Friday, April 26, 2013

Goodwill partners with Maricopa Community Colleges on scholarships

Read the news article in the Phoenix Business Journal on Goodwill's $50,000 endowed scholarship for Maricopa Community College students.

College and community benefit from week-long sustainability activities

Spectrum elementary students visit the worm bed at the 
Environmental Technology Center and learn how 
beneficial worms are to our soil from CGCC students.
Each student also planted a melon or squash seed to
take home.
           Being responsible stewards of our resources is an essential life lesson. Sustainability week at Chandler-Gilbert Community College is an annual event designed to foster awareness of sustainability; encourage student action in their local and global communities; and inspire students and community members to make choices to live more sustainably.

Jake Upshaw, member of the Humanitarian & Environmental 
Action Team, sorts through 24 hours of trash collected 
from the CGCC Pecos Campus to demonstrate how much 
of the trash thrown in waste barrels can be recycled 
or composted.
Members of the student-led Humanitarian and Environmental Action Team (HEAT) joined with the Center for Civic and Global Engagement and passionate faculty to develop a week of activities ranging from showing a documentary and demonstration on garbage to a panel discussions with local community leaders on current sustainability standards. More than 16 students gave presentations about their experiential learning projects they undertook

Following her presentation, Lauren Applegate stops
 by the ethnobotany garden she cultivated with biology 
faculty Kelly Hiatt. The garden represents the five 
habitat regions of the southwest desert and includes the 
plants used for medicinal purposes by various cultures. 
during the past year and more than 200 others created poster displays on a wide range of sustainability topics.
Two elementary school groups also visited the college, touring the many projects underway at the Environmental Technology Center (ETC), a 1,200-square-feet outdoor living laboratory where students in the Sustainability and Ecological Literacy program put their ideas into practice.
          “The intent is to share with community and the college at large some of the authentic and creative learning projects that students are engaged in at Chandler-Gilbert Community College,” said Darien Ripple, philosophy faculty and ETC coordinator.

Yumara Rodriguez studies a nuclear energy poster display, 
taking notes for a class assignment. CGCC students created 
approximately 240 poster displays on sustainability topics 
ranging from composting and alternative fuels to bioplastics 
and the use of green microgyms to generate energy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Two CGCC student teams take first place at Avnet Tech Games

Two Chandler-Gilbert Community College student teams achieved first place in two different competitions at the Spring 2013 Avnet Tech Games on April 13. More than 70 community colleges and local, national and international universities participated in the event.  Each student on the winning team received a $1,000 check to use toward their education.

Green Video Competition
This is an exciting event combining video production skills, environmental awareness and marketing skills. There were 14 different universities in the competition from across the nation and CGCC was the only community college to participate. The first place team was comprised of  CGCC students Lindsay Brown, Sarah Mckinney, Robert Mclean and Chris Vance. Thanks to their faculty sponsor Elie Chmouni for his leadership and dedication.

View their winning video "Let's Go."

Design and Build a Digital Device
Student teams had four hours to design and build a digital electronic device to control a four-way traffic signal including pedestrians wishing to cross streets. Students had to design a simulation using one of the leading digital design software, Xilinx, and hardware (latest product of Avnet FPGA board) for the project as well as write and present a technical report. CGCC’s winning team included Robin Messenger, Habib Matar, Travis Farwell, and Nicco Horvath.

Following is their design:

View a video summary of the day.

CGCC and Si Se Puede Foundation Host Calculus Competition for Young Students

Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) and the Si Se Puede Foundation will host a calculus competition as part of Si Se Puede's Robotics Camp on Saturday, April 20 at CGCC's Performing Arts Center. The competition is designed to expose students ages 9 to 13, from Chandler’s at-risk communities, to the fields of math and engineering. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. following the competition at 9:00 a.m.

CGCC calculus students create math activities to engage the younger students and to help support their programming work. Teams made up of three to four students work on problems created by the CGCC students, competing for trophies and other prizes. The competition will consist of 18 problems of increasing difficulty placed one at a time before each team. In addition to trophies, awards for “Most Improved” and “Most Supportive” will be presented. Calculus Club competitors will also be presented with a medallion, followed by a celebratory lunch.

“The Si Se Puede Foundation is proud to partner with Chandler-Gilbert Community College, which has helped create excitement with our students around math and science and, most importantly, has created an environment in which learning can be fun,” said Alberto Esparza, president of the Si Se Puede Foundation. “We are looking forward to a long-lasting relationship with CGCC and their calculus students who exemplify what service-learning is all about.”

CGCC mathematics faculty Melinda Rudibaugh has worked with the program since 2009 and was recognized by the Si Se Puede Foundation as a Teacher of the Year Honoree.

“This spring the program lengthened into 13 consecutive Saturdays of math support by CGCC students for Si Se Puede's youth,” said Rudibaugh. “Alberto is now discussing partnering with CGCC engineering students and faculty to benefit his students. Given his vision, passion, work ethic, and sincere concern for his students, we’re excited to continue our partnership with Alberto and Si Se Puede.”

Monday, April 15, 2013

Si Se Puede Foundation recognizes math faculty as Educator of the Year Honoree

The Si Se Puede Foundation recognized Chandler-Gilbert Community College mathematics faculty Melinda Rudibaugh as an Educator of the Year Honoree on March 30 at the 13th Annual Cesar E. Chavez Educators of the Year awards dinner.

Rudibaugh promotes success skills to students in the Si Se Puede program so they understand the need to finish high school and attend college. Her calculus students provide leadership and tutoring to K-12 students for 11 Saturdays to enhance core math skills.

The CGCC-Si Se Puede partnership teaches success behaviors, reinforces core concepts and exposes youth to career fields such as engineering. The types of relationships built in these programs are transformational for CGCC’s students, staff and faculty as well as the Si Se Puede youth and foundation. CGCC students serve as role models to the local K-12 students they work with, inspiring kids to reach for college.

“Though I’m honored, the real recognition goes to Alberto (Esparza, president and CEO of Si Se Puede) who proposed we teach the children calculus, the college students who do all the work and the parents of the children who support them because they want their children to do well,” said Melinda Rudibaugh.

Additional CGCC connections at the recognition dinner included honoree Monica Garcia, a former CGCC student active in service-learning, and Lourdes Nieto, coordinator of Destination College, hosted each summer at CGCC.

Friday, April 12, 2013

SQL Server event brings free training to local developers

Attendees listen to a presentation at the 2012 SQL 
Saturday event hosted by the Arizona chapter of 
Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS).
Joe Barth is an application developer and new to Arizona. When he arrived eight months ago, he sought out a SQL Server user group to begin to build his professional connections. He had started a group in Rochester, New York and found it to be a great resource for not only networking but to trouble shoot, brainstorm and bounce ideas off other members.

The user groups are supported through the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS), which was created to help educate and connect SQL Server users around the world. On April 27, the Arizona chapter will host their annual SQL Saturday, a free training for professionals and those wanting to learn about SQL Server.

The conference isn’t just for those involved in technology. SQL (a programming language designed for managing data) is an umbrella name for a number of services and is the power behind applications like Microsoft Excel and Access. Being informed about SQL capabilities might inform a business or financial professional about new ways to present information and data.

“It’s an opportunity for those who are curious or not sure about something in SQL Server to get a feel for a topic or to vet their questions without getting too deep into it,” said Robert Miller, a two-time presenter at the event.

Barth sees it another way.

“I get to see great professional presentations from those I wouldn’t have heard otherwise. It gives those who don’t have the money, or small businesses who have minimal professional development budgets, the opportunity to get high-level training for free,” said Barth.

The event has sessions for beginners, intermediate and advanced levels in technology as well as other topics, including how to manage a team of technical professionals and what is the best disaster recovery solution. Attendees get the equivalent of five years of monthly meetings to choose from, all compressed into one day.

“It’s an intense, one-day knowledge transfer,” said Miller.

SQL Saturday is one of the few local events that Microsoft will send employees to, according to Miller.  Microsoft works with PASS to develop the program which draws out-of-state presenters like Stacia Misner, author or co-author of several books covering different components of the Microsoft SQL Server database and business intelligence platform.

The event location on Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s Pecos campus also allows students get exposure to the field and meet database industry experts. The facility is ideal with enough classrooms equipped with computers and audio visual equipment to accommodate the nine sessions offered each hour.

“With the many technology businesses located in the area, it’s fitting that we host SQL Saturday and contribute to the ongoing educational and professional development needs of our local workforce,” said Patricia Baker, CGCC computing studies faculty. 

The college offers a wide variety of courses, degrees, and certificates in information technology, including database operations, programming and systems analysis, networking, and hardware maintenance.

“Creating opportunities to connect our students with professionals in the database field allows them to learn firsthand the kind of environments they will experience once they enter the workforce,” said Baker.

Barth agrees that the networking opportunity is invaluable.

“It’s a bit scary being the new guy. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and building some connections as well as attending the sessions and applying the information to my work.”
Attendees can earn certificate of participation for non-credit training by completing paperwork at the event.  For more information about SQL Saturday, visit

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Food blogger, author and CGCC grad Tessa Arias graces cover of Go Gilbert!

The April 2013 issue of Go Gilbert! features Tessa Arias, a CGCC grad who transferred to Northern Arizona University. Read about her successful business venture and her upcoming cookbook, Cookies & Cream, being released online at Barnes and Noble in May.

Read her blog at

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CGCC to receive Williams Air Force Base memorial class plaque

From 1941 to 1993, Williams Air Force Base — affectionately known as "Willie" — played a vital part in local history. Thousands of pilots, military personnel and civilians lived, trained and worked at the base. After World War II, Willie brought new business and hundreds of families into the area, helping it grow into the region it is today. Many former trainees have returned to the area in their retirement years.

On Saturday, April 27, the Chandler Downtown Library will host a presentation from General Carl Schneider, a 1948 graduate of Willie who flew more than 100 missions in Korea and Vietnam. At the close of his presentation, General Schneider will present a plaque in honor of the U.S. Air Force Pilot Class 48-B to the Chandler Museum and a duplicate plaque to Chandler-Gilbert Community College for its collection of Williams Air Force Base memorabilia.

The cases of Willie memorabilia including yearbooks, magazine and news articles, model planes flown at the base, photos and other items can be viewed in Bluford Hall on the Williams Campus.

Long-time Chandler resident Marie Haggarton will also speak at the event, sharing her memories of working as a Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph operator at the base in the 1940s. The event begins at 10:30 a.m.

'Male Minority Initiative' story features CGCC chapter president

Martine Garcia is the president of the
Chandler-Gilbert Community College Minority
Male Initiative Group.(Photo by Steve Shadley-KJZZ)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

CGCC named to national community service honor roll seventh year in a row

Chandler-Gilbert Community College was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll on March 4. This is the seventh consecutive year the college has received this designation, which is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. 

"Thanks to our dedicated faculty and service-learning staff, our service-learning program has continued to build year after year with an increasing number of students contributing their time and talents to our community service agencies, building relationships between the two and a strengthening of our community overall,” said CGCC President Linda Lujan. “It’s an honor to receive national recognition for this work.” 

Since 1992, CGCC has sustained and expanded an academic service-learning program, which now engages more than 3,200 students each year, contributing more than 36,290 hours of service to approximately 200 community-based agencies and schools. One example is Into the Streets where students, faculty and staff serve at one of 20 local agencies such as food banks, youth-serving agencies, schools, and senior centers over a two-day period. View a recent television segment highlighting the program.

Majors such as Teacher and Early Childhood Education require service-learning as a cornerstone instructional strategy. Each semester, 400 students serve 20-30 hours each in approximately 100 local K-12 public, private and charter classrooms engaging students individually and in small groups. CGCC also hosts a number of events on campus for students such as Diversity Day.

“Congratulations to CGCC, its faculty and students for its commitment to service, both in and out of the classroom,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). “Through its work, institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges.”

Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, CNCS has administered the award since 2006 and manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

CGCC Innovation of the Year: Reading Sessions for Developmental Mathematics

The Reading Sessions for Developmental Math classes
include (from left) Maria Wise, Roberta Pardo, Mary
Zimmerer, Laura Smallwood, Mona Kelso,
and Patricia Sindel-Arrington (not pictured).
Chandler-Gilbert Community College awarded its 2012-2013 Innovation of the Year to Reading Sessions for Developmental Mathematics.

The classes provide supplemental reading instruction to math students enrolled in developmental math classes. Math and reading faculty work collaboratively to provide instruction and assignments that improve students’ problem-solving and critical-thinking skills by applying reading strategies to math textbooks. By effectively developing these skills, students gain the confidence to successfully complete their math class.

"The sessions are in addition to a student's classes as well as to the course load of participating faculty, but the rewards have more than outweighed the extra time put in by both," said Maria Wise, interim dean of arts and sciences, who initiated the first session in 2009.

Students are required to attend four 70-minute, out-of-class sessions during the semester which are designed to introduce various reading strategies to help students improve their ability to identify pertinent information and data from what they have read, leading them to correctly solve math word problems.

The Math/Reading Sessions Program idea began with an Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction grant awarded for the 2009-2010 academic year. Wise, a mathematics faculty member, noticed her students were having difficulty understanding the reading-intensive math textbook used at the time. She approached mathematics faculty Laura Smallwood who had been working collaboratively with an English faculty member to apply reading strategies to writing a statistical report to see if something similar coud be done to help math students. Smallwood then collaborated with Mary Zimmerer to write the grant.

The sessions began in fall 2009 with one adjunct reading faculty, two math faculty, and three sections of developmental math classes. It has since been offered to selected developmental math students enrolled in seven of the eight semesters.

The team will be honored at the Maricopa County Community College District Innovation of the Year Award Ceremony on April 12 at the Rio Salado College Conference Center.

Be Air Aware campaign wins Award of Excellence

Be Air Aware team (from left) Trina Larson, Chrissy
Springfield, Lynda Anderson, Joel Brame,
and Lori Girshick. 
The Diversity Advisory Council recognized the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Be Air Aware campaign with the 2013 Award of Excellence. Team members  Lynda Anderson, Joel Brame, Lori Girshick, Trina Larson from CGCC and Alyssa Brown and Chrissy Springfield from the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) office will be recognized for their efforts in supporting diversity and inclusion within MCCCD at the Diversity Advisory Council Recognition Event on Wednesday, April 10.

The Be Air Aware campaign promotes a work environment free of harmful chemicals and irritants that may cause Multiple Chemical Sensitivities syndrome. The campaign creates awareness about the needs of employees who suffer with this invisible disability. This initiative has aided in fostering inclusivity and diversity so that all Maricopa employees can do their best work.

While the initiative is still ongoing at this point, the team is considering expanding the educational sessions to students and adjunct faculty. Many employees have come forward to thank the team because they had been suffering reactions in silence.

“We owe it to our employees to provide the healthiest environment possible for them to work in,” said MCCCD Chancellor Rufus Glasper during the Breathe Easy campaign.