Thursday, December 22, 2016

CGCC Student Spotlight: Berenice Zendejas on Facing the Challenges of Higher Learning

Snapshot of Queen Creek Independent web page story

This Queen Creek/San Tan Valley Independent story by Cronkite News reporter Danielle Quijada gives insights into the obstacles that children of immigrants and first-generation college students sometimes face in pursuit of higher learning— as seen through the eyes of Berenice Zendejas of Queen Creek, a part-time student at Chandler-Gilbert Community College who is determined to become a doctor one day.

Learn how the Communiversity at Queen Creek can help you fulfill your dreams!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Desserts That Won't Put a Dent in Your Diet

photo withh US News and World Report Wellness logo with navy blue background. Header text: healthy holiday desserts and snacks with text about holiday eating that is good for your heart next to a photo of gingerbread cookies and candy canes

Countless cookies, creamy chocolates, and decadent desserts – that’s what makes the holidays so delicious, but by the time January rolls around, it’s more like pants that don’t fit and an overpriced gym membership.

The holidays are a great time to indulge in moderation, but did you know that the average American gains 1.3 pounds during the holiday season? According to US News, it can take up to five months to lose that extra weight.

If you don’t want to sport the unintentional skinny jean until May 2017, check out these awesome delicious alternatives from US News -- including treats like pomegranate bark, dark chocolate popcorn, and lighter versions of classic holiday beverages like eggnog and hot chocolate. The holidays can still be delicious without putting too big of a dent in your diet.

a mint colored cocoa mg with marshmallows and a stripes white and mint colored straw on a table with marshmallows and candy canes and lights in the background

Maintaining a healthy weight plays an important role in your overall health – so, let’s start 2017 off by aiming for a healthy, active lifestyle together.

If you’re an MCCCD employee, don’t forget that the Maintain. Don’t Gain initiative weigh outs will be held between January 23-27 with future details to come.

#weightmanagement #maintaindontgain #healthy #healthyfood #gym #exercise #wellness #holidays #dessert #newyear #newyearsresolution

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Safety Tips from QC Fire and Medical

Screenshot of Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department holiday safety YouTube video with green borders

Our friends at the Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department (QCFMD) want you to have a happy and safe holiday season.

They've put together a video with safety recommendations to reduce holiday hazards.

Here are some of their other tips:

Christmas Tree Safety
  • Select a tree with fresh, green needles.
  • Place the tree and ornaments at least three feet from any heat source.
  • Water the tree daily.
  • Replace lights that are worn, have broken cords or loose bulbs.
  • Never use candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off tree lights before leaving and going to bed.
  • Remove the tree once it is dry by recycling it at the Town’s tree recycling events

Cooking Safety
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop (oven mitts, food packaging, etc.).
  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or boiling food. If you must leave the room, turn off the stove.
  • Be sure to thaw the turkey completely before cooking.
  • If you have a pan fire, place a lid on the pan and turn off the burner.
  • Keep kids at least three feet away from the stove, oven, hot food and liquids.

General Safety
  • Never leave space heaters unattended, including while you sleep. Do not let pets or kids play too close to space heaters.
  • Do not plug extension cords into one another.
  • Only use lights and extension cords outside that are labeled for outdoor use. 
  • Check decorations for any frayed or pinched wires; discard any worn decorations.
  • Install working smoke alarms on every level in your home, in every bedroom, and outside of each sleeping area. Test the alarms monthly and change the batteries annually.

The Town of Queen Creek also offers free recycling services for Christmas trees, old electronics, appliances and cooking oil. You can visit to learn more about their programs.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Tips on Coping with Grief During the Holidays

gold glimmering background with gold sphere holiday ornaments and a gold ribbon

Grief is always hard.

It’s a process that is not always linear. It hits hard and subsides, confronts, and then hides. The holidays can often trigger grief in a harsh way. You may be struggling with thoughts like, "Who will put the star on the tree this year now that Dad is gone?" You may also wonder whether anyone feels like you do or not feel motivated to participate in any holiday activities. This is normal! 

Rio Salado College Counselor Autumn Cardenez has put together some tips on how to deal with grief during the holidays.

charcoal background. hands on the border, with coffee cups, glasses, markers, phones and headphones pointing to white text reading " Care, positive sport, care, active, mental health, food, wellness, relaxed, fitness, energy, leisure, exercise, activity, nutrients"

Here are four tips on dealing with grief during the holidays:

1. Give back to others: It can be very comforting to help others who are struggling. Serve at a homeless shelter, provide a meal for a family, or buy a gift for a child in need.

2. Reach out to loved ones for support: It’s easy to slip into “leave me alone” mode, but it can be harmful to your mental health. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. Sing nostalgic songs, reminisce over memories and look back at pictures. This can bring many tears but it will also help you to relieve your sadness.

3. Be mindful of your health and well-being: Do the form of physical activity that you enjoy the most whether it is yoga, running, or strength training. A good sweat can release endorphins and boost your mood. Try to avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol abuse, emotional eating, or other harmful self-medicating activities.

4. Create a new tradition: Family traditions can be sentimental, however, it can be fun to create a tradition of your own, such as a holiday themed craft or adding a new recipe to the holiday spread.

The takeaway is to remember that grieving is a process. Feeling sad during the holidays is normal. Allow those feelings to manifest, stare at them in the face, and address them.

If you are personally being affected by grief this holiday season, we are here to help. Reach out to Rio Salado Counseling to find the resources that you need.

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Autumn Cardenez on behalf of Rio Salado Counseling, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

#Holidays #HolidaySeason #Counseling #MentalHealth

Thursday, December 15, 2016

You're Invited! Free ASU Night of the Open Door

screenshot of ASU promo page for night of the open door stating: Explore. Discover. Inspide. Repeat. Photo of small Blonde boy playing with scientific tool with big smile

Mark your calendars for ASU Night of the Open Door -- an opportunity for visitors of all ages to explore laboratories, living collections, museums and classrooms and participate in hands-on activities.

Each of ASU’s campuses have a unique identity and they invite you to visit all of their campus locations throughout the month of February.

As a signature event of the Arizona SciTech Festival, discover all things science, technology, engineering, arts and math. For more information about event dates, please visit

#SciTech #ArizonaScienceEvents #NightoftheOpenDoor #ASU

Online Education Teaches Real-World Skills

U.S. News & World Report Education Banner with "4 Ways Online Education Programs Teach Real-World Skills" headline and the first paragraph of the article

This online story by U.S. News & World Report contributor Darwin Green shows us how online education can teach real-world skills.

Green points out four ways that online learning can relate to the real-world:

1. Sometimes you will never meet your coworkers in person.

2, Online programs rely on self-discipline.

3. You learn to make deadlines on your own.

4. Online schools familiarize students with technology.

Green says the takeaway is online schools teach work ethic and prepare students for the real-world, which is increasingly becoming an online world.

You can start your online education and learn those real-world skills at Rio Salado College!

Rio Salado is one of the largest online public community colleges in the nation, offering 600+ online classes, 100+ degree and certificate programs and general education courses.

#onlineeducation #onlinelearning #learning #highered #school #students

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Winter Break Closure Dec. 24, 2016 – Mon., Jan. 2, 2017

imge of an illustrated clock.  Time is replaced by years.  the hour and minute hand are nearly at 2017.

The Communiversity at Queen Creek and the Rio Salado Testing Center will be closed Sat., Dec. 24, 2016 – Mon., Jan. 2, 2017 for the winter break. 

We will resume regular business hours Tue., Jan. 3.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Want to Become a Teacher? Learn How at QC!

photo collage: computer monitor with full yellow screen and play button, pencil, calculator, notebook, pen, computer mouse, graduation cap, ruler

Join Rio Salado's Teacher Education team for a free orientation session at Communiversity at Queen Creek to learn how to become a teacher!

The post Baccalaureate program is designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree or higher (in any area) from an accredited university and would like to become a teacher.

You will learn about:
  • Rio Salado College's Teacher Preparation program requirements.
  • Program expectations and support.
  • Registration process and requirements.
  • Answers to any other related questions you may have.

Image of a female teacher teaching a student (boy) math at a chalkboard. He is learning 2+2=4

In-Person Orientation Dates:   
December 19, 2016
January 23, 2017

Communiversity at Queen Creek
21740 South Ellsworth Road
Queen Creek, Arizona 85142

Time: 6 - 8 p.m. 

For more information visit: Rio Salado’s Post-Baccalaureate Programs web page or call 480-517-8140.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

DACA Summit with Congressman Gallego Dec. 10

Congressman Ruben Gallego invites you to his:  DACA SUMMIT, Saturday, DECEMBER 10, 2016 11:00 AM —12:00 PM at Phoenix College Bulpitt Auditorium.  Hosted by MCCCD Office of Public Affairs & Student Affairs 1202 West Thomas Rd, Phoenix.  Are you a DREAMer or the parent of a DREAMer? Do you have questions or concerns about the status of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program?  Please join us for this DACA Summit to get your questions answered! Congressman Ruben Gallego will be joined by   representatives from local immigration groups and attorneys. Open to everyone! Call 602-256-0551 to RSVP or for more information.  Phoenix District Office  411 N. Central Ave., Suite 150 Phoenix, AZ 85004  (ASU Downtown Campus) Phone: (602) 256 - 0551 Fax: (602) 257 – 9103. Visit us online or social media: RubenGallego.House.Gov RepRubenGallego

Are you a DREAMer or the parent of a DREAMer? Do you have questions or concerns about the status of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program? Join Congressman Ruben Gallego for this DACA Summit to get your questions answered!

Congressman Gallego will be joined by representatives from local immigration groups and attorneys.

Open to everyone!

Call 602-256-0551 to RSVP or for more information.

Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Phoenix College - Bulpitt Auditorium.
1202 West Thomas Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85013

Hosted by MCCCD Office of Public Affairs & Student Affairs

Beware of Loan Forgiveness Programs

Image with MCCCD logo.  Text: Financial Aid Tip

The Maricopa Community Colleges (MCCCD) has discovered that an organization called Student Freedom Advisors is contacting MCCCD students through Facebook, offering a loan forgiveness program.

MCCCD and Rio Salado College do not sponsor or support this program.

We advise current and former students to be cautious in choosing to respond to or work with Students Freedom Advisors and similar entities offering loan forgiveness programs under a myriad of other names.

If you have any questions please call the MCCCD Student Loan Support Services Center at 480-784-0600.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

4 Study Tips to Help You Ace Your Finals

young boy with a blackboard with scattered alphabet surrounded by books holding a book over his head with animated stress face

Stuck in a study rut with finals just around the corner? 

Whether you're a grade A student or struggling in your classes this semester, finals can be overwhelming. They can mean information overload, time crunches, and added stress. Learn how to maximize your study time with these easy tips provided by Rio Salado Counselor Elena Matus McDonald.

There are many new and alternative methods to studying. The key to applying effective study skills is to find what works for you.

snapshot of youtube video.  Image of a gameboy interface with text: 8 Advance Study Tips

Thomas Frank (2015) discusses eight innovative and thought-provoking studying techniques in this video

Here are four takeaways to keep in mind.

1) Ask yourself: what it is you do not understand?

First, it is important to be aware that when you do not understand something in a course you can become emotionally overwhelmed by your frustration. Given this, you may not be able to identify what you are confused about initially and that is okay. You may want to discuss your frustration with a friend, coworker, relative, mentor, or just someone you trust that will listen to you openly. Once you feel your frustration decrease this is a good time to attempt to pinpoint what you do not understand.

At this point, you can then ask your instructor for help and specify the content you are confused about. Typically in online courses as you are mainly communicating with your professor through email, so it is vital you clearly communicate the details you are uncertain about in a lesson, assignment, chapter, or any other related course materials.

2) Set short-term goals and reward yourself.

When you sit down to study, set a goal for that study session and then reward yourself once it is completed. For example, if you plan to study for an hour, specify what content, pages, and/or homework assignments you wish to complete within that time frame and only reward yourself when it is accomplished such as spending 20 minutes on social media, texting a friend, watching a TV show or movie, etc.

3) When you get distracted write down what the interruptions are.

If you are studying at home this is particularly important to take notes of what diverts your attention from your study session, when it occurs, and how often. You can then begin to identify a pattern and can reduce and/or eliminate these distractions in your next study session.

4) Replace traditional flashcards to memorize content by downloading the free software program called Anki.

Frank states that the free software program, Anki, uses a technique identified as space repetition. He notes that space repetition, involves the idea where concepts you know well will appear less often than concepts you do not know as comfortably. This way of learning to commit content to memory is more effective than studying the same flashcards over and over in varying orders.

Remember that all of the study tips discussed here, and in the video mentioned above, may not work for you, however, you will want to try a few to determine which study skills are the most beneficial for you. It may also be helpful to assess your study habits and what practices you may need to change to see better results in the future. 

Frank, Thomas. (2015, January 22). How to Study Effectively: 8 Advanced Tips - College Info Geek. Retrieved from

Contributed by Elena Matus McDonald on behalf of Rio Salado Counseling, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

#finals #finalsweek #finalsweekmotivation #stress #studying #education #student #collegestudent #collegelife #coffee #success #studentsuccesstips #studyideas 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Rio Salado College Shares Findings From Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Funded Project to Improve Student Success

Cover page of "Rio Salado Business Planning: Student Success and Scaling Initiative." Solid dark blue banner with picture of student studying with laptop and papers and pen. Text on top reads "Rio Salado College White Paper" Main text reads, "Planning Transformational Change for Student Success."

Rio Salado has a long history of innovating. Innovation is even found in our vision statement: "We reinvent the learning experience to change lives." 

When the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offered grants related to improving the college experience through innovation, we jumped at the opportunity.

Rio Salado College received a $575,000 grant to build a roadmap on how to improve the college experience for other colleges to replicate.

It all started when Rio Salado leaders began looking at ways they could transform out-of-state online education-- specifically for under-served populations.

Rio Salado was awarded the grant in November 2015, and completed the project in June 2016.

image of students working on computers

Through the process, Rio Salado learned how to better serve its students and designed a new approach to online education.

Thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant, Rio Salado was able to outline a plan to change education for student success. Rio Salado College Business Planning: Student Success and Scaling Initiative provides suggestions and tools to help other institutions design their own roadmap toward transformational change.

Professional headshot of Rio Salado Dean of Instruction and Academic Affairs Shannon McCarty with solid blue horizontal banners.
Shannon McCarty
Rio Salado Dean of Instruction and Academic Affairs Shannon McCarty, who spearheaded the project said, “The support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided Rio Salado College the opportunity to consider the future possibilities of transforming the student experience to increase success and completion. The grant opportunity allowed Rio to reflect on current practices, focus on the ideal state and develop a plan of action that will allow Rio to scale effective practices."

Visit this webpage to read the full white paper.

#GatesFoundation #HigherEd

Monday, December 5, 2016

MCCCD Transformation Meeting Today

Maricopa County Community College District building in Tempe on a sunny day

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) Governing Board is holding a special meeting for the public to learn more about the MCCCD’s proposed transformation of District governance to a regional model. 

Professional photo of MCCCD Chancellor Maria Harper-MarinickThe meeting will include a presentation by Chancellor Maria Harper-Marinick.

Meeting Time and Location:
Monday, Dec. 5 
7-9 p.m.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Mesa Convention Center Palo Verde Ballroom 

Visit this web page for the latest details about this meeting.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Road Closures & Parking for Visitors During Queen Creek Holiday Festival & Parade 12/3/16

Flyer for QC Holiday Party.  Images of snowmen and holiday decorations.  Text: Queen Creek Holiday Festival and Parade. UEEN CREEK LIBRARY • SAT DEC 3 2016 FESTIVAL 12PM - 7PM • PARADE 3:30PM • TREE LIGHTING 6:15PM ID’S ZONE • CRAFT ZONE ARNIVAL GAMES • FOOD TRUCKS BOUTIQUE SHOPPING • 100+ VENDORS

Please take note that there will be several road closures during the Town of Queen Creek Holiday Festival & Parade on Saturday, Dec. 3.

The Communiversity at QC has reserved parking for visitors, test-takers and staff near the west parking lot and dirt lot just west of our building during this event.

Here's a look at a map of our location, marking designated parking spots for Communiversity at QC staff and visitors.

Please give us a ring if you have any questions.

Visit for additional details about this event.