Four Cochise College students have been named to the 2018 All-Arizona Academic Team and will receive tuition waivers to complete their bachelor’s degrees at one of the state’s public universities.
On Thursday, March 1 Cody Jenkins, Angie Covarrubias, Alvaro Montoya and Stephen Uzzle were among 79 community college students from across the state to be awarded scholarships from the Arizona Board of Regents. The scholarships are part of the All-Arizona Academic Team program, which aims to point the best and brightest community college students toward enrollment at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona. Since the program began in the 1990s, more than 1,000 full-ride scholarships have been awarded to Arizona community college students.
Students nominated to the All-Arizona Academic Team are evaluated for academic performance and service to the college and the community. The nominations are reviewed first by business, civic, education and government leaders, then judged a second time by representatives of various federal agencies and education associations. They are ranked and placed accordingly on first, second and third academic teams. First Team students go on to compete for placement on the All-USA Academic Team, announced later in the spring in USA Today, co-sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa, the American Association of Community Colleges and USA Today.
Jenkins was placed on the All-Arizona First Team and Covarrubias was placed on the All-Arizona Second Team. Montoya and Uzzle were each named to the All-Arizona Third Team. In addition to tuition waivers, each of Cochise College’s All-Arizona scholars receive a cash scholarship from the Cochise College Foundation in the amount of $1000 for First Team, $750 for Second Team and $500 for Third Team.
Cochise College’s All-Arizona scholars:
Cody Jenkins of Sierra Vista is majoring in engineering and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering at Arizona State University and then “pursue a graduate degree in signal processing engineering to achieve his dream of creating medical devices to improve people’s longevity and quality of life.”
Jenkins’ most significant endeavor while attending Cochise College has been to participate in the Sensors and Signal Processing Research Experience for Undergraduates at Arizona State University.
The purpose of his REU was to “illustrate the fusion between hardware and software using machine learning algorithms with cell phone applications to reduce costs and improve access to healthcare.” The algorithm Jenkins developed detected 85 percent of risk factors for atherosclerosis and correctly detected any heartbeat arrhythmias. He then wrote a paper that was submitted to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which was later submitted for publication, and the results are currently being used to help reduce medical equipment costs.
Jenkins said, “I have expanded beyond my purely scientific academic endeavors by taking a liberal arts approach to my education and choosing to experience courses in different fields of study such as art and political science, and as a result my critical thinking and problem-solving skills have notably improved and my view of the world has been broadened.”
Angie Covarrubias of Douglas is majoring in engineering and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona to become a biomedical engineer and to create and innovate technology that could save lives or improve people’s health.
From a young age, Covarrubias felt that knowledge was an important way to learn about the world and become a productive citizen. Her goal is to use her education to make positive changes in the world. Earlier this year Covarrubias had an opportunity to do that when she participated in a college initiative called ‘Grab N’ Go.’ A student survey found that many students couldn’t afford healthy food and that could lead to poor performance in their classes. ‘Grab N’ Go’ provided healthy, easy-to-take food in various locations around campus that students could take before class or heading home. Covarrubias was tasked with working with instructors and students to donate food, checking the donation boxes, and distributing the collected food in the different locations. She also helped promote the program around campus.
“By participating in community service activities, I have learned to apply what I am learning in the classroom to the real world. I want to use my knowledge to create and innovate technology that could save lives or improve people’s health,” said Covarrubias.
Alvaro Montoya of Douglas is majoring in computer and information sciences and support services and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in cybersecurity, to develop himself as a system administrator and eventually work at a criminal investigation agency like Interpol.
As a Mexican student from the central valley of Mexico in the Bajio region, he has learned many things from the people around him. He saw how some people had sacrificed their way of living to keep getting income for the family. A significant endeavor for Montoya during his college experience was when his family decided to move to the United States from Mexico when his father accepted a new job opportunity. Education was always important to the family and Montoya was assured his education would continue after they moved.
“I knew the journey was not going to be easy, but I also knew that the best version of myself was about to start. I could have stayed in Mexico to finish school, but I would be away from my family. I was inspired by my father’s decision to leave his way of life to give his family a brighter future. I want to keep pursuing my goals and not give up as it is important for me to give back someday to honor the many sacrifices my family has made,” said Montoya.
Stephen Uzzle of Sierra Vista is majoring in history and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in ethnic, cultural, gender and group studies at the University of Arizona and become an archaeologist while continuing his education to obtain his doctorate and fulfill his passion for teaching to become a professor at a university.
Last summer, Uzzle was awarded a fellowship to attend the Upper Gila Preservation Archaeology Field Schools for the University of Arizona and Archaeology Southwest. The field research was focused on the Salado, a merged culture between the Kayenta people of the Four Corners region of the Southwest and Mogollon people from Southwestern New Mexico.
Uzzle said, “The experience inspired me to continue with an independent research project during the academic year on the Salado culture. This spring I will be attending the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Washington D.C. to present my research on the architecture and artifact disposal patterns at the Salado excavation site and what their culture reveals about 14th-century social interactions.”