Showing posts with label STEM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label STEM. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Rio & NSF Help STEM Pros Become Teachers

Photo of Ms. Bambling

“Rio Salado has been very supportive during my first year of teaching,” said Kyrene Middle School teacher Bridget Bambling, one of 17 scholars who has completed Rio Salado’s Noyce Scholars program, which helped her re-career as a teacher.

“I appreciate the feedback I have received from the instructors who have visited my classroom. I know they are there for me if I have any questions or need assistance,” said Bambling, who received her certification in May 2015 and has been teaching 7th and 8th grade science at Kyrene Middle School since last August. Bambling was a nurse for nearly 20 years before deciding to re-career as a teacher.

Flier for program.  Image of an older gentlemen standing in front of a chalboard, snapshots of kids at play.  Text: SMILE for Math and Science. Are you interested in re-careering? Do you like science or math? Want to help others learn? Do something that will make a difference... get certified as a teacher through Rio Salado College’s Noyce Scholars SMILE program. The Noyce Scholars SMILE (Science and Math Innovative Learning Environments) program is an online 15-month comprehensive secondary teacher certification program in math or science. Program participants receive: $16,500 stipends to cover tuition, fees, and some living expenses, Mentorship throughout the student teaching experience, Assistance with job placementApply for Your SMILE Today!  Call: 480-517-8580 Email: www.  Applications Being Accepted.  Images of Rio Salado Collee, Maricopa Community Colleges and NSF logos.

The Rio Salado Noyce Scholars fast-track teacher education program provides mentoring, assistance with job placement, first-year classroom support and a generous stipend of $16,500 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to cover expenses.

The NSF is providing funding for ten more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals to re-career as secondary classroom teachers in Arizona.

The 15-month, post-baccalaureate program is online, making it accessible and convenient for Valley STEM professionals who’ve been thinking about making the transition to teaching.

Qualified candidates will work toward a Secondary Arizona Teaching Certificate in math or science for grades 6-12 and plan to share their industry experience with students in an effort to prepare teens for high-need STEM careers-- and to help combat the severe shortage of qualified STEM teachers in the state.

The deadline to apply is August 1, 2016.

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, three or more years of experience in a non-education STEM career-- and a passion for teaching.

Classes begin the first week of September.

Please note, the application process usually takes about a month to complete.

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

Join Us for Tempe Geeks Night Out!

poster for Geeks Night Out

Explore the wonderful and wacky world of science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and much more at the 5th annual Tempe Geeks Night Out, Thursday March 3 at Tempe City Hall! 

photo of Rich Cuprak at 2015 Geeks Night Out
Cuprak at 2015 Geeks Night Out
Among the many exhibitors will be Rio Salado College STEM Faculty Chair Rick Vaughn and Faculty Chair of Applied Technology Richard Cuprak, who will give participants insights into some of the latest, emerging technologies and hopefully spark an interest in young people to consider a STEM career.

“Technology evolves very quickly. We want to encourage the type of curiosity and drive for lifelong learning that will allow students to evolve with it,” Cuprak said. “It’s also a lot of fun.”
Vaughn at 2015 Geeks Night Out
Vaughn and Cuprak will provide participants with information and access to fun gadgets to better understand the latest developments in Nanoscience and Energy Technologies-- including access to a scanning electron microscope and thermocouple and infrared devices-- to show how these new technologies can improve our way of life.

"The best part is that we get to play with really cool toys, meet new people who share our interest in science and geek out about the things we love,” said Cuprak.

Vaughn and Cuprak will also introduce attendees to careers in emerging technology fields and educational opportunities through Rio Salado's Energy System Technology and Nanotechnolgy programs.

“While these events are educational, they also provide an opportunity for Rio Salado to show the public that learning is fun and can happen in many different ways,” Cuprak said.
image of young attendee playing a video game
Forget what you think you know about science! Geeks Night Out is all about discovering what makes science fun! Check out this City of Tempe video with Richard Cuprak and you'll see what we mean.

 2016 Geeks Night Out - Science the Tempe Way Share

5th Annual Tempe Geeks Night Out 
Thursday, March 3, 2016  
4:30-7:30 p.m.
Tempe City Hall

Tempe Geeks Night Out is part of the statewide Arizona SciTech Festival, which takes place in February and March each year. Cities across Arizona host a variety of events and activities to promote STEM in local communities.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Rio Noyce Scholar Fulfills Dream of Teaching

“As a Noyce scholar I have been given a tremendous opportunity to pursue my dream to be a secondary math teacher. I have received enormous support in this rigorous program, which is preparing me well for a teaching career,” said Robert Upham.

Upham is one of 28 students who have completed Rio Salado’s Noyce Scholars Program.

“Being a Noyce scholar has given me access to conferences and training seminars from master teachers from across the country. These opportunities have exposed me to the methods, ideas and strategies to become an effective teacher in a STEM field.”

Upham will begin his career as a math teacher this fall at a San Tan Valley middle school.

There are fifteen more openings for qualified Noyce scholars, who will have an opportunity to earn a Secondary Arizona Teaching Certificate in math or science for grades 6-12—along with a generous 16.5K stipend to help with expenses.

The program also provides mentoring, assistance with job placement and first-year classroom support. The 15-month, post-baccalaureate program is online, making it accessible and convenient.

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, three or more years of experience in a non-education STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career-- and a passion for teaching.

Classes begin the first week of September.
Please note, the application process usually takes about a month to complete. 

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

Monday, March 30, 2015

Get Paid While You Learn to Teach

image of a school teacher smiling at camera.  Students working in background.

Rio Salado Teacher Program Offers Fast-Track Re-Career Option. Includes Paid Employment Opportunities for Candidates with a Bachelor’s Degree. 

Have you considered a teaching career but hesitated because you’re not in a position to give up a paycheck to go back to school? Rio Salado’s Teacher-In-Residence (TIR) intern program was designed with your needs in mind.

The program provides a convenient and cost-effective way for students and working professionals with a bachelor’s degree to transition into a K-12 teaching career. Through paid employment opportunities in the classroom, students can earn an income while completing the certification coursework. The program can be completed in two years.

TIR candidates are paired with a partnering Arizona school district, to work full-time and receive the same salary and benefits of fully-certified classroom teachers. The average beginning salary for teachers is nearly $32,000.

The opportunities for post-program employment are also in favor of Rio Salado TIR program completers. Arizona school districts actively seek Rio Salado TIR candidates specifically because the program requires two years of classroom training, provides intensive mentoring and meets their instruction quality standards.

Rio Salado’s TIR programs are approved by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE).

“The need for teachers in Arizona is greater than ever,” said Director of Community Partnerships and Programs Kim Tobey. “Our state has had an ongoing shortage of science, math, special education and kindergarten teachers—especially in rural communities.”

The need has been so great that 938 teaching positions were filled by substitute teachers during the 2013-14 school year, according to the Arizona Department of Education.

“Although substitute teachers meet an immediate need, TIR candidates benefit from full-time employment, while receiving consistent and strong instruction that may not always be afforded to substitute teachers,” said Tobey. 

There’s a greater shortage looming. Approximately 23%, or 26,000 educators, will be eligible for retirement by June 2018.

A 2015 report by the ADE’s Educator Retention and Recruitment Task Force cites that, “Arizona will not be able to ensure economic prosperity for its citizens and create the workforce of tomorrow,” if it cannot fill these vacancies.

“We also have a 6.6 percent unemployment rate, about one percent above the national average,” said Tobey. “With this program, we can help shrink that gap by putting people to work right away.”

Image of teacher writing on chalk board.  Text: Make a Difference.  Become a Teacher.  Learn more about Rio Salado College's Teacher Education Programs.

If you have a passion for teaching and want to learn more about Rio Salado’s TIR program, visit this Teacher Education web page  or call 480-517-8140 to speak to a program Outreach Specialist.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teacher-In-Residence Orientation April 1

Image of a student.  Text: I want to be a teacher (one day, crossed out), now.

Rio Salado’s Teacher-In-Residence intern program provides a convenient and cost-effective way for students and working professionals with a bachelor’s degree to transition into and launch a teaching career—with paid employment opportunities in the classroom— so students can apply what they learn and earn an income while they complete their certification coursework.

Are you ready to follow the calling?

Join us for our Teacher-In-Residence Orientation April 1 
Rio Salado College Conference Center
2323 West 14th Street
Tempe, AZ 85281
6-7 p.m.

RSVP: Click here to let us know you will attend! 

You will have a chance to learn about:
  • Rio Salado Teacher-In-Residence Program requirements
  • Program expectations and support
  • Registration process
  • Answers to any other related questions you may have

We look forward to meeting you there! 

Eager to learn more now? Visit our web page and give us a ring at 480-517-8140.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Geeks Night Out Discovers Fun Science

Don’t be fazed if you see Darth Vader, robots or strangely garbed beings descend on Tempe City Hall on Thursday, March 5. It’s not an intergalactic convention, or even a city council meeting. It’s the 4th annual Tempe Geeks Night Out.

Once again, science aficionados will gather in downtown Tempe to highlight interactive displays and sci-fi/pop culture exhibits that blend science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and more.

The event takes place from 4-7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. This year’s theme is “Discover the Science.”

Among the many exhibitors will be Rio Salado College.

“We wanted our booth to include activities that educate and engage participants in emerging technologies,” said Rick Vaughn, faculty chair for STEM initiatives at Rio Salado College.

Booth highlights include:
  • Remote access to a scanning electron microscope that is located in Seattle. Visitors will be able to take away an actual image that they create using the microscope.
  • See a 3D printer at work! Take in the 3D printer exhibit and see how the additive manufacturing process enables the creation of 3D objects using a layered framework.
  • Infra-red camera activity where kids can see various heat signatures and how heat transfers from lights to surrounding materials. Energy systems lightbulb display. A three fixture lamp will hold one 25W incandescent bulb, one 25W CFL bulb, and one 25W LED bulb. Light meters, volt meters, ammeters, data-loggers, and temperature measuring equipment will be available to compare and contrast. Visitors can record temperature and light output.

While a light bulb display may not seem very scientific, there are many science-related concepts at work.

“The displays of the light bulb components and design of each lead into discussions of fabrication and micro/nano-technology,” said Richard Cuprak, Jr., faculty chair for Applied Technology at Rio Salado College.

Breaking down complex scientific concepts and making them understandable is one of the aims of Geeks Night Out. Another is extolling the importance of STEM as a career choice.

Vaughn cites a nationwide shortage of STEM educated workers and teachers as one reason Rio Salado College participates in events like Geeks Night Out.

“Students who are excited and engaged in STEM events early on are much more likely to select a STEM pathway throughout their education,” Vaughn said.

Another reason is the college’s reputation.

“Rio Salado College has accepted a leadership role in the state to promote STEM education through community events, career and technical pathways, emerging technology programs and professional development for teachers.”

Tempe Geeks Night Out is part of the statewide Arizona SciTech Festival, which takes place in February and March each year. Cities across Arizona host a variety of events and activities to promote STEM in local communities. You can find a full listing of events and the annual program online.

“While these events are educational, they also provide an opportunity for Rio Salado to show the public that learning is fun and can happen in many different ways,” Cuprak said.

For more information about the Energy System Technology program at Rio Salado College visit www.riosalado/energy.

Forget what you think you know about science, Geeks' Night Out is all about discovering what makes science fun!

Check out this City of Tempe video with Richard Cuprak and you'll see what we mean.

By Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator for Rio Salado College. PHOTO: Rio Salado College’s Rick Vaughn and Jeanne Ratliff at the 2013 Tempe Geeks Night Out event. 


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Energy Stystems Tech Classes Begin Jan. 12

image of a tech reading a guage for a generator

In-person classes for our NEW certificate in Energy Systems Technology begin January 12 at RSC Downtown

Course content will focus on energy management and conservation concepts, building codes, standard rating systems, blueprint reading, and efficiency-- with hands-on lab and field-based learning experiences.   

There's still time to register. 

Learn more about this program in this RioNews blog and

Monday, January 5, 2015

For the Love of Teaching Math

photo of Lindsey Buckles

Congratulations to Lindsey Buckles, who will earn her teaching certificate from Rio Salado and begin teaching at Bradshaw Mountain Middle School later this month.

Buckles is one of several Rio Salado Noyce Scholars who is taking advantage of a generous $16,500 stipend from the National Science Foundation to transition from a STEM career to teaching.

Check out this great story by Prescott Valley Tribune Reporter Sue Tone to learn more about Buckles journey into teaching, and then visit for more details about Rio Salado's Noyce Scholars program.

Application deadline is Feb. 3, 2015.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

$16.5K Stipend for STEM Teacher Program

Rio Salado College Noyce Scholar Katy Westersund
A Rio Salado fast-track teacher program, generous scholarship and help with job placement await 20 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals who are ready to recareer as teachers, pass on their knowledge and inspire Arizona teens to excel in the sciences. Time is of the essence. The application deadline is July 18.

The program provides a $16,500 stipend for a 15-month online program that gives qualified candidates a chance to earn an Arizona Teaching Certificate to teach math and science in grades 7-12.

For more information about Rio Salado’s Noyce Scholars program, including application requirements and testimonials from Noyce Scholars, visit or call 480-517-8066.

We also suggest you check out this RioNews blog: for more insight.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ASU NanoFab RET App Deadline June 2

image of a researcher in a lab
The ASU NanoFab participates in the NNIN sponsored Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program that is available to grade school teachers and community college faculty from the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

The RET participants work with ASU faculty on research projects over the summer, and then take what they learn and adapt it for use in their own classroom setting. Later in the year, our RET faculty attend the NNIN Professional Development Workshop at a chosen NNIN site, where they have the opportunity to present the instructional materials developed from their experience at ASU NanoFab. Click here for details about the ASU NNIN RET program.

The NNIN RET program consists of:
  • A seven week non-residential summer internship on the ASU campus
  • A stipend of $5,300
  • Travel support to attend the annual RET Workshop
  • Classroom materials support up to $1,000
  • Professional Development Credits

To qualify for the program applicants must be:
  • US. Citizens or permanent residents.
  • Teacher Applicants: Must teach in grades 6-12
  • Must teach science or technology
  • Must have a minimum of two years teaching experience

Community College Applicants:
  • Must be currently teaching at a two-year post-secondary institution
  • Must have taught for at least two years at a two-year institution
  • Must teach science or engineering

Interested in applying to the ASU NNIN RET Program?

Then please download the ASU RET Application Form and e-mail a completed copy to before June 2, 2014. Include “RET Application” in the subject heading of the e-mail.

Written by Jeanne Ratliff  Community and Industry Program Development Liaison at Rio Salado College

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Get Your Geek On With Rio Salado College!

Dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) demonstration by
 Rio Salado's Jeanne Ratliff, Rich Cuprak and Rick Vaughn
Geeks’ Night Out is an annual event celebrating all things geeky. Hosted by the City of Tempe to promote an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), this very special Third Thursday event combines the learning experience of a science and technology convention with the fun and excitement of a Mill Avenue street festival.

Popular exhibits include an R2-D2 robotics display, Phoenix Comicon costume contest and a ghost hunting demonstration.

For this year’s event, Rio Salado College, ASU’s Arizona Initiative for Nano-Electronics and Penn State’s Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization will provide family-friendly, educational entertainment highlighting nanotechnology and energy management systems.

According to Rio Salado STEM Faculty Chair Rick Vaughn, the Rio Salado booth will include a variety of displays and demonstrations including a dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) display and remote control access to a scanning electron microscope (SEM).

“We are working in partnership with ASU to celebrate educational and career opportunities in emerging technology fields,” Vaughn said. “The hands-on SEM and DSSC exhibits will allow children and adults of all ages to explore the scale of the universe down to the subatomic scale.”

Vaughn said he’s looking forward to showing the next generation how fun and exciting STEM subjects can be.

“This event gives young people first-hand experience with emerging technology and in-person interaction with the experts who make it happen,” Vaughn said. “Because nanotechnology and energy management systems are expected to have a major impact on things like manufacturing and the American economy, it’s important to foster an interest in these technologies.”

According to Rio Salado Faculty Chair of Applied Technology, Richard Cuprak, technology education can be a moving target, so it’s important for students to enjoy the learning process.

“Technology evolves very quickly. We want to encourage the type of curiosity and drive for lifelong learning that will allow students to evolve with it,” Cuprak said. “It’s also a lot of fun.”

Cuprak said he enjoys the Geek’s Night Out event because it gives him an opportunity to share his passion for technology.

“The educational elements are really just a nice side effect,” Cuprak said. “The best part is that we get to play with really cool toys, meet new people who share our interest in science, and geek out about the things we love.”

Cuprak said he also looks forward to talking to potential students about the emerging technology programs that he is working on for Rio Salado College.

“We’re launching an Energy Systems program this fall that I’m really looking forward to,” Cuprak said. “So I’ll be answering questions about that as well.”

Geek’s Night Out, part of the Arizona SciTech Festival, will be hosted by the City of Tempe Feb. 20 from 4:30 – 9 p.m. on Mill Avenue near Tempe City Hall.

This story can also be found in the February 15 edition of the Tempe Republic. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

RSC Supports Women in Technology

Originally published in the March 30 issue of The Tempe Republic.

Tempe-based Rio Salado College, supports women in technology both academically and as an employer.

Lisa Purcell
 Client Support Analyst
Rio Salado Client Support Analyst Lisa Purcell is responsible for computer and telecommunications equipment at the college, and has a personal interest in networking.

"It’s a challenging job and I am always learning," Purcell said. "That is a benefit to me. Technology is not a dull, day-to-day, same-old-thing kind of career. I think it is fun to run around the college and fix computers, printers, phones, and whatever else it may be."

Purcell said she believes technically inclined individuals are respected for their skills regardless of gender, and that it can put women on more even ground in the workplace.

"I feel that technically inclined women probably are treated a little bit differently than other women," Purcell said. "You are looked upon as a person who can fix an issue or at least help and give guidance in technical situations."

"It's not a bad thing. Employees call me directly because they know I can troubleshoot and help solve a problem," Purcell said. "I think this probably happens to technically inclined men as well. Gender is just not as big an issue when it comes to technical fields."

According to the 2011 U.S. Department of Commerce report, Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation, Purcell is probably right. Women working in science and technology benefit from a smaller gender wage gap and earn 33% more than their non-technical counterparts.

Jennifer Freed
Dean of Instruction 
Jennifer Freed, who currently serves as the dean of instruction and academic affairs, was head of the e-Learning design program at Rio Salado for several years. She is well known for her interest in gadgets and technology.

"I would have to say that unintentionally, my interest in technology has become a defining feature of my personality," Freed said. "If you had asked anyone 12 years ago, 'techie' wouldn’t have been used to describe me at all. However, since then, the interest has become a real part of my personality. It influences not only my job, but my hobbies, interests, and I would even say my parenting."

Freed said that she is constantly on the lookout for new technology to share with her five-year-old daughter.

"I'm always looking for something new - from the iPod doc on her crib when she was a baby to the apps and gadgets that we play with now for fun."

Freed said she believes that her daughter, and girls in general, will benefit from the abundance of technology in everyday life.

"I would say everyone has better opportunity, but because of that, girls have benefited " Freed said. "It is such a normal part of our life that she can’t help but grow up exploring technology and gadgetry. In the past this wasn't the case. Of those who were lucky enough to have this type of technology available, only a small subset ever explored it, and it was typically the boys."

Harpreet Maan
Web Technician
Rio Salado Web Technician Harpreet Maan started her career in technology when she emigrated from India to the United States in 1998. At the time, work permits were available primarily for positions in technology.

"I really wanted to work. I had taken programming classes, but my degree was in advertising. I wanted to do something creative," Maan said. "Making websites uses a combination of design and technology, so I got a certification in web development."

Maan said that her programming knowledge makes the process of designing a webpage easier and more efficient.

"The programming classes really helped me to understand the back end of web technology, and the advertising degree helps me on the front end and marketing aspects of my job," Maan said. “It creates balance. It really worked out perfectly.”

Rio Salado college is a member of the National Information, Security and Geospatial Technologies Consortium. NISGTC is a collaboration of Maricopa Community College entities offering information technology education and career training to underserved populations. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Get Your Science On

Last week, geeks and nerds alike congregated in downtown Tempe to celebrate all things cool (read: science).

“Geeks Night Out” featured interactive exhibits to promote everything from science to science fiction to the business of science.

As an ardent supporter of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, Rio Salado College co-hosted a booth to extoll the wonders of nanotechnology.


Yup. In case you didn’t know it, nanotechnology is all around us. It’s in cosmetics and clothes and lasers and airplane coatings.

To help explain nanotechnology concepts, visitors to Rio Salado’s booth could witness demonstrations of nanotechnology in everyday products.

They were also invited to test a million-dollar microscope located at the Nanotechnology Applications Career Knowledge Center at Penn State University.

Visitors used a regular computer with a 4G cell phone link to control every aspect of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), including focusing and magnifying. Samples loaded included a spider, fly, DVD, and copper nanowires. Testers were also able to print high-resolution images of their samples to keep as souvenirs.

“I was pleased that the Nanotechnology booth was very popular,” said Rick Vaughn, Rio Salado College STEM Faculty Chair. “Students and parents lined up to control the microscope, examine a twelve inch silicon wafer, play with polymers, and write their name in binary code.”

Geeks Night Out was just one of many activities taking place during February and March as part of the statewide Arizona SciTech Festival, which aims to “bring out the curiosity within.”

“Although not fully developed, a student’s aptitude for math and science is determined at a relatively early age,” Vaughn said. “If we can encourage the youth of today to pursue STEM skills, especially in the crucial middle school years, we can build the pipeline of high-tech workers necessary for Arizona to compete in a global marketplace.”

Other Rio Salado STEM initiatives include 2-year degree and certificate programs in Engineering Technology, Pre-Engineering programs, and the SMILE Noyce Scholars program for STEM professionals transitioning into teaching careers.

Rio Salado’s second event celebrating the Arizona SciTech Festival and STEM education is a Digital Technology and Journalism panel discussion on March 7 from 5:30-7 p.m. Students from KJZZ’s SPOT 127 youth media initiative and local experts, including KJZZ’s Digital Media Editor Tracy Greer and KJZZ’s IT Manager Rick Gould, will discuss reaching the digital generation with news and information.  The event takes place at the Conference Center @ Rio, 2323 W. 14th Street in Tempe.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

TAACCCT Grant Supports IT Career Training

Rio Salado College is one of five Maricopa Community College entities offering information technology career training as part of a national grant award.

The US Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant supports Rio Salado as a partner in the National Information Security, and Geospatial Technology Consortium (NISGTC). The Consortium includes seven community colleges focused on developing and supporting curriculum and a student model for accelerated career path training.

Through the grant, students can earn certificates of completion or associate degrees in a variety of information technology areas.

Rio Salado College, along with Estrella Mountain Community College, Paradise Valley Community College and South Mountain Community College, offer various IT programs such as Computer Usage and Applications, Programming, Computer Technology, Cisco Network Professional, Networking Technology, Cisco Networking, Networking Administration, Linux Networking Administration, Microsoft Desktop Support Technology, Microsoft 7 Administration, Web Development and Web Design.

The Maricopa Skill Center offers a Computer Support Specialist certificate.

The TAACCT grant provides additional support to students who have a high school diploma or GED, want to pursue careers in IT, and fit at least one of the following profiles with eligible veterans and their spouses receiving priority service:
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) or displaced workers 
  • Underrepresented individuals in the IT profession, including women and ethnic minorities 
  • Unemployed or underemployed 
As part of the grant, eligible students who apply for the IT programs are provided with a student success coach for guidance and support. They also receive IT specific tutoring, industry supported curriculum, and have access to the student support services offered by the Maricopa Community Colleges, including financial aid, counseling and disability resources, veterans’ services and more.

To learn more about the TAACCCT grant programs visit

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rio Salado Launching STEM Mentoring Program

Rio Salado College is launching a mentoring program to help connect students and K-12 classrooms with industry professionals in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The STEM Mentoring Program was created by the Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz), and is funded by a grant from the Arizona Community Foundation.

The grant empowers SFAz to bring together businesses, educators and community leaders in Flagstaff, Tucson and Phoenix to connect scientists, engineers and researchers with 4th-12th grade teachers to develop STEM education experiences.

In the Phoenix area, the Community College Partnership received a $5,000 grant to develop a mentoring model that teams community college students with participating schools.  Participants include Honors students from the Maricopa Community Colleges and Noyce Scholars from Rio Salado College.

The pilot project embraces a 3-part mentoring model that:
  • Creates partnerships between businesses and schools
  • Provides practical project-based learning for students
  • Prepares Arizona students for college and STEM careers

Read the full news release here. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

RSC Recruiting for STEM Teaching Program

The Post Baccalaureate National Science Foundation (NSF) Noyce Scholarship program provides funding and support to science, technology, engineering and math professionals interested in pursuing a career in teaching.

As Rio Salado College’s first class of Noyce Scholars prepare for student teaching, the RSC Teacher Preparation Program is recruiting for a second cohort.

According to Noyce Scholars Program Manager Karen Nave, the program is currently partnered with 14 high need school districts looking to fill teaching positions across Arizona.

“We are seeking highly-qualified bachelor degree holders with significant life experience in science, engineering or math who can inspire and meet the needs of 21st century students,” Nave said.

STEM professionals who are interested in sharing their knowledge with the next generation are encouraged to apply by the December 30 deadline. Qualified applicants will receive a $16,500 stipend to offset the costs of teacher preparation classes, certification and professional association fees.

"The concept behind this program is an incredibly good idea,” said program participant Thomas Hagen. "Helping people who are in the math and science fields to make the transition into teaching, and getting them into high needs classrooms makes me excited that someone had a great idea that came to fruition."

Hagen graduated from West Point with a degree in engineering. After spending 22 years in the U.S. Army, working as the technical coordinator for a local school district in New York, owning his own business and serving as a volunteer fireman for 11 years, Hagen said he believes he has quite a bit to offer his prospective students.

“I think the teaching profession is an incredible opportunity to touch the future of our country," Hagen said. “I think my life skills and community involvement will provide an example of how we want the students in our community to contribute.”

Hagan said his experience with the program and the eight other students in his cohort made him feel like what he is doing is important.

“The people running the program at Rio Salado have been extremely professional and great motivators. They are high energy and really get you fired up to go out and do great things in the classroom," Hagen said. "The other Noyce Scholars are people like me who have varied backgrounds and are bringing a great deal of life experience to the table. I love being associated with such a high quality group."

For more information about the NSF Noyce Scholarship visit and search Noyce or contact Pam Asti, at 480.517.8066 or


Rio Salado College was established in 1978 by the Maricopa Community College District to provide the next step in education for non-traditional students. The college, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, was recently recognized as the fastest growing community college in the nation serving more than 67,000 students annually. In addition to providing high-quality instruction for 100+ degree and certificate pathways, Rio Salado is dedicated to providing flexible, affordable access through; adult basic education, collaborative partnerships, early college initiatives and online learning.

Friday, February 24, 2012

KJZZ and Rio Salado to Host AZ SciTech Forum

Imagine a medical treatment uniquely designed for your body. Science fiction or fact? Valley residents will have a chance to examine the potential of Personalized Medicine during an ARIZONA SCITECH forum presented by KJZZ and Rio Salado College from 7-9 p.m., March 8 at the Conference Center @ Rio.

The conversation will focus on the latest developments in custom treatments, followed by an examination of how this new medical model can affect your wellness and the Valley’s health and science-related industries.  

KJZZ’s Associate General Manager of News and Editorial Strategy, Mark Moran, will serve as the forum moderator. Joining Moran will be a panel of experts including TGen Clinical Professor Dr. Michael Demeure, TGen Researcher Dr. Darin Taverna, and Barry Broome, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Attendees can help focus the dialogue by sending comments and questions in advance to KJZZ Public Insight Journalist, Nick Blumberg, at (480) 774-8231 or
Space is limited; please contact Claire Kerrigan at (480) 774-8444 or for reservations. The Conference Center @ Rio is located at 2323 W. 14th St., Tempe, AZ 85281. Parking is available in the adjacent garage to the west and in the east side parking lot. Desserts and coffee will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m.

This forum is one of 200-plus ARIZONA SCITECH events held in Arizona during February and March. In-kind production support is made possible in part by the Arizona Science Center.

KJZZ is a listener-supported public radio station that is licensed to the Maricopa Community Colleges District. It is as a community service of Rio Salado Colleges Division of Public Service, which also includes KBAQ 89.5, Sun Sounds of Arizona and MCTV. KJZZ features a mix of local and NPR news, entertainment, jazz
and blues—serving more than 306,000 weekly listeners. For more information, visit

Rio Salado College is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges and the largest online public community college in the nation, serving nearly 70,000 students annually with more than 43,000 online. Founded in 1978, Rio Salado offers degree and certificate programs and general education courses. The college also provides support for dual enrollment, military and incarcerated students, and is the largest provider of adult basic education in Arizona.


Annette Flores, KJZZ Public Relations Coordinator
(480) 774-8459


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rio Salado's Teacher Prep Program Receives $1.2 Million Noyce Grant to Train Science and Math Teachers

The Teacher Preparation Program of Rio Salado College recently received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Noyce Scholarship Program award of nearly $1.2 million to support the recruitment and training of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals who are interested in becoming a science or math teacher in 7-12 grade classrooms in Arizona.

“The need for inspiring teachers in STEM related subjects is critical for the future of Arizona’s economy and experienced professionals in these fields have much to offer,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, Rio Salado College president. “Rio is honored to be one of the few community colleges in the nation to receive a Noyce grant and be a part of this important initiative.”

The Noyce Scholarship award will fund tuition, textbooks, fees and technical support for four cohorts of 10 participants each over the next four years. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, Arizona resident, have a minimum of three years’ experience in a STEM related field, a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline, and commit to teach for two years in a high-need school. The application deadline for the first cohort is December 16, 2011.

Successful Noyce scholar participants will complete a comprehensive 15-month teacher certification program with online course instruction and on-site teaching experiences in conveniently located school districts.  Rio will also provide mentoring and professional support to students as they fulfill the required two-year teaching commitment.
“This combination of online and in-person instruction and support will provide STEM professionals flexibility in completing the course training and allow the program to recruit Noyce Scholars statewide,” said Janet Johnson, Rio’s education chair.

Businesses such as Intel, the Arizona Business and Education Coalition, and health care providers in Arizona will be essential to getting the word out to displaced, trade affected or retiring workers in STEM-related fields.

“The Noyce Scholarship Program is such a boon to both education and industry – particularly in rural Arizona,” said Susan Carlson, executive director of the Arizona Business and Education Coalition.
“These scholarships provide a pathway for STEM-talented individuals to move from the private sector into the classroom: benefitting them as individuals, benefitting students who will learn from experienced STEM professionals, and benefitting STEM industries which are looking for well-educated grads.”

For more information, contact Karen Nave, Noyce Grant Scholarship Manager, at 480.517.8743 or

Rio’s highly regarded Teacher Preparation Program was recently joined by The New York Times Knowledge Network. The online program is designed for busy adults who already have a bachelor’s degree and want to become a teacher. Through the NYT EpsilenTM platform, Noyce scholars will be afforded expanded resources such as The Times’ content repository and networking with other students from across the nation while enrolled in the hybrid-distance learning program.

Rio Salado College is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges and is the largest online public community college in the nation, serving nearly 70,000 students annually with more than 41,000 online. Founded in 1978, Rio Salado offers degree and certificate programs and general education courses. The college also provides support for dual enrollment, military and incarcerated students, and is the largest provider of adult basic education in Arizona.

Media Contact:
Delynn Bodine, PR Manager