Recognized for academic achievements and distinguished leadership
TEMPE, Ariz., March 3, 2021 – Twenty-five high-achieving Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor students, representing all 10 Maricopa Community Colleges, will be celebrated during the 2021 All-Arizona Academic Recognition Ceremony March 4.
The virtual ceremony celebrates the outstanding academic achievements, community service and distinguished leadership of students enrolled in Arizona’s community colleges. All-Arizona students demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society.
Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), 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 eligible students to Arizona’s three state universities: Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.
Rankings for 2021 honorees will be available following this year's ceremony.
Judging consists of three rounds. First-round judges are local business, civic, education and government leaders. The second and third rounds take place in Washington, D.C. by representatives from federal agencies and national education associations. Scores from the national competition determine state team rankings. First Team members each receive a $1,000 scholarship, Second Team members a $750 scholarship and Third Team members a $500 scholarship.
The virtual All-Arizona ceremony, hosted on 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 Governor Doug Ducey will read the proclamation and address honorees.
This year’s MCCCD honorees, listed by college campus, are:
Chandler-Gilbert Community College-Williams Campus
Betlaf 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.
Heard plans to transfer to Northern Arizona University, eventually earning her Master’s of Science. Her career goal is to work in agricultural/environmental microbe research.
Chandler-Gilbert Community College-Pecos Campus
Hunter 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.
Strong 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 finally become a Scrum Master and a successful Public Speaker.
Estrella Mountain Community College
Kildfuff plans to transfer to the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University to complete his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology degree. Following his undergraduate studies, he intends to complete a doctorate in physical therapy (DPT), ultimately aiming for his career goal of becoming a physical therapist.
Rodriguez plans to transfer to Arizona State University College of Integrative Sciences and Arts to pursue a bachelors in Pre-Veterinary Science. Her career goal is to be an ophthalmologist veterinarian while serving in the Army.
Gateway Community College
Blake plans to transfer to the Arizona State University earning a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing.
Glendale Community College
Castañeda plans to transfer to Northern Arizona University ultimately earning her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Her career goal is to work at the Make-A-Wish Foundation as a Wish Granting Manager.
Haddis plans to transfer to Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, ultimately earning a Doctor of Computer Science degree. His career goal is to work for renowned software development companies to create fun applications which combine video games and education to provide an interactive learning experience for children everywhere.
Glendale Community College, North Campus
Cooper plans to transfer to Arizona State University Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.
Nguyen plans to transfer to Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, ultimately earning a Master of Chemistry degree. His career goal is to work for the City of Phoenix and conduct experiments on water and later become a professor at a community college.
Mesa Community College, Southern and Dobson Campus
Ortiz plans to transfer to the Arizona State W.P. Carey school of business ultimately earning a doctor of business administration. His career goal is to continue moving up the corporate ladder at his company to continue to learn how to run a successful corporation, then he will apply those skills he learns into developing a small business.
Sandoe plans to transfer to Prescott College ultimately earning an Adventure Education Bachelor’s degree. Her career goal is to work with national and state parks to increase accessibility options for disadvantaged populations.
Mesa Community College, Red Mountain Campus
Haas plans to transfer to Arizona State University to earn her degree in Counseling and Applied Psychological Science with the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts. Her career goal is to work as a licensed substance abuse, addiction and chemical dependency counselor for adolescents and women.
Paradise Valley Community College - Main Campus
Santos plans to transfer to Arizona State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her career goal is to work as an industrial organizational psychologist.
Tometi plans to transfer to Arizona State University to major in Nutrition (Dietetics) in the College of Health Solutions, obtain an RDN certification and ultimately a doctorate degree. Peter hopes to teach proper cooking and eating habits (in order to maintain a healthy disease-free lifestyle) for free to patrons of the Phoenix Impact Center, which he co-founded.
Paradise Valley Community College - Black Mountain Campus
Scaccia plans to transfer to Arizona State University to finish her Bachelor of Business Administration and ultimately earn her Doctor of Medicine. Her career goal is to become a physician in the medical aesthetic and dermatology industry and go into private practice.
Fritz-Pulford plans to transfer to Northern Arizona University College of the Environment, Forestry and Natural Sciences, School of Earth and Sustainability. Her career goal is to advocate and move forward the efforts to preserve our natural environment.
Ortiz-Leon plans to transfer to Arizona State University ultimately earning a Doctor of Computer Science degree. His career goal is to work at NASA to develop robots for space missions.
Rio Salado College
Cristiano plans to transfer to City College of New York to complete a double major in Film Production and History. His career goal is to become a director, creating films that inspire and promote social change.
Jordan Nicole Herrera
Herrera has been accepted into the Honors College at University of Arizona where she hopes to study Neuroscience and Computer Science. Her career goal is to complete her undergraduate course work and then go to medical school. Jordan’s dream is to be a doctor that practices both Eastern and Western medicine, in order to achieve the best patient outcome.
Scottsdale Community College
Kemp 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.
Senior 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 in Anesthesiology.
South Mountain Community College
Campos is transferring to Northern Arizona University’s Criminal Justice Studies program. Once her undergraduate degree is complete, she plans on pursuing a Juris Doctorate. Her career goal is to eventually, have her own law practice where she can make a difference in her community.
Truillo plans to transfer to the University of Arizona, Global Campus, College of Communication ultimately earning a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies. Her career goal is to have her own non-profit organization to assist minorities who are in need of financial assistance.
Ashley Knister, a Yavapai College and Northern Arizona University alumna, and previous All-Arizona Academic Team honoree, is the keynote speaker, sharing stories from her educational journey and career in local broadcasting.
All-Arizona Academic Team members are eligible to be selected as one of 20 to be named to the All-USA Community College Academic Team, receiving an additional $5,000 scholarship, medallion, obelisk and a certificate during the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Annual Convention, April 11 - 14 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Learn more about the All-Arizona program at azregents.edu/programs/all-arizona-academic-team.
Student photos are available to download here.
Dawn Zimmer, 602-471-5343, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dasi Danzig, 480-268-6766, email@example.com
About the Maricopa Community Colleges
The Maricopa County Community College District includes ten regionally-accredited colleges – Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale, and South Mountain – and the Maricopa Corporate College, serving approximately 100,000 students with two-year degrees, certificates, and university transfer programs