Showing posts with label PTK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PTK. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Record 64 High School Student Grads in 2016

Image from 2015 commencement ceremony

They are being called trailblazers, overachievers and highflyers.

Bring on the accolades-- these 64 Valley high school students are garnering attention for all the right reasons. They are dual enrollment students who are on track to graduate from Rio Salado College this month before earning their high school diplomas.

President Bustamante
“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. “Their success is our success and I am confident that they will continue to achieve their academic goals in the future. It takes support from high school partners, parents and the dual enrollment team at Rio to realize what can be possible.”

No other college in the state has this many college graduates among their dual enrollment students.

“Not only is this a huge achievement to graduate from high school and college simultaneously, but starting college with two years under your belt saves students an enormous amount of time and money,” said EJ Anderson, director of Rio Salado College’s dual enrollment program.

2015 Dual Enrollment Graduates
Dual enrollment students earn both high school and college credit at the same time. Classes are taught by certified instructors at the many area high schools that partner with Rio Salado College.

Sullivan Dupre is a senior at Mountain Pointe High School and overachiever extraordinaire.

He is earning both an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science degree at Rio Salado’s commencement ceremony this evening, May 11, 2016 at the Orpheum Theater.  He will be one of 50 dual enrollment graduates attending tonight's event.

“The biggest benefit I see in dual enrollment is that it saves time and money,” said Dupre. “Because I took dual enrollment, I will already have the credits that usually take around two years to complete in college.”

Dupre is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for 2-year colleges. He said students considering dual enrollment should get involved as soon as possible.

“Enroll to get as many credits as possible,” Dupre said. “Even if you think you won't need a certain class for your major, having that extra credit will allow you to be more flexible in the future.”

2014 Westwood High School dual enrollment students
Another advantage of Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program is location.

“The biggest benefit of dual enrollment is being given the opportunity to complete a college degree without having to leave your own high school,” said Krystal Rebhun, a student at Corona Del Sol graduating who is graduating with an Associate in Arts. “You also get the same credits that you would at a university at a much smaller cost.”

Rio Salado dual enrollment team
Robert Brown works as a success coach in the dual enrollment department at Rio Salado College. He assists high school students and their parents in developing career and education pathways.

“Dual enrollment gives high school students the flexibility to finish a bachelor’s degree sooner, pursue a double-major, or take fewer credits at a time in college,” Brown said.

He added that parents get excited when they see the benefits of dual enrollment for their kids.

“One very selective university called her a trailblazer, and noted that they had not seen an incoming freshman with this type of achievement before,” said Laurie Mariani, whose daughter Mia is earning an Associate in Arts. “We are certain her opportunities will be endless having achieved this extra academic success while in high school.”

Rio Salado College – 2016 Dual Enrollment Graduates
  • Boulder Creek: Kimberly Klein
  • Brophy College Prep: James Stickell
  • Corona del Sol: Jeffery Wilcox, Karl Willette (2014), Krystal Rebhun, Tyler Le Duc
  • Deer Valley: Alec Medrano, Evan Mekenney, Madison Banbury (2015), Matthew Briody, Reese Tanner, Ryanne Karlson, Alexander Mills
  • Desert Vista: Alexandra Ferrara , Aradhana Kumar , Daniel Gulden , Gail Watterson , Marcela Delgado, Matthew Hart, Natalie Schatton, Neeku Navabi, Samuel Rosenberg, Wyatt Langs
  • Heritage: Erica Durham, Ethan Berglund, Sarah Taylor (2015), Triston Kosloske
  • Horizon: Connor Little, Matthew Thomas, Peter Godfrey
  • Marcos de Niza: Briana Estrella, Dominic Martinez, Joy Jimenez
  • Mountain Pointe: Emily Harmsen, Gen Ito, Jacob Peters, Jasmin Jackson, Jason Damp, Jordan Wachter, Lauren Rein, Meredith Grula, Sullivan Dupre
  • Xavier College Prep: Ainsley Ramsey, Andrea Gray, Ariana Salazar, Ashlynn Holloway, Bailey Stalcup, Brianna Siegle, Brie Harriel, Brielle Januszewski, Claudia Lucca, Danielle Favata, Fiona Lobo, Hailey Schwab, Hannah Cooper, Isabella Patterson, Isabella Serrano, Jessica Daniels, Julia Teeter, Leslie Zaragoza, Lisbet Maldonado, Madison Williams, Mia Mariani, Michaela Wuycheck, Miranda Albo, Monique Hasbun, Olivia Iacono, Rebeca Gardner, Royal Shoen, Sara Skornik, Sophia Deyden, Spenser Rosner, Stephanie Ashkuri, Therese Knapp, Tiffany Meyer

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

Photos of tonight's ceremony and participating dual enrollment graduates will be available for download via

Check back with RioNews for more stories about Rio Salado 2016 graduates in the coming days.

Contributing writer Alyssa DeMember has served Rio Salado's Academic Advisement team since 2014. She is one of several academic advisors available to help you along your educational journey.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Rio Salado PTK Team 2016 Regional Awards

photo of PTK team members holding up awards
Rio Salado's Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Theta Omicron chapter participated in and co-hosted the 2016 PTK Regional Convention at Mesa Community College March 4-5, 2016 and took home several awards and recognitions.

Rio Salado students Vanessa Williams, Theresa Maheux, Evea Morrow, Oliva Mendez, Daniel Mott, Joy Georgette Jimenez, Dulce Penalosa, and Rodney Falberg attended the event with Rio Salado advisors Melanie Abts and John Bastian.

Awards and recognitions:
· Arizona Distinguished Chapter Award
· Outstanding College Project Award
· An Honors in Action Award
· Apex Award for membership growth
· Outstanding Chapter Officer - Theresa Maheux

As part of their 2015 student project, the chapter produced a video focusing on why working adults are returning to school and the obstacles they have overcome. We encourage you to watch this inspiration video.


PTK actively promotes scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship. To learn more about PTK and other student life initiatives, visit this Rio Salado Student Life web page or contact John Bastian at and 480-517-8656.

Photo above, left to right: Dulce Penalosa, Joy Georgette Jimenez, Vanessa Williams, Evea Morrow, Melanie Abts and Theresa Maheux.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Honors Achievement Scholarship Opportunities!

illustration of a hand reaching out of money bag and holding a graduation cap
Attention Honors Achievement Scholars!  Did you know there are several opportunities to increase your honors award?

The Chancellor's Scholarship offers tuition support, up to 18 credit hours plus $250 for books per semester. To qualify, students must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours. Students who receive this scholarship are not eligible for additional support through the Honors Achievement Award and Foundation Scholarships.

There are two, $500 Foundation Scholarships, which are distributed as $250 per semester. Students must be enrolled full-time to qualify. This scholarship is available to Honors Achievement Award recipients.

The application deadline is 12 p.m. March 14, 2016.

Please submit your applications to the Honors Program office, located on the first floor of the Rio Salado College Tower.

Visit this Honors Program web page to review and access the application.

Scholarship Recipients will be notified by the end of April 2016.  Good Luck!

News courtesy of the Honors Program at Rio Salado College.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The 2016 ITC Outstanding eLearning Student is...

Photo of Williams

Congratulations to Rio Salado College student Vanessa Williams who received the Outstanding eLearning Student award at the national Instructional Technology Council (ITC) eLearning conference held in Scottsdale Feb. 15-17, 2016.
Williams with Rio Salado President Bustamante
“I have achieved what I thought to be impossible ten years ago,” Williams said of her award. “This honor means that I have exceeded my own expectations of balancing home, work and school, and being successful in doing so.”

Williams is currently the president of Rio Salado’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) student honor society chapter, and vice president of the college’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

She was nominated for the eLearning award by Dr. Melanie Abts and John Bastian, PTK chapter advisors.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving for this award than Vanessa,” Bastian said. “She is a reliable student leader now and shows great potential to do great things for our communities in the future.”

Williams credits Rio Salado’s online classes with her academic success.

“Online learning has been very beneficial to me,” Williams said. “It has allowed me the opportunity to go to school full-time while working full-time, and has taught me to manage my time more effectively.”

image of panelists
Panel with Rio Salado Communications Faculty Chair Corey Pruitt

At the conference, Williams participated in a student panel with other Rio Salado students to discuss the online learning experience.

“Online courses also helped me to stay on track and achieve my goal of obtaining an associate degree,” Williams said. “And thank you to Rio Salado College, for going out of your way to support the students and their dreams.”

Photo of Rio Salado team with Dr. Bustamante and Faculty Chair Pruitt

“When we listen to our students and try to meet their needs, we are all more successful in our roles as higher education leaders,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College.

Williams plans to transfer to Northern Arizona University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in management. In the future, she hopes to create a non-profit organization to assist peer support specialists in behavior health. When she is not working or with her family, she is an advocate for the homeless.

image of event web banner

Rio Salado College served as the host college for the ITC conference. The ITC is affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges. Its mission is to provide leadership and professional development in higher education by advocating, collaborating and sharing innovative practices in educational technologies.

Images of students.  Alt text: Instructional Technology Council (ITC) eLearning Conference, Feb. 14-17, 2016 Rio Salado College Student Panel Bios    Ashley (Dani) Cross took her first class at Rio Salado College in the spring of 2011 and currently works as a part-time peer mentor there. She is on the waiting list for the nursing program through Maricopa Community College District. She plans to continue on with her education and earn a Master of Science in Nursing while working as a nurse. As single mother of her 7-year-old son, Eli, she finds e-learning to be a convenient way to complete her coursework while at the same time juggling life’s responsibilities.  Nathan Errington is a Rio Salado College student and an active duty member of the United States Air Force assigned to Luke AFB. He graduated with his Associate in Applied Science in Computer Technology, Certificate of Completion (CCL) in Web Design, and CCL in Computer Usage and Applications through Rio Salado in spring 2015. Nathan is currently pursuing an Arizona General Education Curriculum associate degree. He is scheduled to spend a year at Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea for his next assignment and then a follow-on assignment to Misawa AB, Japan. He plans to continue his studies with Rio Salado College while being deployed overseas.  Samra Hausey started as a student at Rio Salado College in fall 2011 and became a part-time peer mentor in the Advisement department in 2014.  E-learning is a better fit for her than a traditional campus setting with flexible scheduling and delivery methods that meet her learning style. She currently is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with the goal to teach 4th grade and earn master’s degree through Arizona State University.  Samantha Hill is studying healthcare innovation at Arizona State University (ASU) and is on the waiting list for the medical radiography program at Gateway Community College. Before going to ASU, she took e-learning classes at Rio Salado to earn college credits while deciding upon her educational and career goals. She is employed at Rio Salado College as a peer mentor and volunteers at the Maricopa Integrated Health System in the radiology department. In the future, she hopes study radiography and work at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital or the Mayo Clinic.  Daniel Mott is a student at Rio Salado College and member of its Phi Theta Kappa. He is the father of two boys, a small insurance business owner and part-time student. He started taking classes with Rio Salado in spring 2014 and is working on an Associate in Arts. He sees his mother as an inspiration to complete his education and finds e-learning convenient for his schedule. He appreciates that he can take classes in topics he can apply to all areas of his life. Daniel plans to transfer to an Arizona university to pursue a bachelor degree in marketing or communications.  Vanessa Williams started with Rio Salado College in fall 2013. She is Rio Salado College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter president and vice president of the college’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Vanessa works as a supervisor at Warm Line, a non-emergency peer-supported telephone hotline through the non-profit Crisis Response Network. She plans to earn an associate degree and transfer to Northern Arizona University to pursue a bachelor degree in management. In the future, she hopes to create a non-profit organization to assist peer support specialists in behavior health. When she is not working or with her family, she is an advocate for the homeless.Meet the ITC Panel
We appreciate the time and effort of the Rio Salado students who volunteered their time to take part in the ITC panel. Their input is invaluable. Learn more about who they are in this bio sheet.

By Rio Salado Communications Coordinator Mira Radovich.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

PTK Student Project - Why Go Back to School

clip from video in question, image of a student being intereviewed.
Students from Rio Salado's Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Theta Omicron Chapter decided to produce a video as part of their 2015 student project, which focuses on why working adults are returning to school and the obstacles they have overcome-- in an effort to inspire other adults to go back to school.

This video is the culmination of their efforts and we hope it inspires you to embark on your educational journey. 

photo of Ms. Williams

Students also contributed written testimonials about their experience.

This personal narrative by Rio Salado PTK Chapter President Vanessa Williams beautifully encapsulates the struggles and triumphs she has encountered on her educational journey.

Milton Berle, once stated that “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” 

A few years ago, I felt that there were no opportunities for me to advance. After spending years on the street homeless and addicted, I made the first step by getting clean and sober. I found a job and was living in my own place. Life was great, but something was missing. 

I loved my job, however, I knew I wanted to build a better financial future for myself. I looked around and saw that other people were attending college and working. I did some research and found that Rio Salado would be the perfect fit for my schedule.

It wasn’t easy going back to college. I was in default on my student loans and I didn’t know how I would afford to pay back the loans with my part-time job. I spoke with the Department of Education’s ombudsmen and found out that I could make payments that would be based on my income. I was ecstatic. I began the process of applying to Rio as soon as I was out of default.

There were some challenges along the way, but with the help of a great support system, I have been able to keep up in school. I even joined some student activities such as Phi Theta Kappa and the National Society of Leadership and Success. I have been able to travel and meet new people. I have had the pleasure of working with the wonderful staff at Rio Salado during some of our student activities.

Going back to school has opened the door for me. When opportunity didn’t knock – I built the door. I am thankful every day that Rio Salado College opened that door to a better life for me.

Are you ready to go back to school?  Visit this web page for an introduction on how Rio Salado can serve you.  

To learn more about PTK and other student life initiatives, visit this Rio Salado Student Life web page.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rio PTK AZ College Transfer Night - Nov 19

Image of student standing in front of chalk board that has words like: Education, Success, Graduate, University

Rio Salado's Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapter is hosting a College Transfer Night with Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Arizona and Grand Canyon University on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.

Learn how you can transfer seamlessly to one of these schools and prepare for your next step in higher learning.

This event is open to all Rio Salado students.

Rio Salado PTK College Transfer Night 
Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015
6-7:30 p.m.
Rio Salado Conference Center in Tempe

2323 W. 14th St.
Tempe, AZ 85281

Representatives from each school will share briefs about their college and programs with all attendees and then provide you with an opportunity for one-on-one discussions, so you can address your unique questions.

Complimentary pizza and soft drinks provided.  

We would appreciate an advanced confirmation of your attendance.  Please email by 12 p.m., Thursday Nov. 19. We encourage you to bring family members and friends.

We look forward to seeing you there! 

To learn more about our transfer options, visit

Contact John Bastian at or 480-517-8656 for more details about this event. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

PTK Service Project Benefits Homeless

Image of Rio Salado Student Life leadership and PTK students holding up a thank you sign.

Every year, Rio Salado's Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society – Alpha Theta Omicron Chapter, organizes a community service project.

This year, PTK students collected hygiene products and assembled care packages to benefit homeless individuals. Donations were collected on behalf of the Tempe Community Action Agency, located at 2150 E. Orange St. in Tempe, Arizona, which will distribute the products to those who need them most.

"The generosity of Rio Salado staff and visitors to the college's various locations, who supported this year’s project mission and help make it a great success -- we are so thankful,” said student volunteer and Rio Salado PTK organizer, Theresa Maheux.

montage of images of students collecting, packing and delivering donations

Kevin Bilder, dean of student affairs, said, “I was extremely proud to be a part of and witness the initiative of our PTK students. Their commitment to address a social issue to help make a difference in other peoples’ lives was very inspiring.”

The volunteers were led by PTK chapter president Vanessa Williams, and community service chair Theresa Maheux. Students and volunteers assembled 350 care packages.

“I am very impressed by all of the hard work and dedication the PTK student participants demonstrated for this year’s project,” said John Bastian, coordinator of student life and leadership at Rio Salado. “The generosity of our students, as well as Rio Salado staff and volunteers was very much appreciated and helped make this project a great success.”

PTK actively promotes scholarship, leadership, service, and fellowship. To learn more about PTK and other student life initiatives, visit this Rio Salado Student Life web page.

To learn more the about the Tempe Community Action Agency and how you can make a difference, visit:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Commencement & HSE Graduation on MCTV

photo of Rio Salado President Chris Bustamante and HSE Graduate and Student Speker Tera Gomez
Tune into MCTV to watch Rio Salado's Commencement and HSE Graduation ceremonies on COX Channel 115.

Wednesday, June 24 - 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 25 - 1:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Thursday, July 9 - 8:30 p.m.
Friday, July 10 - 1:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.

HSE Graduation
Friday, June 19 - 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 25 - 8:30 p.m.
Friday, June 26 - 1:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Wednesday, July 8 - 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 9 - 1:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.

A special thank you to our good friends at MCTV for covering these events and for making these broadcasts possible! We appreciate your support.

Congratulations and thanks once again to Commencement student speaker John Field and HSE Graduation speaker Tera Gomez for their outstanding presentations.

You can still purchase individual photos from GradImages at

Photo 1: Rio Salado President Chris Bustamante and Tera Gomez.
Photo 2: John Field.

#RioGrad #MCTV

Friday, April 24, 2015

In the Spotlight: Rio Salado PTK

image of PTK pin. established 1918

Rio Salado's Alpha Theta Omicron chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society had a lot to celebrate this spring.

group shot of Rio Salado PTK advisors and members accepting chapter award

The PTK chapter attended the Arizona Regional Convention hosted by Paradise Valley Community College, March 27-28 and came home with several awards.

Chapter awards:
•    Five Star Level (highest level possible)
•    A Distinguished Arizona Chapter
•    Honors-in-Action Project Award
•    Honors-in-Action Award for Ideas and Ideologies as Frontiers
Individual Awards:
•    John Field - For serving as Arizona Region PTK President
•    Roberta Albinda  - Named an Outstanding Chapter Officer
•    Bethany Kartchner - Named an Outstanding Chapter Member
•    Melanie Abts - Outstanding Chapter Advisor

group shot from induction ceremony.  Above on screen is a quote: "Never stop looking for opportunities for personal and professional development, and pass on the wisidom you've learned.

On April 10, the PTK chapter hosted a reception and induction ceremony for 34 new students. Student President Lori Beasley presented open remarks and a program overview and then joined student leaders John Field and Jake Denison to induct the new members. You can view, upload and tag photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Image of Melanie Abts at podium.

Rio Salado Counseling Faculty Chair and PTK Advisor Dr. Melanie Abts was among 30 PTK advisors honored with a Paragon Award for New Advisors during the April 2015 NerdNation convention in San Antonio, Texas. The award recognizes advisors who have served less than four years and have made significant contributions to the growth of their chapter members.

On a side note, Arizona Regional PTK President John Field was chosen to serve as Rio Salado's 2015 Commencement student speaker on May 5

There are many benefits to joining PTK. It's a great way to engage in activities that will help you become more successful in the classroom and in life-- while you help others through service.

For additional details visit our PTK web page or contact PTK Advisor John Bastian at or 480-517-8656.

2014-15 Officers
  • President – Lori Beasley
  • Chair of Administration and Hallmarks – John Williams
  • Chair of College Project - Vanessa Williams
  • Chair of Honors in Action – Roberta Albinda
  • Officer at Large – John Field

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Live Telecast with Arianna Huffington March 17

Photo of Ariana Huffington and NSLS logo.  Text: Video Speaker Broadcast featuring Ariana Huffington, Tuesday, March, 17 2015, 4-5:15 p.m. at Conference Center at Rio

Arianna Huffington, founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post and #1 New York Times best-selling author of Thrive will be the next guest speaker for the National Society of Leadership and Success 2014-2015 Broadcast Speaker Series, which will be transmitted live by Rio Salado's NSLS chapter on Tuesday, March 17. 

Arianna Huffington's is one of the most well recognized names in modern journalism. She will share advice on redefining success, and creating a life of well-being, wisdom and wonder.

This free event is open to students, staff and the public.

Arianna Huffington Live Telecast
Tuesday, March 17
4-5:15 p.m. 
Conference Center @ Rio
2323 W. 14th St.
Tempe, AZ 85281

This social gathering is also a great way for you to learn more about Rio Salado's NSLS chapter, which provides opportunities for students to engage with other students while developing important life skills.  

Questions? Please contact:
Otis J White
480 517-8107

About The National Society of Leadership and Success
The National Society of Leadership and Success is the nation’s largest leadership honor society. It was founded in 2001 to build a community of like-minded, success oriented leaders who come together to help one another succeed. The Society offers interactive broadcasts with the nation’s best speakers, training in goal setting, and team meetings in which students set and hold each other accountable for achieving goals. These benefits, which aim to help members personally and professionally, are offered for the rest of their lives. Today, the Society has chapters on more than 400 college and university campuses nationwide and serves more than 350,000 members. For more information, please visit

Monday, March 2, 2015

PTK Info Sessions March 3 & 5

PTK logo
Rio Salado is hosting two, student information sessions about joining Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges-- and the benefits of joining Rio Salado’s Alpha Theta Omicron Chapter.

Session 1 - Tuesday, March 3, 2015
6 – 7:15 p.m.
RSC Avondale
420 N. Central Ave.
Avondale, AZ 85323

Session 2 - Thursday, March 5, 2015
6 – 7:15 p.m.
RSC Tempe - Conference Center
2323 W. 14th St.
Tempe, AZ 85281

Event Schedule
6 p.m.: Meet and greet reception with food and drinks.
6:20 - 7:15 p.m.: Discussion about benefits, scholarships and more.

Please RSVP at or 480-517-8656.

image of PTK members taking oath.
PTK induction ceremony 2014

PTK will give you a chance to engage in activities with other students and provide experiences to help you become more successful in the classroom and in life-- while you help others through service.

Please note, there is a one-time PTK membership fee of $89.00 (scholarships are available). To qualify, you must be a current Rio Salado student with a 3.5 GPA or higher and have completed at least 12 or more college-level credits. For additional details visit our PTK web page or contact John Bastian.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

AZ PTK Works to End Domestic Violence

Rio Salado PTK team members with family, friends and supporters of Sexual and Domestic Violence Awareness Night at Chase Field.
The Diamondbacks vs. Rockies game at Chase Field on August 30 had an additional draw for Arizona members of Phi Theta Kappa; an international honor society of two-year colleges. It was Sexual and Domestic Violence Awareness Night— dedicated to a cause the team has decided to champion in 2014-15— the perfect time and place for members to gather with advisors, family, friends, other advocates and survivors.

“The Arizona regional team for Phi Theta Kappa (AZ PTK) has been working together for the last six months to research domestic violence, teen dating violence, bullying, and violence in the home,” said John Field, AZ PTK president.

Photo of John FieldField began his term as AZ PTK president March 2014. Until recently he had also been serving as Rio Salado Alpha Theta Omicron PTK chapter president since May 2013.

As AZ PTK president, he’s collaborating with other college chapters in Arizona to provide support with group projects, encourage leadership development and respond to student concerns and needs. For this group project, the team is examining causes of and solutions to reduce violence—and ways to improve victim’s lives.

“The major focus of our research has been to determine what, if anything, can we do as students to assist in reducing violent actions, and bring relief to victims and/or their children,” said Field.

The team has met with police, city council members, family advocacy centers, prosecutors, Maricopa Association of Governments and the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence-- which inspired them to participate in Saturday’s event.

The students are thinking about gathering donated items such as diapers, personal hygiene products and other important items for victims in crisis. “We are also considering a campaign on many college campuses to raise awareness of healthy relationships and what people can do to avoid being assaulted,” said Field.

Field was appointed to his post during the PTK regional convention in March, where he and other Rio Salado PTK students received a Distinguished Arizona Chapter Award, Honors-in-Action Award and College Project Award for their research, community service and efforts to improve student life during the 2013-14 academic year.

Field was also one of three Rio Salado PTK students to receive a Civic Leadership Medallion award in May from the Maricopa County Community College District Chancellor Dr. Rufus Glasper, for demonstrating outstanding achievements in educational advancement, civic engagement and community outreach.

John Field, Associate Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs
Felicia Ganther, J.D. and John Bastian
“John Field is a great leader for PTK,” said John Bastian, Rio Salado PTK Chapter Advisor and Coordinator of Student Life and Leadership. “He has really flourished-- along with our group. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Bastian, who received a Paragon Award for outstanding achievement as an advisor at the national PTK NerdNation annual convention in April said, “PTK plays a significant role in helping students find their leadership potential and put it to good use.”

“I never would have thought that I liked community service, public policy, public service, and advocating for those who cannot represent themselves,” said Field. These are gifts that I will treasure forever, and will hopefully make a difference in the lives of those around me.

To learn more about Rio Salado’s PTK team, visit and contact John Bastian at or 480-517-8656.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Student Group Facilitates Civic Involvement

Rio Salado student Gabriel Sanchez completed the SPPF
program. His final project focused on the growing crisis
that student loans play in the economy.
Choosing to attend classes at an online college does not mean students miss out on connecting with other students and getting involved with their school and community.

Three Rio Salado College students recently completed the Student Public Policy Forum (SPPF), a program that offers students a way to network while also fostering civic involvement.

Student Public Policy Forum
SPPF is a 2-semester academic program that provides an overview of local, state, and national public policy making, and promotes citizen influence and involvement.  SPPF gives students an up-close experience of how government works and culminates in travel to Washington, D.C. in the spring semester.

Rio Salado student Gabriel Sanchez completed the SPPF program en route to earning an associate degree in public administration.

“I returned to college to complete an associate degree to compliment my position with the federal government,” said Sanchez. “SPPF was an amazing experience that helped to focus my intentions towards a future career in politics.”

As part of the program requirements, students select a policy issue on which they conduct research, create an advocacy plan, and develop a final poster presentation.

Sanchez’s final project focused on the growing crisis that student loans play in the economy and for the individuals that take them.

“Financial issues are one of the major problems that impact people today and can only get better through education and proper measures to pass important information to the people for informed decisions,” Sanchez said.

Student Jaye Grismer originally decided to participate in SPPF to better understand how change happens in the community.

“The year that I spent in the SPPF program has helped me to build and enhance my professional skill-set,” Grismer said. “The program assignments and interactions boosted my personal confidence and helped me to identify how I can most effectively assist a team to facilitate change.”

Grismer’s final project centered on the cost of getting an education.

“Federal Social Impact Bonds, or ‘Pay for Success’ financing, is a little known resource that I wanted to educate my classmates and community about,” Grismer said. “I focused my final project on these innovative funding mechanisms and how they could help expand Arizona’s early education programs while also decreasing taxpayer costs and government spending.”

John Field, a student pursuing a paralegal studies degree, said SPPF gave him the opportunity for real-life participation in civic leadership.

“By taking a hands-on approach to education, I now feel more experienced and able to speak with lawmakers, school boards, and the media,” Field said.

Field’s final project was about improving the Violence Against Women Act. 

“This act does very little to protect victims, and often discourages victims from reporting acts of violence or assisting in the prosecution,” Field said. “My proposal would help remedy these limitations in Arizona by obligating judges to convict violent abusers of felonies, mandating sentences and restricting gun ownership.”

All three students agree that SPPF benefited them through more than academics.

“I am much less intimidated of the legislative process and a more productive student and engaged citizen because of my SPPF program experiences,” Grismer said. 
For more details about SPPF, contact Rio Salado Student Life and Leadership Coordinator John Bastian at or 480-517-8656.

By Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator at Rio Salado College. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Recruitment Event

The Alpha Theta Omicron chapter of Phi Theta Kappa international honor society is hosting a recruiting event Thursday, August 15 at the Rio Salado College Conference Center from 6-7:30 p.m. Students are encouraged to stop by to learn more about PTK and meet current members.

PTK Membership comes with many benefits:

  • Scholarship opportunities
  • Include membership on resume and college applications
  • Professional networking opportunities
  • Community involvement
  • Camaraderie with fellow students
  • Gold tassel and stole to be worn at graduation
  • Bragging rights 

Interested students who are not able to make it to the recruitment event are invited to sit in on the regularly scheduled PTK meeting taking place this Saturday from 11 a.m - 1 p.m. at the Rio Salado College Tower.

Current Rio Salado College students who have maintained a 3.5 grade point average after completing at least 12 college-level credits are eligible to participate in PTK. To learn more visit the Rio Salado College Phi Theta Kappa webpage.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Phi Theta Kappa to Raise Funds for American Cancer Society

The Alpha Theta Omicron chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Rio Salado College is currently accepting new team members and donations for the 2012 American Cancer Society Relay for Life event.

Proceeds from the April 28 event will benefit a variety of American Cancer Society programs aimed at providing support to cancer patients and their families.

Student Emily Carlson who serves as the chapter’s vice president of fellowship encourages the entire Rio community to participate.

“We’d like to include as many people as we can,” Carlson said. “It’s a great cause and you don’t have to be athletic to be involved. Participants can walk or even just show up and mingle to show support.”

 “Events like this help us connect to other students and to the community,” Carlson said. “Many of us are online students and appreciate the opportunity to network and interact with our classmates in person.”

“It is a great feeling to contribute to others through PTK,” Carlson added. “This is our chapter’s first community activity of the year. Our goal is to raise at least $500, so dust off your walking shoes and get on the field!”

PTK is a national honor society for two-year college students. The organization promotes academic scholarship by providing opportunities for intellectual exchange, community service and leadership development.

Additional information can be found by visiting the Relay For Life website.  Rio Salado honors students and members of PTK can find additional discussion of this event in the Honors Students – Rio Salado College Facebook group (this is a closed group that will only be visible to members).