STEAM Scholars Program returns to MCC in collaboration with community partners

MESA, Arizona – Sept 30, 2022 – The East Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (EVHCC) STEAM Scholars Program, a collaboration among the EVHCC, Mesa Community College and three local support partners, introduces incoming high school freshmen to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

Local partners included Mesa Public Schools (MPS), Arizona State University (ASU), META and National Bank of Arizona.

The EVHCC, which has hosted the annual event at MCC for several years, promotes the economic growth and empowerment of all business enterprises within the East Valley. Eighth-grade MPS students with B and C grades are selected to participate in the two-week, academic enrichment program during their summer break. “As a Chamber, our focus is to develop the future workforce of tomorrow, and to engage, identify and mentor our future leaders,” said Frankie Jo Rios, EVHCC president and CEO. “Participating students are provided opportunities to explore the multitudes of STEAM-oriented career opportunities.”

Eighteen MPS students participated in this year’s program which was funded by a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) STEM grant focused on increasing college enrollment, retention and completion rates of Hispanic and lower-income students pursuing degrees in STEM fields.

“One of our goals is to partner with community organizations to offer early college access opportunities to K-12 students,” said MCC Early College Programs Interim Manager Monica Margaillan. “MCC has partnered with the EVHCC on the STEAM summer program for more than a decade. The program directly corresponds with MCC’s vision to inspire, ensure access, and empower action, by generating awareness of and access to higher education.”

MCC students, coached by Education Studies faculty member Andrea Brownlee, served as mentors for the STEAM Scholars, facilitating daily lessons Topics and activities offered to the scholars and taught by MCC faculty included: dissecting cephalopods (a type of mollusk) with Laboratory Technician Vincent Gorge; visiting the MCC Planetarium with Planetarium Coordinator James Enos; learning to perform animal CPR and first aid with Program Director-Veterinary Technology Kimberly Focht, D.V.M.; discovering robotics with Automated Industrial Technology Instructor Brian Kohlenber; and practicing computer science applications with Dual Enrollment Instructor (in the Center for Teaching & Learning) Eric Perez.

STEAM Scholars also toured Dignity Health, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Empire Caterpillar and the ASU Polytechnic campus where they manned flight simulators for training aviation students in take-offs, landings and other flight maneuvers. Students also spent one night in ASU dorms for a true college experience.

In a post-program evaluation, Margaillan reported that 25% of the STEAM Scholars indicated they are likely to attend a college or university after high school graduation. Nearly 19% said they are likely to pursue a degree in STEM.

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

The East Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (EVHCC) promotes economic growth and empowerment of all business enterprises within the East Valley Region of metropolitan Phoenix. Learn more at

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for university transfer, career and technical programs, civic engagement, service-learning and innovative approaches to education. On average MCC students provide 23,000 hours of community service annually. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 25,400 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations through a combination of modalities. MCC is transforming how it champions student success through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution with nearly 50% of its students being the first in their families to attend college. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges; its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes as well as out-of-state tribes. The diverse student body includes hundreds of international students from around the world. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to attain their goals. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

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

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Publication Date: 
Friday, September 30, 2022