Awards 2005-2006 | Chandler-Gilbert Community College
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2005-2006 Awards & Recognition

Ruth Romano Honored as 'Friend of PSA' 2005-2006

On Friday, July 21, CGCC Director of Continuing Education Ruth Romano was honored with this year's "Friend of PSA Award" for 2005-2006 at the MCCCD PSA Summer Conference. This award is given to individuals who support, encourage, and provide outstanding leadership to the Professional Staff Association.

An excerpt from her nomination letter stated,"Ruth gives from the heart with her only agenda seeming to be because 'it is the right thing to do.' She represents what is fair and just and cares immensely about others. She's gentle, kind, and has a graciousness about her that many of us can only hope to emulate."


Ruth Romano Honored by Chandler Chamber

Congratulations to Director of Continuing Education Ruth Romano, who was honored as a program participant in the "When Work Works" initiative by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce in June.

"When Work Works" is a nationwide initiative sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to highlight the importance of workforce effectiveness and workplace flexibility as strategies to enhance businesses' competitive advantage in the global economy and yield positive business results.


Adjunct Faculty Karen Cupps Receives Top Honor

CGCC adjunct faculty and Chandler Chamber of Commerce volunteer Karen Cupps earned the Chandler Chamber of Commerce's top honor - the Chamber Cup - at the Chamber's annual awards banquet on June 1.

Karen has been volunteering with the Chandler Chamber of Commerce for just over 10 years.

"She has consistently been involved in some capacity since she joined the board. That is rare. That is valued," said Chamber President Becky Jackson.

Karen is also an economist with Salt River Project.


First Generation CGCC Grad Conquers Stereotypes, Receives National Award

This month, 20-year-old Chandler-Gilbert Community College student Denise Olivas is celebrating many victories – she will become a first-generation college graduate, she has received a prestigious national scholarship that will cover all of her educational expenses as she transfers to ASU, but most importantly, she will know that her decades-long goal of overcoming a multitude of stereotypes has been achieved.

Olivas, who grew up in south Chandler, was recently awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, the largest scholarship offered in the U.S. to community college students planning to transfer to four-year institutions (up to $30,000). One of approximately 38 students from across the U.S. to receive the scholarship, Olivas says she is still overwhelmed with both happiness and relief that her expenses to ASU are now covered and she will not have to take out student loans and count on grants as she originally planned.

Having grown up the Hispanic daughter of a single mother living in a neighborhood she says was “slowly being infected by the growing ragweed of violence, drugs, and crime,” Olivas said she was shocked when she discovered the stereotypes that existed for Hispanics girls with her background. Conquering those stereotypes for herself and other Hispanic girls became a driving force in her life.

“So many people were expecting young women like me to fail – to be an impoverished single mother working in fast food,” said Olivas. “I knew that there was more than that – you just have to work hard for what you want. It’s important to me to break through the stereotypes that so often discourage young Hispanic girls.”

To protect herself and her young sister from the growing crime and violence in their neighborhood, Olivas says her school library became a safe haven and a place that was to change her life. Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, one of the first “real” books Olivas said she was allowed to check out, began her love of literature.

“Though I can’t specifically remember why that book moved me in such a way, two extremely significant events occurred after reading it - I began to read during every possible spare moment and I began to write in a journal,” said Olivas. “Eventually, I learned to read and write Spanish, only strengthening my passion for this art form. At the time, I did not realize I had spent more time with books and journals than with my friends. Neither did I realize the impression literature was leaving within me. Literature became a way to expand my mind an perspective of the world.”

As a 14-year-old, Olivas also began volunteering at the Desert Cove Nursing Center in Chandler. She was officially hired at the age of 16, and is still working there today.

“I love what I do and can’t imagine trading my job for a typical college student job at the mall or a restaurant,” said Olivas. “A 10 percent discount could never hold the same value as taking care of another individual.”

After graduating with an Associate in Arts Degree from CGCC on May 12, Olivas plans to transfer to ASU, where she will earn a bachelors degree in Secondary Education. Her goal is to return to her alma mater, Chandler High School, to teach English and Spanish. She credits her experience at CGCC for some of her success.

“The faculty and staff at the college are great and really took the time to help me when I needed it,” said Olivas. “I chose CGCC for the small class sizes and the personal attention I knew I would receive and it really has paid off.”


Jaime Garrido Elected Director-at-Large for SCUP

Congratulations to Jaime Garrido who has been elected as director-at-large for the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP).

SCUP, established in 1965, is the only association focused on the promotion, advancement, and application of effective planning in higher education. The Society's organizing principle is that planning is essential to improving and maintaining the fitness, vitality, and quality of higher education.

Jaime is also a graduate of the SCUP Planning Institute.


Cassandra Yancy Awarded NJCAA "Coach of the Year"

Congratulations to Cassandra Yancy who was recently awarded the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) District A 'Coach of the Year' award for women's basketball. This award is presented annually by the NJCAA for the 12 districts across the United States.


CGCC EUT Students Take Home Awards, Set Records at Lineman's Rodeo

Chandler-Gilbert Community College Electric Utility Technology (EUT) students recently took home 12 individual and team trophies and the 4th place overall trophy at the 4th Annual College Lineman’s Rodeo, held on April 8 at Pratt Community College in Pratt, Kansas.

Participants from 23 community colleges from across the U.S. competed in various competitions including the crossarm changeout, the speed climb, framing, and a written test.

CGCC EUT student Cory Jansen also set the pole climbing record at 18.09 seconds on a 35' pole. CGCC students who participated include Jansen, Vaughn Fish, Jeremiah Johnson, Matt Raso, Noel Smart, and Gary Logan.

Electrical lineworkers install and repair electrical distribution and transmission systems for investor owned municipal and rural electric utility companies. Graduates of the CGCC EUT program are highly skilled in overhead and underground electrical power line installation and operational procedures. Students in the EUT program can earn a technical certificate or an Associate in Applied Science degree. For more information about the EUT Program, access


Maria Hesse Selected as Soroptimist's "Woman of Distinction"

Congratulations to CGCC President Maria Hesse, who was chosen in April as the winner of the Soroptimist International of the San Tans "Women of Distinction" Award.

Maria was recognized for her outstanding work in the field of education and was honored at a luncheon at the San Marcos Golf Resort and Conference Center in Chandler on April 6.


WLG Honors Pam Davenport

Congratulations to Pam Davenport who was honored with the Women's Leadership Group 2006 "Women of Distinction" Distinguished Achievement Award, which will be presented to her at the group's 8th Annual Women's Leadership Luncheon held at MCC in April.

Pam was jointly nominated by faculty members Marybeth Mason, Kim Chuppa-Cornell, Sharon Fagan, and Bill Mullaney.

Some excerpts from her nomination included:

“Pam has provided leadership in a wide variety of innovative programs that CGCC has become recognized for both locally and nationally, including Faculty Development, Service Learning, Learning Communities, and Writing Across the Disciplines. In addition, she also serves as the faculty advisor for the Eagle Feather Club, a group of Native American students interested in campus and community issues and service endeavors. Under Pam's caring guidance, each semester Native American students come together to participate in and coordinate events designed to promote and enhance their cultural awareness, educational advancement and leadership development. These students know her to be a devoted and passionate mentor and friend.”

Bill Mullaney describes Pam and her many contributions to CGCC and the Maricopa District: “There are few instructors that I know who are as dedicated to students as Pam Davenport. As a composition instructor, she is keenly interested in helping all students to express themselves and their ideas powerfully. As a literature instructor, she is masterful at imparting the joy she finds in poems, short stories and novels to her students. Many faculty members in divisions across campus see Pam as one of the true campus leaders and innovators. Since I came to CGCC seven years ago, Pam has been an inspiring mentor to me and many others."

"Pam has been an outstanding faculty leader at Chandler-Gilbert Community College since she was hired in 1988. Her contributions to the college go far beyond the parameters of a faculty member's job description. As Sharon Fagan describes her, “Pam has distinguished herself as a multifaceted leader. In all the capacities she has served on campus, the gamut from Division Chair to committee leader to informal instruction leader to student life club advisor, she has inspired, motivated and supported all those needing her expertise. She leads students, faculty and staff both directly and indirectly. I especially appreciate her as an informal leader--exuding a kind of confidence and strength of conviction on which her integrity is built, and her democratic and diplomatic approach to innovation and challenge.”


CGCC Receives Ostrich Festival Award

Congratulations to Student Life for capturing the award for the "Best Use of the Ostrich Theme" for the third year in a row for their float in the annual Ostrich Festival Parade held in March.

Thanks to the float committee and all those who helped the day of the festival, including Diana Muniz, KT Campbell, Lynette Moore, Italo Pedraza, Chuck Reinbold, Jesus Chaidez-Hernandez, Mike Greene, Kortney Smith, Laura Jandebeur, Anthony Braaten, Floyd Addicott, Brenda Croteau, and the M&O staff . This year's float focused on transfer programs, with the theme, "The Birds are Back and Smarter than Ever."


"The Network for Excellence" Selected as CGCC Innovation of the Year

The CGCC Innovation Review Committee recently selected "The Network for Excellence" as the CGCC 2006 Innovation of the Year winner.

The Innovation of the Year Award is designed to recognize an individual or a team of employees who have designed and implemented a significant innovation that has had a positive impact on the education of students. Each college, the Maricopa Skill Center, and the District Office participated in a local selection process to determine their Innovation of the Year selections.

The Network for Excellence is a professional development learning community for new residential faculty facilitated by seasoned faculty leaders. Participants come together monthly to share joys, concerns, and expertise; to consider future leadership roles; and to discuss readings relevant to effective teaching practices and CGCC's instructional initiatives. These initiatives include service learning, active learning, learning communities, student motivation, globalization, technology, writing across disciplines, and assessment.

The "The Network for Excellence" submission team included Kim Chuppa-Cornell, English and Humanities Faculty; Pam Davenport, English Faculty; and Darby Heath, Sociology and Anthropology Faculty .

Pictured (l to r): Darby Heath, Kim Chuppa-Cornell, Pam Davenport


Drew Guarneri Named "College Coach of the Year"

Congratulations to Drew Guarneri, CGCC soccer coach, who was honored for his contributions to women's sports at the third annual Phoenix Women's Sports Association's "Spirit of the Athletes" awards dinner in February. Drew was nominated by the Gilbert Youth Soccer Association (GYSA) and his colleagues for the GYSA College Coach of the Year.

An excerpt from his nomination stated, "Drew is a well known and a popular coach in the community. Arsenal coaches and GYSA coaches have been influenced by Drew's coaching skill and his passion for the sport. Drew has recruited all of the Gilbert High Soccer Coaches to be coaches in the club. The club has trained professional educational coaches working with our youth because of Drew's reputation in the community.... Drew is a role model for the youth players and coaches in the East Valley. He is truly an outstanding individual who exemplifies PWSA's College Coach of the Year."

Pictured: (l to r) CGCC President Maria Hesse; assistant coach of CGCC women's soccer, Brent Hartman; Drew Guarneri; Jonathan Berzins, coach of the CGCC women's soccer team; and Cynthia Barnes Pharr, Vice President, Gilbert Youth Soccer Association.


Students Named to All-Arizona Academic Team

CGCC students Casey Matozevich and Jennifer McDaniel were recently named to the All-Arizona Academic Team and were honored at an awards lunch in February, joining other academic scholars from community colleges around the state.

Matozevich, 23, is a chemical engineering major who plans to transfer to ASU once she completes her studies at CGCC. In addition to maintaining her 3.9 GPA, Matozevich is involved in a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs, including the Phi Theta Kappa International Society, the Model United Nations Far West Conference, and the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. She has also been awarded an Arizona Public Service Scholarship and been recognized on the National Dean's List. A wildlife firefighter during the summers, a job which she says helped to finance her education, Matozevich says she believes that experience has shaped all aspects of her life.

“My ability to make decisions resolutely, with a clear mind, provide safety, and communicate actively were key components for my success,” said Matozevich. “These qualities that I refined through firefighting have been valuable to me, not only as a woman, co-worker, and employee, but as an accomplished student.”

A secondary education major, McDaniel, 24, maintains a 4.0 GPA and has also been involved in a variety of extracurricular activities, including participating in the Phi Theta Kappa International Society, serving as an NEA International Mentor, and participating in the Youth Political Organization. She has also received the “Promising Teacher Award” and has been recognized on the National Dean's List. McDaniel said that her opportunity to do Service Learning through CGCC has been a wonderful experience that she hopes to share with others.

“Service Learning is important to me because it has given me the opportunity to touch lives in a positive manner, and in some cases, help the less fortunate,” said McDaniel. “The opportunity has instilled in me the value of giving to others, something I hope to inspire in my future students.”

The All-USA Academic Team is sponsored by USA Today, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. The criteria are designed to identify students who excel academically, demonstrate intellectual rigor in their course of study, show academic growth and potential, and use their two-year college education to better themselves, their schools, and their communities.

Pictured: Casey Matozevich (left) and Jennifer McDaniel.


Jackie Underwood Named "Faculty Member of Excellence"

Congratulations to Jackie Underwood who was nominated by her colleagues as a "faculty member of excellence" at the Faculty Convocation in January.


Ernie Chavez Honored with NISOD Award

Congratulations to Ernie Chavez, who has been selected to receive the Faculty Excellence Award given by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD).

The award will be presented at the NISOD Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence May 28 – May 31, 2006 in Austin, Texas.

Ernie's nomination stated:

- "Mr. Chavez serves as the lead advisor for Phi Theta Kappa here at CGCC. He is the driving force behind its success. He works tirelessly on behalf of PTK and our chapter is considered one of the best by the national PTK. Ernie is a quiet man with a heart of gold. I have watched him develop student leaders with his gentle guidance and positive personality. He is focused on what works for these students to become student leaders and works closely with each of them throughout the year to achieve the group's stated goals. They are a campus force for positive action and it is the leadership that Mr. Chavez provides that makes the difference. He exemplifies the importance of faculty working with students outside of the classroom and serves as a powerful role model for all of our students and our faculty."

- "In addition to his leadership role with PTK, Ernie is an outstanding member of the Mathematics Division. A specialist in Calculus, he is always available to help students and to coach adjunct faculty who teach this challenging subject. Ernie has conducted numerous workshops on graphing calculators and other new technologies in teaching Mathematics. He is also instrumental in the success of the annual Excellence in Mathematics competition at CGCC."

The NISOD Excellence Awards were established in 1989 to promote the importance of teaching in an “open-door” learning environment. Each year, Excellence Award Recipients are honored at a ceremony during the NISOD International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence. This ceremony represents a tradition of recognizing the best of our community college faculty members.


Marketing & PR Receives 15th Medallion Award

Kudos to Magdalena Soto and the Marketing and Public Relations Department for receiving a silver Medallion Award from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations, District 6, for a print ad designed by Magdalena. This is the 15th Medallion Award the department has received for marketing excellence in the past 5 years.


Vocal Music Students Receive Top Honors

CGCC vocal music students received top honors on November 18 and 19 at the statewide musical theater competition sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing and hosted by CGCC.

Several CGCC vocal music students were among the top placing individuals, including David Conover who took first place in the Men's Division IV (College Sophomore); Niki Oakes who took first place in the Women's Division III (College Freshman); Michelle Chin who took first place in the Women's Division II (Pre-Collegiate); Matt Ortega who took third place in the Men's Division IV (College Sophomore); Adam DiBernardo who received an honorable mention in the Men's Division III (College Freshman); and Jaime Kirchhofer who received an honorable mention in the Women's Division III (College Freshman).

All these students are vocal music majors and/or performance students at CGCC.


CGCC Receives High Marks from CCSSE

Chandler-Gilbert Community College was recently recognized by the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) as one of the 2005 CCSSE High Performing Colleges in Active and Collaborative Learning.

CCSSE's five benchmarks of effective eeducational practice denote areas that educational research has shown to be important. They are (1) Active and Collaborative Learning, (2) Student Effort, (3) Academic Challenge, (4) Student-Faculty Interaction, and (5) Support for Learners. In their national publications, CCSSE then highlights “best practices” in those areas.

As compared to all colleges - large and suburban - CGCC ranked between the 90-100 percentile in Active and Collaborative Learning. Those responses that were significantly above the mean indicated that CGCC students were more likely to work with other students on projects during class, participate in community-based projects and email instructors. They rated CGCC's support to succeed, frequency and satisfaction with tutoring, math and writing labs, and overall evaluation of the educational experience significantly above the national mean. In general, CGCC students scored most questions above the mean as compared with other colleges.

Congratulations to the CGCC Faculty Development Team for their work, as well as to all of the faculty and staff who have committed themselves to ongoing professional development in support of our students.


Lois Bartholomew Elected to NASPA Board

Congratulations to CGCC Student Affairs Vice President Lois Bartholomew, who was elected to the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) board of directors as the two-year college representative.

Lois was appointed by the NASPA Executive Board and her role will be to develop and implement the national community college agenda for NASPA beginning in spring 2006.


CGCC Chosen for AAC&U Shared Futures Project

Chandler-Gilbert Community College and Mesa Community College were recently chosen by The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in a competitive selection process to become part of a new network focused on developing general education courses focused on global issues.

The project is funded with a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation and is part of AAC&U's signature initiative, Shared Futures: Global Learning and Social Responsibility.

“The schools chosen to participate in this cutting edge initiative are positioned to develop general education courses and programs that will be models for others as the academy seeks to better educate all students for the global challenges of our world,” said AAC&U senior scholar Lee Knefelkamp. “We reviewed 89 applications and the schools selected will bring to the project a wide range of campus cultures, diversity, and experience with global learning. We believe that they will have a series of rich conversations and that they will serve a significant leadership role as American higher education seeks to create true intercultural and global learning environments for all students.”

Congratulations to Paul Petrequin, Chris Schnick and a team of CGCC faculty and staff who will be involved!

The 16 participating institutions chosen from a pool of 89 applicants include: Arcadia University (PA) Butler University (IN) California State University-Long Beach (CA) Chandler-Gilbert Community College (AZ) Dickinson College (PA) Drury University (MO) Hawaii Pacific University (HI) Marquette University (WI) Mesa Community College (AZ) Otterbein College (OH) Stephens College (MO) United States Military Academy (NY) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (NC) University of Wyoming (WY) Wheaton College (MA) Whittier College (CA)


Mary Howard Harris Receives Outstanding Library Service Award

Congratulations to Mary E. Howard Harris, who was presented with the Arizona Library Association's Outstanding Library Service Award. The state group is recognizing the Mesa Public Library reference librarian for the programming and display efforts she has developed to benefit residents and city employees. Mary has been an adjunct librarian with CGCC for 12 years.


Bill Crawford Selected to Attend Leadership Institute

Congratulations to Bill Crawford who was accepted to attend the University Leadership Development Institute, a partnership between the National Council on Black American Affairs and Morgan State University, from October 15- 19 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Institute is designed to prepare individuals for future executive leadership positions in community colleges. Bill was one of only 34 people accepted to attend the Institute this year from throughout the U.S., Great Britain, and Bermuda.


Maria Hesse Honored as ASU Exceptional Alumni

Congratulations to Maria Hesse, who was honored by the ASU College of Public Programs in October at its annual Alumni Hall of Fame luncheon, which is held to honor exceptional alumni.

Alumni leaders launched this recognition program to highlight the powerful ways that the professional and civic lives of their fellow alumni reflect the quality education received in the College. Her nominators said that Maria Hesse is, "greatly admired for her personal skills and vision as a leader."


Marybeth Mason Receives Foundation Award

Congratulations to Marybeth Mason, recipient of the 2005-2006 Employee Recognition Program.

The Maricopa Colleges Foundation sponsors an annual program to recognize employees within the Maricopa Community College District who have made outstanding contributions to advance the mission of the District. Each year five $1000 awards are given to an individual or team of employees, which in turn is awarded in the recipient's name as a scholarship to a Maricopa Community College student.

Marybeth's nomination read as follows: “Marybeth has been teaching at CGCC for 15 years. She is an extraordinary faculty leader. In addition to being a truly exceptional classroom teacher, she was instrumental in developing the college's programs in cooperative learning, service learning, and learning communities. Her spirit of innovation, willingness to mentor and support other faculty, and commitment to her students and the community is exceptional.”