Four MCC students named to All-Arizona Academic First Team

Recognized for academic achievement and distinguished leadership

MESA, Arizona – Feb. 20, 2019 – Four high-achieving Mesa Community College students will be celebrated for their outstanding academic achievements and distinguished leadership at the 2019 All-Arizona Academic Team Recognition Ceremony on Feb. 27 (12:30-2:30 p.m.) at the East Valley Institute of Technology, 1601 West Main Street, Mesa.

All-Arizona students demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society. Each student is working toward an associate’s degree, maintains a GPA of 3.5 or higher (4.0 scale) and is involved in campus and community volunteerism.

Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges and academic programs; the American Association of Community Colleges; Arizona Community Colleges; the Arizona Board of Regents and the Follett Higher Education Group help these exceptional students reach their educational goals by awarding scholarships and issuing tuition waivers for Arizona’s three state universities: Arizona State University (ASU), University of Arizona (UA) and Northern Arizona University (NAU).

Judging consists of three rounds. First-round judges are local business, civic, education and government leaders. The second and third rounds take place in Washington, D.C. by representatives from federal agencies and national education associations. Scores from the national competition determine state team rankings. First Team members each receive a $1,000 scholarship, Second Team members a $750 scholarship and Third Team members a $500 scholarship.

This year all four MCC honorees were named to the All-Arizona First Team: (All from Mesa) Victoria Johnson, Zachary Zapata, Christopher Hunt and Rachael Mangini. 

Mesa Community College, Red Mountain Campus
Victoria Johnson and Zachary Zapata
Victoria Johnson and  Zachary Zapata

Johnson plans to transfer to ASU to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing and hopes to pursue to a career as a nurse practitioner. With a strong love of learning, she plans to continue her education, pursuing advanced nursing degrees in pediatrics or neurology.

Zapata will be transferring to ASU where, inspired by losing his father early in life to an illness, he will pursue a degree in preventative health care focusing on dentistry. His goal is to be a patient-centered practitioner and volunteer his skills to those in need.  

Mesa Community College, Southern and Dobson Campus
Christopher Hunt and Rachael Mangini
Christopher Hunt and Rachael Mangini

Hunt will be transferring to NAU with a goal to initially teach elementary school students and to eventually expand responsibilities by becoming a principal, serving on a school board or being a superintendent.

Mangini plans to transfer to NAU and intern at a nonprofit organization to gain experience in the field. Her goal is to run a nonprofit committed to improving the lives of lower socio-economic communities.

The ceremony celebrates the outstanding academic achievements, community service and distinguished leadership of students enrolled in Arizona’s community colleges.

Phi Theta Kappa President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner; and Dr. Colleen Smith, president of Coconino Community College, will address attendees prior to the ceremony, which will be emceed by Grant Woods, attorney at law and former Arizona attorney general.   

Dr. Larry Penley, chair-elect of the Arizona Board of Regents, is the guest speaker and will bestow tuition waivers on honorees during the ceremony.

Central Arizona College alumnus and prior PTK member, Nathanial Bush, is the keynote speaker. Bush is one semester away from earning his Master of Social Work from ASU where he earned a Bachelor of Social Work. He will share his personal experiences that drive his passion for helping others find their way.

All-Arizona Academic Team members are eligible to be selected as one of 20 to be named to the All-USA Community College Academic Team, receiving an additional $5,000 scholarship, medallion, obelisk and a certificate during the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Annual Convention, April 13-16 in Orlando, Florida.

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Fourteen Maricopa Community Colleges students were named to the 2019 All-Arizona Academic First Team, eight to the Second Team and four to the Third Team. Learn more at

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

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized by the Aspen Institute as one of the top 150 community colleges in the United States 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 and at its two campuses 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 with a diverse student body, including more than 400 international students representing over 60 countries, who enrich campus learning experiences. 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


Source Details

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, February 20, 2019