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MAY 2008 Highlights at a Glance


Congratulations to the Class of 2008

AWC Class of 2008 Celebrate

Arizona Western College along with Northern Arizona University Yuma Branch Campus and University of Arizona announced a new location of the 2008 Commencement. The 2008 graduates received their diplomas at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday, May 16th.

Arizona Western College proudly graduated over 1200 degree-seeking candidates this semester. The students received numerous Associate degrees and certificates. This year, AWC chose Jorge Zepeda as the Commencement Speaker. Jorge received his Associates in Business. He addressed the graduates Friday night.

NAU-Yuma's Class of 2008

Over 200 graduates from Northern Arizona University Yuma Branch Campus and the University of Arizona’s Yuma campus also walked across the stage to receive their degrees. NAU-Yuma’s 2008 Commencement Speaker was Marelis Rivera. Marelis also spoke to the graduating class.

Prior to the Commencement, the AWC/NAU-Yuma Honors Convocation was held in the Gila Ridge High School Performing Arts Center.

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La Cosecha Celebrates Graduates

Dr. Schoening speaks to the La Cosecha graduates and families

Arizona Western College presented the 17th Annual La Cosecha (The Harvest) Outstanding Graduates Banquet on Thursday, May 15th at the Yuma Civic and Convention Center.

Every year, Arizona Western College hosts an Outstanding Graduates Banquet for students who have overcome barriers in order to become educated. This ceremony is titled La Cosecha – the Harvest, and highlights the achievements of students from all walks of life who have overcome challenging circumstances in order to accomplish their academic goals. During this banquet, we celebrate our graduates and recognize them for their achievements in the presence of family, college officials, staff and community guests. La Cosecha’s intent is to encourage our graduates to continue their education toward a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree, and to consider returning to this community as professionals.

This year, La Cosecha chose Yara Ibarra to be the keynote speaker. This speaker epitomizes the purpose of La Cosecha and the struggles of our students, though their stories may vary.

Keynote Speaker Yara Ibarra Addresses the Audience

Yara enrolled at AWC in 1998 as an English as a Second Language (ESL) student. Yara came to school to master English, yet communication continues to be one of her biggest challenges.

Yara began to lose her hearing while living in Mexico and found herself learning to read lips in Spanish. Later, as her residence changed to the United States, she had to again learn to read lips but this time in another language:  English. As Yara’s hearing continued to decline, she realized that she would lose her hearing completely and, once again, have to learn another language:   American Sign Language.
This banquet, the scholarships and our students' stories wouldn’t be possible without the help of generous sponsors and the Law Office of C. Candy Camarena.

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New AWC SGA President


Diego dos Santos-SGA President

Congratulations to Diego dos Santos, an AWC Business Major and the new Student Government Association (SGA) President.

Diego is entering his second year at AWC. Diego wanted to become SGA president because he wants more for the students.  He thinks students should be more comfortable on campus so they can become more successful. Diego wants the students of AWC to know that his goal is to make AWC a “better place for everybody” by providing fun and interactive activities.

A special thank you to all of the hard work and dedication from all of the candidates!
Also, a special thank you to our outgoing SGA members for all of their assistance throughout the year and with the election process.

The results are as follows (percentages based on 208 total votes):
Diego dos Santos-40%
Lam Bao-21%
Ciera Johnson-14%
Charline Smith-13%
Thao Nguyen-6%
Jose C. Gomez-Ramirez-6%

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AWC Foundation Breakfast

Invitees Enjoy Breakfast at the 4th Annual Changing Lives Changing Communities Breakfast

The Arizona Western College Foundation hosted its 4th Annual Changing Lives…Changing Communities Fundraising Breakfast on May 8, 2008 at the Arizona Western College’s gym. This year’s event was sponsored by the Yuma Investment Group. The annual breakfast is an event to raise unrestricted funds to supplement conventional funding sources for Arizona Western College. Dr. Don Schoening, Arizona Western College President, opened the program by welcoming the community members. David Egeberg the President of Arizona Western College Foundation and Ruth Whisler the Executive Director of the Arizona Western College Foundation spoke about the mission and vision of the Foundation. The program included a lively and informative video of current Arizona Western College students Anne Foley, Bethany Foley, Emily Foley, Woody Lotts, and Sasmita Parajuli. Three exceptional speakers-AWC Alumnus Baron Grover, current AWC international student Maria Fernanda Delgado, and Interim Associate Dean of Science, Math, and Agriculture Dr. Kathy Watson-shared their personal memories and experiences of the College. Thanks to the wonderful community participation, the 2008 annual breakfast was a success for our College! Thank you to everyone who supports Arizona Western College and the work we do with our community.

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AWC Grows in Parker & Quartzsite


Groundbreaking Ceremony May 12th

The month of May brought two groundbreakings for the AWC community.

During two separate ceremonies in La Paz County, the shovels moved earth for a new facility in both Parker and Quartzsite.

The Parker Learning Center will be a 20,000 square foot facility with 2 ITN classrooms (Biology ITN classroom included), 2 regular classrooms and 2 computer classrooms/labs.

And Quartzsite will soon have a 5,000 square foot facility that will include an ITN classroom, a computer classroom/lab and a regular classroom.

The AWC Governing Board, AWC Leaders, and Mayors and various City Council members from the cities were in attendance to see the historic ceremony.

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SKILLS USA Region 1Competition

Arizona Western College Technical Instructional Department is pleased to announce the results for AWC SkillsUSA Auto, Collision Repair, Precision Machining, Extemporaneous Speaking, Prepared Speech, Welding and Culinary Arts. The AWC SkillsUSA competition took place at the Phoenix Civic Center on April 28th and 29th where over 1600 Arizona students competed.

The Gold Medal winners will represent AWC and the state of Arizona post-secondary programs at the national competition held in Kansas City in late June.

Sam Colton, Professor of Welding/Coordinator of Technical Instructional Department, commented on the success of the students: “These students have worked hard all school year to prepare themselves to represent their school and their state. We want to congratulate them on a job well done!”

When we hear about America's loss of a "skilled work force," the students at the SkillsUSA competition are proof that there is a promising future in these occupations. By preparing students through career and technical education - particularly when coupled with organizations such as SkillsUSA and its thousands of industry partners - we can begin to reverse the trend of worker shortages.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry, working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. SkillsUSA helps each student preparing for a career in technical education to excel by teaching important employability skills such as communication, problem solving and leadership.

The 2008 SkillsUSA AWC Winners:
Automotive Service Technology (Larry Stanley, Advisor):
John Baldwin-Bronze Medal
Collision Repair Technology (Samuel Colton & Larry Stanley, Advisors):
Eric Olivares-Gold Medal
Extemporaneous Speaking (Samuel Colton, Advisor):
Jason Trepanier-Gold Medal
Gilbert (Ed) Garcia-Silver Medal
Shawn Hayden-Bronze Medal
Prepared Speech (Samuel Colton, Advisor):
Steven Seale-Gold Medal
Kevin Estrada-Silver Medal
Casey Liljadahl-Bronze Medal
Welding (Samuel Colton, Advisor):
Jerad Trannum-Silver Medal
Zack Kelly-Bronze Medal
Precision Machining (Samuel Colton, Advisor):
Jason Trepanier-Silver Medal
Culinary Arts (Nancy Meister, Advisor)
Leyla Mendoza-Gold Medal
Sergio Moreno-Silver Medal
David Keller-Bronze Medal

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A Change In Volleyball Leaders

Jason Smith heads to Vegas

Arizona Western College has announced that AWC Head Volleyball Coach Jason Smith has resigned to become an assistant volleyball coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. The announcement was made at a press conference on the AWC Campus. The announcement comes just a little over two years after Smith was announced as the Matadors’ Head Volleyball Coach in March of 2006. This will be the second Mountain West coaching position on Smith’s resume, since he came to AWC after a successful three-year stint as an assistant volleyball coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Utah.

Sitkiewicz at Matador Press Conference

AWC is also proud to announce that Karen Sitkiewicz has been named as interim Lady Matadors’ Head Volleyball Coach. Sitkiewicz was officially introduced to the media Wednesday, May 29th in a press conference on the AWC campus. Sitkiewicz accepted the position just one month after Jason Smith resigned from the helm of the AWC Volleyball program to become an assistant coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

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Librarians... Just a Click Away


Arizona Western College and Northern Arizona University Yuma Branch Campus are proving again they are here to help the students, faculty and staff.

With the advancing technology the librarians at the Academic Library are continuing to meet the student’s expectations. The library staff has announced they are ready and willing to Instant Message the students, faculty and staff with answers to their library questions.

Ask-A-Librarian can be found on the AWC website at:
Visit the web to begin IM’ing the librarians at the AWC/NAU-Yuma Academic Library.

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Professor Donnelly Explores the Pacific

Professor Donnelly Sets Sail During the NOAA Research Program

Scott Donnelly, Professor of Chemistry at AWC, recently returned from an eight-day scientific research cruise in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Teacher at Sea program (NOAA TAS), Professor Donnelly was one of only 20 teachers selected out of 200 applicants across the United States to participate in this multidisciplinary program.

According to the NOAA TAS website, the program mission is "…to give teachers a clearer insight into our ocean planet, a greater understanding of maritime work and studies, and to increase their level of environmental literacy by fostering an interdisciplinary research experience. The program sends teachers to sea aboard NOAA research and survey ships to work under the tutelage of scientists and crew. Then, armed with new understanding and experience, teachers bring this knowledge back to their classrooms.”

Scott Reads Maps During His Research Trip

During the scientific research cruise, Prof. Donnelly conducted chemical and biological sampling studies off the Oregon Continental Shelf, 3 to 50 miles from the coast in water 150 to 9,000 feet in depth. On the cruise's second day of operations, the NOAA research vessel encountered 20 foot seas and gale force winds (40 mph). While at sea, he wrote daily logs describing his research and personal experiences. His logs can be read at

For more information about the program, please visit

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Welders Donate Pillar For Charity

Pillar on Display in AWC's Welding Area

The AWC SkillsUSA welding students are encouraged to use their skills to support our community and show leadership through service to others.

They have been using materials from various training activities normally turned into scrap to create the "Iron Pillar". The project has been a labor involving students at all levels of the program.

Sam Colton, Professor of Welding reflected: “At first I thought to grind out the imperfections (on the pillar) but anyone who is learning-be it music or welding-knows that those early starts only help us to enjoy the latter moments of success.”

The symbolism of the pillar is in its upward reaching shape with four sides. There are sections with a maze of surfaces, then a smooth middle section, followed by more challenges of surface before reaching the peak. The top points upward to higher things with the four directions represented by the letters N,S,E and W.

On the North side can be found the letters for "NAU", AWC’s partner in higher education. On the West side "AWC" symbolizes our college. Each side has a student selected four letter word. On the West side is the word "WILL" for the iron will of Arizona Western College students. On the North side is the word "LOVE" for their love of higher education through NAU. On the South side is "WORK" and on the East side "HOPE". A poem has been composed to express some of the values the pillar represents.

The AWC welding students began the project with the knowledge it would be donated to the Yuma Youth Choir. The YYC will hold a silent auction to raise funds for their trip to Europe. The 22 students will begin 2008 American Celebration of Music in France next month. The fees for each student are $3,200. The trip will take them to various landmarks in France. The trip will also include a performance at the Notre Dame Cathedral.

To bid on the ‘Pillar,’ people may email Beth at, or send a pledge to:  Beth Tibbs, 7779 Topeka Place, Yuma, AZ 85365.

The winner will be notified at our June 17th Farewell Concert at the AWC Theatre at 7:00 PM. People can make their final pledges at the concert on June 17th. 

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Poetry Reading & Contest Winners

During the month of April, The Sun Newspaper and Arizona Western College teamed up and sponsored the 1st Annual Poetry Contest to celebrate National Poetry Month. The contest was open to all Yuma County residents.

Yuma Sun/AWC 1st Annual Poetry Contest Winners:
1st place--Charlotte Merril ($100)
2nd place--Janet Udart (Harkins Theatre Movie Tickets)
3rd place--Corey McCafferty (Starbucks)

The poem entries were judged by a panel that used the following criteria to select the winners: emotional impact, originality, universal appeal and use of mechanics.

For more information, please contact Porchia Moore, Director of the Creative Writing School, at 344-7687.

There was also a magnificient student poetry reading and reception held on April 28, in the AWC Student Art Gallery. Students responded to student art work through poetic verse. This reading was the first in a series of our new student reading series, Frijoles.

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Luna Represents Arizona

Luna's Border Monster Devil

Arizona Western College is proud to announce that Professor of Fine Arts, Angel Luna will be representing the state of Arizona in the Loyola University-Chicago Department of Fine and Performing Arts Crown Center Gallery’s Prospectus Reforming US: Immigration Through Art.

The show will open June 1 and run through July 13. Luna’s piece will be the single entry from the state of Arizona.

Luna's Border Monster Devil

The theme of the entry is: “Artwork that speaks about ongoing issues of immigration and its social, economic, political, artistic effect upon the United States.”

Luna's Border Monster Fool

Angel Luna reflects upon the theme and his entry, “We need to focus on the new immigrant not as a monster with no identity each person who comes here has a face, history and identity. “



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RAD Tech Awarded

AWC's Stephanie Crowe Awarded the ASSRT 'Outstanding Student of the Year'

AWC’s Radiologic Technology students and faculty attended the 59th Annual Arizona State Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASSRT) Conference on May 2nd and 3rd in Tucson, Arizona.

AWC students competed in the regional competition at the conference that was open to other schools such as such as Apollo College, Bryman School, and Pima Community College. The AWC students submitted scientific exhibits and essays and brought home several awards from the competition.

Student Scientific Exhibits
1st place and $200- Jessica Escamilla, Fracture Repair
2nd place and $160-Hector Romero, DEXA
3rd place and $140-Alycia Mosher, Anencephaly
Honorable Mention-Soo Van Winkle, SID and OID

Student Essay Competition
Honorable Mention-Jessica Escamilla, Fracture Repair
Honorable Mention-Yosel Armenta, Spina Bifida

2007-2008 ASSRT "Outstanding Student of the Year"
Stephanie Crowe-$200 and plaque

“I am happy to be interacting with students who recognize the value of networking with and participating in the activities of the Arizona State Society of Radiologic Technologists,” said Victoria Holas, AWC’s Radiologic Technology Program Director.

While students were receiving awards at the conference, Martin Schotten, AWC Associate Faculty member for the Radiologic Technology Program, was sworn in for a second term as the Treasurer of the ASSRT. Victoria Holas, Director, was appointed as Co-Chair of the Collegiate Committee of the ASSRT.

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Men's Basketball Represents AWC in All-Star Events

AWC's Mehdi Cheriet 

Arizona Western College announced that five members of the AWC Men’s Basketball team were named to participate in the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association’s 3rd Annual National All-Star Game. AWC was represented by Matadors’ Men’s Head Basketball Coach (and ACCAC Co-Coach of the Year) Kelly Green, who was the head coach of the Region I All-Star team; Matador starting forwards Sean Imadiyi and Mehdi Cheriet, were both named to the 10-player Region I All-Star squad; and fellow sophomores Brett Goodwell and Eric Cuen, participated in the final game of the three-game event, the Arizona All-Star Game. The event  was held Sunday, April 20th at Scottsdale Community College in the Phoenix area.

Green joined fellow ACCAC Co-Coach of the Year and South Mountain Community College Men’s Head Basketball Coach Dan Nichols on the sideline for the Region I All-Stars. Green earned the honor by virtue of his 2007-08 Matador Men’s Basketball squad winning the ACCAC regular season title this past February. The game was special for Green in more than one way. First, he was the head of a squad that will include the best of Region I, including Imadiyi and Cheriet, who both earned 1st Team All-ACCAC and All-Region I postseason honors. “It is a great honor to have two members of the Matadors chosen to participate on the Region I All-Star team, which will play the NJCAA All-Stars from community colleges across the United States,” said Green. “Both Sean and Mehdi have had outstanding careers, and have represented our program-on and off the floor-with character and class.”  The squad also featured ACCAC Player of the Year Dynile Forbes (Cochise College), fellow NJCAA All-American T.J. Campbell (Glendale Community College), and even Yuma native (and 1st Team NJCAA DII All-American) David Cuen (South Mountain Community College). Second, the game was a family affair for Green, since he coached against his brother, Steve Green, head coach of the NJCAA Division I All-Star squad and also the man who just led South Plains College to their first-ever NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball title 3 weeks ago. “It’s an honor for both of us to be selected to coach in this All-Star Game,” remarked Kelly Green. “However, there won’t be a lot of strategy going on. Whoever has the best players usually wins-especially in these games. Our job will be to make sure that everyone gets equal playing time and has a good time. We used to be in the same conference, and had to play each other twice a season. My team won the last game. That’s all I need to say.”

Coach Kelly Green on the sidelines

For Imadiyi, Cheriet, Goodwell and Cuen, it was the final time that they will hit the court representing AWC, and all used this event to further showcase the immense talents they demonstrated in leading the Matadors to their 5th straight Region I Championship Game. Cheriet-who was named an NJCAA Preseason All-American last October-signed an official letter of intent in November to play for San Diego State University this coming fall. Imadiyi-who has already experienced NCAA Division I Basketball as a freshman at the University of New Mexico-is still currently weighing offers from 4-year colleges, as are Goodwell and Cuen, who will take the floor for the final game of the day as part of the Arizona All-Star Game, which featured two teams comprising of the top players in the ACCAC competing against each other.

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