Maricopa Community Colleges Highlighted in Inaugural Spanish-Language Episode of ‘The College Tour’
By Queen Creek Sun Times Staff, Queen Creek Sun Times I October 15, 2022
Community college system celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month by showcasing diverse student voices on fall series
The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), with 10 individually accredited colleges throughout the Greater Phoenix area, will offer four-year degrees in fall 2023, pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission, and begin competing with some of the nation’s most established universities. With nearly 100,000 students, MCCCD understands its worth and isn’t afraid to reshape the traditional narrative of higher education. To prove it, MCCCD is the first institution of higher education to produce a Spanish language episode of “The College Tour,” an Amazon Prime Video series that offers potential students an inside look at what life is truly like at some of the nation’s largest universities.
The Spanish episode can be viewed on MCCCD’s dedicated landing page, with a forthcoming release on Amazon’s premium free streaming service. Each of the 20 unique student segments showcase all the system has to offer, including affordability, state-of-the-art programs, dual enrollment and unique opportunities for adult learners and first-generation college students — all told through the eyes of each student.
“Nine of our 10 colleges are designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and 36% of our student population identify as Hispanic, we felt a great responsibility to share these stories with our community,” said MCCCD Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales. “As a system, we are always seeking out trailblazing ideas and new methods of communication to meet students where they are, and keep MCCCD top of mind as the best choice for an affordable, high-quality education.”
According to 2021 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, individuals who identified as Hispanic or Latino made up the second-largest demographic group in the City of Phoenix. Additionally, from 2010 to 2020, Maricopa County saw the third-largest Hispanic population increase in the country. Data collected by the Pew Research Center shows that the number of Latinos enrolled in college increased from 2.9 million in 2010 to 4.1 million in 2021.
“We work to serve the next generation of students and hope the series inspires them to further their education,” said Executive Producer Alex Boylan. “Our show is inclusive to everybody, and each episode features diverse student voices because we want everyone to realize that college is accessible, and dreams are accessible as well.”
The episode highlights the fact that with more than 40 college and university partnerships and over 600 degree and certificate programs, students have plenty of options based on their goals and their needs, whether completing a degree or certificate, transferring to a university, learning new career skills or entering the workforce right away. The episode’s host, Lorena Segura, takes viewers on a road trip from one end of the Valley to the other to listen to the amazing and diverse stories the Greater Phoenix community has to offer.
“Without a doubt, the most exciting part is sharing my story and representing the Latin community and my home country of Mexico,” said Scottsdale Community College student, Camila Maldonado. Being able to show that I’m here studying and all of the opportunities this country has provided makes me excited to share the episode with all of my family and friends.”
The Spanish episode features the following current and former MCCCD students:
- Chandler-Gilbert Community College: First-generation college student Frida Guzman made her dreams a reality at CGCC, where she is currently enrolled as an honors student. Guzman appreciates that CGCC makes her education affordable. She hopes to inspire future female generations by helping them realize that obtaining a college education is achievable.
- Chandler-Gilbert Community College: Lourdes Sanchez’s dream of becoming a scientist took her from the desert city of Yuma to CGCC. She loves that the college finds ways to connect her social interests, like volunteering, to her coursework and student life.
- Mesa Community College: Adolfo Tenorio shares why attending MCC was one of the best decisions of his life. As a first-generation college student, Tenorio appreciated the guidance and support MCC’s faculty and staff provided. Now, he’s paying it forward as a tutor for other students on campus.
- Mesa Community College: Andrea Gallegos always knew she wanted to be an engineer, but wasn’t sure which area of study to focus on until she found MCC’s Mechanical Drafting program. Gallegos loves the small class sizes and affordable tuition. Through the MAPP MyPath2ASU program, she can easily transfer her credits to Arizona State University.
- Scottsdale Community College: Camila Maldonado chose SCC for its world-class dance program. She enjoys that the program focuses on all facets of the dance and entertainment industry. Thanks to the helpful faculty and instructors, Maldonado has found her community and has taken her passion for dance to the next level.
- Scottsdale Community College: Alondra Moguel always heard community college was more affordable than university, and now believes it’s true thanks to SCC. As a first-generation, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) student she enjoys the flexible learning options that allow her to take classes online and in person, as she balances working full time.
- GateWay Community College: Desiree Sanchez began her educational journey in the ACE (Achieving a College Education) program, which allowed her to earn up to 24 college credits before she graduated from GateWay Early College High School. The best part? All of her college classes were free through the program!
- GateWay Community College: Daniel Castaneda Martinez is focused on a career in computer science and information technology. He believes that education will create a better future for himself and his family. He is thankful for the patience and support of the college’s instructors and staff in helping him select a program he’s passionate about and making him feel represented.
- Phoenix College: Hugo Calel already had a career but felt unfulfilled and was ready to reskill and re-career for a role in the medical field. Calel chose PC for its longstanding reputation in the community. As an adult learner, he was worried about returning to college, but believes this has been one of the best experiences of his life.
- Phoenix College: Romeo Lebron came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in search of the American dream. After losing out on a job due to his limited English, he learned that PC offers one of the most diverse English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in Arizona and immediately enrolled. The college’s staff connected him with financial aid resources to help him cover the cost of tuition. Now, Lebron is on track to graduate and transfer to Arizona State University.
- Rio Salado College: Originally from Cuba, Vera Batista enrolled in classes online at Rio Salado with the goal of learning English and kick-starting her career in the healthcare industry. Batista loves the college’s flexible learning formats and that Rio’s staff have been supportive throughout her educational journey.
- Rio Salado College: Giselle Velazquez is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, who came to the U.S. with big dreams, including obtaining her citizenship. Convenient online classes are what led her to Rio Salado, where she graduated with her associate degree in cybersecurity before using a transfer partnership to move on to a university to complete her bachelor’s degree.
- South Mountain Community College: After struggling in high school, Evaristo Perez returned to college as an adult learner with the goal of completing his education to make his parents proud. He credits his academic advisor for his guidance and support. Now that he’s back on track, he enjoys taking part in student workshops and studying in the library.
- South Mountain Community College: Julio Cesar Villarreal Jr. channeled his passion for debate and competition into a degree in political science. He enjoys attending sporting events and interacting with students from all different backgrounds on SMCC’s campus. He hopes to pursue a degree and a career in law.
- Glendale Community College: Luis Tirado is a passionate soccer player who found new friends, teammates and his community at GCC. Thanks to the athletic department’s guidance, Tirado is able to take prerequisite courses, setting him up to transfer and complete his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
- Glendale Community College: Joana Huaracha Franco always knew she wanted to be the first in her family to graduate from college. She began her academic journey in the ACE (Achieving a College Education) program. Thanks to GCC’s excellent advising, tutors and professors, she was able to find the right classes and learned how to navigate higher education.
- Estrella Mountain Community College: Enrolling at EMCC was a natural choice for Esperanza Cadena, who knew she wanted to be close to home and family while attending college. With help from her professors and advisors, she was able to keep her GPA above 3.5 and take part in clubs, sports and even served as a student ambassador.
- Estrella Mountain Community College: Luis Beltran was looking for a college with innovative programs to keep him engaged and on track. He found that and more at EMCC. In his freshman year, Beltran is studying mechanical engineering and appreciates the one-on-one support he receives from his advisors, tutors and professors.
- Paradise Valley Community College: Cynthia Rojas Rangel’s parents emigrated from Mexico with the dream of pursuing higher education. Her journey at PVCC began as a junior in high school taking college courses through the ACE (Achieving a College Education) program. Thanks to the resources offered by PVCC, she was able to learn how to navigate college as a first-generation, Latina student.
- Paradise Valley Community College: Damaris Sanchez moved from Mexico with the hopes of attending a large university. Due to her limited English proficiency, financial resources and culture shock, Sanchez was in need of an educational lifeline, which turned out to be PVCC. She was drawn to the campus’ beauty and chose PVCC for its affordable tuition, small class sizes and student resources.