Anniversary

Profiles of Success

For over 30 years Paradise Valley Community College students, faculty and staff have built a successful legacy of teaching and learning excellence for our community. To celebrate this 30-year history of PVCC, we are featuring a compilation of inspiring student success stories and employee reflections from their time at PVCC.

Be sure to check back throughout 2017 to see brand new feature stories and reflections from current students, alumni, past and present employees. These stories represent the “power of learning” in action and demonstrate how the faculty and staff have enabled our students to achieve their dreams and effect positive social change in our community.

All Profiles of Success

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.

Amanda credits her appreciation for drawing to her PVCC Instructor Joan Ritsch.  Amanda exhibited her artistic skills from an early...


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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. 

I still remember all of my professors. They were all fantastic...


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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...


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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

As a first-generation college student, Kelly followed the path of least resistance.  On her daily trips to high school, Kelly’s mother pointed out PVCC and stated, “This will be your college.”  The...


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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...


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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.

Tom’s pursuit of his dream was filled with success.  After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Tom was selected to work as an apprentice lead chef at The Greenbrier in West Virginia under certified Master Chef Richard...


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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.”

Gustavo’s...


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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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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. 

Like many students, Adrionna entered PVCC as an adult student. She was motivated by her desire to create a promising future both for herself and for her children. Adrionna found each and every PVCC...


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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.

Upon entering the classroom on his first day, the vision of professor Jacob Adler plucking the sitar, a stringed instrument used mainly in Hindustani music and Indian classical music, confirmed for JAM that he had arrived at his...


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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. 

“In 2014, at 53 years old, I found myself standing at the big blue doors of Paradise Valley Community College.  Terrified and willing to lean...


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Jon Lucas

Jon Lucas

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

Paradise Valley Community College alumnus Jonathan “Jon” Lucas was a familiar face at Paradise Valley Community College – in part because he had been around campus for eight years or “most of a decade", he was fond of saying. A Shadow Mountain High School graduate, Jon served in the Army and Army Reserves from 2004-2012, including two deployments in Iraq. Once home, he decided to pursue...


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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.

The most memorable course that she has taken at PVCC was called...


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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.

McMillon is graduating with an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies. She plans to further her education in...


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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,...


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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.

"Having small, compact classes gave me a more individualized experience, and the overall affordability of the community college can't be beat." The...


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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.”

Through her network at PVCC, Alexis...


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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...


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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...


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Ruben Rincon

Ruben Rincon

Former PVCC Pitcher is now pitching opportunities for the AZ Diamondbacks

Ruben Rincon credits coach Victor Solis, for helping him to stay the course as he completed his associates degree at PVCC and then went on to pitch as a scholarship athlete at Grand Canyon University. As a current Arizona Diamondbacks employee, Ruben utilizes the skills he obtained in Cariann Powers's public speaking class at PVCC on a daily basis. These speaking skills, coupled with his understanding of the...


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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...


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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.

The opportunity to take classes taught by adjunct faculty working in the field enabled Max to receive real world application in addition to textbook...


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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...


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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.

Wright decided to put herself out there and fell in love with the people, students and faculty at PVCC. With the...


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