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Matthew Hasson

South Mountain Community College Faculty Dr. Cate McNamara Wins Grant to Showcase the Democracy Wall Project Across the Valley

Posted by on Monday, March 19th, 2018 in News Releases | Comments Off on South Mountain Community College Faculty Dr. Cate McNamara Wins Grant to Showcase the Democracy Wall Project Across the Valley

SMCC Faculty Dr. Cate McNamara Wins Grant to Showcase Democracy Wall Project Across the Valley

Democracy Wall Project

South Mountain Community College Professor of Information Studies Dr. Cate McNamara received a grant of nearly $10,000 for the Democracy Wall Project. This project, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Library Services and Technology Act, is designed to be a conversation starter about challenging and emerging community issues.

For the purpose of the project, whiteboards have been hung throughout the Phoenix Public Library system. On the whiteboards is a bi-weekly question that people of all ages and backgrounds can consider. Library patrons are encouraged to submit responses that are then collected, analyzed, and provided to the City of Phoenix public administrators for review. This creates a collaboration of leader and citizen input to find solutions. Opportunities for informed engagement are also constructed.

Dr. McNamara has been the principal investigator of the Democracy Wall Project since 2014. This grant has provided her the opportunity to expand this experiment into 11 additional libraries.

You can discover and participate in this project at the following branches until the end of May 2018:

Acacia Ironwood
Agave Mesquite
Cholla Ocotillo
Desert Broom Palo Verde
Desert Sage Saguaro
Harmon South Mountain

For more information, contact Dr. Cate McNamara at or 602-243-8192

South Mountain Community College Ranks in College Choice’s Top 50 Best Community Colleges

Posted by on Friday, February 2nd, 2018 in News Releases | Comments Off on South Mountain Community College Ranks in College Choice’s Top 50 Best Community Colleges

College Choice has ranked South Mountain Community College (SMCC) among the top 50 best community colleges in the United States. Coming in at number 11, SMCC is lauded for serving a diverse region and its flexible class schedules and community library.

Three other Maricopa Community Colleges, Scottsdale Community College (SCC), GateWay Community College (GWCC), and Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC), also made the top 50. SCC ranked 28 for preparing students in dominant workforce fields that do not require four-year degrees. GWCC placed 33rd, excelling in their healthcare programs and entrepreneurial innovation. At number 34, EMCC is recognized for providing a variety of accessible degree tracks, job training, and community education courses in the expanding Southwest Valley.

“Our mission is to provide access to excellent education and opportunities for our diverse students to achieve their educational and career goals,” said Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, Chancellor of Maricopa County Community College District.  “This recognition is a reflection of the competence and dedication of our innovative faculty and staff, and their collective commitment to serving our students and communities.”

College Choice is dedicated to helping students find colleges that best fit their interest and needs by ranking colleges. To compile their top 50 list, College Choice scored colleges based on retention, graduation rates, awards, minority students, grants, tuition rates, and potential salary.

See the complete top 50 list.

South Mountain Community College Students Shine at Arizona Collegiate DECA Fall Leadership Conference

Posted by on Monday, December 11th, 2017 in News Releases | Comments Off on South Mountain Community College Students Shine at Arizona Collegiate DECA Fall Leadership Conference

South Mountain Community College Students Sarah Young, Chandra Bragg, and TeTwan Dennis were recognized at the Arizona Collegiate DECA Fall Leadership Conference at Arizona State University on Dec. 4, 2017.  Young took third place in Accounting, and Bragg and Dennis ranked third in Financial Statement Analysis.

Arizona Collegiate DECA ensures students have the professional development skills, networking connections, and confidence to enter the workplace. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.

Congratulations to our winners.

For more information, contact Stacey Wright at

2018 Top Military School

Posted by on Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 in News Releases | Comments Off on 2018 Top Military School

SMCC Selected as a Top School in Military Advanced Education & Transition’s 2018 Guide to Colleges and Universities

SMCC Selected as a Top School in MilitaryMilitary Advanced Education & Transition (MAE&T) has awarded South Mountain Community College the designation of a Top School in its 2018 MAE&T Guide to Colleges & Universities, measuring best practices in military and veteran education. The Guide was released this December, and is available online at

The Guide presents results of a questionnaire of the military-supportive policies enacted at more than 600 institutions including private, public, for-profit, not-for-profit, four-year, and two-year colleges. From community colleges to state universities, online universities and nationally known centers of higher learning, MAE&T’s 2018 Guide to Colleges & Universities arms students with information about institutions that go out of their way to give back to our men and women in uniform.

Now in its tenth year of publishing the Guide, MAE&T was the first publication to launch a reference tool of this type. This year, institutions were evaluated on their military culture, financial aid, flexibility, general support, on-campus support and online support services. Each school’s performance rating by category is represented by an easy-to-recognize dashboard. This enables prospective students to quickly target schools that follow best practices in military education, and then put these in context with other academic or career considerations.

With input from an advisory board of educational and government experts, and criteria based on recommendations from the VA and military services, MAE&T’s Guide to Colleges and Universities provides the foundational information a prospective student would use in framing his or her educational needs.

“Our goal is to be a dynamic resource for active service members and those who have moved from the military to their civilian careers, helping them find the school that best fits their plans for the future,” said Kelly Fodel, Military Advanced Education & Transition’s editor. “We think this year’s Guide is our most comprehensive to date, thanks to our newly established advisory board. The board evaluated the drafts of the questionnaire, made pages of notes and suggestions and helped to redefine questions for clarity. We thank them for their thoughtful edits and additions to our process.”

Not only is the 2018 Guide printed in the December issue of Military Advanced Education &Transition, but also published in a searchable database online. Students will have access to all the survey questions and answers provided by the schools, as well as explanations about critical issues like activation and deployment policies, withdrawal policies, scholarship and financial aid information and important support information.

“While we realize that all schools are unique, we focus our annual survey on the best practices that make a true difference to service members and student veterans,” said Fodel. “These best practices have been asserted by various higher education groups and reinforced by veteran groups, and we consider our survey to be the most detailed and informative in the industry.”

Visit for online access to MAE&T’s 2018 Guide to Colleges and Universities, or pick up a copy of the December issue of Military Advanced Education & Transition.

About Military Advanced Education & Transition:

Military Advanced Education & Transition ( is the journal of higher education for service members and veterans making the transition from military to the civilian sector.

Covering issues and hot topics in higher education, career trends, transition assistance, innovative programs, and schools of special interest to the military, MAE&T focuses on news and resources that will empower a military student to pursue a quality education and rewarding career. MAE&T serves education services officers (ESOs) and transition officers (TOs) at every U.S. military installation, along with the service members they counsel. Published 10 times yearly, MAE&T’s editorial coverage includes exclusive interviews with military executive leadership, educators, and members of Congress; best practices; career and transition spotlights, service member, school, and program profiles, and periodic special reports.

SMCC Faculty Dr. Sian Proctor Returns from Global Adventures

Posted by on Monday, November 27th, 2017 in News Releases | Comments Off on SMCC Faculty Dr. Sian Proctor Returns from Global Adventures

Dr. Sian Proctor, a member of South Mountain Community College’s geology, sustainability, and planetary science faculty, returned on July 17, 2017 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Teacher at Sea Program (TAS).  She believes in taking advantage of professional growth opportunities and gives presentations to students around the country on how a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) has changed her life.

“It is important to engage in lifelong learning and to push yourself outside your comfort zone,” Dr. Proctor said. “When we do this, we truly experience and learn from the world around us.”

Dr. Proctor is one of nearly 700 educators to have participated in the TAS program since its inception in 1990. She set sail on the NOAA vessel Oscar Dyson to work with scientist tasked with completing an acoustic-trawl survey of Walleye Pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) around Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska., According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Alaskan pollock is the world’s second-most important fish species in terms of total catch. Scientists continually monitor the population to prevent overfishing. Even though Dr. Proctor is not a biologist she enjoyed being at sea and learning about the science behind creating sustainable fisheries.

In 2016, Dr. Proctor was selected for the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program and visited several of the country’s astronomy facilities. Through that experience she met astronomers from around the United States which opened up even more opportunities. She started her 2017 summer off with 2-weeks at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. doing astronomy education outreach with one of the ACEAP ambassadors. he then returned to Chile with another ACEAP ambassador   to engage in STEM outreach with k-12 schools in San Pedro de Atacama. While in Chile, she went on her first meteorite hunt and helped retrieve a meteorite from the Atacama Desert.

“I love having my summers off so that I can travel and engage in professional development. The best part about being a geoscientist is that everywhere I go, there is something for me to learn about our amazing Earth.

Dr. Proctor’s past adventures also include spending a month in Barrow, Alaska in 2014 with the National Science Foundation’s PolarTREC program, and serving as education outreach officer for a 4-month NASA funded Mars simulation called HI-SEAS. She has had a life-long love of space exploration and was a finalist for the 2009 NASA astronaut selection process. Her goal is to be a role model for students to purse STEM careers and she believes in leading by example.

“I hope that when students see me traveling the world, making connections, and creating unique learning opportunities then maybe they will be inspired to do the same.”

Dr. Proctor frequently appears in science-related media programming. She is currently featured in the Science Channel show Strange Evidence airing on Tuesday nights. She also appeared in the 2016 PBS series Genius by Stephen Hawking, Episode 2: Are We Alone. In 2012, she appeared in two episodes of the Cox7 Arizona series The STEM Journals. In 2010, she spent two months filming the Discovery Channel reality TV show called The Colony.

AICPA Scholarship

Posted by on Monday, September 11th, 2017 in News Releases | Comments Off on AICPA Scholarship

SMCC Accounting Student is awarded the prestigious AICPA Scholarship

Albert UrbietaPHOENIX, Ariz.– Tuesday, August 15, 2017 – We are pleased to announce that Albert Urbieta has been awarded the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) $5,000 Scholarship for Two-year Transfer Students. The AICPA is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, with more than 418,000 members in 143 countries, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments.

Albert attended SMCC for two years. He completed his accounting and business requirements to transfer to Arizona State University (ASU) Fall 2017. He has been admitted into the accounting program at W.P. Carey School of Business, which has a rigorous acceptance process.

During his time at SMCC, Albert was very involved in Collegiate DECA and as an Office Assistant in the Community Entrepreneurship Center.

“Albert is an excellent accounting student. I am excited for his future and I know he will be a great addition to the accounting profession.” Barbara Gonzalez, CPA, SMCC Accounting Faculty.


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Media Contact:

Matt Hasson, (480) 717-0208,

Guadalupe Center

Posted by on Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 in News Releases | Comments Off on Guadalupe Center

South Mountain Community College Revitalizes Guadalupe Center with Community Partnerships to Maximize Benefits

PHOENIX, Ariz.– Wednesday, July 19, 2017 – South Mountain Community College is revitalizing its Guadalupe Center to provide greater support and educational opportunities to residents. The Guadalupe Center will hold an “Action Plan” meeting today at 6 p.m. on enhancing community partnerships with the Town of Guadalupe and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe to improve benefits for community members.

“At South Mountain Community College, our relationship with the community is the foundation of what we do,” said South Mountain Community College President Dr. Shari L. Olson. “The Guadalupe Center will continue to work collaboratively with key community partners to maximize educational support and career possibilities for residents.”

The next Action Plan meeting is scheduled on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 6 p.m. South Mountain Community College will also host one community forum each semester to ensure ongoing communication with community partners.

For more than 20 years, the Guadalupe Center has been helping students from Tempe, Phoenix, Chandler, Ahwatukee, and Guadalupe find a convenient and affordable way to attain their educational goals.

The Guadalupe Center assists residents with admission, academic advising, registration and financial aid services. It also provides students with resources and information on transferring to any four-year university in Arizona.

The Guadalupe Center maintains active partnerships with nearly three dozen community organizations, including Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley, United Way, AWEE, and Tempe Adult Education.

Learn more about the Guadalupe Center.

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Media Contact:

Matt Hasson, (480) 717-0208,

Jonny Britt

Posted by on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 in News Releases | Comments Off on Jonny Britt

Spring Jazz Festival Featuring Jonny Britt

PHOENIX, Ariz.– February 2017 – In honor of Black History Month, South Mountain Community College (SMCC) Music Department proudly presents featured artist, Johnny Britt to perform at the Spring Jazz Festival Friday, February 24.

Britt is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, producer, trumpeter, arranger and composer with two appearances and performances in two Oscar Nominated Films, La La Land, and Hidden Figures. Britt will be performing songs from his acclaimed recorded release, “Marvin Meets Miles” Vol. 1.

The festival starts at 7:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. The concert is free and open to the public.

For more information about this event contact Dr. Jerome Garrison at 602.243.8055.

Art of Storytelling

Posted by on Thursday, February 2nd, 2017 in News Releases | Comments Off on Art of Storytelling

Bringing People Together Through the Art of Storytelling

PHOENIX, Ariz.– January, 2017 – Everyone loves a good story. Whether it’s a book you cannot put down, a dramatic movie that pulls on your emotions or a speaker that inspires you, it is the anticipation of what comes next that holds our interest and allows us to open our minds to another world.

Students at South Mountain Community College (SMCC) have discovered how storytelling can help them in their careers, with their education, calm public speaking fears, help with job interviews and unite people across ages, races and communities.

Harriet Cole came to SMCC as a non-traditional (adult) student to take The Art of Storytelling class and find out if it could help her with her educational and career goals. Two years later, she earned her Academic Certificate in Storytelling and went on to earn her Master of Arts in Humanities with a focus on Storytelling.

“After taking one class in Storytelling, I could see the impact it would have in bringing people together,” stated Cole. “As a teacher, I start every class session by telling a story. I have found that students who hear stories have a greater interest in working together to learn. ”

“Listening to someone’s story is an amazing thing,” said Phyllis Ralley, a Storytelling Institute student at SMCC. “You gain a profound appreciation for who they are and where they come from.”

Not only are students learning how to apply storytelling to help bring their goals into fruition, executives are beginning to see how storytelling can bring employees together and build culture.

Recently, Liz Warren, director of the Storytelling Institute, led a workshop for the Founders Forum of Gateway’s Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation. Participants discovered how to apply storytelling to a business pitch, how to use a team to assist in achieving the solution of the story, and the importance of creating an emotional connection.

Get ready to tap your imagining mind, discover your voice, and find your personal style. The changing communications landscape requires a new skill – storytelling. If you make presentations, teach, interact with customers, or are in the job market, applying the elements of story will bring you closer to your audience. For more information, visit or watch a live storytelling event,

Entrepreneurship Board of Directors

Posted by on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 in News Releases | Comments Off on Entrepreneurship Board of Directors

South Mountain Community College President Elected to National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship Board of Directors

December 21, 2016 (Phoenix, AZ) – On Monday, December 12, Dr. Shari Olson, president of South Mountain Community College (SMCC), was elected to the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) Board of Directors. NACCE is the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges.

“It is an honor to be selected as a member of the NACCE board,” stated Dr. Olson. “This appointment will allow me to further contribute to expanding entrepreneurialism on a national level. SMCC opened its Community Entrepreneurship Center last year; the Center creates connections to grow and sustain entrepreneurs and small businesses by providing a unique co-learning space where student entrepreneurs collaborate with faculty, staff, and community partners that support entrepreneurship. At SMCC, we are committed to developing and supporting entrepreneurs in our region.”

“NACCE is delighted to welcome Dr. Shari Olson as a newly elected Board member. Our Nominating Committee reviewed a number of outstanding candidates and was particularly impressed with Dr. Olson’s commitment and track record of success in higher education innovation, entrepreneurship, and teaching excellence. In 2014, she was recognized as the Entrepreneurial President of the Year at NACCE’s national conference. As NACCE continues to amplify its voice as a thought leader and resource, Board members like Dr. Olson are essential to our continued growth and success,” said Rebecca Corbin, Ed.D., president & CEO of NACCE.

Dr. Olson’s term begins immediately.