The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), with ten individually accredited colleges throughout the Greater Phoenix area, will offer four-year degrees in Fall 2023, pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission, and begin competing with some of the nation’s most established universities. With nearly 100,000 students, MCCCD understands its worth and isn’t afraid to reshape the traditional narrative of higher education. To prove it, MCCCD is the nation’s first community college system to be featured on “The College Tour,” an Amazon Prime Video series that offers prospective students an inside look at what campus life is truly like at some of the nation’s largest universities. Even more important, MCCCD is now the first institution in the show’s history to develop and produce a fully dedicated Spanish-language episode that reflects the System’s diverse student population.
MCCCD’s English episode kicks off Season 5 of “The College Tour” and can be viewed across a number of streaming platforms, including the district’s dedicated landing page, The College Tour’s website and mobile app, IMDb TV, and Amazon’s premium free streaming service. Additionally, the Spanish-language episode can be found on the district’s website, with a forthcoming Amazon Prime release currently in the works.
Each of MCCCD’s twenty unique student segments showcase all the System has to offer including affordability, re-careering, adult learners, dual enrollment, and state-of-the-art programs — told through the eyes of each student.
"We are taking a bold step forward to join the ranks of top-tier, four-year universities in offering premium bachelor’s degrees in some of the most highly-sought after industries,” said MCCCD’s Interim Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales. “It is important that we leverage new communication channels like this to increase accessibility to students, and meet them where they are when searching for a high-caliber education. This amplifies our student’s message, increases awareness of our capabilities, and demonstrates the System’s commitment to meeting the lifelong learning needs of the students and communities we serve.”
“The story of the Maricopa Community Colleges is so important, and unlike anything we’ve ever created before,” said Executive Producer and Host, Alex Boylan. “We live in a media-driven world, where diverse stories matter, so to be able to capture the essence of ten colleges that are part of one of the largest community college systems in the nation is really special and I can’t wait for the audience to see it.”
The episode highlights the fact that with more than 40 college and university partnerships and over 600 degree and certificate programs, students have plenty of options to choose from based on their goals and whether they want to transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree, learn new career skills, or enter the workforce right away.
Boylan takes viewers on a road trip from one end of the Valley to the other to listen to the amazing and diverse stories of MCCCD students, such as engineering student William Boutin, a re-careering student and former race car engineer, who attends Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Boutin said, “One of my engineering professors works full-time for an aerospace company and still takes the time to teach at CGCC. This type of connection is critical because students can learn real-world problems that current industry engineers are facing.”
The English episode features the following current and former MCCCD students:
- Chandler-Gilbert Community College: William Boutin, an engineering student, formerly worked as a NASCAR race engineer and appreciates the speed, efficiency, and affordability he finds at the college. He enjoys the variety of class formats and the real-world experience of caring professors.
- Chandler-Gilbert Community College: Nicole Love is a Fine Arts and Dance major whose goal is to open a performing arts dance school and mentor other dancers. CGCC helps her balance parenting, work, and her courses.
- Mesa Community College: Heidi Ball is a former dance school owner and preschool teacher who pursued a completely new career in technology. The college’s smaller classes, affordability, and class flexibility fit her lifestyle and increased her confidence. She also received hands-on experience during a paid internship at a nearby semiconductor chip manufacturing plant.
- Mesa Community College: Allen Priyanshu, a cybersecurity major, loved the affordability, flexible learning formats, and location of MCC. The encouragement and networking from his instructors have been a very positive and confidence-building experience, leading to a job offer while still in school.
- Scottsdale Community College: Amaya Ellis, a health and exercise science major, fell in love with the campus during a tour. Thanks to the flexible learning modalities, she was able to take classes online and utilize in-person resources that allow her to work at her own pace while spending time with the 27 animals she cares for.
- Scottsdale Community College: Curtis Wilmer, a psychology major, is a re-careering student who is pursuing a career as a clinical psychologist. He found passionate faculty, interesting classes, and affordable tuition at SCC. Curtis loved the sense of community and encouragement offered by the professors and staff.
- GateWay Community College: Courtney Capps is a computer information systems major who formerly worked as an executive pastry chef. She hung her apron up and re-careered, continuing to work full time, taking online classes, and is looking forward to transferring to ASU through the MAPP MyPath2ASU™ program.
- GateWay Community College: Former high school student, Janette Alexis, comes from a family of immigrants. While at GWCC, she took part in an early college program in hopes to pursue a career as a traveling nurse. She had the opportunity to volunteer at both a non-profit organization and on campus and loved each experience.
- Phoenix College: Amber Robison is a business major who had open heart surgery in high school and returned to college during the pandemic. She is now a full-time honors student, a competing delegate in Model UN, and Vice President of Marketing in the college’s Business Club.
- Phoenix College: Rachael Scott, majoring in deaf studies and interpreter preparation, was always fascinated by deaf culture and the community, so she returned to school as a non-traditional adult learner. Rachael was thrilled that the college is so affordable, and her counselors put her mind at ease when she learned her older credits would still transfer.
- Rio Salado College: Jackie Elliot is an online student and working single mom who has overcome addiction and is now majoring in addictions and substance use disorders. She enrolled at age 32, pursuing a career to help others, hoping to pay it forward as an addiction counselor, and has realized that even with a busy schedule, going back to college is a real possibility.
- Rio Salado College: Mahesh Poudel, studying programming and system analysis, always wanted to go back to college after moving to the U.S. from Nepal. As a working dad with two children, he took a few classes at a time and Rio Salado made it easy with flexible start times, online learning, and affordable tuition.
- South Mountain Community College: Manas Mankad, an international trade major, was born in a Muslim country. Residency complications hindered financial aid, so he found quality higher education that was affordable at SMCC. He loves that the college is small, but mighty, with huge values and dedication to its students and community.
- South Mountain Community College: Briana Simental, a pre-med (physiology) major, got back on track after experiencing a bit of time filled with doubt and lack of motivation. She enjoys the flexibility and variety of learning formats at SMCC that allowed her to accomplish other goals such as becoming a phlebotomist and earning hours for physician assistant’s school.
- Glendale Community College: Anyell Mata is a first-generation, electrical engineering transfer student who became part of a NASA-funded engineering program and created projects where he applied his learning while at GCC. He found community college classes are more hands-on than a university and he was able to meet other students through the college’s Engineering Club with whom he designed a model rocket acceleration project and hosted a workshop similar to NASA’s Ascend Program.
- Glendale Community College: Isaac Mcintosh is a music education major and saxophonist who would like to share his passion for music with others. His father also attended GCC and he appreciates that they had some of the same professors. Isaac also likes the great variety of classes in the music field that the college has to offer.
- Estrella Mountain Community College: Shawn Holland, a film and media major, said EMCC does a great job at providing fun projects and production opportunities for students. He’s no longer afraid of trying something new and the college raised his confidence, while introducing him to other film peers.
- Estrella Mountain Community College: Kayden Blakely, a journalism major, is using EMCC as a stepping-stone to her bachelor’s degree and career pursuits. She’s found so many opportunities to write about topics she’s passionate about and is eager to enter the journalism field.
- Paradise Valley Community College: Jeremiah Horton, a dental hygiene major, is a first-generation student who relocated from Mississippi and considers PVCC his home away from home. As an African American and part of the LGBTQ+ community. He always felt welcomed on campus and was part of the college’s Film Club and Emerging Leaders Club.
- Paradise Valley Community College: Jennifer Chaudhry is a nursing major who went back to college to re-career. When her first child was born with a cleft palate, she found her calling and set out to work in a NICU, but didn’t have the opportunity until she found PVCC, an affordable college with an online curriculum.
Visit https://www.maricopa.edu/college-tour to hear the students’ stories and get a behind-the-scenes look at how this episode came together. Learn more about the new four-year degrees we hope to offer as soon as Fall of 2023.