Alumni

Alumni Success Stories

Amanda Adkins

Amanda Adkins

Street art by Amanda Adkins graces several buildings in downtown Phoenix.  Her work has the traditional aspects of oil painting mixed with spray paint that gives it a pop art, street feel.  This PVCC Alumna has been painting murals since 2010.  Amanda Adkins incorporates her observations of the nature of relationships and Mother Nature into her art work.


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Owen Anderson

Owen Anderson

The role of the community college is so important for the individuals and the community it serves. I attended PVCC for two years from 1995-1996. When I was a senior in high school, my father drove me past the campus and suggested it would be a good place for me to attend. Initially I wasn't convinced but then I discovered that I could finish my high school classes by taking college classes and I quickly enrolled at PVCC. 


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Naomi Black

Naomi Black

Number five of eleven siblings is certainly a unique moniker for Naomi Black.  As a legacy student, Naomi knew she would follow in the footsteps of her siblings who also attended and graduated from Paradise Valley Community College.  Attending PVCC was a “family tradition” as four of her siblings preceded her and then the remaining five followed after her.  The family plan was to start at PVCC and then go forward and embark on their respective interests from there.  A piece of advice imparted by her siblings was to “complete the Associates Degree in two years as you can definitely get comfo


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Kelly Fitzsimmons Burton

Kelly Fitzsimmons Burton

PVCC Alumna and Faculty member
B.A. In Philosophy, ASU, 1997
B.A. In Literature, ASU, 1997
M.A. Philosophy, ASU, 2000
Ph. D. Coursework completed in Religious Studies ASU, 2005-2014
Ph.D in Humanities with an emphasis in Philosophy, Faulkner University, 2017


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Cyrus Commissariat

Cyrus Commissariat

While a sophomore at Pinnacle High School, Cyrus heard about the PVCC ACE Program.   Among the incredible professors, he had at PVCC, the one that stands out is Frederic DeClaremont.  Professor DeClaremont taught English 102.  Cyrus thoroughly enjoyed his teaching style and the essay topics he assigned. “He challenged us to think outside the box and apply the skills that we learned throughout college.”


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Daniel Crawford

Daniel Crawford, DNP, RN, CPNP-PC

Dan’s decision to attend PVCC was a pragmatic one. “It was the college that geographically served my community and provided me with the most economical option to begin my college education.”  Dan describes PVCC as a college that provides great educational opportunities in a setting that promotes student engagement.  “Faculty are very accessible to students, and many of the courses truly promoted a collaborative environment.  My most positive memory from attending PVCC was the great diversity of individuals, both students and faculty, with whom I was able to interact.”


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Brandon Crowe

Brandon Crowe

A full scholarship at ASU did not deter Brandon Crowe from traveling to PVCC to pursue his interest in Philosophy.  “I wanted to take Philosophy courses and kept hearing that PVCC was the best place to really examine fundamental issues in Philosophy and in a really healthy environment. What they had there (in those (Philosophy and Religion) departments) and the way the classes connected and deepened my thinking was really impressive and impactful.”


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Recipe for Success – Tom D’Ambrosio and Kyle Hollenbeck

Tom D’Ambrosio and Kyle Hollenbeck

Following the advice of his father, Tom D’Ambrosio pursued his undergraduate degree in route to his dream of becoming a chef.  This pursuit started at PVCC and culminated in a business partnership with close friend and PVCC alumnus, Kyle Hollenbeck.


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Christopher Figueroa

Christopher Figueroa

Creating positive social change! Christopher Figueroa has increased his devotion to this goal through his scholastic work and social involvement at PVCC. He emphasizes the necessity of having “diversity of thought, culture, values, and identity” if a society is to make progress toward greater equality and the fulfillment of its citizens’ best potential. Was Christopher always aware of this? No. “Before PVCC I had a very narrow world view.” Now, after his experience on this campus: “I am prepared to engage my community-at-large with a more inclusive attitude.”


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Gustavo Flores

Gustavo Flores

Gustavo Flores was drawn to Paradise Valley Community College due to the reputation of the theater program.  Upon coming to PVCC he found so much more than a terrific theater program and was particularly impressed by the diversity of the campus.  The mosaic of students attending PVCC, all with a common goal, was particularly appealing and conducive to a vibrant learning community.  Gustavo sums up his impressions with the statement, “The people here are incredible.”


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Sharan R. Godwin

Sharan R. Godwin

Attracted by a newspaper article announcing a new certification program at Paradise Valley Community College, Sharan Godwin decided the time had come to pursue her vision of becoming an entrepreneur.  Sharan started her business, Crime Clean Decontamination in 1994 and has been stewarding her small business successfully ever since.  Her Biohazardous (Infectious) Waste Specialization enables her to address these types of remediation jobs in addition to remediating car crash and crime scenes.


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Michael Edward Guzman

Michael Edward Guzman

We asked Michael to describe himself and he told us how proud he is to be the single father of a 13-year-old daughter who is maturing into a fine young woman — and that he happens to be an Elvis Presley Super Fan! He spoke, too, of his vital evolution at PVCC from being “a nervous 42-year-old returning adult student, lacking confidence and facing the beginning of rebuilding my life,” to now earning his degree as a 44-year-old, All-USA Academic Team member and scholarship recipient, student leader, Peer Mentor, and five-semester President of the A.W.A.R.E.


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Adrionna Hatfield

Adrionna Hatfield

Adrionna Hatfield is among the first graduates of PVCC’s program in Healthcare Technology Systems. Currently, she is completing an internship as IT Project Manager at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and Adrionna is committed to engage in a profession that capitalizes on her strengths. 


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JAM – James Austin Murray

JAM – James Austin Murray

The supportive community for the arts offered at PVCC was very attractive to independent artist JAM.  Music has always been a part of his life and finding an educational environment that was conducive to pursuing this lifelong aspiration was very important.


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Tiara Khalid

Tiara Khalid

Tiara confidently states that “PVCC provides all the resources for students to be successful.” As support for this proclamation, she points to the coursework and extracurricular opportunities available at PVCC as brought to life by its remarkable faculty and staff.  As illustrated by Tiara herself, however, these opportunities need students to be fulfilled.


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Donald Lant

Donald Lant

It is a shame Donald Lant had to get hit by a truck to go to college, but that is exactly what precipitated his higher education journey.  In 2008, he was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident that ended his nearly 30-year career and placed his life in limbo for the next five years.  He underwent 29 surgeries to reconstruct his body. 


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Rachel Livermore

Rachel Livermore

Thanks to a healthy dose of parental pressure, Rachel came to PVCC and for that she is eternally grateful.  Marianne Roccaforte-Gardner, Rowdy Duncan, Debbie Brown, and all the staff at Honors played a significant role in helping Rachel find something better in herself and discover the power she has within her.


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Jon Lucas

Jon Lucas

Alumni leaves behind a permanent visible legacy while showing exemplary leadership skills at PVCC


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Adam Makonnen

Adam Makonnen

The proximity of PVCC coupled with the opportunity to have familial support and receiving the president’s scholarship proved a perfect recipe for success for Adam Makonnen. 

Among Adam’s most positive memories is the open-mic night that members of the M.E.N program put on in 2014.  This evening of people showcasing their unique talents to the PVCC community was filled with laughter, conversation, and smiles.  He will always remember how everyone came together to enjoy a wonderful evening.


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Cayman Martin

Cayman Martin

Alumna Cayman Martin knew she wanted to attend Paradise Valley Community College when she found a familial atmosphere with a focus on the success and wellness of the students. When Cayman initially enrolled, she wanted to attain her Associates degree in science, but the classes intimidated her with material that she had never been exposed to before. Soon after, she switched her major to an associate of arts in psychology.


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Nia McMillon

Nia McMillon

Nia McMillon is a California native with a bubbly personality and a knack for being a strong advocate for others. She has been an active student leader at Paradise Valley Community College since her freshmen year and her involvement as Vice President of Student Government, President of Women Rising and Puma Press has given her many lifelong friendships and experiences.


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Miguelina Meireles

Miguelina Meireles

Miguelina Meireles, a single, working mother of two wanted to exemplify her passion for education and personal development and be a positive example for her daughters. Upon completing her GED, Miguelina decided to achieve her higher education dreams at PVCC.


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Junior Michael, M.Ed.

Junior Michael, M.Ed.

As Assistant Principal and Athletic Director at Mountain Ridge High School, Junior Michael has drawn on the can-do attitude and commitment to excellence that David Barney, PVCC's Cross Country and Track and Field Coach, instilled in the students he coached. Developing life-long relationships with teammates, studying, competing, and collaborating on a variety of tasks are among Junior's greatest memories of his educational experience at PVCC. "This was very powerful in an athletic setting, but it was even more powerful in academics and career aspirations."


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Brady Newman

Brady Newman

One of the most memorable aspects of Brady Newman’s experience at PVCC was the student government events that were thrown on campus. Brady's role as Chair of Student Government was truly “life changing” as it provided him with an opportunity to actively engage in leadership positions and to learn what practical leadership looks like.


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Alexis Peterson

Alexis Peterson

Alexis Peterson was undecided on what major to choose when graduating from Shadow Mountain High School, but after taking her placement tests, she found a welcoming environment in PVCC’s Honors program. Throughout her years at PVCC, the Honors Program allowed her to connect with faculty whose mentorship has helped her greatly. Mike Ho, director of Student Life and Leadership was a great mentor who Peterson says taught her to “be her own champion.”


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Bev Plested

Bev Plested

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’  Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”  — Napoleon Hill


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Lee Rank

Lee Rank

Fellow alumni has made a lasting impact on and off campus with his spirited appearance.

Everyone around campus knew Lee Rank – for his spirited appearances as the PVCC Puma mascot, his many volunteer activities, and his student leadership presence. The 20-year old Taiwanese native, who struggled as a child to overcome learning challenges and classification as a special needs student, was determined to strive for success. Finishing strong, he earned a 4.0 GPA his senior year in high school and was accepted at several major universities.


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Sandor Rogoff

Sandor Rogoff

The opportunity to put in practice the level of support and attention that he received as a PVCC student from his instructors has been extremely rewarding for Sandor Rogoff as an adjunct faculty member at our Black Mountain campus.  Sandor is so thankful he followed the advice of his colleagues to give Paradise Valley Community College a try.  Upon getting out of the military, he enrolled in PVCC.  Sandor worked a variety of part time, odd jobs to get himself through.  Upon completing his first semester he approached the Veteran's Assistance Office.  This visit resulted in providing Sandor


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Ruben Rincon

Ruben Rincon

Former PVCC Pitcher is now pitching opportunities for the AZ Diamondbacks


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Sean Sehorn

Sean Sehorn

As an accounting major, giving consideration to the financial benefit of completing the first two years at PVCC was a “no brainer” for PVCC alumnus Sean Sehorn.  As a student athlete, Sean not only benefited from the small, intimate class sizes available to PVCC students, he also had the opportunity to practice time management and accountability from the onset.  It was essential that Sean complete assignments before going on the road for off-campus tennis tournaments even though this often meant completing them prior to their due date.  Sean found the Honors Program, coupled with his role a


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Massimo “Max” Sommacampagna

Massimo “Max” Sommacampagna

When he reflects on his PVCC experience, Max Sommacampagna realizes what a sound financial decision it was to start his higher education journey at PVCC.  As he interacts with his professional peers in the real estate community, Max is reminded on a regular basis how significant student debt ruins one’s prospects for financial security.


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Ben St. Amand

Ben St. Amand

Ben relied on a bicycle as his means of transportation to and from campus.  Starting college at the age of 16 and one of a family of eleven siblings necessitated coming up with his own “wheels.”  Ben was very active in the Learning Support Center during his tenure at PVCC.  Initially, Ben was a recipient of tutoring and soon became a tutor primarily for trigonometry.  This opportunity to help others and reinforce his knowledge by sharing it in a manner they could understand has been an invaluable skill that has continued to pay dividends in his professional life.  Ben appreciated the “close


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Carolyn Szatkowski

Carolyn Szatkowski

Carolyn Szatkowski's plan to take creative writing classes for one year, evolved into a ten-year educational pursuit.  Faculty Lois Roma-Deeley and Ryan Stone made this such an engaging and worthwhile experience she kept coming back for more.  Carolyn’s initial goal to “expand one’s horizons,” developed into a lifelong friendship with Professor Roma-Deeley.  This friendship, coupled with Carolyn's passion for education and the creative writing process, has been the guiding force in establishing a Creative Writing Scholarship here at PVCC.


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Greg Ward

Greg Ward

Greg found the proximity of the campus to his place of residence ideal to pursuing his educational goals at PVCC.  His experience was an extremely positive one.  The small class size and the faculty’s commitment to guide and support students, in addition to getting to know them, was extremely conducive to a positive learning experience.  His Business Logistics instructor, was influential in helping Greg to determine his career path.


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Kaylee Wright

Kaylee Wright

Kaylee Wright had a rocky start to her college career. After dropping out of college to travel South America and surviving an abusive marriage, her life experience had transcended her education. She returned to school, but it wasn’t until her last semester at Paradise Valley Community College that she decided to really dedicate herself to school. She changed her mindset.


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