Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More Valley students opting for dual enrollment

A growing number of students are collecting more than their high-school diplomas when they cross the graduation stage this month according to an article appearing in the Arizona Republic on May 27 written by Kerry Fehr.

The article notes that Chandler-Gilbert Community College has the second largest dual enrollment in the Maricopa Community College district with more than 7,200 students.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Who wants to be millionaire? CGCC adjunct faculty member Allison O'Neal, that's who.

Allison O'Neal (photo courtesy Disney-ABC)
CGCC adjunct faculty member and Gilbert resident, Allison O'Neal, will appear on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire tomorrow, May 29 on AZTV 7, cable channel 13 (KAZT). Allison teaches psychology and anthropology at CGCC and has been an adjunct since 2003.

Tune in to watch whether she becomes a millionaire.

Scholarship paves path for 44-year-old student

Tammy Day holds her scholarship award
plaque presented by Kelle Bingham
from the Chandler Service Club. 
On May 14, Tammy Day experienced something she never imagined would happen to her — she received a $3,500 scholarship from the Chandler Service Club for her academic and personal achievements.

Day, a 44-year-old Chandler-Gilbert Community College student, was diagnosed in elementary school with a learning disability and placed in remedial classes. This, combined with being overweight, made her a target and she was teased and bullied throughout school. At age 15, she ran away from home. Life was overwhelming and she turned to drugs, losing any motivation to apply herself in classes.

“By then, getting a ‘D’ in a class was an accomplishment,” said Day. She quit high school in the ninth grade. At age 18, she decided to go back to school to earn her GED, taking night classes and passing with the lowest score possible.

“I really thought getting a GED was the top of education for me,” said Day. “College never even crossed my mind.”

Knowing she wanted to make a difference, she became an avid volunteer and found her passion in helping the elderly. She spent the next 13 years working with them and the disabled.

“One day I asked a co-worker who happened to be a social worker how I could do her job. She said I would need a college degree,” said Day. “I was hitting my late thirties and had completely lost all hope of returning to school, so I continued to volunteer.

At 40, Day made a life-changing decision and enrolled in community college when a friend suggested she return to school to pursue her dream of becoming a social worker. Her first semester was challenging and awkward, feeling uncomfortable among a much-younger student body. She had decided to withdraw when one of her professors, Patrick Williams, convinced her to attend an on-campus lecture by author, speaker and refugee Mawi Asgedom.

“I try to inspire each student to reach their fullest potential,” said Williams, English faculty. “Tammy was working hard to keep up and was making excellent use of the resources on campus. Having a good sense of her personality from class, I thought she might really benefit from the speaker.”

“I think there is something each individual wants or needs to hear, and when we do, it empowers us to move forward,” said Day. “This is what happened to me. Mawi Asgedom completely changed my life.”

Day stuck with her classes that semester and earned a 4.0, a grade point average she has maintained since.

“Tammy has a compelling story and we were impressed by her persistence and hard work,” said Kelle Bingham of the Chandler Service Club, which restructured and combined their scholarship programs this year and awarded Tammy with enough funding to pay tuition, books and related expenses for an entire year through the  Helen Pernell and Jewel Lewis Memorial Community Scholarship. “Although we have always awarded a scholarship to re-entry students, we changed the program this year to focus on providing enough funding for an entire year so students don’t have to worry about finding multiple sources of support.”

For Day, who works part-time as a private duty caregiver, it is another life-changing experience.         “Having the scholarship and knowing that I’m halfway to my associates degree makes me feel like I can do this,” Day said, who plans to go on to earn a master’s degree and write a book. “If I can do it, with my history, others can too. As Mawi Asgedom said, ‘Never, never, never give up.’”

To learn more about helping students succeed through scholarships, contact Cindy Barnes Pharr, dean of community affairs, at 480-732-7093.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cody the Coyote among other MCCCD mascots featured in MCTV news

Cody the Coyote, Chandler-Gilbert Community College's mascot, was featured in a short news segment on MCTV highlighting all of the Maricopa Community College District's mascots.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dual enrollment launches college journey

Read the story "Dual enrollment launches college journey" appearing in the Arizona Republic on the benefits students and parents experience by participating in dual enrollment.

Friday, May 10, 2013

High honors and multiple degrees represent CGCC graduating class

More than 1,200 students graduate today from Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Of those, 35 percent have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and 120 are graduating with multiple degrees or certificates. Last night, the college held an awards ceremony recognizing 67 students for their outstanding efforts in academics and leadership.

“This is a very special time of year for us,” said Linda Lujan, president of CGCC. “We get to witness and participate in our students’ success and feelings of accomplishment. They have worked exceptionally hard to get here and our faculty and staff have worked equally as hard helping them along their educational journey.”

Kolton Orcutt, president of the associated students of CGCC, is graduating with high distinction (3.75 GPA or higher) and receiving an associate degree in business as well as a certificate in accounting. Orcutt, a 2010 graduate from Basha High School in Chandler, originally went to the University of Arizona but returned to Chandler and began classes at CGCC in fall 2011.
CGCC's nursing Class of 2013.

“Changing colleges gave me insight into how important flexibility and perseverance are in navigating this world of constant and increasingly rapid change,” said Orcutt. “There is no roadmap, GPS, or app to guide us into our future. Despite all our planning and preparation, life happens. We can choose to surrender or prevail. Tonight’s graduates have all prevailed and are charged with taking their newly acquired knowledge and transforming it into life-altering innovations and discoveries.”

Orcutt will join Congressman Matt Salmon in addressing the graduates at the 8 p.m. ceremony held on the Pecos campus. Salmon was selected by the college for his long-standing support of education and of veterans. Lujan notes that, though they have different opinions at times, there are points on which she and Congressman Salmon agree.

“In addition to support for education and veterans, we agree that we are fortunate to live and work in a democracy where each of us can freely share our opposing views in a respectful, civil manner, a hallmark of democracy and of academic freedom. We also agree that tonight is not about differences, but about celebration of our students and their accomplishments.”

The scope of student accomplishments is as diverse as the range of programs offered at the college. Nearly 70 percent of graduates completed the coursework to transfer to a four-year university. Twenty-five students will participate in the nursing pinning ceremony at the Williams Campus at 2 p.m., a long-held tradition signifying their graduation to a board-eligible registered nurse. Others will graduate with certificates or degrees in a variety of career and technical areas that will put them in high-skill, high wage jobs immediately upon graduation such as aircraft maintenance, exercise science, engineering technology, powerplant maintenance, dietetics, computer information systems, massage therapy, and electric utility technology.

“Regardless of our specializations, we are bonded by the education and wisdom we have acquired here at Chandler-Gilbert Community College,” said Orcutt. “It is this education and our unity to achieve more together than any one of us could accomplish alone that will give us the power to seize the successes that lay before us.”

View the 2013 graduation scrapbook

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

CGCC student receives national community outreach award

Christopher Vance, a sophomore engineering major at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC), was selected as a 2013 Newman Civic Fellows Award recipient. The award recognizes college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.

Vance, a student liaison at CGCC's  Environmental Technology Center (ETC), helps design and build compost bins and other environmental-friendly projects on campus. He has given presentations about composting to local elementary schools and serves as the president of CGCC's Humanitarian Environment Action Team (HEAT), which focuses on informing and inspiring individuals about environmental issues and humanitarian disasters.

"I am honored to receive the Newman Civic Fellows award and look forward to furthering my outreach efforts," said Vance. "I hope to grow my leadership skills through my work at the ETC and in the community as well as motivate students, staff and the CGCC campus toward a greener and more environmentally friendly world."

Newman Civic Fellows are recommended by college and university presidents to acknowledge motivation and ability in public leadership. The students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They also serve as national examples of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building a better world.

Newman Civic Fellows awards are made in memory of Frank Newman, who dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform. At the core of Dr. Newman’s leadership was a belief in the power of individuals to make a difference and in the power of connection with others.

Learn more about the Newman Civic Fellow awards.

Three CGCC honor students receive scholarships

From left: Krista Lawless, Linda Lujan, Heidy Santana
and Nancy Justman-Lopez.
Chandler-Gilbert Community College students Nancy Justman-Lopez, Krista Lawless and Heidy Santana were honored at  Maricopa Community Colleges Honors Scholarship Reception and Academic Showcase on April 29. Santana was awarded the Chancellor's Scholarship while Lawless and Justman-Lopez received Maricopa Foundation Scholarships. During the Academic showcase portion of the evening, Santana and Lawless presented a poster on Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Justman-Lopez gave a presentation on Nature and Man-Made Disasters: Japan's 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami and Meltdown. 

CGCC's honors program is one of the largest in the district and is led by faculty members Shirley Miller and Teri Moser, who attended the event along with CGCC President Linda Lujan.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Williams Campus mural dedicated and named Dreams Take Flight

Artist Barbara Gomez cuts the ribbon in dedication of the
new Williams Campus mural, Dreams Take Flight. The
ribbon is held by many who helped paint the mural.
A new mural designed by local artist and Williams Field High School art teacher Barbara Gomez was dedicated and named today at the Williams Campus.

Led by Cesar Becerra, student services specialist at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, the mural brought together students, faculty and staff as they designed and painted the mural during the spring 2013 semester.

The mural represents the past to the present and is rich with imagery of the former Williams Air Force Base where the campus is now housed as well as the native people and animals of the region and transforms them into icons of CGCC's current programs and student success. Students selected the name Dreams Take Flight for the mural to reflect the power of education as well as a nod to the campus history and location near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. View a time-lapse video of the project.

Chandler-Gilbert Community College President Linda Lujan
thanks the Williams Campus community for their vision,
support and participation.

Cesar Becerra provides a time-lapse video of the project
to Barbara Gomez as a token of appreciation for the hours
spent on the project.

CGCC recognizes nine in community with Teal & Silver Awards

Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) honored nine community leaders and organizations with their Teal & Silver Award during a breakfast event at the college's Williams Campus on May 7. The winners were recognized for their commitment to and support of CGCC students, employees, programs, services and the college community.

The 2013 Teal & Silver award recipients are:

  • Arizona Public Service Foundation, Donor
  • Barbara Gomez, Williams Field High School Art Faculty, Vendor Partner 
  • Chandler/Gilbert Family YMCA, Vendor Partner
  • Cox Communications, Technology Partner
  • East Valley Jewish Community Center, Community Organization Partner
  • Gail Barney, Mayor Town of Queen Creek, Community Leader 
  • Lisa Traube, Weinberg 3rd Grade Teacher, K-12 School Colleague
  • Maricopa Community College District Facilities Planning & Development Department, Community College Colleague
  • Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, Business and Industry Partner

"This year's Teal & Silver award recipients have made a significant difference to the success of our students and in our college community as a whole through their contributions and commitment to serving higher education." said Linda Lujan, Chandler-Gilbert Community College president. "None of us do this alone. Through collaboration and leveraging our different resources, we make our colleges, organizations and communities stronger. We are truly grateful for their partnership."

The Chandler-Gilbert Community College Teal & Silver Awards Program was created in 2002 by former CGCC president Maria Hesse to recognize the contributions of individuals who support the college through various efforts. This year's recipients positively impact the college by assisting with the program or service improvements, supporting creative and innovative ideas, improving the quality of the college experience, supporting the delivery of instruction, providing resources or assisting with cost-saving measures and advocating for the college in media, with elected officials and the in the community.

Seventeen CGCC students honored as 2013 Artists of Promise

Seventeen students from Chandler-Gilbert Community College were selected as 2013 Artists of Promise and asked to participate in the ninth annual Artist of Promise event on April 16. The event is a gala performance and exhibition showcasing Maricopa Community Colleges' student visual art, choreography, creative writing, theatre and music competitions.

The Maricopa County Community College District sponsors annual competitions in creative writing, dance/choreography, music, visual art and theatre. The first place winners then perform their pieces for the evening's program.

The competitions in visual art and creative writing are also sponsored nationally by the League for Innovation in the Community College, and winners of the Maricopa competitions are automatically entered into these national events.

CGCC student artists selected for recognition include:


Robert Danford, Valley of the Iguana (digital), League for Innovation Selection
James Bury, Woven Platter (ceramic), Honorable Mention Selection
Emily Palomino-Ortiz, Convergence (mixed media), Honorable Mention Selection
Tracy Baker Shaw, Captain America (pastels), Honorable Mention Selection
Brianna Voron, Study of Untitled (watercolor and ink), Honorable Mention Selection
Brianna Voron, Innocence (oil paint), Honorable Mention Selection
Lawrence Kuhlman, Large Platter (ceramic)
Thelma Moren Liszak, Purse with Gold Chain (ceramic)
Clay Martinez, Composition T.C. 38b (ceramic)

Tracy Baker Shaw, Piano Man (charcoal)

Essay: Matthew Boye, West of Eden, honorable mention


Group: Hailey McCourt, first place
Group: Rachel Adams, third place

Composition: Jaden Medlock, third place
Female Classical Voice: Jessalina Nhieu, second place
Male Classical Voice: Samuel Loose, third place
Female Musical Theatre: Rachel Kimball, second place; Jacqueline Alcocer, third place; Michelle Moyer, honorable mention
Male Musical Theatre: Samuel Loose, first place

For more information about CGCC's arts program visit
For information on fine arts events within MCCCD visit