High-achieving East Valley community college students were celebrated for their outstanding academic accomplishments and distinguished leadership at the 2021 All-Arizona Academic Team Recognition Ceremony on March 4.
All-Arizona students demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society. Each student is working toward an associate’s degree, maintains a GPA of 3.5 or higher (4.0 scale) and is involved in campus and community volunteerism, according to a release.
Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges and academic programs; the American Association of Community Colleges; Arizona Community Colleges; the Arizona Board of Regents; and the Follett Higher Education Group help these exceptional students reach their educational goals by awarding scholarships and issuing tuition waivers for Arizona’s three state universities: Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.
Judging consists of three rounds. First-round judges are local business, civic, education and government leaders. The second and third round judging takes place in Washington, D.C. by representatives from federal agencies and national education associations. Scores from the national competition determine each state’s team rankings. First Team members attending eligible Arizona colleges each receive a $1,000 scholarship, Second Team members a $750 scholarship and Third Team members a $500 scholarship.
This year’s East Valley honorees, listed by college campus, are:
Chandler-Gilbert Community College-Williams Campus:
- Garrett Betlaf of Queen Creek plans to transfer to Arizona State University, aiming for a BSE in electrical engineering. His ultimate goal is to work in robotics, designing and testing electric and robotics systems.
- Miranda Heard of Gilbert plans to transfer to Northern Arizona University, eventually earning her master’s of science degree. Her career goal is to work in agricultural/environmental microbe research.
Chandler Gilbert Community College-Pecos Campus:
- Kathryn Hunter of Chandler plans to transfer to Arizona State University (Barrett Honors College) ultimately earning a doctor of psychology degree. Her career goal is to become a private practice clinical psychologist and research psychiatric disorders.
- Jennifer Strong of Chandler plans to transfer to Arizona State University ultimately earning a bachelor of science in software engineering. Her career goals are to gain experience as a software engineer, to become a project manager, and become a scrum master and a successful public speaker.
Mesa Community College - Red Mountain Campus:
- Mia Haas of Mesa plans to transfer to Arizona State University’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts to earn a degree in counseling and applied psychological science. Her career goal is to work as a licensed substance abuse, addiction and chemical dependency counselor for adolescents and women.
Mesa Community College - Southern and Dobson Campus:
- Savannah Sandoe of Tempe plans to transfer to Prescott College ultimately earning a bachelor of arts in adventure education degree. Her career goal is to work with national and state parks to increase accessibility options for disadvantaged populations.
- Vicente Ortez of Guadalupe plans to transfer to ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business to earn a doctorate of business administration. His career goal is to continue moving up the corporate ladder at his company, learn how to run a successful corporation, then apply the skills he learns into developing a small business.
Scottsdale Community College:
- Joseph Kemp of Scottsdale, a December 2020 graduate, plans to transfer to Thunderbird School of Global Management, now part of Arizona State University, to earn a global business degree. His career goal is to encounter new experiences both personal and professional to help shape him into the best leader he can be for those around him.
- Ashlyn Senior of Scottsdale plans to transfer to the University of Arizona College of Nursing ultimately earning a nursing degree. Her career goal is to work at a children’s hospital and then earn a masters degree in anesthesiology.
The virtual All-Arizona ceremony, hosted on YouTube (mesacc.edu/live), is emceed by Grant Woods, a Phi Theta Kappa alumnus and past Arizona attorney general; includes a welcome from Cochise Community College President J.D. Rottweiler, Ph.D.; and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will read the proclamation and address honorees.