Scholarship Workshop!


Today in room B-104 @ 5:00 pm. (the Business Building located by the Campus Bookstore)

As a student, sometimes I don’t know what to do or feel lost when it comes to filling out paperwork for school. It can be stressful, and intimidating.

The Scholarship Office wants to help alleviate troubles such as pressure, confusion, stress, intimidation, and fear.

I suggest going to this workshop… or there is another one scheduled for WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 24TH @ 2PM, IN THE SAME ROOM.


My New Degree In Biology

I started out in college majoring in Biology.  It wasn’t until I was finishing my Associate’s degree that I gave up science.  I had just gone through a divorce and was raising two children on my own, with little to no financial assistance from the ex.  My dream of moving to California to finish a degree in Marine Biology was crushed by the reality of single parent poverty.  Looking back, I wonder if there had been someone in my life at that time to provide a little encouragement, would I have continued a degree in a different area of Biology?  Instead, I walked away completely from science, beginning new majors in History and Spanish.

Many years have passed.  In what I believe is a bit of good karma, I find myself working temporarily in the college’s Biology department where I once worked years ago as a student.  With the Department’s support, I was able to achieve something amazing this past year.  Together, we collaborated with Western New Mexico University to create a new transfer pathway for our Biotechnology students.  Starting this fall, 24 students will begin Bachelors degrees in Cell and Molecular Biology right here on our community college campus.  The degree is a highly innovative, collaborative, affordable and rigorous program that I am proud to have helped shape.  Best of all, I believe this program brings opportunity for students who might be struggling like I did all those years ago.  Having a good quality pathway on campus that is accessible and affordable will make it easier for students who need a little encouragement to follow their dreams in science.  It completes a circle for me too.  I finally did get my degree in Biology, after all.

Applications are now being accepted for 24 students to begin this fall!  For more information on the new degree in Cell and Molecular Biology, visit this link: 

Sadly & Hopefully a Continuing Trend…

Renewable Energy, Other Industries Draw Laid-Off Oil And Gas Workers

Sad for the workers who have to support families and pay their bills but happy for the earth and saving the rest of civilization. Time for change and switching industries.

CURTIS BUXTONCurtis Buxton, a project manager at Skyfire Energy Inc., who was forced to look for new employment after being downsized out of the oil and gas industry, poses with solar panels, in Calgary on Monday. | Jeff McIntosh/CP

CALGARY — For 36 years, Sue Jones rode out the ups and downs of Alberta’s oilpatch. But after she was laid off last March, she knew her days in the oil and gas industry were over.

“I’m done,” said Jones, 56, who worked in data management and document control before she was let go.

Continue to read more here..

Grand Canyon Trust’s Volunteer Program is looking for more help.



The Grand Canyon Trust is looking for more volunteers to fill the roster. This seems like a good opportunity to take to help make a difference and be outdoors. If you are locked up in an office 9-5 Monday through Friday, this is a great way to get exercise and be outdoors.

Here is a little more key information before going to the link.

  • The trust does ask for a $50 members free and from there you can volunteer for any program they have offered.
  • The Trust provides: All meals, snacks, field equipment, and tools.
  • Participants provide: Personal transportation, camping and day-hiking gear for the week. Be prepared for rain, cold, heat, and sun.
  • *However they can provide limited transportation and loan gear on a first-come, first-served basis—contact them for details.


Physics and Math in the Real World

OK, so the school ran an interesting story, I’d like to share it with all of you. It is a great example of the principles STEAM strives for.

There is a link if you would like to go to the original website or I will provide it for you here, so here it is…

Scavenger Hunts, Baseball Games, Raisins and Toothpaste

December 21, 2015

Physics and math in the real world

Scavenger hunts, baseball games, raisins and toothpaste: what do these things have to do with learning? Students of Allison Boley, MS, might have an inkling. In her first semester as an adjunct in the GCC Physics Department, Boley mines everyday life to help bring academic concepts to life.

This fall, her Physics 101 students explored stations along the wall of their classroom. At one station, they found a pile of travel-sized hand sanitizer; at another, boxes of raisins; yet another had tubes of toothpaste. Each of the seven stations came with a question like, “When you brush your teeth, is the friction between your teeth and the toothbrush an example of static or kinetic friction?”

Students carefully filled gallon-sized plastic bags with one item from each station, answering questions along the way or taking photos of the questions to answer with textbooks at their seats. “They were so quiet I wasn’t sure how the activity had gone over,” said Boley. “ … until they started turning in their bags.”

A student previously vocal about her distaste for physics was the first to praise the activity; others chimed in enthusiastically. Several weeks later, two students asked to do the activity again, with different questions for new knowledge they’d gained in the meantime. And GCC students weren’t the only ones who appreciated the hands-on exercise, as the contents of the collected bags were passed along to Arizonans in need.

For these GCC Physics students, learning continues outside the classroom; throughout the week, they take part in scavenger hunts, searching for real-life examples of what they’re learning about. In one scavenger hunt, students were asked to capture a picture of a transverse wave. If they return with a picture of a television set, they’re hot on the trail, as a TV emits electromagnetic waves in the form of visible light.

In another assignment, the hunt centered on the physics concept of centripetal acceleration. A photo of a beverage in a glass stirred in a circular motion would be a good example of the concept.

“Science and math concepts come alive when we interact with the beauty of the world around us,” said Boley. “When I was growing up, our classroom experiments were often in the category of, ‘Look at this volcano, isn’t it cool?’ And yes it was – but science wasn’t related to day-to-day reality, so for me, it seemed unattainable, ungraspable and out of reach, not something I could do. Whereas if we can relate to it, our confidence grows.”

This isn’t the first time Boley has harnessed everyday life as a pathway to learning. As a graduate student at ASU, she created an app for elementary-school children, “Fun Math at the Ballpark,” which helps kids learn math as they watch a baseball game.

Boley, never a huge fan of baseball, had difficulty sitting through an entire game. She realized the converse is also true:  some students have a hard time sitting through math lessons. She decided the two could be combined, by helping students learn math while paying attention to the environment – in this case, a baseball game.

Parents loved using the app to help explain baseball to their children while at the same time incorporating math lessons. “I wish the app had existed when I was a kid,” she said. “It would have made baseball more interesting to me.” Even many adult learners have downloaded the app for a refresher in fractions, decimals and other math concepts, similar to those outlined in the course description for GCC Math 082.

Boley also teaches at the Children’s Museum in downtown Phoenix. She’s created two signature classes for little ones, from birth to five years old:  “Math before you can add, or even count,” and “Science before you can hypothesize, or even analyze.”

Had Boley not received a full ride to Arizona State University as a National Merit Scholar, she would have attended GCC, as both of her sisters did. She earned both her bachelors’ and master’s degrees there and is now pursuing her doctorate and working as a teaching assistant. “I like teaching a lot; my career goal is to be either a full-time community college teacher or to create educational products and seminars,” she said.

Why her passion for teaching at the community college level? “The emphasis is on teaching, which I love,” she reflected. “I don’t want to focus on research to the point where teaching gets sidelined.”

She is open with students about her own academic path. Though she loved math and was always very good at it, she pursued physics because it was a challenge. “I didn’t want to be bored,” she said.

So she took up physics and struggled with it a lot. “But struggling isn’t bad; in the end, struggling and overcoming obstacles gives you a great sense of accomplishment,” she maintained. “What value is it to your character if you just sail through?”

Relating learning to the world we know is essential, says Boley. “We all fear the unknown, so if we can relate concepts to what we already know, we become less fearful.”

“We begin to recognize we’re already familiar with certain concepts, we just didn’t know what they were called.”


Kudos to the writer, beautifully written. 🙂




My Recipe for M.A.D. Skills

My Recipe for M.A.D. Skills

I signed up for a campus writing challenge, the Write 6X6 project, to post over the next six weeks about my thoughts and experiences on teaching, learning and students success.

This week’s theme for Write 6X6 is how we make a difference. At first I thought this would be an easy post, after all, I have worked hard over the years, am good at what I do, and have made significant contributions in my profession, but then doubt crept in. Shouldn’t I have done more? We introverts often have a hard time singing our own praises. In spite of having been a long-time student advocate, and accomplishing some of my best work this past year, I began to dwell on my shortcomings. Mulling over these rather murky thoughts, I stumbled upon this quote from Bucky Fuller, one of the great innovators of the modern world, who I have long admired.

“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person. ”

― R. Buckminster Fuller

Thank you Bucky, your words helped me remember, that even though I don’t always succeed in my efforts, I have always tried to be that “one person”. I’ve worked for the Maricopa Community Colleges for many years now. In my youth, I was driven by big plans to change the world. Along the way I learned, with the guidance of some wonderful people in my life who taught and led by example, how to strive to make a difference in the world on a smaller scale. My perspective gradually shifted from changing the world to shaping my microcosm to be a better place. I sought to help within my sphere of influence, for the people with whom I interact on a daily basis, most especially, for students.

In thinking this over, I’ve come to realize that having an impact begins simply by caring enough to act. Caring really matters. That said, truly making a difference goes much farther for me. I believe strongly in the power of education, taking my craft seriously, and developing whatever skills are necessary to get the job done well. I had a good laugh when I realized that my “Making a Difference” skills spelled out the acronym MAD.

And so, I offer you my recipe for M.A.D. skills. Feel free to borrow whatever you like and let me know how your recipe turns out.

My Recipe for MAD (Making A Difference) Skills


  • A healthy dose of caring. Learn what matters to you and where you want to invest your energy helping others.
  • A passion for work you love and believe in.
  • An openness to learning. It is through education that we grow wiser and more understanding of ourselves, the world we live in and share.
  • Good ears. Students really appreciate knowing that someone is looking out for them and willing to listen to their problem.
  • An aptitude for asking questions and finding answers.
  • A daring to think and choose the high road.
  • An embrace of failures as essential learning opportunities.
  • Courage to be that one person that makes a difference.

Thanks Bucky!
And my deepest gratitude to all of those who taught me the power of making a difference.


Great Photo of a Petrified Rock from AZ!!

Petrified Wood Specimen (Elements such as manganese, iron, and copper in the water/mud during the petrification process give petrified wood a variety of color ranges.) from Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Visit Amazing Geologist for more…


Good news! Supertrawlers banned from Australian waters!

Supertrawlers wreak havoc on marine life, coral reef habitats, and the sea bed. Banning them from Australian waters is a start, we need to continue the trend and ban them worldwide. Here is some more information provided by the Guardian,


Supertrawlers to be banned permanently from Australian waters

Move follows temporary bans on large freezer-factory vessels as well


superLabor banned supertrawlers after outcry from the public. The Stop the Supertrawler petition has nearly 63,000 signatures. Photograph: Pierre Gleizes/Greenpeace


Happy Birthday Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes is one of my favorite American poets.  For many years now, I do my best to keep his poetry alive and remembered every February 1st to honor the poet on his birthday, and to kick off Black History Month on a good tone for myself, and others.

On this rainy day in Glendale, Arizona, I offer you Hughes’ April Rain Song, and wish you all a Happy Langston Hughes Birthday.

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.