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Excellence Innovation

A College of Accomplishments 2015-2016

A Message from the President The 2015-16 Book of Accomplishments showcases the work, energy and dedication of students, faculty and staff, and the initiatives they undertake as representatives of Scottsdale Community College. Whether it is a student earning an academic award or scholarship, a staff member singled out for outstanding professional advancement, or a faculty member or team acclaimed for stellar work on behalf of students, SCC fosters an environment of success.   As you read this book, you will see that our school is full of achievers and doers. We are proud of the work being done here every single day and we are delighted to share these accomplishments with you.   Student success is our top priority, and we are thankful to our community partners who help make us a college of accomplishments. We are only as strong as the relationships we cultivate and nurture along this path to excellence.   We hope you enjoy reading about our milestones and achievements in this edition. May the Artichoke spirit live on in current and future generations.   Jan Gehler


Marli Mayon and Koop Bills were selected to the All-Arizona Academic Team, which recognizes them as being among the top community college student scholars in the state. As part of the honor, they will receive scholarships and tuition waivers to continue their education. As a first-team member, Mayon qualifies for the All-USA Academic Team. Former SCC film student Shanice Johnson received a Horizon Award at the Sundance Film Festival for a music video she produced. The Horizon Award recognizes emerging women filmmakers. Marli Mayon, Nicholas Stevenson and Dahlia Oktasiani received the 2015 Chancellor’s Civic Leadership Medallion, which recognizes active civic participation in campus and community life among student recipients.

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Two members of the Council of Student Leaders, Marli Mayon and Kiana Flores, attended the “Dinner with Churchill” event hosted by the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute.

Alicia Hauskins and Kendall Straley won first place in a national literary magazine competition held by the Community College Humanities Association. Hauskins won in Creative Non-Fiction and Straley won in the Scripts category. Vidushi Chaudhry won 2nd place in Poetry and Michele Flores and Erik Seweingyama tied for second place in Short Story.


Dawn Taylor and Gabriela Hebronova were among 26 students from throughout Maricopa Community Colleges honored at the 20th annual AllArizona Academic Awards Luncheon.

SCC graduate Emmalaine Wright was chosen as a national finalist in Costume Design category at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region VII. She and her design mentor, Amanda Embry, will attend the national Kennedy Center festival to compete at the national level. In the non-Realized Design category, winners included Sabrina Reed for Set Design, Maria Huber (Honorable Mention) for Costume Design, and Austin Hudak for Lighting Design.



The creative team of Richard Owen, Liana Alexander and Francisco Orozco, Jr., won the Sustainability Action Council’s Scholarship for its 30 second Public Service Announcement about water conservation.

Art student Gloria Langer received a special plaque at the Community College Humanities Association National Conference honoring her art piece used on the conference program and other materials.

Martha Ludlow Martinez was chosen as Miss Indian SCC during the Miss Indian SCC pageant presented by the American Indian Program. Blake Smith, also known as DJ Ascension, earned the first Associate’s degree from the DJ program. The DJ program offers the nation’s first deejay degree accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.

SCC student Jeff King received four degrees from Maricopa Community College schools, including an Associate of Applied Sciences in DJ Techniques from SCC. The other degrees were from Glendale Community College and Mesa Community College. Alba López Nájera, Matt O’Donnell and Cris Romero won the Green Data Center Challenge at the Avnet Tech Games. The three Computer Information Systems students each received a $1,000 scholarship for their efforts. It was the second time in three years that an SCC team has won that challenge.

Heidi Rodriguez traveled to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project (NCAS) in October. She was one of 160 community college students chosen from across the U.S. to be part of NCAS. Alicia Hauskins became the first SCC student to earn a certificate in Creative Writing, a newly created certificate. The previous year she received an Associate of Arts in creative writing.

SCC: A College of Accomplishments



International student Kwan Leung was chosen as the 2015 top Music Department student and receives the $1,500 George Benson Honorary Scholarship, presented by Grammy Award-winning jazz musician and vocalist, at the annual Music Showcase.

Ryan Williams, a student in the Electronic Music program, was selected as the 2016 winner of the George Benson Honorary Scholarship, which was presented by the jazzman at the annual Music Showcase. WIlliams also received a $500 scholarship in the Music Composition category.

For the 3rd year in a row, an SCC jazz ensemble placed first in the MCCCD Instrumental Music Competition. The ensemble featured Alex Yuwen, alto sax; Chaz Martineau, tenor sax; John Meier, guitar; Vincent Thiefain, bass; and Caleb Michel on drums.

Joe Rossi won first place in the ASID Club’s Stage Off competition in October. The second-place finisher was Janeil Funk and Teresa Karagas finished third. The SCC chapter is made up of Interior Design students.

SCC Dance students Tyler Hooten and Torie Mazzacone placed first in the Maricopa Community Colleges’ Artist of Promise Choreography and Performance Competition for group performance. Hooten also placed first in the group choreography category.


Eliel Islas, a student veteran and treasurer of the Veterans Association, was one of four students selected across Maricopa Community Colleges to attend the Student Veterans of America Conference in Orlando, Fla. The SVA hosts a conference that provides seminars, workshops, and networking sessions on solutions to the challenges that student veterans face.

The SCC Robotics Club won its third straight AZ VEXU Robotics Championship, competing against teams that included ASU, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Phoenix College, and University of Advanced Technology. Team members were: Mamali Saranjam, Nick Cree, Doran Cole, Antwuan Brown, KJ Reece, Adric Rukkila, Brian Calaway, and Branden Connell. They were coached by SCC instructor Bill Johnson.



Joan Sleeth won the SCC Design School Rug Challenge, sponsored by Underfoot Luxury Showrooms and the Feizy Rug Company. Sleeth’s rug design was then hand-tufted in India and presented to her as a prize.

SCC’s Jazz Combo took third place at the Reno Jazz Festival, competing against four-year schools.

SCC DECA members Roman Ellefson, Jamila Pierce, and the team of Daniel Kelly and Chis Majcher took home first place in their categories at the Arizona DECA Spring Conference at Grand Canyon University. They qualified to attend the national competition in Washington, D.C. Joseph Ishak and Matthew Johnson also recorded high scores in a team event and qualified to travel to Washington, D.C.

Foreign students in SCC’s Community College Initiative Program were recognized by President Obama during a visit to the White House. They, along with others in CCI programs at other colleges, were praised by the President, who called the U.S. Department of State initiative “extraordinary potential public diplomacy.”

SCC: A College of Accomplishments



English faculty members Sandra Desjardins, Robert Mugford and Janet Robinson received the Excellence in Education Award from the National Institute for Staff and Institutional Development. Desjardins leads the Creative Writing program and founded the ongoing Vortex Awards. Mugford teaches English 101 classes to developmental and first-year students and Janet Richards teaches journalism and advises the school newspaper staff. Theatre Arts faculty member Evelyn “E.E.” Moe received the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion of Excellence from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), Region VIII. She was honored for excellence in educational theater and commitment to the values and goals of the KCACTF. Dr. Lisa Young was named Vice President of Professional Development for the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources.The consortium promotes open education policies and practices through the use of free, high-quality open educational resources, open textbooks, and open source learning systems.


English professor John Liffiton received the 2015 Shofar Zakhor Award from the Phoenix Holocaust Survivors Association. The award is presented to those who keep the memory of the Shoah (Holocaust) alive and teach from its lessons.

Danielle Carlock, SCC faculty member in Library and Information Sciences, received a 2015-2016 Maricopa Institute for Learning Research Fellowship to examine and analyze the efficacy of flipped classrooms to prepare health science students for evidence-based practice.

The 2015 Broadway World Awards nominated Randy Messersmith for Best Actor for the remount of “Equivocation” at the Southwest Shakespeare Company.



Business professor Jim Simpson’s project to have Scottsdale Community College become a designated IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site benefits the community and students, many of whom volunteered to help eligible taxpayers receive free tax preparation assistance. The Music Department’s Beth Livingston-Hakes and Amanda Embry in the Theatre Arts program were nominated for ariZoni Theatre awards, which celebrate excellence in theatre. Livingston-Hakes was nominated in the Music Direction - Non-Contracted Theatre category for her work on the student production of “Cabaret.” Embry received her nomination for her work on the same musical in the Scenic Design - Non-Contracted category. Janelle Hoffman, a professor in the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program and advisor to the SCC Christian Club, completed a three-year Seminary Program at Fuller Theological Seminary, one of the world’s most influential evangelical institutions and the largest multi-denominational seminary. Several adjunct faculty members received an AFA/MCLI Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award. Peggy Deal, Graphic Design program director, Math instructor Bill Johnson, who oversees the school’s Robotics Club, and Catherine Wyman, were honored, along with 20 other adjuncts within the district, at the AFA/MCLI Adjunct Faculty Recognition Celebration.

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Ramona Santiesteban received the Diversity Advisory Council Award based on her contributions to veterans and students of color.

SCC: A College of Accomplishments


S TAFF Karen Johnson received the 2015 SCC Woman of Distinction award from the Women’s Leadership Group. She was recognized at the District’s annual Women of Distinction luncheon.


Christina Bolyard and Michelle Dew were selected to serve as two of the six cluster facilitators at the MCCCD Leadershape Institute at ASU’s Polytechnic/Chandler Gilbert Community College Williams campus.

Mike McNally, former associate athletic director at Grand Canyon University, was hired as SCC’s Athletic Director. He oversees the operations of 10 intercollegiate sports teams.

Art Becker, a member of the SCC family for more than 35 years as faculty, athletic director and men’s basketball coach, was named to the 2015-2016 Basketball PAC 12 Hall of Honor class. Becker also was an Academic All-American player at Arizona State University and played professionally in the American Basketball League.


INSTITU T I O N AL The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce awarded SCC President Jan Gehler with its Segner Award, which recognizes those who have contributed to and positively impacted the Chamber’s success.

For the third consecutive time, SCC was chosen as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation. It is now eligible for the biennial $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which will be awarded in 2017. SCC was named the sixth-best community college in the country by SmartAsset, a personal-financial advice platform. The ranking was based on graduation and transfer rates, in-state tuition, student-teacher ratio and graduates’ average starting salary compared with the overall cost of attending the institution. The White House’s College Scorecard named SCC as one of the top 45 two-year colleges in the nation and the top two-year college in the state based on graduate salary levels 10 years after graduation. Scottsdale Community College and its community partners raised more than $4,000 at the annual “Alli Ortega Empty Bowls 2015” fundraiser to fight hunger. The community event sells handmade ceramic bowls along with a modest meal to raise money to fight hunger.

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Genocide Awareness Week at SCC attracted a record-breaking 2,500-plus people in 2015. Attendees listened in on presentations, viewed exhibits and films and participated in ceremonies throughout the week designed to understand genocide and how it has plagued world history.

For the third consecutive year, the Fighting Artichokes football team played in the Valley of the Sun Bowl game on our home field. This year, the ‘Chokes defeated the 11th-ranked Central Lakes College Raiders from Brainerd, Minn.

SCC: A College of Accomplishments



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The Center for Native and Urban Wildlife and the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy’s Field Institute teamed up to present the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Research Symposium. The event brought together researchers, students, citizens and community leaders to share and learn about scientific and historical research carried out within the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

The Center for Civic & Global Engagement co-hosted a live webcast featuring former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin and two other presenters discussing Chinese direct investment in the U.S. as part of the 9th Annual China Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections program.

SCC’s first head football coach, Larry Philpot, and members of the 1981 national championship volleyball team were inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Philpot coached at SCC during the 1973 and 1974 seasons and served as the school’s first Athletic Director. The volleyball team, coached by Ted Compoc, went 29-2.

The Film School and the Theatre Arts program at Scottsdale Community College merged into a single department now called the Scottsdale School of Film and Theatre. The union brings together two well-known, dynamic programs with the goal of giving students more opportunities to broaden their artistic skill set and boost their employment prospects.

The Hospitality and Tourism Management program reached a transfer agreement with Grand Canyon University’s (GCU) Colangelo College of Business. It allows SCC students to transfer up to 71 credits to GCU’s Hospitality Management bachelor’s degree program, which began in fall 2015.


For the second consecutive year, SCC received the distinction of being a “Supportive Campus” from the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services. It also was named to the Military Friendly School list by GI Jobs magazine.

The Scottsdale Charros, a local civic organization, announced it will provide an annual $5,000 scholarship to Scottsdale Unified School District high school graduates attending SCC starting in the 2016-17 school year.



SCC and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) teamed up to establish a Tribal Court Advocacy Certificate Program. The certificate gives holders the training to represent people in tribal courts. The first cohort is expected to received certificates in 2017. Computer Information Systems began offering a course in virtualized storage systems that helped experienced IT professionals expand their career horizons by working on advanced hardware and virtualized applications in a live vSphere environment. The second AMP Summer Math CAMP coordinated and sponsored by the Arizona Mathematics Partnership (AMP) and lead partner SCC provided more than 100 middle school students an opportunity to learn and reinforce math concepts during a weeklong camp at Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College.

The Social and Behavioral Sciences Division launched the Artichoke Lecture Series with the goal of connecting scholarly work by SCC faculty to students and community members. The lectures were free to attend and open to the public.

The Inclusiveness Council and the Student Inclusiveness Leadership Team coordinated a full day of programming in recognition of Inclusiveness Month. The program, titled “The InThing,” featured speakers, panel discussions, entertainment and film screenings.

For the fourth consecutive year, SCC hosted the Arizona Women’s Conference. The keynote speaker was Gloria Feldt, co-founder and president of Take The Lead, a new women’s leadership movement.

The Open Educational Resources Task Force announced it had saved students more than $1.1 million in textbook costs as professors turned to OER to help students get low- or no-cost textbook materials.

SCC: A College of Accomplishments



More than 1,390 students participated in Service Learning Projects in 2014/15. The largest turnout of students, faculty and staff made the 3rd annual Artie Has Heart Serve & Learn Day the most successful ever. Some 200 volunteers donated their time and efforts with 12 community partners.

Two visiting Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows made presentations on human trafficking. The talks were facilitated by the Center for Civic & Global Engagement.

The SCC Jazz Orchestra performed with three renowned jazz musicians: saxophonist Lee Konitz at the Musical Instrument Museum, trombonist Marshall Gilkes at the Nash, and saxophonist Miguel Zenón also at The Nash. More than 300 students from 18 Valley high schools participated in the 19th annual Math-Science Field Day coordinated by a team led by Math instructor Patty Dueck. SCC joined the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Low Carbon IT Campaign, which handles power management functionalities of campus computers in a more efficient and sustainable way.

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Aric Friesen, senior consultant at CVS Caremark, gave the keynote address the Computer Information Systems’ annual “Configuring Your IT Career” event. It features a panel of IT industry professionals sharing career advice and other insights with SCC students. The Culinary Arts Department received accreditation from the American Culinary Federation and the North Central Association of Colleges. The accreditations provide students with countless job contacts and opportunities nationwide as well as transfer to accredited institutions, including ASU and Northern Arizona University.


FUNDR AI S I N G The CIS Department received a $700,000, multi-year grant from the Kemper Marley Foundation to renovate its fledgling Virtual Data Center. The grant includes the construction of a state-of-the-art Virtual Data Center with all new, cutting edge computer hardware and software and an endowment component for student scholarships, student internships and future technology upgrades. SCC has made significant progress in its goal to raise $2.95 million as part of the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation Campaign for Student Success. All funds raised are in support of student achievement and success. Recent gifts include:



Scottsdale Charros - $10,000 De Rito Partners - $10,000 Silverman Family Foundation - $10,000 The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation - $700,000 Scholarship Endowments - $114,610 Annual Scholarships - $79,700 In Kind Gifts - $215,720 Program Gifts - $20,320 Memorial Gifts - $60,000

SCC: A College of Accomplishments


The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

Excellence & Innovation, SCC's Book of Accomplishments 2015  

A Message from the President, Dr. Jan Gehler: The 2015-16 Book of Accomplishments showcases the work, energy and dedication of students, fac...

Excellence & Innovation, SCC's Book of Accomplishments 2015  

A Message from the President, Dr. Jan Gehler: The 2015-16 Book of Accomplishments showcases the work, energy and dedication of students, fac...