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College News

Hermanas are Gathering STEAM to Pursue Careers that Benefit Themselves, Their Families, and Their Communities

ýƵ (ýƵ) was humming on Friday morning, February 23, with over 130 young women from local high schools attending the Hermanas Conference, which aims to increase the number of historically underserved female students who are considering a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) college education and a career in a technical field. For almost 100 young women, it was their first time participating in the conference, funded by ýƵ's STEAM committee.

The event included a town hall session with three ýƵ alumnae–Diana Lee Guzman, Maria Rodriguez, and Fatima Alaaraji–who discussed their college experiences, the process of funding their college educations, and the launch of their careers in the sciences.

Rodriguez encouraged students not to give up even if college takes a while. Having dropped out of high school, she earned her GED before beginning ýƵ as a young mom in 2017. She graduated from ýƵ in 2020 and transferred to ASU, earning a degree in Applied Computing, specializing in Cybersecurity. She now works at Equinix as an Information Security Engineer. As a first-generation college student, Rodriguez noted that ýƵ has a special place in her heart for the built-in community and support she received. She inspired the Hermanas participants to apply for every scholarship, even those they might not be eligible for. Before she was an engineering major, a scholarship funder awarded Rodriguez a $4000 engineering scholarship because no one else had applied. Rodriquez received almost $200,000 in scholarships and research awards to support her education.

Guzman, a first-generation college student, participated in ýƵ's ACE program as a high school student. She liked math and was interested in engineering. Still, it wasn't until Guzman was a senior in high school that she became involved in robotics, which confirmed her decision to study engineering. At 18, she moved to New York City to earn her Bachelor's in Computer Science from New York University. She told the young women in the audience, "There's not a lot of people like you and me in engineering schools or computer science. When you get into the industry, there are not many women. That's a problem because these careers earn a lot of money. We need women like us accessing those opportunities so we can invest right back into our community and other women like us." Guzman's first job out of college was as a software engineer at Boeing, working on autonomous submarines. She then moved on to augmented reality at Microsoft in 2021. In 2023, she co-founded a startup and, as Chief Technology Officer (CTO), developed proprietary algorithms for the company. She is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Coding in Color, which provides computer science and coding education to young students.

In addition to the town hall, six different hands-on STEM workshops were offered, including Mineral Properties, Forensic Science Experience, SENS(e)ational, Trajectory and Robotics, Looking into the Sun, and Currents, Magnets, and Motors. Astronomy professor Rob Klinger stood on the grounds outside E building with a large telescope offering Hermanas participants a safe look at the sun. He pointed out a small gray smudge on the sun's surface and said it was bigger than Earth. Klinger noted the participants had a lot of great questions about how the sun works and interest in his college courses. "They've been very engaged," he said. Other faculty members who volunteered their time to teach a workshop included Joe Drosendahl, Bret Little, Elisabeth Kehrli, Bryce Davis, Patsy Herman, and Joshua James. The Hermanas conference also offered six ýƵ students paid Work-Based Experiences (WBE) to support the faculty and assist workshop participants.

Central High School Science teacher Itzel Carrillo brought her first- and second-year students to the conference. "They come in thinking they know what career they want, and then they experience a workshop they've never experienced. They're like, 'I really liked forensics' or 'I love robotics.' They leave with a different idea of what they want to do." Vanessa, a senior from Camelback High School, attended the conference because she wants to major in biology. "When I was a little kid, I was very interested in dinosaurs, and that interest transferred to animals and wanting to learn about them and their habitats, so I'm thinking of majoring in biology or zoology," she said.

ýƵ (ýƵ) was humming on Friday morning, February 23, with over 130 young women from local high schools attending the Hermanas Conference, which aims to increase the number of historically underserved female students who are considering a STEAM education and career.
March 4, 2024

ýƵ Honors Program and Phoenix Symphony Engage Students in World Music

The ýƵ Honors Program hosted the Phoenix Symphony Chamber Series, a free concert featuring a string quartet from the Phoenix Symphony. The symphony's slogan, "This is what community sounds like," reinforces the symphony's mission to be out in the community and provide educational experiences.
March 4, 2024

Alumni Love: Andrea Lewis & Dawn Woodlock

When Dawn (Nava) Woodlock and Andrea (Carnero) Lewis were in their first semester at ýƵ (ýƵ) in Fall 2001, they both felt lost. Dawn was a shy and insecure first-generation college student. Andrea wasn’t prepared, mentally or emotionally, for a big university and she didn’t drive, so her dad drove her to ýƵ’s campus. They saw each other for the first time in kickboxing class and then again in a drama class, and something clicked. “It was love at first sight,“ Andrea said. “I knew I wanted to be her friend.”
February 6, 2024

Ruminate & Illuminate: Javyn Booth on ýƵ, Black Student Union, and Black History Month

ýƵ student Javyn Booth reflects on his journey to ýƵ, his role as newly elected President of the Black Student Union (BSU), and how he’d like people to honor Black History Month.
February 5, 2024

Stephanie Madison Unravels the Braids of Bi-racial Identity and Belonging

Half Mexican and half Native American – with connections to the Ohkay Owingeh (Tewa), Hopi, and Navajo tribes – ýƵ (ýƵ) Instructional Services Coordinator Stephanie Madison admits to the difficulty of fitting in with both sides of her identity.  “I never truly feel like I belong,” she said.
January 24, 2024

Custom Workout Plan and Accountability Check-ins Featured in New Body Transformation Program

For many of us, resolutions often focus on our health and well-being. According to Forbes Health, "When it comes to New Year's resolutions for 2024, a Forbes Health/OnePoll survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted in October 2023 found that nearly 48% of respondents noted that improving fitness was their top priority (Forbes.com). But even if resolutions aren't your thing, ýƵ (ýƵ) Fitness Center offers a new health and physical fitness program in Spring 2024 with a custom workout plan, weekly assignments that bring awareness to your exercise and diet habits, and weekly accountability check-ins with a coach.
January 8, 2024

ýƵ Students Connect with Industry Professionals to Launch STEM Careers

One-on-one interactions with company executives, engineers and recruiters, as well as small group interdisciplinary projects occupied ýƵ (ýƵ) Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) students–Maya Lee, Evelyn Rivera Elias, Marcel Lopez, and Jeffrey Wilhelms–at the invite-only STEM conference in San Diego from October 20-22 at the Marriott Mission Valley.
November 29, 2023

Veterans Balance Civilian Life and School with ýƵ Veteran Services Support

ýƵ Veteran Services staff Michael Wainscott and Felicia Kinard provide veterans with support including accessing their military educational benefits, enrolling in classes, applying for scholarships, finding a job, transferring to university, or proving a space for conversation with other veterans about the challenges of transitioning from military to civilian life.
November 9, 2023

PRISM Scholarship Supports ýƵ Nursing Student Victor Salinas

Before Victor Salinas started his nursing degree program at ýƵ (ýƵ) this fall, he spent the spring looking for scholarships. "I couldn't find anything, and then I came across the Equality Maricopa Prism Scholarship Fund. I applied and, thankfully, was awarded the scholarship."
November 2, 2023

A Mindful Collaboration: Taiko Drumming and Drawing

How often are we really able to slow down these days? How often do we give ourselves permission to take a few deep breaths and just sit and observe what is happening around us? These are some of the questions Art faculty Jay Hardin asked when he began his sabbatical in Fall 2021. What he discovered after a six-week online mindfulness class with Holly Cluff, a Koru-certified instructor from Tucson, is that mindfulness does wonders for the creative mind.
October 2, 2023

JC Supercars Give-away Provides Reliable Transportation for ýƵ Nursing Student and Her Daughter

Jacquelina Reyes worked in corrections for 16 years, but her heart has always been to serve the Hispanic population in the medical field. With support from Arizona Career Pathways, Jacquelina is a ýƵ (ýƵ) Nursing Program student. “I know if I finish my nursing degree, I can help improve the lives of Hispanic people by communicating it’s good to go to a doctor,” she said. “In Hispanic culture, sometimes we don’t want to speak up because we’re embarrassed to ask questions, so I want to encourage this population to go from fearful to proactive because we’re all in it together to grow.”
September 21, 2023