Branded guitar supports STEM education

MESA, Arizona – May 16, 2019 – Mesa Community College students have built their first custom-branded electric guitar for a corporate client.

Space Age Auto Paint Store in Mesa receives the first MCC-produced, custom-branded guitar, handcrafted by MCC students Jason Shepard of Prescott Valley and Veryl Law of Mesa with assistance from Palmerino Mazzucco, MCC faculty instructor for the guitar build class. Space Age is a paint supplier where many students  purchase supplies needed for their guitar creations.

The idea of seeking a business donation was sparked when MCC students and faculty determined additional tools were needed to create showroom quality guitars. In exchange for a $400 donation, a group of up to three students build the guitar during class. The donation covers the $225-$250 cost of the guitar starter kit and required supplies. Remaining funds help offset the expense of purchasing equipment, such as a professional buffer the students use to achieve a custom finish on the instrument.

Corporate donations to the program provide students with a hands-on project and the local business with a truly custom creation, incorporating elements of the business’s brand. MCC hopes interest in the program grows, allowing students to expand their STEM knowledge while building three or four custom guitars each semester.

“We hope the Space Age Paint corporate guitar is the first of many creative ways local businesses help support students and aid in the purchasing of tools and equipment needed to apply STEM education in real world applications,” says Mazzucco,

The class is an elective offered through the MCC Applied Sciences and Technology Department to introduce students to the concepts of electronics through guitar building. The idea for the class began with a federal grant to bring STEM to the classroom and started at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, with a train-the-teacher program. MCC brought the class to its Southern and Dobson campus in 2015.

“The class is very popular and is always full,” says Mazzucco. “Making guitars teaches the concepts of electricity and electronics. Students utilize physics, math and chemistry in hands-on training and students are encouraged to put what is learned into practice.”

MCC offers two guitar build classes each fall and spring semester. Those participating in the class finish the semester with their own custom-built guitar. Students include MCC undergraduates as well as members from the community, including some retirees who take advantage of the MCC Senior Discount Tuition Plan, which provides Maricopa County residents who are 65 and older a 50 percent discount off the regular course fee.

Mazzucco shares his STEM skill building through guitar making expertise this summer during two, week-long, train-the-teacher programs for junior high and high school instructors in Washington and Montana.

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Media Contact: Dawn Zimmer,, 480-461-7892

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. The college serves as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs online, at its two campuses, the Mesa Downtown Center and additional locations. Through the implementation of Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services, MCC is transforming ways it champions student success; college completion, university transfer and career attainment for all students. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution. The diverse student body includes more than 400 international students representing over 60 countries. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training to empower MCC students to compete locally and globally. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, MCC is one of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Learn more at

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Thursday, May 16, 2019