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By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Central Arizona College opened its doors in the fall of 1969 near the base of Signal Peak Mountain in Coolidge, AZ and for 50 years, has been serving and educating the diverse communities of Pinal County by providing accessible, educational, economic, cultural, and personal growth opportunities for those of all ages.

Over the years, CAC has expanded to five campuses and three centers located strategically throughout Pinal County.

During the 1972-73 academic year, the state board for community colleges approved preliminary construction plans for the Arizona College of Technology, now known as the Aravaipa Campus.

Ten years later, CAC began offering classes in Apache Junction, using portables at Apache Junction High School until they moved classes to the Grand Hotel in 1985. In the summer of 1987, the Superstition Mountain Campus opened at its current location.

When voters of Pinal County authorized the college to expand educational opportunities and accessibility throughout the county by approving a nearly $99 million general obligation bond, the College began building two new campuses.

The CAC Maricopa Campus opened for business on January 2, 2013 and one year later, in January 2014 the San Tan Campus opened for business

More than 18,800 individuals have received a degree or certificate from CAC since the first graduation ceremony was held in May of 1970.

As part of CAC’s 50th Anniversary celebration, the Maricopa Campus (17945 N. Regent Dr.) will host a Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 5-9 p.m.


This item appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.

Superintendent Tracey Lopeman cuts the ribbon on office space at Maricopa High School, where Central Arizona College will set up CAC Connect: (from left) MHS senior Freya Abraham, Bernadette Russoniello, City Councilmember Rich Vitiello, MUSD board member Patti Coutre, City Councilmember Marvin Brown, Lopeman, MUSD board member Torri Anderson, CAC President Jackie Elliott, Principal Brian Winter, CAC board member Dan Miller, CAC outreach coordinator Monica Vogan and CAC Director of Student Affairs Megan Purvis. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Central Arizona College launched its new partnership with Maricopa High School in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday.

CAC Connect gives the college office space in the high school’s Career and College Center so CAC advisors and recruiters can meet with students on their own campus.

Speaking directly to the high school students attending the opening event, CAC President Jackie Elliott said the college “is happy to enhance your learning experience and assist you in pursuing your academic goals through higher education. CAC Connect will provide you a true learning community, and we look forward to seeing this program grow throughout Pinal County.”

Monica Vogan, outreach coordinator for CAC, said the program will allow CAC to help students explore educational options, apply online and register for classes.

“It’s incredible what we can accomplish when we actually come together,” said Bernadette Russoniello, MHS College and Career coordinator. “This started as a sit-down, brief meeting where we said, ‘How can we do it better?’

Principal Brian Winter pointed out MHS is the first high school in the county to have that kind of connecting program.

“We are proud to pioneer such a unique program, one that will bridge high school resources with college resources in one easy to access package for our Maricopa students,” he said.

CAC student Rebekka Harris said CAC Connect will be a great way for the college to have impact and recognition within the school. “When I was actually a student at MHS, I didn’t know about CAC until the semester before graduation and I was panicking.”

CAC students Rebekka Harris, Elizabeth “Mimi” Prentice and Timonyeh Shines

She first attended CAC to become a teacher but realized about halfway through her studies that was not the path she really wanted. Changing majors, she said, felt like less of a blow at CAC than it would at a huge university.

Timonyeh Shines, a CAC graduate now starting at ASU, said CAC Connect would have been a better influence on her younger siblings as they went through high school but are currently not in college.

“CAC has been a wonderful, wonderful school to attend,” said Shines, who did not attend high school but earned her GED to qualify for college. “I feel like if they had had this opportunity, they would have been along the path that I am on now. I’m really happy this is part of this high school so it can influence other people to actually attend.”

Maricopa Unified School District Superintendent Tracey Lopeman said the program helps the district achieve its first board-adopted goal: “Every student graduates prepared to create, innovate, lead and succeed.”

MHS students were part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
CAC President Jackie Elliott
MUSD Superintendent Tracey Lopeman
MHS Principal Brian Winter in front of the CAC Connect cubicle.

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This summer, the math department at Central Arizona College will offer Math Boot Camps at each of the college’s five campuses during the month of June.

Each Math Boot Camp is four days long. The camp will meet Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., with a one-hour break for lunch. The Maricopa campus, 17945 N. Regent Drive, hosts its Math Boot Camp June 16-20.

The goals of the boot camps are to enhance student college readiness and to help students improve their math placement scores on the Accuplacer exam. Improved scores on the Accuplacer exam mean students will spend less time in developmental math classes, saving students both time and money.

To obtain further information about the Central Arizona College Math Boot Camps, please contact Erik Peterson at Erik.Peterson1@centralaz.edu or (520) 494-5567, or Eliana Leamons via email at Eliana.Leamons@centralaz.edu or by phone at (520) 494-5057.

 

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Central Arizona College.

Central Arizona College’s Small Business Development Center will offer a free webinar series by Paige Cahill of Get Your Business Online with Google.

Paige Cahill

This free online series will be held from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. on the following dates.

  • Sept. 18: Reach More Customers Online with Google
  • Oct. 30: Get Found on Google Search and Map
  • Nov. 13: Grow Your Business with Email Marketing

Cahill, national digital marketing speaker, trainer and coach, guarantees attendees will walk away with Google tools, digital marketing best practices, and tips that will maximize marketing efforts, time, and results.

This opportunity is available to all community members and individuals can choose to register for one, two, or all three sessions. To attend, please email sbdc@centralaz.edu or call 520-494-6610.

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Lucy Everingham and Rick Gibson, Governing Board President cut the ribbon at the Mel A. Everingham Student Union. Submitted photo

 

By Angela Askey, Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Central Arizona College officially celebrated the opening for the new Science Building and Mel A. Everingham Student Union at the Signal Peak Campus on Tuesday, Aug. 21. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at each building.

CAC welcomed Lucy Everingham, wife of the late Mel A. Everingham, and her family for this special occasion. Everingham served as CAC president from 1973-1984.

Jackie Elliott, CAC President stated, “Students will experience TRUE Learning opportunities in the state of the art learning spaces of our science building and the Mel A. Everingham Student Union will be a destination for our students and community members.”

The new science building features nine teaching labs and associated prep spaces, a Maker Space/STEM classroom, faculty offices, support spaces and student gathering areas.

Austin King with DPR Construction shared unique features of the building. “Prefabricated panels were used for the exterior skin, providing greater quality control and faster construction times than conventional methods.”

Daniel Childers of Architekton exclaimed, “The efficient and functional learning space of the science building is designed to draw and engage students in a 21st Century education atmosphere.”

The Mel A. Everingham Student Union is home to the Vaquero Lounge, meeting rooms, campus bookstore, public safety offices, a café and dining hall, and outdoor stage that opens to the green space.

Childers said, “The Student Union’s centralized location and easy access will make it an icon on campus; a welcoming home to all students, faculty and athletes to socialize and relax.”

 

 

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Radiologic technology graduates at CAC. Submitted photo

Andrea Castano of Maricopa was among 18 Central Arizona College radiologic technology graduates honored during a pinning ceremony at its Superstition Mountain Campus on Dec. 16. This special ceremony signifies the completion of an associate of applied science degree in radiological technology.

Radiographers are critical members of a health care team, called upon to render compassionate patient care, ensure safe radiation protection practices and apply technical knowledge in the operation of specialized imaging equipment used to generate diagnostic images.

CAC’s associate of applied science degree in radiologic technology is a two-year (six sequential trimesters including summers) program that prepares students for entry-level positions as radiographers. The curriculum is designed in accordance with the radiography curriculum established by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. Academic courses include radiographic positioning, radiation physics, principles of radiographic exposure, and other specialized topics. The program is designed around a model of classroom and laboratory instruction integrated with hands-on experience in a clinical setting that provides a thorough educational foundation and professional preparation to enter the workforce as an independent practitioner upon graduation.

Following their degree completion, students are eligible to sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) examination and they may apply for an Arizona license to practice radiography as a Certified Radiologic Technologist (CRT).

Following is a listing of graduates:
Daniela Arellano
Elizabeth Bouchier
Andrea Castano
Amanda Clark
Debra Duarte
Cindy Fletcher
Juan Garcia
McKenna Gardner
Eric Gorecki
April Hiscox
Jennifer Kussey
Kacy LaMonica
Mattie Lynch
Hirali Patel
Paul Petrucelly
Bradley Rogers
Tiffany Williams
Kaitlyn Ziglar

 

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Butterfield Elementary students learn some science facts at Central Arizona College during S.T.E.A.M. Day.

By Michelle Chance

The third annual S.T.E.A.M. Day at the Central Arizona College Maricopa campus introduced local sixth-graders to learning sessions that combined science, technology, engineering, art and math.

Jan. 11-12, students from Butterfield Elementary and other schools got hands-on experience during four learning sessions.

In one class, students watched as a 3D printer designed a plastic shark. In another, kids learned about the science behind the culinary arts as they watched Chef Gabe Gardner make marshmallows from scratch.

Students then got to experiment with technology using iPad microscopes and later with LED lights.

Carrie McIntyre, STEM Program Advisor at CAC, said careers in S.T.E.A.M. encompass a wide array of fields including: computer programming, biology, astronomy, engineering, various fields in design and math, among many others.

In fact, careers in S.T.E.A.M. are growing.

According to a report by the Department of Commerce, careers in S.T.E.A.M. are estimated to grow by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018. Additionally, those working in steam related fields typically make more money than those who don’t.

McIntyre said it is important to expose children at a young age to S.T.E.A.M. because they are very exploratory and interested in how the world works.

“If we can begin to direct that vision at a young age to show them fields like engineering, and breaking it down to things like our 3D printer, [it can] really show them how that impacts their world and what they do.”

Butterfield Elementary School teacher Stephanie Shiflett said even sixth graders are not too young to begin considering a career path.

“I see a lot of students who haven’t really looked at who they want to be, and they might be closed off to the realities of what awaits them in the future,” Shiflett said. “So I think bringing the students here, they get to have so many hands-on experiences and it really gives them a wider view as to what they can do in their future.”

Sixth grade student Aubryana Pick said she is interested in interior design, but she might also consider studying culinary arts at CAC after attending the S.T.E.A.M. Day event.

“They have a lot of appliances and you can do a lot in this school,” she said.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Central Arizona College’s Handbell Choir, led by Diane Rubio, performed Christmas favorites at the Maricopa campus Sunday. Rubio and the ringers took questions from the audience about their skills and the bells. The ringers class meets Mondays at the Signal Peak campus from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is open to CAC students and Pinal County residents.

Career and Student Employment Coordinator Ann Mitchell and assistant Armando Murillo put up a banner for next week's job fair at the CAC-Maricopa campus. Photo by R. Mason Callejas

By R. Mason Callejas

Next week the Central Arizona College Maricopa campus will be hosting its third annual Job Fair for CAC students.

 

 

The fair is one of several conducted at various CAC campuses under the direction of its Department of Student Employment and Career Services. The relatively new and architecturally intriguing Maricopa campus has seen steady growth since its construction in 2013, and thus has no shortage of bright minds eager to explore career opportunities.
Coordinator of career and student employment Ann Mitchell said the event has a dual purpose “to help students find information about the careers they’re interested in, as well [as] help them find full-time, part-time or temporary employment.”

 

Meant to promote local and state wide employment opportunities for Central Arizona College students, the event has likewise gained popularity among Arizona businesses seeking to fill positions within their growing organizations with driven and educated employees.

 

Student employment and career services assistant Armando Murillo expects to have a high level of business participation in Maricopa this year as recent events at other campuses have also exhibited growth.

 

“We had one [job fair] yesterday in Apache Junction and we gained probably seven to 10 employers,” Murillo said. “A lot of them last minute, because they found out how successful the event actually is.”

 

The Maricopa campus event will include a diverse group of local and state wide employers. Some of those participants include Native American-owned businesses like Harrah’s Ak-Chin and the Ultra Star Multi-tainment Center, educational institutions such as the Maricopa Unified School District and Northern Arizona University, child and healthcare providers, law enforcement agencies and many more.

 

To date there are more than 24 businesses or organizations scheduled to participate, a number which is expected to grow as the fair approaches.

 

The Job Fair will be in room A-101 at the CAC’s Maricopa campus from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

 

For a full list of participating employers please see the updated list linked here.

CAC President Jacquelyn Elliott, Ed.D., was at a welcome reception at the Maricopa Campus Thursday.

The governing board of Central Arizona College voted to offer Jacquelyn Elliott the job of college president during a special meeting Tuesday.

The board held two executive sessions on the matter.

Elliott was the only finalist for the post. Doris Helmich is retiring June 30 after serving as the CAC president four years.

During its first closed session Tuesday, the board reviewed the public survey input received from the public forums throughout the county April 25-27. A vote was made to enter into contract negotiation with Elliott. During a second executive session, the board extended an employment offer and upon returning to the general meeting named Elliott as the next CAC president/CEO.

Elliott has more than 27 years of experience working in higher education, specifically in senior level administrative and leadership positions at the community college level. She has served as president of North Arkansas College (Northark) since 2011.

During her time at Northark the College’s reserves increased from $11 million to $16 million and Annual Foundation Contributions grew. Northark was named a “Great College to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2013.

Elliott is a Board of Trustees member for the Higher Learning Commission, co-chair of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education’s Master Plan Development Committee and member of the Governor’s Task Force for Redesign of Arkansas Higher Education Funding.

Jacquelyn Elliott may be selected as the new president of Central Arizona College during a board meeting Tuesday. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Jacquelyn Elliott is the only finalist for the job of new president of Central Arizona College. She took questions from an audience of about a dozen people on the Maricopa campus last week. Tuesday, the board of governors will discuss offering her the job during a special meeting.

The process of hiring a president began in October. That was after Doris Helmich announced her retirement in a contentious year that saw the board raise its tax rate and a board member resign before facing a recall election.

“CAC is a community college. We are so different than a four-year institution or a university because we serve everybody,” Elliott said. “And that’s a lot of pressure.”

She said community colleges as a whole have gotten away from their original purpose and started establishing themselves as “mini-universities.”

“We have forgotten why we were started in 1961 on the GI Bill,” she said. “And that is accessibility for everyone.”

She said community colleges need to return to the focus of community education and workforce training.

“There’s a difference between being everything to everybody versus being what you are supposed to be,” she said.

Elliott has been president of North Arkansas College in Harrison since 2011 and retains a soft, south-Midwest accent. She was previously vice president of student affairs at Northern Missouri State University in Maryville. She has also taught at colleges and universities in Kansas and Nebraska, starting in 1990.

Jacquelyn Elliott answers questions from Maricopans at a meeting April 27. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Jacquelyn Elliott answers questions from Maricopans at a meeting April 27. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

She said community colleges have different needs based on the populations they serve, and campuses within a college have different needs.

“I think there is a unique opportunity for each campus to distinguish itself to be a center for excellence for the needs of that community,” Elliott said.

Maricopa Unified School District Superintendent Steve Chestnut said he was impressed with Elliott after questioning her on the future of CAC’s relationship with Pinal County K-12 districts. Elliott said Chestnut was the only superintendent to attend one of her meet-and-greets.

In Arkansas, she said, the college had an agreement with the local high school to give enrollment applications to all graduating seniors. She said many students do not consider themselves college material and don’t even think about trying to enroll until it is in front of them.

She said she is also a fan of working with four-year institutions with “articulation agreements” in helping students earn a bachelor’s degree.

Her completion agenda is not only to get more students enrolled but to also move them through to a completed degree or certificate.

“We as a profession have not done a good job of that,” she said.

Christina Tull (center), president of CAC-Maricopa Student Leadership, with Scott Gillum and Cassandra Holcombe explains the Clothesline Project.

Student Leadership at Central Arizona College – Maricopa is in the middle of a project to bring awareness to domestic abuse.

In April, the students hosted the Clothesline Project, bearing witness to domestic violence. Through May 12, they will be collecting items for the Against Abuse shelter in Maricopa.

In this video, members of Student Leadership explain the project and their organization.