Below is a complete list of new April additions. 




To request a title please call the Library at 480-517-8424.

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

Monday, April 7, 2014

East Valley Veterans Center Gets New Home

Former U. S. Congressman Harry Mitchell leads ribbon cutting ceremony
at the new East Valley Veterans Education Center in Tempe.

“Our military men and women leave their families, their jobs, and their civilian lives, placing themselves in harm’s way to protect our way of life. This center is just one way we can honor and serve these brave men and women when they return home.”

President of Rio Salado College Dr. Chris Bustamante spoke those words during a March 26 ribbon cutting ceremony for the new East Valley Veterans Education Center (EVVEC) at 3320 S. Price Road in Tempe, AZ.

The remodeled 4,000-square-foot facility at the southwest corner of Price and Southern is a one-stop center for active duty service members, veterans and their families to take advantage of academic advisement; assistance applying for VA educational benefits; educational, employment and workforce development workshops; Internet, computer and Skype access. 

Zeny Stuart, a veteran of the Iraq War, understands first-hand how beneficial this kind of center can be. She said discovering the EVVEC was like uncovering a gem. “The staff recognizes that I have a unique set of life experiences as a combat veteran. I am so glad to know that the center is truly benefiting students and veterans as they discover new paths and opportunities for the future.”

The skill assessment, financial aid and college orientation services help veterans use their Post-9/11 benefits by mapping out an education plan that fits their unique needs and goals. Academic advisors also assist with course and degree selection, class registration and information about resources that help students succeed, while counselors help students set personal, educational, and career objectives.

The center also serves as an access point for Maricopa and Phoenix Workforce Development and has a comprehensive referral service program, working closely with community-based agencies that can provide assistance with employment, health and housing services.

The EVVEC had been serving Tempe from a leased space near Broadway and Price for more than three years. The move to this location provides a permanent home for the center, which is now adjacent to Rio Salado College Southern—a new location that offers Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, English Language Acquisition classes and testing services.

The EVVEC is hosted by Rio Salado College in partnership with the Maricopa Community Colleges District, Scottsdale Community College and Mesa Community College. Other partners include the Arizona Department of Labor, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, Disabled American Veterans, Arizona Department of Economic Security, Phoenix VA Healthcare System, and Phoenix VA Regional Office.

Former U. S. Congressman Harry Mitchell, who served as a key advocate and partner in helping the EVVEC open its doors in 2010, took part in last week’s ceremony and shared a few remarks with guests before cutting the ribbon.

“I firmly believe this: no one can be successful without a lot of people wanting them to be successful. This is true of individuals as well as programs. All of the participating colleges and other partners of this education center want all of you veterans to be successful.”

For more details about the EVVEC, visit or call 480-384-9850.

This story was published in the April 4 edition of the Tempe Republic and at By Annette Flores, manager of Rio Salado College media relations.