Student-Focused Innovation Projects Bring Great Ideas to Life Across District

February 27, 2018

Yuma, AZ (February 27, 2018) – An Art Garden on Yuma Campus. A Student Engagement Fund in Parker. A South County Mentoring program. A Business Incubator. The 2018 Innovation Fund projects may be varied and on a strict budget, but the twelve teams across the district that competed and won the opportunity to design their “dream project” are already working hard.

The $185,000 Innovation Fund, requested by AWC President Daniel Corr, and approved by the District Governing Board last May, is based on Dr. Corr’s frequent assertion that “good ideas come from everywhere”. It was developed to bridge the funding gap between the January 2018 completion of the new AWC Strategic Plan and the fiscal year 2019 AWC Budget, which starts in July 2018.

Twenty-three teams submitted a brief proposal, explaining both how their idea tied to the strategic planning process and how it would serve students, along with a short “elevator pitch” video. A screening committee of college employees, led by Dr. Corr, selected the final projects.

The selected projects are:

  AWC Welcome Center - $ 40,000, Mandy Heil

  San Luis Home Away from Home - $ 35,000, Susanna Zambrano

  KAWC Border Radio Project - $ 27,500, Dave Riek

  Business Incubator Project - $ 22,500, Shahrooz Roohparvar, Karyn Van Why, Marc LaFond, Randy Nelson and Moses Diaz De Leon

  Student Seating & Charging Stations - $ 20,000, Student Government Association led by Daniel Ramirez

  American Indian Student Recruitment - $ 8,500, Michelle Y. Thomas

  Writing @ AWC - $ 7,500, Jennifer Hewerdine

  Art Garden Beautification Project - $ 6,300, Dr. Eric Lee, Brad Pease, Martha Martinez

  South County Ambassador Program - $ 6,000, Omar Heredia

  Parker Student Engagement Fund - $ 5,000, Kathy Ocampo

  Mobile Mini-Makerspace - $ 4,600, Angie Creel and Wendy Hoag

  South County Mentoring Program - $ 1,000, Maria Guzman

“We saw an opportunity in the front lobby of our largest building on campus to create a bright and welcoming starting point for prospective students and visitors,” said Mandy Heil, Associate Director of Admissions, who was awarded $40,000 to create a Student Welcome Center in the southwest lobby of the College Community Center, located near the 24th street entrance. “I’m very excited for the chance to bring this idea to life and make it an attractive and functional space.”

More about the Innovation Fund projects can be found at


Lori Stofft
Vice President for Advancement
Arizona Western College
(928) 314-9595