Location, affordability and having the classes she wanted were among the main reasons Maigon Caviness, 39, chose to attend Mesa Community College nearly four years ago. Supportive faculty and staff kept her on track to complete her Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC) program in spring 2021 and walk at graduation spring 2023, receiving her Associate of Applied Science in Exercise Science: Health, Fitness and Sports Performance.
“My parents always said I had a heart of gold and I needed a career where I could help others,” Maigon said. “Since I was 10 years old, I volunteered at Hospice of the Valley because both my parents worked there.”
Exercise science has been a part of her life for the past eight years as she participated in body building competitions. Raising her young son as a single parent, Maigon would drop him off at school and then ride her bicycle to MCC and then to the gym as part of her training regime. She had a few college credits from taking a few classes at Scottsdale Community College so she was able to complete the AGEC core college courses and earn her exercise science degree in less than three years.
Because she was contemplating possible career paths, she set a goal to be educated in as many different fields in which she had interests. Maigon added it was ideal to have the books, curriculum and knowledgeable professors to guide her, especially in the community college’s small class sizes. She credits the way the professors taught with enabling her to ace biology and math courses that in high school she struggled with.
She said she loved the science labs and was so disappointed when the pandemic prevented coming to campus. But the professor created individual lab kits to take home and she and her son got to have the fun of doing the experiments together.
“A lot of the professors I had would say, ‘Let me know if you need help or have questions,’ and I am still in touch with many of them, networking and learning from their depths of experiences. I would not have been able to earn my degrees if I hadn’t been able to take classes online with several professors and staff working to help me get the courses required and fit them into my work schedules.”
As part of her degree program, Maigon has been a personal trainer to individuals using MCC’s state-of-the-art fitness center and working with seven clients during her internship at EOS Fitness. She is still in touch with a number of those she trained, offering tips, advice and encouragement for them to adopt healthier lifestyles.
Maigon also earned a Certificate of Completion in Personal Training from MCC and has been studying with other students to take the National Strength and Conditioning Association certification exam for professional strength and conditioning trainers.
She is working at Odyssey Services now as an Electronic Visit Verification Maintenance Assistant to help family members maintain their CPR and first aid certifications in order to home care children who were born with developmental disabilities.
Maigon says she is far from finished with learning at MCC. As part of body building competitions, the outfits are important and can be very pricey. She always made her own outfits as well as Halloween and Comicon costumes. She is going for her third degree, this time in Costume Design.