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STAFF

Our staff members offer various services to students including academic advising, counseling, financial aid assistance, transfer services, mentoring and tutoring.

Michelle Y. Thomas, M.Ed.
Director of KEYS Program

Dept.: KEYS Program
Office: 3C Building
Phone: (928) 344-7763
E-Mail: michelle.thomas@azwestern.edu

Degrees:
B.A. General Studies, Northern Arizona University
M.A. Education Counseling Emphasis in Human Relations, Northern Arizona University Yuma

About Myself:

I am a native of Arizona. Raised and graduated from high school in Parker, Arizona. I attended the University of Arizona in Tucson right out of high school, but had a hard time adapting to the large university environment. I moved to Yuma in 1991 and started attending AWC with aspirations to become a nurse. Fortunately for me the nursing program had a long waiting list, making it impossible for me to begin the program that year, so I decided to visit an advisor at NAU-Yuma to see what they had to offer. Before I knew it I was enrolled as a NAU-Yuma student and working on completing my Bachelor's degree. 

While completing my undergraduate coursework at NAU-Yuma, I became active in student government and was elected student body president for the 1993-1994 academic year. After completing my bachelor's degree in General Studies, I continued on at NAU-Yuma to obtain my Master's degree and begin working full-time for Arizona Western College's Job Training Program - where I worked for the next five years in a variety of capacities.  In 1999 I moved to Lemoore, California and started working at California State University, Fresno as a Learning Assistance Specialist. In 2002 I returned to Yuma and AWC's Job Training Program as the Adult Basic Education Coordinator, where I worked until being hired as the Program Director for the AWC Student Support Services Program in January 2007.

Hobbies and Other Interests:
Reading, traveling and community service

Professional Organizations:
WESTOP, NAACP

 

 

Eva Aviles, M.Ed.
Transfer Coordinator

Dept.: KEYS Program
Office: 3C Building
Phone: (928) 344-7764
E-Mail: eva.aviles@azwestern.edu

Degree(s):
B.S. Business Management, University of Phoenix  M.Ed. Human Relations, Northern Arizona University

About Myself:

SSS Alumni

Hobbies and Other Interests:
Karate, traveling, shopping, exploring new cuisines

Professional Organizations:
AZ Chapter of WESTOP Professional Development Committee, Student Leadership Committee, Scholarship Committee, Resource Committee

"If I knew back then, what I know now..." What advice do you have for current students?
Apply for as many scholarships as possible!! It's FREE money!

 

Laura Shepherd, M.A.
Program Coordinator

Dept.: KEYS Program
Office: 3C Building
Phone: (928) 344-7762
E-Mail: laura.shepherd@azwestern.edu

Degrees:
B.A. Linguistics Emphasis in Cognition & Language, UC San Diego
Minor in Education Studies
M.A. Higher Education Leadership Emphasis in Student Affairs, University of San Diego

About Myself
I was born and raised in southern California (San Diego). In 2002, I graduated from high school and began attending college at the University of California, San Diego. At the time, I really wanted to stay close to home and family. I loved my undergraduate experience. I was extremely involved in student activities and held many leadership positions and internships. My most significant experience was as an Intern in the Dean of Student Affairs office. I had a variety of responsibilities during my three-year stint. Some of my experiences included coordinating workshops focused on social justice, leadership development and diversity. I also worked with all six Assistant Deans to coordinate campus-wide orientation programs. My experiences significantly impacted my desire to work in the college environment where everything is possible and no two days are ever the same.

Becoming a member of the KEYS Program staff has had a tremendous impact on me. I always knew that I wanted to work with students who are underrepresented in Higher Education. Overall, I just wanted to serve college students and guide them through their educational journey. My experience with TRIO has been incredible and has only strenghtened my desire to work in this area of Higher Education.

Hobbies and Other Interests:
Travel, Thai food (specifically..), Cooking/Baking, and Scrapbooking

Professional Organizations:
Current President-Elect of the AZ Chapter of WESTOP (Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel)

"If I knew back then, what I know now..." What advice do you have for current students?
A lot of students either forget, don't realize, don't understand the process, or sometimes they're just lazy...about SCHOLARSHIPS! I received over $6,000 in scholarships that I applied for during my undergraduate experience. I was so blessed to not have to take out as many loans because of it! Check out the KEYS Program scholarship boards and any other sources you can find. Trust me, it's worth it.

Angelica Gebhardt

Angelica Gebhardt
Program Secretary

Dept.: KEYS Program
Office: 3C Building
Phone: (928) 344-7761
E-Mail: angelica.suarez@azwestern.edu

Degrees:
A.A. General Studies, Arizona Western College
B.S. Social Work, NAU Yuma (In Progress)

About Myself:

I am from Nicaragua. Three words that describe me best are caring, friendly, and funny. I  think! One quote that inspires me: "If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." [Dr. MLK Jr.] People who know me best say that I'm quiet. My passion is helping others. I believe we all can make a difference in the world- even if it is a little, tiny one. When I was 7 years old, I wanted to be a Book Bag designer because I used to make my own. If Hollywood made a movie about me, it would be call, "The many PLANS of Angie" because I have plans A-Z, so far I'm working on B.

Professional Organizations:
AZ Chapter of WESTOP

If I knew back then what I know now...What advice do you have for current students?
Never give up. Find your resources because there are so many available to you. If I would have known about TRIO when I started college I would have graduated sooner. Setting goals is very important to succeed because if you have a goal you also have a dream!

 

Kenia Rodriguez Outreach Coordinator

Dept.: KEYS Program
Office: ES 114
Phone: (928) 317-7608
E-Mail: kenia.rodriguez@azwestern.edu

 

Degrees:
A.A. General Studies, Arizona Western College
A.A. Secondary Education & Spanish (In Progress)

About Myself:
 

Hobbies & Other Interests: Listen to music, travel, read,

"If I knew back then what I know now..." What advice do you have for current students?
 

Nia Yow

Nia Yow
Academic Skills Coach

Dept.: KEYS Program
Office: 3C Building
Phone: (928) 344-7761
E-Mail: niy@toro.azwestern.edu

Degrees:
B.A. Writing, University of Mount Union
A.A.S. Nursing, Arizona Western College (In Progress)

About Myself:
Nia is from Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated from the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. She chose to return to school to pursue a Nursing degree last year, when a close family member was diagnosed with cancer. In 2013, she plans to attend NAU to obtain her Masters Degree in Professional Writing. Three words that best describe her are: enthusiastic, communicative, and helpful. People who know her best always say she is infectious and funny. Nia is passionate about God, family, and living on purpose. Her favorite quote is by author, John Piper, "Help me make a difference that is utterly disproportionate to who I am," and her favorite book is "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers.

Hobbies & Other Interests
Her husband, her dogs, Ziggy & Nico, Reading Fiction and self-help books, crochet and cross-stitching, Disney movies, writing, travelling, swimming, and maintaining her small business, the Et Cetera Writing Company.

Professional Organizations:
National Association of Professional Women, National Cancer Society, AWC Matador Ambassador, AWC Foundation's Dreams to Reality donor, Crossroads Mission Donor

"If I knew back then what I know now..." What advice do you have for current students?
Like Nike, JUST DO IT. Failure leads to success. You won't know what you're capable of until you take the first step and try. Everyone is smart and everyone has a talent, so let it shine. You are unique and are here for a reason so the world is in high demand for people exactly like YOU.

 

 

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