Thursday, February 26, 2015

CGCC named Veteran Supportive Campus by state agency

Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) was recently named a Veteran Supportive Campus by the Arizona Department of Veteran Services (AZDVS).

The Veteran Supportive Campus program was established by the Arizona state legislature in 2012 as a means of establishing measurable, meaningful criteria for determining if a school is indeed “veteran-friendly.” Among the eight criteria are requirements to provide resource and study centers, to conduct training for faculty and staff, to survey veteran students annually, and to offer veteran-specific orientation sessions.

The Veteran Supportive Campus application was forwarded by CGCC’s Veterans Steering Committee, composed of faculty, staff and student veterans who meet regularly to assess the veteran experience at CGCC and seek ways to improve that experience. The group, chaired by Veterans Services Coordinator Reda Chambers, includes faculty members Miguel Fernandez, Tom Foster and Zoila Tovar-Blank; staff members Cindy Barnes Pharr, Dave Fosburgh and Brenna Peck; and student veterans Matt DePaul, Antonio Felix, Alexis Gregg and Jamie Jenkins.

Yearly reporting of veteran enrollment, retention and graduation rates is required to maintain Veteran Supportive Campus designation. AZDVS will be supplying a plaque and certificate which will be placed on display in both the Pecos Campus and Williams Campus Veterans Centers.

CGCC joins the three Arizona universities and sister colleges Scottsdale Community College, Glendale Community College, and Rio Salado as well as six other Arizona post-secondary schools in having been awarded this honor.

Monday, February 23, 2015

CGCC brings high school Latinas to campus to explore their futures in STEM

Hermanas participants work to build a small robot.
Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) is making sure Latinas have access and opportunity to get into careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Along with some of the other Maricopa County Community Colleges, CGCC invited 160 Latinas from local high schools to campus to participate in a unique experience designed by Latinas for Latinas. The conference called Hermanas: Disena Tu Futuro is co-sponsored by the Intel Corporation and the APS Foundation and invites girls to learn more about possible education and career paths in STEM and listen to other Latinas who have succeeded at these careers.

Local high school Latinas identify stars in an
astronomy workshop at CGCC.
“Research continues to show that Latinas, as compared to other under-represented females, are less likely to enroll in STEM, despite being a part of the largest minority group in the U.S.,” said Maria Harper-Marinick, executive vice chancellor and provost of Maricopa Community Colleges. “In industry and education there have been, and continue to be, many social and cultural barriers that make it especially difficult for young Latinas to break into male–dominated STEM career paths.”

In Arizona, this issue is particularly prominent and caught the attention of the key employees of the Intel Corporation, who noticed that Hispanic pre–college girls were not fully aware of the opportunities available beyond traditional roles. These employees sought to make a difference and created the Latina Outreach Working Group (LOWG) within the Intel Latino Network employee group structure.

“For girls who may often be intimidated by non–traditional professions, male–dominated fields, or who lack the financial resources or preparation to enroll in college, the Hermanas Conference provides effective tools and practical pathways that enable them to successfully navigate these challenges,” said Gabriela Gonzalez, founding member of the Hermanas Conference and current program manager at Intel Impact of the Hermanas Conference.

Hermanas is one of nearly 60 events the Maricopa Community Colleges are hosting during this year’s statewide SciTech Festival, Arizona’s largest celebration of science and technology. In total, more than 450 organizations are participating. For a list of free Maricopa Community Colleges events open to the public, visit or

A chapter on Hermanas authored by Harper-Marinick appears in a new book, Advancing a Jobs-Driven Economy, that was released Feb. 19 in Phoenix, Ariz. and Washington, DC by STEMconnector®. The STEMconnector® group focuses on the employer-driven partnerships demanded by 21st century STEM education and workforce development. The book brings together sixty-two education, business and non-profit thought leaders who share proven models that will produce the next generation of innovators and ensure these opportunities are available for all.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chandler Science Spectacular features linemen and aviation simulation

Tabletop aviation simulator
Chandler-Gilbert Community College students in the aviation and electric utility technology programs will be among the many science, technology, engineering and math displays at the Chandler Science Spectacular on Saturday, Feb. 21 as featured in the Arizona Republic's article on Feb. 18 titled Chandler's Science Spectacular: 7 things to check out. See linemen demonstrate pole climbing and line repair or try to take off and land an airplane with the tabletop aviation simulator.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Four students named to state academic team, receive scholarships

CGCC's All-Arizona Academic Team winners (from left)
Cecile Sharp, Lori Fusak, Cassandra Roose, 
and Whitney Vizzini
Four Chandler-Gilbert Community College students were honored at the 20th Annual All-Arizona Academic Awards Luncheon on Feb. 18. Lori Fusak and Whitney Vizzini from the Pecos Campus and Cassandra Roose and Cecile Sharp from the Williams Campus were named to the All-Arizona Academic Team by the Phi Theta Kappa organization. They were among 26 students awarded from the Maricopa Community College District and 73 from across the state.

To be eligible for the award, students must maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale, be in good academic standing, be working on an associate’s degree, demonstrate leadership, and interact with their community as a college ambassador.

Judging to select the recipients consisted of three rounds. In the first round, a group of local business, civic, education and government leaders reviewed applications and chose the recipients of the award. Only two are selected from each campus of the college. Those recipients’ applications were then forwarded to Washington, D.C. for second and third rounds of judging by representatives from various federal agencies and national education associations who scored them. Those scores were used to rank the students for first, second or third state team. First team members receive a $1,000 scholarship, second team members a $750 scholarship, and third team members a $500 scholarship to one of Arizona’s state universities.

Fusak, Sharp and Vizzini were awarded First Team honors and Roose received Second Team honors.

In the long-term, Fusak plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications and become a publicist while continuing her work with the homeless. Roose will complete medical school to become a neurosurgeon and devote a few years to Doctors Without Borders. Sharp plans to become a social worker serving the elderly population of Maricopa County. Vizzini will earn her juris doctorate and own a law firm in Arizona as well as continue to build homes with Habitat for Humanity.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

CGCC honors alumnus for major league debut

Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) baseball recognized alumnus and current Oakland Athletics pitcher Rudy Owens on Wednesday, February 11 at 2:45 p.m. on the college’s baseball field. A sign with Owens’ name will be hung on the outfield fence during a short pre-game ceremony in recognition of his major league debut and professional accomplishments.

Owens attended Mesa High School and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006. Instead, he attended Chandler-Gilbert Community College and played the 2007 baseball season as a Coyote, signing with the Pirates the next year. He was named Pirate’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2009 and 2010. He also was named Class-A All-Star, South Atlantic League (SAL) All-Star, and SAL Most Outstanding Pitcher in 2009 and Eastern League All-Star in 2010. The Pirates added him to their 40-man roster after the 2011 season. He was traded to the Astros in 2012 and played with the Oklahoma City Red Hawks, the Astros’ AAA affiliate, through 2013. On May 23, 2014, the Astros recalled Owens to make his Major League debut. He was outrighted off the roster in October and signed a minor league deal with the Oakland Athletics in November 2014.

 “Rudy was an outstanding student-athlete at Chandler-Gilbert. He was great on the field and off the field. In his professional years he has been around our players offering advice on baseball and, more importantly, on life. He is a great Coyote.”

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Some may get associate degrees after transferring to a university

The idea of awarding associate degrees to those who have transferred from community college to universities has gotten some national attention. Shortly after an article appeared Feb. 10 in the Arizona Republic titled MCCCD colleges may award degrees retroactively, the Washington Post printed an article later that day titled Attention college students: You may have earned a degree without knowing it noting similar efforts across the nation, including those by Maricopa County Community College District.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mom and daughter end up going to college together

Sandy Balazik, right, and her daughter
 and classmate, Stephanie.
The Washington Post ran a story by Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) alumna Sandy Balazic titled, "I went to college with my daughter. Nothing has made us closer." As a single parent, she put off her own education while raising four daughters and ended up attending CGCC and Arizona State University with one of them, sometimes in the same class.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Students share activities, programs with governing board

CGCC Program Advisory KT Campbell, Johan Hernadez,
Katrina Palmtier, Lauren Lancaster, Kaitlyn Shellaberger
and Student Life Director Mike Greene.
Leaders of the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Associated Students presented to the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board on Jan. 27. They described numerous activities designed to engage the college’s students and shared that the college has 12 active clubs with two more in the planning stages.

Michael Greene, director of Student Life and Leadership, told the board about the annual Leadership Conference, held each fall. He said the event began with just students from CGCC, but after 15 years of operation, now attracts students from all 10 Maricopa colleges.

Student presenters included Lauren Lancaster, Katrina Palmtier, Kaitlyn Shellaberger and Johan Hernandez.