Maricopa Community Colleges

Internships

The following internship opportunities are available to Maricopa employees:

Professional Staff Association (PSA)

Visit the Professional Staff Association (PSA) website for more internship details.

Residential Faculty

Visit the Maricopa Institute for Learning website for more fellowship details.

Creative Pathways Internship

Available to:

  • Full-time Governing Board approved and Skill Center employees (specially funded, OYO's and OSO's are not eligible)
  • Employed at least two full years
  • Not on probation or under disciplinary action

Steps for Participation

Internship Past Participant Stories

Jan Binder - Jan Helps Others Help Themselves

Through Creative Pathways, Jan Binder helps other people solve problems and agree upon solutions while strengthening her own communication skills. Jan is Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness at Scottsdale Community College. In her Creative Pathways placement, Jan helps mediate dispute cases between individuals for the Justice Courts of Arizona.

"I participated in Creative Pathways to give to the community in a meaningful way, and to use my education and skills." Jan has a Masters of Education in Counseling/Human relations. Through her Creative Pathways placement, Jan spends about eight hours each month as a mediator.

Mediation is a process where two or more people who are having problems come together with a mediator to consider possible solutions. The mediator helps them look at all solutions that might resolve the problems, and assists in a neutral and impartial way. The majority of mediation cases involve problems related to civil lawsuits, neighborhood disputes, contracts, money, divorce, landlord-tenant, and consumer-merchant disputes. "As mediator I monitor the process, listen to both sides, and reframe their concerns, and help both parties come to an agreement. This process gives both sides more control over the outcome, instead of ending up in court, and having a judge decide the outcome for them."

Jan completed a 40 hour training program to earn her certification as a mediator for the Justice Courts. Her skills as a mediator are also helpful in the workplace. Jan is sharing her new skills with others in the Maricopa Community College District.

Fredrick Canales - Classroom and Practical Experience Come Together

Fredrick Canales found practical experience to go along with his classroom studies, through the Creative Pathways Program. "I am enrolled in the Microsoft /Cisco Networking Technology Program at GWCC, and I'm studying to become a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. I wanted to gain practical experience in a relevant work environment and I found it here at Maricopa. The ability to get hands on experience is of tremendous value and serves to bring reality and application to classroom learning," says Canales.

"My Creative Pathways experience gave me the chance to serve with the Networking Technicians within the IT/Networking Department at the District Support Center. As an intern, I was able to go along on repair and maintenance calls and observe many of the procedures and processes that are described in textbooks related to this subject. I gained a better understanding of the big picture and how the IT department fits into the grand scheme. I also worked with employees from Computer Repair and Telecommunications. I worked with many great employees such as John Hawkins, John Baba, Stewart Adkins, Abraham Garcia and Lamont Opp, to mention a few. My Creative Pathways placement gave me the opportunity to learn something new, gain hands on experience, network with professionals, and experience renewal. I found it to be a refreshing and positive experience."

Fredrick is Coordinator of International Student Services at Phoenix College and has been an employee of Maricopa for eight years. H=e advises ESL and foreign students. Canales has a Bachelor of Arts degree and plans to complete an Associates degree in Networking Technology and then pursue a master's degree in Public Administration. He would like to pursue a career in the IT field with Maricopa. In his spare time, he enjoys camping and cruising trails in the desert. Fredrick also enjoys learning about military history, wildlife conservation, and astronomy.

Jim Gregory - Getting Ahead is for the Birds

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
-- Constitution of the World Health Organization


There are two things you're sure to notice when meeting Jim Gregory for the first time. First, he's an incredibly organized guy and second, his curiosity is boundless. For Jim, it isn't enough to understand his role within his department or even his college. He wants the bird's eye view of things. "I like to learn new things," he admits. "Gaining knowledge is important to me."

His love of knowledge has helped Jim in his work as a Program Advisor for Chandler-Gilbert Community College. His dean, Lois Bartholomew, often encouraged her staff to pursue employee development opportunities, so when Jim discovered the Creative Pathways program at http://www.maricopa.edu/comm/pathways/, he thought it might be the perfect opportunity to explore his interest in curriculum development. Before joining the District six years ago, he worked as a Project Manager and a Curriculum Editor at the University of Phoenix and was involved with curriculum development. "I knew curriculum development offers a lot of opportunities for collaboration," said Jim. "Curriculum development requires making connections between all the points in the curriculum development process. With a Creative Pathways internship, I could develop specialized knowledge from the hands-on experience."

So Jim set to work designing his own Pathway experience. He contacted the Coordinators of College Curriculum at several colleges and chose Phoenix College as his internship site. Irene Ruiz, his Pathway supervisor, found Jim's presence very beneficial. "(Jim's) previous curriculum experience made the tasks of explaining curriculum development a much simpler step," she observed. "His knowledge and skills gained from the District gave him the foundation from which we could build without spending a great deal of time explaining the mission and goals of the District."

As a Curriculum Intern, Jim edited and formatted curriculum proposals, then worked with Irene Ruiz to resolve any content issues. Proposals were then forwarded to a discipline-specific Instructional Council, where they were reviewed and edited. The college's Curriculum Committee reviewed the work and forwarded it to the District Curriculum Committee. The final stop is the Governing Board where, if approved, the proposal becomes official curriculum. "Irene Ruiz gave me many opportunities to observe and participate in the curriculum development process," Jim said. "I feel increasingly certain that this is what I want to do."

It seems he'll have plenty of opportunity to do just that. When his Pathway supervisor, Irene Ruiz, was offered an opportunity to serve as a replacement for the current District Director of Curriculum and Support Services, that left a vacancy at Phoenix College which Jim has now filled. "We are both very excited about this opportunity," said Irene. "We're looking forward to the professional experiences our new positions will bring us."

As for Jim, he's grateful for the skills and opportunities he's gained through Creative Pathways. "My Pathway gave me a more global perspective," Jim said. "I can see how departments, which may seem very different, are actually like pieces of a puzzle. We all fit together to accomplish shared goals."

Jim extends his gratitude to Dean Lois Bartholomew, Dean Marian Tadano, Sara Rassas, Irene Ruiz, Linda Bielek, and "to all my colleagues at CGC. Without your support, this opportunity would not have been possible."

Felix Hernandez - Moving On Up

Felix Hernandez always helped students create a new future. Now he gets to help faculty and employees create new futures as well. A Maricopa employee for 18 years, Felix got turned on by a MCCD course offering entitled First Things First - a Covey course about personal and professional planning and success. "I attended the class and was very excited about the topic so I decided that I wanted to become a certified Covey instructor."

Through the Creative Pathways Program, Felix completed a placement with the Employee and Organizational Learning Team at the District Office and now teaches Covey courses for the District. With the support of GCC, the Employee and Organizational Learning Team and a PSA scholarship, Felix was able to train and facilitate Covey courses full-time for six months. He is now certified to teach three courses: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, First Things First, and Seven Habits Advanced Applications.

Felix has already helped 30 employees complete Covey courses. "I always learn something from the students, they give me a different perspective. It makes me feel good to help other employees be more effective in their professional and personal lives."

Felix continues to teach Covey courses for Rio Salado and Glendale Community College. He has recently been promoted to Supervisor of Admissions and Recruitment at SCC. "Creative Pathways was one of the stepping stones to a life changing experience for me. It was the catalyst to a higher level in my personal and professional life."

Jennifer Jakes - Initiative Earns Career Change


"I love my job. I thought people were crazy when they'd say, "I love my job." All I wanted was to be able to say the same thing and now I can. I look forward to coming to work everyday," says Jennifer Jakes. Jennifer is a new employee at GCC's Technology Help Desk. For the past thirteen years, Jennifer was a Maintenance Assistant at GCC and recently earned enough experience through the Creative Pathways Program to land her new job as Information Services Computer Technician.

Last summer, Jennifer participated in the Creative Pathways program. She was able to work part-time for six months at GCC's Help Desk. Her duties included answering the phones and trying to solve hardware and software questions for the faculty and staff. "I had the opportunity to learn new software programs and refresh myself on the programs I had already learned pervious to my Creative Pathways placement."

"My first goal was to find a job where I would be able to use the skills I learned at the Help Desk and something that would be a challenge. Creative Pathways gave me the opportunity to gain the experience I needed and to see if this was the field I wanted to go into. By the time my six months was up I didn't want to leave. I was able to take the experience I had learned and apply for a position at the Help Desk at Glendale. I couldn't believe when I got the call saying I was the one picked for the position," Jakes says.

"Working at the Help Desk is very challenging and I continue to learn new things on a daily basis. My co-worker, Justin Bruce, has always been there to help me continue updating my skills and pushing me to learn new things. I work in a wonderful department with great people. I want to thank Debbie Krumtinger and Karen Russo for taking a chance on me. I also want to thank Justin Bruce, Donna Houk, and Don Jensen for being great mentors."

Deborah Krumtinger, Director of Training and Employee Development at GCC said, "Technology positions are becoming increasingly more difficult to staff with qualified candidates. Creative Pathways enabled me to help an existing employee develop the skills we are looking for at the Help Desk. Creative Pathways also gave Jennifer the opportunity to see if this was a career path she really wanted to follow."

In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys fishing, boating, camping, and all types of indoor/outdoor sports. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends and doing home projects. "My goal is to keep taking classes and get my degree in Computer Information Systems."

Allison Livingston - Rejuvenation

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
--Hugh Downs

Maricopa employees seek out Creative Pathways placements for a variety of reasons, such as learning new skills, giving back to the community, and exploring potential career paths. For Alison Livingston, her Creative Pathways placement provided her with a chance to rejuvenate. Faced with the death of a long-time co-worker, Alison needed a chance to recover as well as a change in scenery. She explored the idea of a Creative Pathways placement and found that it not only would provide her with a new environment but a chance to gain experience in another department.

A 13-year veteran of Maricopa, Alison began at Paradise Valley Community College as a student worker in Special Services. Staying on at PVCC after her work-study assignment, Alison worked in Admissions and Records, and she now is an Administrative Secretary in the Learning Support Center. The Counseling Department at PVCC is where Alison aimed her sites for her placement, and she could not have been happier with her choice. "I could not believe what a warm and welcoming environment the counseling department was. I was immediately comfortable and everyone gave me their full support," says Alison. "I wanted an opportunity to sharpen my customer service skills by servicing customers with a different set of needs than the Learning Support Center."

Alison provided the Counseling Department with the extra help they needed to complete some special projects that were much needed by the department and its customers. She created their newsletter, amalgamated their existing phone directories into one book, and she created a database, in addition to using her customer service skills at the front desk. When asked about what she learned from her placement, Alison replied "I have a new respect for the Counseling Department now that I understand the day-to-day activity and how busy they are. I also had the opportunity to work with some wonderfully supportive people including Jim Rubin, Terry Adriance, and all the counselors." Jim Rubin, Division Chair for the Counseling and Personal Development Division at PVCC, had only positive things to say about his experience with Creative Pathways. "The program offers the opportunity to get exposure to another area and build skills without interrupting normal business. I am very supportive of receiving or sending another employee on a Creative Pathways placement."

Immersing herself in special projects and a new environment was just what Alison needed to refresh and rejuvenate. She has returned to the Learning Support Center with a new attitude and a broader set of skills. "I now have more information to give to students, a greater understanding of their needs, and I can better serve them," says Alison. As far as advice for those considering the Creative Pathways program, here is what Alison has to offer, "Go for it! The whole process is so simple, fast and efficient. I had tremendous support from my director David Gerkin, as well as Diana Mitchell, and everyone I encountered in the process was professional and kind. Don't hesitate for a minute, it is a very worthwhile experience!"

Herminia Lopez - Lady Luck

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
-Thomas Jefferson

Herminia Lopez couldn't agree more. Since joining the District nearly ten years ago, she's been creating her own luck by recognizing the opportunities around her. She began working on her education soon after being hired and completed her AA Transfer degree in Social Work/Human Services in 1997. She then transferred to ASU West, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work with a minor in Ethnic Studies in 2002. In addition to her full-time duties as an Academic Advisor at GCC, she is on the Dean's Honors List, and is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Educational Leadership at NAU.

Herminia's ultimate goal is to coordinate a Multi-Cultural program within the District. In addition to her education, Herminia participated in the Women's Leadership Mentor group, working with Dr. Cheryl Crutcher to learn more about District Administration. When Herminia discussed her need for an internship as part of her coursework, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that Dr. Crutcher was a liaison for the ASU West Social Work program. Together they worked with, the Creative Pathways Coordinator, to create a Pathway that would meet her academic requirements while preparing her for an educational leadership position. "I wanted to gain knowledge of all Student Services departments and learn how Student Services interfaces with instruction and administrative services," Herminia said. "I'm also very interested in different management styles, since I'd like to work in Administration one day."

For two days each week, Herminia worked as a Student Life and Leadership intern at Phoenix College. Dr. Cheryl Crutcher, her Pathways supervisor, included her in a variety of managerial meetings, where Herminia learned more about the linkage between all the District's colleges. "Creative Pathways has been a valuable option for Herminia," said Dr. Crutcher. "It has allowed her to experience a new college, a new department, and to learn many new areas of student services." Herminia assisted the Adult Re-entry program with several projects and gave a presentation to the students regarding her own experiences as an adult re-entry student.

Herminia found Creative Pathways to be well worth the time and effort required to organize a good internship. "It was a valuable learning experience," she said. "And the best way to experience other positions within the District." Herminia recommends that employees maximize the benefits by creating their Pathway on a new campus. "Exposure to different campuses and styles is an opportunity for growth and vision," she said. "You have to experience this personally, especially if you plan to move up."

Herminia credits Creative Pathways with helping her achieve her goals while keeping her education and skills within the District. The District is growing a new manager, equipped with District-level experience and sensitivities. "By supporting our employees' professional development and career progression, Creative Pathways helps maintain consistent service with qualified employees," said Sue Olson, Herminia's supervisor at GCC.

Herminia would like to thank Sue Olson, her GCC supervisor, for supporting her Pathway experience. Recognition is certainly owed to Herminia's colleagues at GCC. "Her release was supported by the whole department," said Sue Olson. "Her colleagues willingly took on extra duties in order for her to be successful." Herminia is grateful to Creative Pathways for accommodating her unusual situation and creating a successful internship experience, and, to Dr. Cheryl Crutcher, her Pathways supervisor and mentor. "She was a great mentor who was very proactive and helped me a lot," said Herminia.

Bonnie Loss - Old Art in a New Way

Bonnie Loss is enhancing her passion for art history through Creative Pathways. An art humanities teacher at Glendale Community College, Bonnie enjoys learning about art history and sharing it with her students. Through her Creative Pathways placement, Bonnie attended a conference in Greece called Creativity and Madness: Psychological Studies of Art and Artists. Bonnie visited historical sites where artists, writers and composers created their work; and she attended workshops that examined the psychological side of art. "This experience provided a whole new and fresh way of looking at art. I enjoy discussing the psychological side of art with my students, not just art history. My students think it's fascinating."

The American Institute of Medical Education sponsored the two week conference. Bonnie, along with other teachers, physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists, attended the conference. They visited many key historical sites in Greece and Turkey such as; the Acropolis in Athens where the Parthenon is located, Delphi- the famous site of the Oracle, the Theatre of Epidaurous, Delos- the mythological birthplace of the Greek God Apollo, the cave on the Island of Patmos where Saint John wrote the Book of Revelation, and the beautiful Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

The group also visited Crete- the site of the Minoan Palace at Knossos and the new archeological dig on Satorini where the Minoan city of Thera was located. Archeologists found the city under a "mountain" of volcanic ash. "It's great to share this experience with my students. I brought back many photos, slides and artifacts that I use in class."

Bonnie has taught art history classes at Glendale Community College for 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History and a Master of Arts in Painting and Art Education. Bonnie enjoys painting in her spare time. She has exhibited paintings at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Denver Art Museum, Tucson Museum of Art and Elaine Horowich Gallery. "I enjoy expressing myself through painting."

Bonnie will share her Creative Pathways experience with employees through presentations at some of the colleges. "This experience has been extremely valuable to me. I believe people need new opportunities to renew and refresh themselves professionally and personally."

Connie Massie - Recstoriesving Opportunities

We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.
-- Lynn Hall, Where Have All the Tigers Gone?, 1989

Connie Massie knows all about becoming more clearly herself. For seventeen years, s he's been a Custodian I in Phoenix College's M & O department. She's loyal and dedicated but not at all stagnate. Described by Richard Hegge, Lead Custodian II, as a high energy, outstanding performer, Connie loves a good challenge. She launched her own home-based small business after taking upholstery classes at Rio Salado Community College and in time, began to crave new challenges. She knew she loved working with people, something her current position didn't include, and she wanted to experience a new department and new responsibilities. Arnold Guerra, Facilities Manager, agreed that Creative Pathways was a great place to start. "Everyone needs an opportunity to see what else they can accomplish," he believes, and with her supervisor's support, Connie was off and running.

"Through Creative Pathways, Connie was given the opportunity to expand her potential career development," said Richard Hegge. Connie set up a six month Creative Pathway with Phoenix College's Receiving Department, where Ginny Cummins, Property Control Technician, mentored her experience. Connie used the college's online receiving system to inventory each day's received packages, handling everything from multiple computer shipments to small office supply orders, then delivered the packages across campus. "It was great to meet so many new people," Connie said. "Everyone was so patient with me as I was learning my new job!"

And there were challenges. Like the time she received a laptop addressed to Phoenix College, but invoiced to a business in California. "It took me 45 minutes on the phone with Dell to straighten that out!" she laughs. Or receiving a shipment of twenty computers - one of which wasn't theirs. "Connie's happy-go-lucky attitude was a great asset at times like that," said Ginny Cummins. "It was really nice to have the extra help."

But it's all part of learning something new which, for Connie, was the whole point of Creative Pathways in the first place. Connie enjoyed her Creative Pathways experience so much that she'd now like to make a permanent move to Receiving. She recently applied for a position with South Mountain Community College's Receiving department and is hopeful for a good outcome. She continues to enhance her marketability by taking computer classes and pursuing new Receiving jobs throughout the Maricopa District.

"I really liked my Creative Pathways experience," Connie said. "So much so that I'm already helping other people to think about their own Pathways." Arnold Guerra agrees, "Creative Pathways is an excellent way for employees to chart their own future." Connie is grateful to her supervisors for their support of her professional growth, and to Ginny Cummins for mentoring her. "I'd also like to thank Dr. Patricia Honzay and the Creative Pathways staff for giving me the opportunity to learn something new and gain valuable job experience," she said. "I am really glad I did this."

Roger McKinney - Instructor and Students Learn from Each Other

Roger McKinney helped art students at Scottsdale Community College gain a different perspective on drawing and painting. Through the Creative Pathways Program, he was able to co-teach a beginning drawing class at SCC, with adjunct faculty member Gloria Gaddis. "Gloria and I had great rapport with each other and the students. They enjoyed more than one instructor's perspective and appreciated the additional individualized attention. I enjoyed sharing my art and personal style with the students."

Roger is Program Advisor for American Indian Programs at Scottsdale Community College. He has a Master of Fine Arts in Painting and enjoys painting in his spare time. His artwork has won numerous awards and honors. Roger has exhibited many of his paintings at museums and shows across the country. Two of his paintings are displayed at Scottsdale Community College. He also painted the murals inside of Los Dos Molinos Restaurant in Phoenix. "My love for teaching began when my tribe asked me to come home and teach all of the art classes at the tribal school for the Kickapoo Nation in Kansas. I gladly accepted and taught painting, ceramics, stained glass, drawing, pottery, as well as traditional Kickapoo art forms."

Roger has worked for the District four years and is very involved in the Indian community. "I want to be a successful role model for Native American students. My goal is to become a full-time art instructor at one of the Maricopa community colleges. Creative Pathways gave me valuable teaching experience that can help me reach my goal."

Frances S. Mateo & Maggie Escobedo-Carrasco - A Program for Success

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.
-- Joseph Campbell

Melinda Ornelas, the Program Coordinator for the Arizona Teacher Excellence Coalition (AZTEC) at Glendale Community College, knew what she was doing when she invited Creative Pathways participants into her program. "Our teacher shortage, the quality of our teachers, and our partnership with ASU West are all key areas of focus for the AZTEC program," said Melinda. The Coalition supports Education Majors through the first 2 years of their degree at GCC, and then it provides a smooth transition to ASU West for degree completion. As the Program Coordinator, Melinda found herself with only a few hours of work-study student support for the program each week. She knew she needed more help if she was going to recruit and support a growing number of participants. She also knew that Creative Pathways could serve as the vehicle to get her the support she needed and allow two employees to gain some valuable experience. Melinda proposed the opportunity to both Frances S. Mateo and Maggie Escobedo-Carrasco, and they both said a hearty yes to the adventure.

Frances S. Mateo is one of many Maricopa success stories. As a student at GCC, she began a work-study assignment in the Financial Aid Department in 1988. A Board-approved employee for the past 14 years, she is currently the Scholarship Coordinator at GCC. Much like Frances, Maggie Escobedo-Carrasco also started as a work-study student in 1980 in the Financial Aid Department. She is now an Administrative Assistant in the Multicultural Services Department, and she is working toward her degree in Education. Each with a passion for working with students, they began their placements with the hopes of gaining a better understanding of the complete Student Services experience.

Finding the atmosphere a quiet break from their hectic offices, Frances and Maggie had a chance to take in every aspect of the advisement process. They were each able to make one-on-one appointments for students, which was a benefit for both the students and the advisors-in-training. A great deal of time was also spent recruiting in the elementary and high school districts. Presentations were made at all Glendale Union High Schools as well as several Glendale elementary schools in an attempt to recruit instructional aids into the AZTEC program. This was the first time Melinda was able to launch an organized recruiting effort for the AZTEC program and the results were tremendous. Participation in the program grew to 226 new students from 178 the year prior. Frances and Maggie also took turns presenting to over 40 students each month at their orientation program. The AZTEC program was not the only beneficiary of these recruiting efforts. When asked what they gained from their experience, Maggie and Frances each enthusiastically replied, "Confidence." The AZTEC program also benefited from the knowledge and experience Frances brought with her from the Financial Aid Department. She was able to guide the AZTEC students through the application process for Student Financial Aid and toward potential scholarships. As a result, she has formed a lasting partnership with the program.

"These girls have done so much for this program, from assisting with advisement, recruiting, and in every aspect of the Student Development model; these girls have made a tremendous difference for this program," said Melinda. "As a Program Coordinator, I look forward to another opportunity to welcome another Creative Pathways participant who is as dedicated to student development as Frances and Maggie." When asked what she learned from her Creative Pathways placement Frances said, "Working with the AZTEC program provided me with a completely different aspect of Student Services and the student experience. I now have a broader perspective of Student Services and I have much more information to offer our students." Maggie learned, "The opportunity made me more familiar with the students and their degree programs. I now understand the critical times for advisement and the importance of making a smooth transition to the university. The hands-on experience helped me grow personally and professionally, and I would like to thank the students for their support and enthusiasm. I was not only an advisor, I felt like a mentor and a friend." When asked about the advice they could offer future Creative Pathways participants, Frances replied, "Do it! It's a great experience and I brought so much back with me." Maggie also encourages potential participants, "Do it today! Don't wait, and don't leave it for tomorrow."

Don Richardson - Speaking From the Heart

Dr. Don Richardson, English teacher at Phoenix College, participated at Arizona Braille and Talking Book Library. He recorded books on tape for blind and visually impaired individuals. Talking books are books on cassettes and discs for visually and physically handicapped persons. The collection of Braille, talking books, magazines, and equipment is loaned to individuals who cannot hold, handle, or read conventional printed matter due to visual or physical disabilities.

Carmen Rivenburg - GCC Employee Takes Control of Her Health & Career

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
-- Constitution of the World Health Organization

Carmen Rivenburg, Lead Data Processing Technician at Glendale Community College's High Technology Center, learned first-hand what health is all about. After traumatic car accident and a broken foot left her with chronic, unresolved pain, she found her overall health suffering. "Pain wears you down," she explains. "It takes a toll on your emotional health, which eventually affects your physical health." Unsatisfied with her results in conventional medicine, she took control of her situation by reading all she could about health and wellness. "I learned about the mind-body connection and how it affects health," she said. "Understanding this connection was critical to restoring my own health."

Her personal research soon became a passion, and Carmen's co-workers encouraged her to seek a career in Health and Wellness. But Carmen wanted to find a way to merge her twelve years of experience in Information Technology with her new interest in health and wellness. Esther Garcia, a Creative Pathways graduate, suggested that Carmen use the Creative Pathway program to explore her interests while helping GCC. Carmen approached Connie LaBuhn, Division Chair of GCC's Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Department (HPER), and together they brainstormed a real win-win situation. The HPER department owned TriFit 600, computer and software fitness assessment system that was currently underutilized. Carmen's IT skills were just what Connie needed to bring HPER into the 21st century.

After becoming proficient with the department's state-of-the-art technology, Carmen spent her six month Creative Pathway developing a thirty-minute Employee Health Awareness, Assessment, and Assistance (EHAAA) presentations for GCC employees. She is currently working with Joann Pell under the GCC Wellness Program to deliver this presentation across the GCC campus. After the presentation, employees can then schedule a free, individual one-hour session using the TriFit 600 to assess their flexibility, blood pressure, body composition, cardiovascular health, fitness and strength," Carmen explained. Information gained during the assessment is used to create customized exercise and meal-planning programs. Employees are also eligible for a free session with a personal trainer and nutritionist. In addition to the presentation, Carmen will be training the Fitness Center Faculty to use the Tri Fit 600 to evaluate the fitness needs of employees and students. Carmen believes that "improving your health begins as an inward change, which is eventually manifested in your outside appearance. It requires self-exploration, and it's revealed in how you take care of yourself." Her enthusiasm and expertise has added a new dimension to the GCC Fitness Center, giving more of GCC's students and employees the opportunity to improve their health through information and education.

She recently shared her experiences with a former student who commented, "Wow, you really are forging new pathways, aren't you?" Carmen wholeheartedly agrees, and recommends Creative Pathways to her colleagues within the District. "It's a wonderful way to explore yourself and your interests, and to find new ways to make contributions in the world," she said. Carmen extends her genuine appreciation to her supervisor, Sue Murry, Director of Instructional Computing at GCC's High Technology Center, Connie LaBuhn, Department Chair of GCC's HPER Department and to Caroline Perciful, Department Secretary. She also thanks the HPER faculty who supported and assisted her during her Creative Pathway.

Leona Spencer - Giving Back, Getting Ahead

Leona Spencer is climbing the career ladder by helping other people. Her goal is to help rehabilitate Native American substance abusers with traditional and time-honored healing methods. "Giving to other people makes me feel useful and close to my spirituality and to creation."

A custodian at Phoenix College , Leona is learning to help substance abusers through her Creative Pathways Program placement. Her part-time placement at the Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program helps her build on her communication skills and counseling techniques and , at the same time, accumulate volunteer hours to be applied to her requirements for state certification as a Chemical Dependency Counselor.

"My Creative Pathways experience has been extremely valuable; enhancing my classroom education by having practical application and having a one to one relationship with the chemical dependency counseling profession. I hope to use my degree and skills within Maricopa." In her spare time, Leona is working on her AAS Degree in Chemical Dependency at Rio Salado Community College.

Leona, a Native American, has worked for the District nine years and is involved in many organizations, serving as co-advisor for the Phoenix College Native American Student Association. "We network together locally and nationally regarding Indian affairs. Our Indian student population at Phoenix College is very active in fund raising, support of the community and honoring Indian graduates of the Maricopa Community College District."

Leona is also a member of the United Tribal Employee Council, a District employee group for Indian Employees. "We discuss the goals and roles of the District for Indian partnerships with students and the community and where we would like to be in the future."

Leona's Creative Pathways placement has helped to expand Leona's skills, increase her knowledge and involvement, and continue to serve the District in better ways. "I am grateful that the Maricopa Community College District offers many different ways employees of all occupations can participate in exploring employee development."

Lori Thorpe - Library Technician Helps Students Find More Than Books

Lori Thorpe is exploring career options at Maricopa through the Creative Pathways program. She is learning the duties of an Academic Advisor in Student Services at Rio Salado College. "I attend student advisement appointments with the Academic Advisors, learn about new degree programs, and assist in the development and evaluation of a new academic advising training program. I enjoy my current job as Library Technician at the District Office but I want to work directly with our students. When I help students I feel productive and fulfilled." Lori is working one day a week for six months with the Rio Academic Advisement team. "The Coordinator of Academic Advisement Kishia Brock, and Academic Advisors Gina Sandoval and Gidget Poler, have been very supportive of my Creative Pathways placement."

"Creative Pathways is a wonderful opportunity for employees because it provides a way to explore and develop untapped talent. It is also beneficial to our department as we have the chance to gain insight from a fresh perspective," adds Kishia Brock.

"My goal is to work as an Academic Advisor or with students in a related job within the Maricopa Community College District. My Creative Pathways experience has been extremely valuable, allowing me to learn hands-on, enhancing my knowledge of our community college district, and providing a challenge that helps me to reach my goals".

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