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Momentum issue III - Spring/summer 2013

Love of learning, Bob & Marty Christopher share

L e tte r from president geh l er Welcome to our latest edition of Momentum, which highlights stories that epitomize our tagline of Learn. Grow. Achieve. Our cover story focuses on Bob and Marty Christopher, who not only share a passion for lifelong learning, but who also give back generously to SCC and other nonprofits so that others may learn, grow and achieve as well. The Christopher’s story and the story of former student Matthew Parker are vastly different, with one exception – both credit the teaching and support from English and Humanities Instructor Sandra Desjardins for greatly impacting their lives. Sandra, who developed our comprehensive creative writing program, cares deeply for her students and builds strong relationships with many, who, ultimately, call her a friend. I also want to call your attention to the center spread of this magazine, where you’ll find a collection of photos and a brief overview of our inaugural Genocide Awareness Week program. The event was coordinated by the SCC Honors program, under the leadership of faculty member John Liffiton, who put his heart and soul into making it a thought-provoking learning opportunity not only for our students, but also for the more than 1,300 members of the community who participated. I look forward to this being a signature event on our campus for years to come. Other stories in this edition highlight student success, special programs and interesting current and former Artichokes. There is no shortage of stories of student achievement and we look forward to telling those stories and more in future editions of this magazine. The greatest achievement, in our opinion, is the completion of a degree or certificate program. On May 10, we celebrated our 2013 graduates at a moving Commencement ceremony in the gymnasium, where faculty and families came together to cheer on our graduates. For the 2012-2013 academic year, SCC issued 2,295 degrees and certificates to students. More than 250 donned a cap and gown and walked across the stage to accept their diploma and I could not have been more proud to congratulate each and every one. Students – they are the reason we are here, and they deserve our utmost support and guidance toward whatever their futures may hold. The spirit of the Artichoke is alive and well, and is ever present.

Jan L. Gehler

SCC President


Momentum is published by the Office of Institutional Advancement and Community Engagement at Scottsdale Community College.

_________________ e d i to r / WR IT E R Nancy Neff C O N TRI BU T I N G W R IT E R S Kristine Burnett Jonathan Higuera GRAPHIC DESIGNER Magdalena Soto P H O TO G R A P H Y Provided in part by: Mark Skalny Jonathan Higuera Wade Richardson John Liffiton Nancy Neff O N T H E COV E R Bob and Marty Christopher at their home in Scottsdale, AZ _________________

C O N TA C T Nancy Neff 480.423.6567 _________________


L ig hts Ca mera



self described movie buff, A.J. Young was hopeful he would someday rub shoulders with the Hollywood elite – he just didn’t think his chance would come as soon as it did.

After two years at SCC, where Young says he was trained to be a professional cinematographer, he transferred to Columbia in August 2012. “Another great thing was that Columbia accepted all of my SCC film school credits.”

In February, Young was handing out Oscars to the biggest names in Hollywood at the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony. To get there, he entered the Oscar® Experience College Search contest that required creating a 30-second video highlighting what he has to offer the future of movies. His winning submission centered on a concept for a new digital cinema camera.

At the Oscars, Young had the rare opportunity to cross paths with virtually every big name actor and actress, including Ben Affleck, who he says gave him and the other contest winners the “best pep talk ever” right after winning the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Young is currently a junior at Columbia College Chicago working toward a bachelor’s degree in film production and cinematography, but his education at Scottsdale Community College provided the foundation necessary to help him stand out from the crowd.

And while Young was certainly excited to see those A-list actors, he expressed the thrill of seeing his favorite cinematographers saying, “I was beyond giddy!”

Along with making connections and collecting business cards, Young walked away from the experience with words of wisdom and encouragement from some of his most admired A.J. Young, right, with actor Jean Dujardin, presents Jennifer cinematographers, including Roger Lawrence the Oscar for Best Actress. Deakins, whose filmography includes such iconic films as “The Shawshank “I heard SCC had the best film school in the state, so that’s Redemption,” “Dead Man Walking” and “A Beautiful Mind.” where I went,” he explained. “He [Deakins] said to always shoot what feels right to me and From Young’s perspective, SCC had much to offer an aspiring not imitate other cinematographers,” said Young. “According cinematographer. Instructors who were actively working in to him, that’s what he’s been doing all these years, and it’s the industry and ready to impart real world knowledge about obviously been working!” making movies, coupled with access to a diverse range of Following the advice of his SCC instructors, Young sent equipment, created an authentic learning environment. “The personal emails to each contact he made at the Oscars. “SCC gear has to be up to date so students can be up to date and preaches connections and networking. The only way to get jobs understand the detailed technical aspects of film production,” as a cinematographer, director, etcetera is by networking. I’m Young said. happy the school focuses on teaching us about life after film Young also cited the school’s collaborative nature as being school.” instrumental for both education and networking purposes. After graduating from Columbia next May, Young will begin “SCC encourages working with alumni like current what is sure to be a well-lit and entertaining journey that just cinematographers, sound designers and more, so we got the might lead him back to the Oscars. chance to work on professional sets while still in school,” he 2 said.

Teacher and

friend – building


connections Sandra Desjardins photographed alongside a drawing of Jim Morrison given to her by Matthew Parker, a former student and published author/illustrator who won The Vortex competition in 2004.


he best teachers ignite a passion and help guide their students without stifling creativity and individuality. Often, they see the talents that lie just beneath the surface and challenge us to do better, try harder and never stop growing. Sandra Desjardins, creative writing program coordinator and instructor of English and Humanities at Scottsdale Community College, is definitely one of the best.

of the night,” she explained. “When you join one of our classes, you join a community.” Like any strong community, SCC proudly showcases the collective energy and talents of its students with an annual

Because she cares so deeply, Desjardins builds lasting relationships with her students, keeping in touch with many of them through the years. One student with whom she remains in contact is Matthew Parker, a man who overcame a heroin addiction and a stint in prison before enrolling at SCC and turning his life around. He took Desjardins’ creative writing course and today is a published author.

A mainstay at SCC since 1998, Desjardins is known as a charismatic instructor who creates opportunities for students to come together, share their work and learn from one another. “I have students that range from 15 and 16 all the way up to 90 years old,” she said. “The older you are, the more you have to offer about what it is to be fully human. It’s been important for me to create a sense of community to help bring those students together.” What began with Desjardins teaching SCC’s only creative writing course has evolved into a comprehensive creative writing program with classes in writing short stories, poetry, personal essays and fantasy. She further bolstered the program and proved that creative writing is as much about the process as it is about the finished piece by establishing weekly gatherings at The Retro Muse Coffee House, an open-mic venue where students share their writing and music. “Many writers feel they’re alone when they’re writing into the wee hours


“The Vortex, including the awards dinner and ceremony, is really a labor of love,” said Desjardins. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a wonderful way to recognize and validate our students for their efforts, their struggles and their self-doubt. Recognizing our students’ accomplishments like this represents SCC in a beautiful way.”

Sandra Desjardins hugs Andrea Parrella, a 2013 Vortex Award winner.

creative writing and art competition. Organized and executed by Desjardins and her team, the event, aptly named Vortex, recognizes student writing in four genres: poetry, short story, creative non-fiction, and plays/manuscripts. Submissions, which are printed in a publication that serves as the signature showpiece of SCC’s creative writing program, are reviewed and judged by professionals in each field.

“If you go in Sandra’s office you’ll see a drawing I did for her of Jim Morrison as a thank you for all she did for me,” said Parker, who won a Vortex award for creative non-fiction in 2004. Supported almost entirely by philanthropic donations from individuals like Bob and Marty Christopher, who recognize the value of arts and student engagement, Vortex helps define the arts at Scottsdale Community College. Having organized and led the event for the last 15 years, Desjardins plans to keep it going saying, “As long as I see the impact it has on our students and their lives, I will continue to make it happen.”

To contribute to the Vortex Awards Program, contact Desjardins at

Defying the odds:


eflection. Redemption. Reinvention. These three words define the last decade for Matthew Parker, a Scottsdale Community College alum who, thanks to the support and encouragement he received at SCC, went on to earn a Master’s of Fine Arts degree from the esteemed creative writing program at Columbia University. Having never quite fit the mold of a typical college student, Parker is a published author who continues to defy expectations. After a lifetime of crime and drug addiction that landed him in county jails, state penitentiaries and even federal prison, Parker parlayed a passion for writing poetry into a journey

of self-expression through creative writing.

taught me to write more creatively and effectively.”

“I always wrote poetry, albeit bad poetry,” he joked. “When I finally made the decision to get clean, I enrolled at SCC.”

Having discovered a talent for storytelling, he changed his major to English. Despite the many challenges that come with kicking a lifelong heroin habit, not to mention adjusting to college life, he made the dean’s list. “I studied hard and worked hard; it all paid off.”

In 2002, Parker was a 42-year-old ex-convict turned college freshman studying journalism while working to maintain his sobriety and “do what normal people do.” However, when his English 101 professor suggested he enroll in a creative writing class taught by Sandra Desjardins, he was once again reminded that life doesn’t always go according to plan. “Sandra encouraged me to try different styles of writing like fiction, non-fiction and essays,” he explained. “She

While there’s no doubt that personal motivation was instrumental to his success, it’s safe to say that the environment in which Parker sought to change his life played a key role. “I had a lot going on at the time and I liked the size [of SCC],” he commented. “It’s not a small school, but it feels like it. I had some great professors who really helped me out. I was able to make a lot of headway and everything kind of fell into place for me there.” After two years at SCC, Parker transferred to Arizona State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English. Not yet ready to close the book on education but uninterested in taking the graduate record examination (GRE) required for enrollment in graduate school, he applied to ASU, Columbia and Rutgers University in pursuit of a master’s degree in creative writing. “I was accepted to Columbia and Rutgers,” he said. “I chose Columbia for obvious reasons.” Always up for a challenge, Parker used the three years he was given to complete his thesis to write his first

Matthew Parker

It’s not a small school, but it feels like it. I had some great professors who really helped me out.” book. “Larceny in my Blood: A Memoir of Heroin, Handcuffs, and Higher Education” is a poignant and satirical graphic memoir that chronicles a life of lies, shoplifting and the family link between the two. The book even highlights Parker’s high regard for SCC and instructors like Desjardins who gave him the confidence to pursue his dreams.  Parker, who drew all of the book’s illustrations himself, described the experience saying, “Writing it was painful at times, but also cathartic. It turned out that all that bad poetry I wrote was actually good for me and, ultimately, it was good for my writing.” Now 53, Parker still strives for the “normal” things in life. A carpenter by trade, he has been published in The New York Times, East Valley Tribune and a host of online publications. He is currently working on a science fiction novel and moving back to Arizona from New York with plans to apply for teaching positions. 


Couple shares

love of learning,

giving back


ob and Marty Christopher have a zest for learning that can be traced back nearly seven decades to Walnut Hills High School, a top-ranked public school in Cincinnati that provides a classical college preparatory education. “That prep school instilled a love of learning in us that we still have to this day,” said Marty. And, while Bob may credit his six years at Walnut Hills for his early, classical education, it’s definitely Marty he credits for getting him on a path to success. “Marty turned my life around,” Bob said. “Before I met her I was a bum. I wasn’t in school and I didn’t have a goal or career path. I was really down in the dumps about not having a girlfriend and that’s when my mom said ‘How about the girl next door?’” Lucky for Bob, the girl next door was Marty. Bob and Marty went on their first date -- a University of Cincinnati football game -- in October 1949. Bob proposed four months later and they were married six months after that. “We clicked on that first date,” said Bob, and they’ve clicked ever since, with their 63rd wedding anniversary coming up this August.


Early in their relationship, Marty encouraged Bob to go back to school. And he did, enrolling at the University of Cincinnati Evening College, where he excelled, getting on the dean’s list and eventually graduating with honors. Marty had her degree in Business Administration and worked outside the home until the first of three sons came along and she became a full-time mom, wife and homemaker. “I was working many hours, and we moved 20 times across ten states while the kids were growing up,” said Bob. “Marty took care of the kids and me, too. She is not only a good mother, she is the rudder, keel and ribs of our ship.” Early in his career, Bob worked as a night-shift foreman at a Cincinnati asphalt company. It was hard work, but he learned a lot. “That job taught me more about leadership and management than any books,” he said. “I learned on the job and have used those leadership skills throughout my career.” Eventually, Bob worked his way up to become CEO of a building materials company. Life was pretty good for the Christopher family, until that business was sold and, at age 50, Bob was fired and out of work for the first time in his life. With kids in college at the time, finding another job was imperative. Bob landed in the auto industry and became president of a company headquartered in Chicago that provided acoustic

materials for sound proofing cars. He eventually bought that company with a partner and later sold it to enjoy retirement. After the sale of that business, Bob and Marty relocated to Denver and then to Phoenix. It wasn’t long after they moved to Phoenix that they became involved with Scottsdale Community College. “We were very active with a community college in Chicago and a friend told us to look up Art DeCabooter (former president of SCC) when we moved here,” said Marty. “We really were impressed with Art’s leadership and his vision. Then, we enrolled in some classes and loved that, too,” Marty said. “We started with a Humanities class in 2000 and have also taken World Religions, Mythology, Creative Writing and History.” “I was just fascinated with that Humanities class,” said Bob. “It was a little bit of everything…culture, art, literature. “ And, there was one teacher in particular who impressed them with her teaching style. “Sandy [Sandra Desjardins] is one of the best teachers I ever had,” said Marty. Bob said, “She has a very Socratic approach…she asks questions to provoke thought.” “We were like the grandparents in the classes, with most of the students 18 and 19 years old,” said Marty. “Sandy would ask a question and there would be dead silence…so, we’d raise our hand and speak up.” With encouragement and guidance from Desjardins, Bob published his first book, a memoir titled “Believe in God and Get Ahead, A Grandmother’s Advice,” in 2000. Since then, he has written five novels highlighting the human tradition. Bob writes because he loves it, and he and Marty love giving back as well. They not only volunteer their time and talents, but also give generously to numerous organizations, including Walnut Hills High School, the Episcopal Church, Pappas School for Homeless Children, Habitat for Humanity and Scottsdale Community College.

“We are impressed with the way you have taken SCC to a new level of performance and value.” -Excerpt from a letter to SCC President Jan Gehler from Marty & Bob Christopher

scholarships (at SCC and Walnut Hills) are there so some needy and deserving kids can get an education. “ Even when DeCabooter retired after 30 years as president of SCC, the Christophers’ support of the college continued. They paid close attention when Dr. Jan Gehler was named to succeed DeCabooter as president in 2008. “It’s hard to follow someone like Art and we all wondered who could do it,” said Bob. “But, Jan is doing a wonderful job. We subscribe to what she subscribes to because she has such a strong vision for the future of the college.” In a letter to Gehler in 2008, Bob wrote, “Art did a good job, but we feel that his successor is equally as capable and will not only continue the tradition, but go beyond that norm with new innovations. We’re here if we can help in any way.” Bob and Marty Christopher are true to their word. Their continued support for SCC, students and the community will leave a legacy for decades to come.

Since 2001, the Christophers have given $15,000 a year toward three $100,000 planned gifts for endowed scholarships in the names of three faculty members: Sandra Desjardins, Robert Mugford and Beth Ells (retired). Desjardins recalls that the Christophers were so appreciative of her class and her support of Bob’s writing that they wanted to do something for her. “I told them that what would really make me happy is for them to open a scholarship for students to help with things like books, fees, etc. because I often paid for such things from my own pocket to help students.” When Desjardins learned the Christophers had endowed a $100,000 scholarship in her name, she said, “I about fell on the floor. Since then, there are so many heartwarming stories about how these scholarships have saved some of these students. Many don’t have parents they can fall back on.” The Christophers know this and see education as the answer to many ills. “We have always supported educational things, because education is the only answer to prejudice, war, economic cycles, everything of good values,” said Bob. “The

With more than 2,000 books in their home, reading is one of many hobbies Bob and Marty Christopher enjoy doing together.


The inaugural Genocide Awareness Week program, ccoordinated by SCC Honors students and faculty, in partnership with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, drew about 1,300 people to campus for an array of speakers, exhibits and activities. “Genocide Awareness Week: Understand, Act and Protect” focused on genocide that occurred in Germany, Armenia, Rwanda, Burundi, Bosnia and Darfur. Holocaust survivor Otto Schimmel spoke during the opening evening event on Monday, April 8, along with remarks from Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane. “It was an honor for us to give a platform to survivors and other experts on such an important issue -- both historically and present day,” said John Liffiton, Scottsdale Community College faculty member and key organizer of the event.


Other notable speakers were Dr. Richard Hovannisian, a UCLA professor and expert on the Armenian genocide, and Dr. Esad Boskailo, M.D., a University of Arizona professor and author who survived Bosnian concentration camps. Art exhibits, a documentary premiere, a movie screening and two standing exhibits were featured as well. Renowned Scottsdale-based artist Robert Sutz showed his “We Remember: Holocaust Art” exhibit in SCC’s Fine Arts Building while Sonja’s Legacy featured the watercolor artwork created by Sonja Fischerova, who died at age 13 in Auschwitz. The week concluded on Saturday, April 13, with educators from across the state attending a day-long training session focused on learning how to use activities to teach about the Holocaust and other genocides.

Sonja’s Legacy featured watercolor artwork created by Sonja Fischerova, who died at age 13 in Auschwitz.

never forget...



ou Frazier is putting his baseball experience and knowledge to good use, helping young people learn the sport and a bit about life.

Frazier, known as “Sweet Lou,” played for the SCC baseball team in 1985 and 1986. He holds the school record in stolen bases, both in a season and all time. He also ranks second in career batting average (.452) and runs scored (122). After a solid major league career in which he played for the Montreal Expos, Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox, Frazier went on to coach in the major leagues. He won two World Series rings as an assistant coach with the Boston Red Sox. “Baseball has been good to me and my family,” he said. “That’s one reason I wanted to stay involved by teaching young people about the game and what it takes to change their lives for the better.” Since returning to the Valley, Frazier founded the Louie Sluggers organization, which allows him to mentor and coach youth in the fundamentals of winning baseball. In his first year of running the organization, Sweet Lou’s team became 12-and-under state champions. “I want to show them that through hard work, dedication and discipline, they can reach the goals they set for themselves,” he said. “Going to SCC allowed me to experience a lot of things I didn’t get to experience growing up in St. Louis,” said Frazier, noting he also met his wife Dawn during a return visit to SCC. “It was a family environment that provided a lot of support for me. I never got homesick because I felt at home there.”


Save the Date

Frazier was inducted into the SCC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. The annual induction ceremony is part of the school’s commitment to recognize those that have left it all on the field as players and coaches for the Fighting Artichokes. Frazier said it was an honor and compliment to be inducted into the SCC Hall of Fame. Joining Frazier as Hall of Fame inductees in 2012 were Julie Crutchfield, who served as the SCC gymnastics coach for six years, and Joe Germaine, a two-sport standout at SCC, who was an All-Conference player in both football and baseball. During her tenure as coach, Crutchfield’s teams won the ACCAC conference championship in all but one of those years, while finishing number two in the nation in 1977. Her team’s performance that year earned her the honor of National Gymnastics Small Coach of the Year. In addition to her coaching success in gymnastics, Crutchfield also coached the school’s cross-country team. Her contributions to SCC are still evident today through the development of the two-mile walk on the painted sidewalks. Germaine holds the school’s single game records in Football for most passing yards (580), completions (49) and passing attempts (62). Although he only played one year of football at SCC, he ranks in the top 10 in eight statistical categories. After SCC, he went on to greater collegiate and professional success. In his senior year at Ohio State University, he set 11 school records as he threw for 3,330 yards and 25 touchdowns. Germaine was selected to the Ohio State Football All-Century Team in 2000. He also played in both the NFL and AFL before moving on to a coaching career. He is currently the head football coach at Queen Creek High School.

October 12, 2013

2 0 1 3 Ha ll of fa mE

Theatre Student


Blasko Named

Coca-Cola Scholar


hen Tanja Blasko arrived at SCC as a student in 2009, she was a great listener but somewhat reluctant to express herself.

That has changed dramatically as her academic performance and theatrical credits have put her in the spotlight. She credits her SCC instructors and the theatrical training she’s received as playing a big part in her transformation. In fact, she recently was named a 2013 Coca-Cola Silver Scholar for her academic excellence, leadership activities and community and college service. The award comes with a $1,250 scholarship. The Coca-Cola awards, announced March 20, 2013, are based on student scores on the All-USA Community College Academic Team competition, for which more than 1,800 applications were received this year. She is SCC’s only Coca-Cola Scholar and joins five other students from various Maricopa Community Colleges to be named Coca-Cola Scholars.

Blasko is a member of SCC’s Honors Program and in 2011 and 2012, she received SCC’s “Excellence Under the Stars” awards, which recognize students for demonstrated excellence in the areas of academic achievement, leadership and contributions to the college or community. “Theatre is a group activity. In a way, you do it for others,” she said. “My art classes are for me. They balance me out and recharge me.” Despite her many accomplishments, she still seeks out constructive criticism from her instructors and others whose opinion she respects. The advice they have provided has been invaluable, she said. “I don’t take criticism personally,” she said. “It’s not a judgment of my character. It’s just feedback on something I can expand or improve on.”

“When I came to SCC I was very much a different person than what I am today,” said Blasko, a native of Slovenia. “I was always listening but not expressing myself. Theatre has helped me come out of my shell.” Blasko’s demanding schedule reflects her accomplishments. In addition to taking 19 credit hours as she works toward attaining dual degrees in Theatre Arts and Arts, she plays an important role in SCC theatre productions, both onstage and backstage. She also spent the past year serving as president of SCC’s Psi Gamma chapter, which is part of Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society. Her future plans include focusing on wrapping up her studies at SCC by the end of next fall and transferring to a university. She is still mulling which schools she will apply to. The decision is not easy. To pursue her acting career, it makes sense to move to a larger city with a burgeoning theater scene. But Arizona has provided a base of support that is also important to her theatrical and art aspirations. “After I got to know Randy (Messersmith), E.E. (Moe) and Boyd (Branch) and I decided to study theater. I got to know the campus and it just felt right,” she recalled. Theatre has helped Tanja Blasko, shown in character, come out of her shell.


Serving our

Cliff Rodriguez


magine for the past four, eight or more years that you’ve been told by your superior what to do, where to go and when to eat and sleep pretty much every day. Then, one day you’re out on your own and you get to make all those decisions yourself. It sounds easy, but, for military veterans, it can be overwhelming. At Scottsdale Community College, veterans needn’t look far to get the help and support they need. The Veterans Services office is located in the Student Center and serves as a one-stop shop for the student veteran population. Staffing the office are Erica Stanton, Veteran Services coordinator, and Tina Carroll, Admissions, Records, and Registration Services representative. “We want to be here to support our veteran students,” said Stanton. “For those who are benefits eligible, we are their liaison to the VA and help


coordinate their education benefits. For those who don’t have, or aren’t using, their benefits, we provide support, information, counsel, etc.”

for those who need it. The greatest need is support… some vets have never been to college, so they don’t know what’s available.”

One veteran who has benefitted from the Veteran Services program at SCC is Cliff Rodriguez, 28, a Marine Corps Veteran who served active duty from 2005-2010. He was stationed at the Marine Base in Kaneohe Bay, HI, and served many roles, including working at a regional detention facility in Iraq.

“Some vets come back unemployed, so we help them get connected to financial resources for things like paying rent and other living expenses,” said Stanton. “We try to assist veterans above and beyond their benefits…getting them involved and engaged.”

Rodriguez not only benefitted from the advice and counsel from Stanton and Carroll, he also is doing work study at the Veteran Services office so he can help others. “You can come here and meet with a rep or student worker and basically be shown where to go, who to see and what paperwork needs to be completed to get your benefits,” Rodriguez said. “It really is a one-stop shop.”

SCC has around 500 students who have self-identified as veterans and, of those, about 250 to 300 are actively using the Veterans Services each semester. Carroll said, “We see many of them two to three times per semester, helping them if they need to drop a class, add a class, change a program, make adjustments. There is a lot to it because the laws

and benefits are constantly changing,” she added. Carroll, who is a veteran, said, “Vets are a unique population. You feel like you’re going through it alone and we want to let them know they don’t have to go it alone. It takes a huge burden off their back.” Rodriguez’s experience at SCC has been a success. In addition to earning associates’ degrees in Arts and Criminal Justice, he graduated in May with his General Studies degree and earned a Criminal Scene Photography Certificate. He will be transferring to the NAU Extended Campus at SCC and will earn his Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice next May. Semper Fi.

It’s also a place to get to know people with similar experiences. “It’s small here, compared to a university,” Rodriguez said. “The other vets you meet here are in your classes, you see them in the gym and in the cafeteria…that’s something you might not experience somewhere else.” Carroll said, “We provide personalized one-on-one help Veterans Services Coordinator Erica Stanton provides support to veterans like Cliff Rodriguez


For more information about Veteran Services at SCC, call 480.423.6088.

with Dr. Jan Gehler


Can you describe how community support impacts the success of the college?

The support we receive from the community goes back to our very beginnings, some 43 years ago, when the city of Scottsdale ardently petitioned the Maricopa Governing Board to create Scottsdale Community College. Further support comes from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, which, through their generous partnership, gives SCC the distinction of being the only public community college in the nation to reside on Native American land. Over the years, we have come to value community support demonstrated through engagement in the many academic, athletic and performing arts programs on campus, as well as much needed philanthropic contributions toward student success.


How does SCC partner with the Maricopa Community College Foundation to raise funds in support of the college and students? The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit designated to receive gifts on behalf of any of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges from individuals, corporations, foundations and other private sources. SCC’s development director sits on the Foundation Resource Development Council, learning about and staying abreast of Foundation and Campaign goals, process improvements, resources available, etc. While the Foundation’s perspective includes the entire Valley, it is also a partner with SCC as we move forward on gaining financial support for our campusspecific initiatives.


Is there a fundraising campaign currently, and how can people support it?

In 2011, the Maricopa Foundation launched a fundraising campaign called “Educating Our Community. Ensuring Our Future.” The goal is to raise $50 million over four years to support student success. At SCC, we designed three specific initiatives that reflect our segment of the larger campaign.

SCC’s many generous Strong Root Donors are recognized on the Wall of Honor, located in the beautiful Two Waters Circle.


How do scholarships make a difference in student success?

A. Scholarships, often, are the difference in whether or not students can buy books or pay fees for some classes. Our tuition rates of about $2200 a year are low, however, costs of tuition, fees, books and transportation are often a barrier to some students’ progress. Scholarships – which are gifts, not loans – allow students to enroll with less ‘worry’ about funding, and to focus instead on being a successful student. A scholarship tells students that the community recognizes and rewards personal dedication to making a better life for themselves and their families, and reflects value to the community at large of the investment in education of our residents.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) focuses on high-demand and high value careers, leverages our instructional talent and builds upon important community/employer partnerships. The Arts focus recognizes that many underrepresented students often find their voice and thus their confidence through initial exploration of the fine and applied arts. ISI (Indigenous Scholars Institute) reflects our aim to better serve our growing Native American student population, and respecting our “place” on SRPMIC tribal land, to encourage all students to understand, know about and appreciate the history, contributions and future of our Indigenous peoples. SoSco (South Scottsdale) reflects our role, in collaboration with public schools, City of Scottsdale, local nonprofits and the business community, in building the healthy community of South Scottsdale. Our effort focuses on creating a clear and bright pathway to a better future through education – for youth and for the families of these vibrant communities. For more information about how you can provide support, please go to:


NEWSBRIEFS NEWSB RIEFS Student Team Earns Avnet Scholarships

A student team from Scottsdale Community College won the Accenture Green Data Center Challenge category during the 2013 Avnet Tech Games in April, impressing the judges with a proposal to use virtualization to create savings and reduce power usage. “Virtualization was one of the easiest ways to save money, which was one of our goals,” said student team member Ryan Kempke. “We cut down power usage by half and opened up 160,000 square feet of space.” Each SCC team member will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Avnet, a global distributor of electronic and computer components. Kempke’s teammates were Will Beauchamp and Jeremy Chiandet. The faculty coaches were Ron Monroig and Jim Simpson.

Scottsdale AAUW Branch awards Scholarships

Two Scottsdale Community College students were each awarded $1,000 scholarships by the Scottsdale branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The scholarships, awarded April 10, were drawn from a $10,000 endowment at the Maricopa Community College Foundation established by Scottsdale AAUW to benefit SCC students. Elyse Conley, who is studying to become a biochemist, and Chase Foster, a Computer Information Systems and Business student, received the scholarships, which were aimed at students who had postponed their educations for personal reasons, but came back to school.


World Hunger Fair Raises funds to Fight Starvation

Faculty Member Honored as Diversity Champion

They also received lessons on becoming better writers based on their work for the two-day fair. The fair is a project by students taking English 101 and 091 taught by English faculty member Matthew Healy.

He was honored at the City of Scottsdale’s 19th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner Celebration Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, at Chaparral Suites.

About 60 SCC English students took on the challenge of saving the lives of starving children across the globe by staging a World Hunger Fair in April and accepting donations.

The donations received were given to the international nonprofit Feed My Starving Children, which is focused on global hunger issues.

SCC Robotics Club Wins VEX Competition

The SCC Robotics Club took home the top prize in the collegiate division of the inaugural Arizona VEX Robotics Tournament at ASU’s Tempe campus. More than 20 top middle and high school teams and four collegiate teams competed in the March 1-2, 2013, event in ASU’s Memorial Union. The SCC Robotics Club won the collegiate division, beating ASU, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Phoenix College. SCC student team members were Mamali Saranjam, Brian Calaway and Tracy Trent. SCC Robotics club adviser and math faculty member Dr. Bill Johnson worked with the students.

Darrell Copp, chair of SCC’s Department of Communication and Performance Art, was named the 2013 Diversity Champion by the nonprofit group Community Celebrating Diversity in January.

The group cited Copp’s accomplishments at SCC, where he has “touched the lives of thousands of students and hundreds of employees - empowering each to be their best, to do their best and to be a positive force in the world.”

Former Negro Leagues Player Speaks During Black History Month

Former Negro League baseball pitcher Dennis “Bose” Biddle, the youngest player to suit up in the historic Negro Leagues, was a featured speaker during Black History Month at SCC. Sponsored by SCC’s Black Student Union and the Center for Civic & Global Engagement, Biddle spoke about becoming a leader and overcoming adversity. Biddle played for the Chicago American Giants in 1953 and 1954, starting when he was just 17 years old. In 1996, Biddle founded the organization Yesterday’s Negro League Baseball Players to support the surviving members of the Negro League baseball teams and defend their economic interests.


By the Numbers


Total Student



28% Full-time

72% Part-time

2013 L E A R N . G R O W. AC H I E V E .



2.9% Female 5 47.1% Male

82% of SCC students come from Scottsdale, Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe. 82 international students from 33 countries


Class Size:

22.6% online classes 74.5% day classes 37.6% evening classes



* Students may take more than one type of class


Certificates & Degrees:


Top Occupational Certificates:

Top Occupational Degrees:

• Nursing • Interior Design • Hospitality and Tourism Management • Motion Picture/Television Production

• Nursing Assisting • Culinary Arts • Film Production • Crime Scene - Investigation


65% Faculty have master’s degrees 30% Faculty have doctorate degrees

Scottsdale Community College 9000 E. Chaparral Road Scottsdale, AZ 85256

The college of you. An EEO/AA institution.

Students from all walks of life receive the gift of financial aid through the generous scholarships endowed in perpetuity by Robert and Marty Christopher. Students express their gratitude in thank you letters to the Christophers, who they’ve never met, but to whom they are deeply indebted. Below are excerpts from some of those letters.

“ “ “ “ “ “

What I am accomplishing would not be possible if it weren’t for scholarships and the support of family and friends.” As a single mother of two children, this scholarship will go far in helping me achieve my goal of becoming a registered nurse.” I feel truly blessed to have this financial support.”

It is because of people like you that I will become a better person to the community.” Your generous contribution is really helping me to accomplish my educational and personal goals.” Thank you very much for being a supporter of the arts at SCC.”

Bob and Marty Christopher attended this year’s President’s Club Dinner, where they and other donors of $1,000 or more for the year were honored for their generosity. SCC President Jan Gehler presented the Christophers with a plaque commemorating their significant contributions to the Sandra Desjardins, Robert Mugford and Beth Ells Scholarships. Bob and Marty are pictured with Sandra Desjardins (left) and student recipient of the Sandra Desjardins scholarship Tanya Blasko.

Donate now:

If you would like to support student scholarships at SCC, please send a check payable to Scottsdale Community College to: SCC Institutional Advancement and Community Engagement 9000 E. Chaparral Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85256 or call Charles Silver at 480.423.6424.

SCC Momentum - Spring/Summer 2013