Search South Mountain Community College Website
SMCC Cougar facebook South Mountain Community College twitter SMCC youtube Videos

News Releases

For all media information requests concerning South Mountain Community College and affiliated activities, please contact:
Bruce Battle

Summer Fun

Posted by on Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 in News Releases | Comments Off on Summer Fun


Applications are being accepted for STEM Summer Camps

PHOENIX, Ariz.– March 1, 2016 – Are you looking for a STEMulating summer experience for your eighth or ninth grade student? South Mountain Community College is currently accepting applications for its Technology Summer Camp.

This weeklong program will introduce students to technical careers through hands-on activities. Your student will:
Create a mobile app
Learn basic programming and computer networking
Participate in cyber challenge competitions

South Mountain’s STEM camp program can help fill your child’s summer break with fun and engaging learning opportunities. The Technology Summer Camp offers a variety of interesting science, technology, engineering and math activities designed to keep young brains entertained and stimulated throughout the summer.

For more information on camp sessions and to apply, visit

Application deadline is March 25, 2016.

This camp is possible through a partnership with the Gila River Indian Community. Space is limited so apply early!

Dr. Mark Spencer

Posted by on Thursday, February 25th, 2016 in News Releases | Comments Off on Dr. Mark Spencer

Dr. Mark Spencer Makes International Headlines with Co-Authored Paper on Evolution

Dr. Mark Spencer, science faculty at South Mountain Community College (SMCC), recently co-authored a paper on the changes that have occurred in the skull during human and non-primate evolution, focused on the mechanics of feeding.

This collaborative research paper addresses the anatomy of a recently discovered species of hominin – the upright-walking ancestors and relatives of living people. It highlights an evolutionary shift that occurred at the origin of our lineage toward having jaws that were less powerfully built, indicating changes in diet 2 million years ago.

“Science is my passion,” said Mark. “I recognize the value it has within our society – being scientifically literate empowers people, both as a community and as individuals.”

Two articles have recently highlighted his research:

Dr. Spencer has been teaching at SMCC since 2012. Prior to this he was at Duke University, University of Colorado, Denver, and Arizona State University.

“As an educator, I always focus on opening up new interests and opportunities to students. Although I have taught all levels, including Ph.D. students, I most enjoy teaching introductory courses – helping students to overcome their anxiety about science and watching them make connections between what they learn and their own lives is immensely rewarding to me.”

“Teaching at South Mountain has been a wonderful opportunity. Because the classes are kept smaller, I get to know my students and work with them to advance their understanding of science while pursuing their varied goals,” Mark stated.

St. Mary’s Food Bank

Posted by on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016 in News Releases | Comments Off on St. Mary’s Food Bank

South Mountain Community College Mobile Pantry Distribution Schedule

South Mountain Community College employees and students will help their community by packing FREE boxes of food as volunteers for the St. Mary’s Food Bank Mobile Pantry Distribution.

Fresh fruit and vegetables will be available for all families or individuals in need. The Mobile Pantry is open to the public and free of charge. No identification or qualifying is required.

The Mobile Pantry takes place every two weeks from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. at the South Mountain Community College Performing Arts Center.

Distribution dates for the spring 2016 semester are as follows:

March 4 and 25
April 1 and 15
May 6

South Mountain Community College is located at 7050 S. 24th Street, Phoenix, just north of Baseline Rd.

ASU Poder Training Program

Posted by on Monday, February 22nd, 2016 in News Releases | Comments Off on ASU Poder Training Program


PHOENIX, Ariz.– February 22, 2016 – South Mountain Community College (SMCC) is the first community college to pilot Arizona State University’s (ASU) Poder program. Poder is a social entrepreneurship training program offered at no cost to SMCC students by ASU, with the support of Cisco-sponsored Silicon Valley Community Foundation grants.

Over a period of four weeks, students will learn to apply entrepreneurship skills to solve community problems, while also learning personal success strategies and how to use technology to maximize your positive impact on the world.

Poder is an active, supportive, and non-lecture based program. The Poder training can be applied to non-profit and for-profit projects oriented toward societal impact.

Participating in Poder involves attending four coaching/self-growth meetings and completing self-paced virtual modules. Students will also have the chance to enter a competition for seed funding of up to $5,000 to launch or grow their own project. The Poder training can be applied to non-profit and for-profit projects oriented toward societal impact.

All students enrolled at South Mountain Community College are eligible to apply for the Poder Program. Students from all majors and fields of study are encouraged to apply and there are no GPA restrictions.

Students may be at any stage of existing projects, or may create new projects during Poder. No entrepreneurship experience required to participate.

The projects can be of any scope and nature. For example, projects may be related to social services, food, and restaurant, retail, medical, civic engagement, environmental, art and performance, education, technology, etc.

See informational flyer for additional information. Applications are due on Friday, March 18. For more information and to apply visit,


Posted by on Friday, February 19th, 2016 in News Releases | Comments Off on CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

The Miracle March and the Climax of the Civil Rights Movements

PHOENIX, Ariz.– February 17, 2016 – South Mountain Community College (SMCC) International Services is proud to present Dr. Keith Miller, English Professor, Arizona State University.

Dr. Miller will present on the topic of The Miracle March and the Climax of the Civil Rights Movement. Hear about the daughter of Charles Billups, pioneer in the civil rights movement and others who dramatically reshaped and improved American life.

DATE: February 25, 2016 | Two Sessions
LOCATION: South Mountain Community Library | L163
SESSIONS TIMES: 1 – 3 PM and 7 – 9 PM

Event is free and open to the public.

2016 STEM Conference

Posted by on Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 in News Releases | Comments Off on 2016 STEM Conference

South Mountain Community College to Host 2016 Hermanas Latinas STEM Conference

PHOENIX, Ariz.– February 17, 2016 – South Mountain Community College (SMCC) in partnership with Intel Corporation, will host the fourth annual Hermanas Latinas STEM Conference on Friday, February 26, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Nationally, the low number of students pursuing education and careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) has become a critical concern, but beyond that fact is the even lower likelihood that Hispanic females will enter STEM fields.

The annual Hermanas conference provides a positive environment where young Latinas can interact with successful Latina professionals, receive encouragement to continue their education, attend college, and eventually graduate with a degree that prepares them for a STEM career or advanced education.

The event features fun, interactive hands-on workshops, networking opportunities, and an education resource fair. In the past, students have conducted their own experiments in biology (strawberry DNA), mathematics (Barbie® bungee-jumping), and engineering (with marshmallows). Students will also have the opportunity to win one of several raffle prizes.

Applications are now being accepted and space is limited. For young Latinas who would like to participate, see your counselor for more information, or contact SMCC recruitment at 602.243.8000.

SMCC is a STEMJobs designated college offering job alignment, placement, and diversity in the college’s STEM programs. Some SMCC STEM programs are two years in length with annual average starting salaries of $30,000-$50,000. For information about SMCC STEM programs visit

Performing Arts

Posted by on Friday, February 12th, 2016 in News Releases | Comments Off on Performing Arts


PHOENIX, Ariz.– February 12, 2016 – Each year South Mountain Community College (SMCC) presents two signature performing arts events to honor and celebrate Black History Month.

The SMCC Storytelling Institute presents the 6th annual “Return to the African Village”on Friday, February 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. Experience this enchanting performance journeying to an African Village through the arts of storytelling, drumming, and dancing.

This year the annual extravaganza explores the connections between Africa and Brazil featuring Grupo Axe Capoeira Arizona, Storytelling Institute Faculty and Students, and Community Storytellers.

Come early for Oya’s Market featuring “Bead for Life” from 5:00 – 6:15 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and available on Eventbrite at or at the door. All tickets are general admission.

For more information about this event contact:
Liz Warren at 602.243.8026 or Marilyn Torres at 602.243.8022

The SMCC Music Department proudly presents the Spring Jazz Festival featuring the multi-talented singer, songwriter, producer, trumpeter, arranger and composer Johnny Britt. Performances also include SMCC’s very own Day Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Jerome Garrison and the SMCC Latin Jazz Band under the direction of Eddie Gaona. Britt will be performing songs from his forthcoming album “Marvin meets Miles”.

The festival starts at 7:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10 and available on Eventbrite at The event is free to Students with college ID. All tickets are general admission.

For more information about this event contact: Desire Howard at 602.243.8382.

Dr. Jerome Garrison Sr.

Posted by on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 in News Releases | Comments Off on Dr. Jerome Garrison Sr.

Honored at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast

Dr. Jerome Garrison Honored at MLK BreakfastPHOENIX, Ariz.– On January 15, South Mountain Community College (SMCC) faculty member and Division Chair of Communication, Fine Arts & Social Sciences, Dr. Jerome Garrison, Sr., received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Living the Dream Award at the 30th annual MLK Awards Breakfast “Celebrating the Dream”.

Dr. Garrison is a lifelong educator and learner with a sincere passion for the community. He has played an intricate role in building SMCC’s Music and Fine Arts programs in an environment that provides opportunity and fosters student success.

Dr. Garrison has been instrumental in helping build the arts community: he started the annual Messiah performance in 1987 and led the SMCC design team to build the Performing Arts Center in 2003. In 2008, Dr. Garrison was given the South Mountain/Laveen Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Service Award for his involvement and commitment to the community.

Additionally, Dr. Garrison has helped raise over $300,000 for the SMCC Students Achieving Radiant Success (STARS) Foundation Scholarship. He continues his dedication and passion for providing college opportunities to students by recently organizing a community board of directors to plan and implement fundraising for STARS.

Dr. Garrison’s personal quote – “The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.” -Tom Peters, Business Writer.

Aspen Institute College Excellence Program

Posted by on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 in News Releases | Comments Off on Aspen Institute College Excellence Program

South Mountain Community College named as one of the
top 150 community colleges in the nation

January 26, 2016 – Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named SMCC as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million dollars in prize funds, as well as Siemens Technical Scholars Program student scholarships.

The Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and access and success for minority and low-income students.

Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven million students – youth and adult learners – working towards certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country.

“Community colleges have tremendous power to change lives, and their success will increasingly define our nation’s economic strength and the potential for social mobility in our country,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “This competition is designed to spotlight the excellent work being done in the most effective community colleges, those that best help students obtain meaningful, high-quality education and training for competitive-wage jobs after college. We hope it will raise the bar and provide a roadmap to better student outcomes for community colleges nationwide.”

A full list of the selected colleges and details on the selection process are available at

Scholarship Opportunities

For the first time, the 150 Prize-eligible institutions are also invited to nominate exceptional students enrolled in their best middle-skill STEM programs for scholarships. Up to 50 Siemens Technical Scholars will be selected from programs that provide outstanding preparation for high-demand jobs in manufacturing, energy, health care, and information technology. A partnership between the Siemens Foundation and the Aspen Institute, the Siemens Technical Scholars Program intends to help our nation’s community colleges and their business partners bridge the gap between projected shortages of skilled workers and the millions of high-demand jobs in these STEM industries. Scholarship winners and the programs that deliver rigorous training enabling their success will be announced in fall 2016. For more information and to view video profiles of 2015 Siemens Technical Scholars, go to:

SMCC and 149 other community colleges announced today were selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes in three areas:

  • Performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and certificates per 100 full-time equivalent students)
  • Improvement (awarded for steady improvement in each performance metric over time)
  • Equity (evidence of strong completion outcomes for minority and low-income students)

SMCC has been invited to submit an application to the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence containing detailed data on degree and certificate completion (including progress and transfer rates), labor market outcomes (employment and earnings), and student learning outcomes.

Ten finalists will be named in fall 2016. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2017.

The Aspen Prize is funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Siemens Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation.

The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the New College Leadership Project, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

South Mountain Community College offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training. The main campus is located on Baseline Rd. and 24th St. in Phoenix. There are two satellite locations, the Guadalupe Center, and Laveen site. South Mountain Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation.

Bilingual Nurses Wanted

Posted by on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 in News Releases | Comments Off on Bilingual Nurses Wanted

Information Session Starting Soon

PHOENIX, Ariz.– January 26, 2016 – South Mountain Community College will be accepting applications to its award-winning Bilingual Nursing Fellowship Program (BNFP). The program is designed to increase the number of nursing graduates who speak, read and write English and Spanish fluently.

BNFP is a collaboration between South Mountain Community College, Phoenix College and ASU.

It is anticipated that each Fellow will complete an AAS in nursing and obtain a nursing license within three years after acceptance into the program. A BSN option is also available with ASU.

To qualify for the program and receive an application, students must speak, read, and write English and Spanish proficiently, have a high school diploma or GED, be a citizen or eligible non-citizen of the United States with a valid social security number, and place in or is prepared to take ENG 101, CRE 101, and MAT 140.

Information sessions at South Mountain Community Main Campus, Student Union
Thursday, Feb. 11 | 5 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 5 | 10 a.m.
Thursday, Apr. 7 | 5 p.m.

For more information call 602.243.8256 or email