PVCC's Student Senator Addresses Spring 2024 Commencement

Monday, May 27, 2024
PVCC's Student Senator Addresses Spring 2024 Commencement

Paradise Valley Community College's 2024 Spring Commencement was not just a celebration of academic achievements; it was a testament to the resilience and determination of its students. Among the graduates, Zoe Bell stood out as a shining example of perseverance in the face of adversity.

In her time at PVCC, Bell served as a peer mentor, vice president of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter, a member of the Women Rising group, and a student senator. In her keynote address, Bell recounted her journey filled with numerous obstacles and hardships. Despite facing steady housing challenges and financial independence since 2019, Bell remained steadfast in her pursuit of education, earning her associate's degree in science with a focus on engineering as well as an associate's degree in arts with an emphasis on sustainability and environmental science.

Bell’s academic journey wasn’t smooth sailing. Forced relocations disrupted her studies, affecting her grades and stability. However, when she finally found steady housing, her academic performance improved, and she secured a solid job as an electrical technician. Her hard work didn't go unnoticed, as she began to receive recognition and accolades, including the prestigious Chancellor's Civic Leadership Medallion.

When life threw more challenges her way, and she faced yet another forced relocation, this time, Bell had the support and solace among her fellow Pumas and mentors at PVCC's Intercultural Center and Women Rising. These safe spaces provided her with the opportunity to confront her own feelings and share experiences with peers facing similar struggles.

In 2023, Bell was selected as a 2023 Progress, Accomplishment, Thriving, Hope (PATH) Scholarship recipient through the Ellucian Foundation, which provides grants to two-year public institutions in 2023 with a focus on supporting students facing economic hardship. Additionally, Bell earned the 2024 outstanding Citizen Award issued by the Arizona Society of Professional Engineers and the Annette McHenry Scholarship for her work in promoting STEM. In October 2023, Bell hosted an outdoor physics workshop for students in the Paradise Valley Unified School District to boost interest in STEM. 

Bell plans on interning with Nanotechnology Collaborative Infrastructure Southwest this summer in the 2024 Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. Students will work with national recognized scholars and ladders in science education. In August 2024, she plans on transferring to Arizona State University to pursue her bachelors in electrical engineering (electric power and energy systems).