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Student Ambassadors

Student Ambassadors represent Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) in all community and college outreach activities and serve as guides for new students, who are making the transition from their previous environment to the diverse academic, intellectual and social culture of Paradise Valley Community College. If you are interested in becoming a Student Ambassador download the Student Ambassadors application.


Name: Carolyne Heredia

Major: Nursing
Where are you from/hometown: San Diego
High School graduated from: AAEC-PV
Co-curricular activities you were involved in: Track and Field and the Christian Association
Favorite movie: About time
Favorite sport: Track
Favorite food: Japanese
What do you like to do during your free time: Travel, read.
Favorite music: country, pop, soul
Favorite candy: Gummy bears, chocolate
What foreign country would you like to visit and why: Germany because I'm interested in learning about WWII and all its events. Germany has a lot of historic sites related to the war.
Favorite quote: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me; Philippians 4:13
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you:
My boyfriend, a bible, and water.
Most important piece of advice for new student:  Don't be afraid to communicate with your instructors. Also, use the resources, the Learning Support Center is a great place to get help from tutors and do homework. 


Merna SyawishName: Merna Syawish
Major (or career direction): Political Science
Where are you from/Hometown: Ankawa, Iraq
High School graduated from: Gilbert High School
Favorite Movie: Titanic
Favorite Sport: Soccer
Favorite Food: Italian/Seafood/Mexican/Greek
What do you like to do during your free time: Cook, Hike, Workout, Sing
Favorite Music: Pop Rock, House, Classic, Arabic, & R&B
Favorite Candy: Chocolate! (Lindt Lindor Caramel Truffles)
What foreign country would you like to visit and why: The next country I am planning to visit is Italy for the beautiful history, architecture, and food.  
Favorite Quote: "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none." - William Shakespeare
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you? My Bible, Survival kit, Adam Levine (to sing to me)
Most important piece of advice for new students: Take Risks!!! Be spontaneous, do not be afraid to meet new people, join clubs and participate as much as you can. If you win, you will be happy and if you lose, you will be wise. That is what the college experience is all about!


Name: Kheilla Marie Ndayikeza
Major(or career direction): Communication
Where are you from/Hometown: Burundi
Co-curricular activities you are/were involved: I am Miss Burundi 2010, Girl Scout and singer gospel.
Favorite Movie: Titanic
Favorite sport: Soccer
Favorite Food: Sea food
What do you like to do during your free time? Reading, listening to music, singing or chatting with my friends or relatives.
Favorite Music: Gospel Music
Favorite Candy: Toblerone
What foreign country would you like to visit and why: The Bahamas because I love the place
Favorite Quote: Try to leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn come to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.  "Be Prepared" in this way, to live happy and to die happy (Robert Baden Powell).
Most important piece of advice for new students: College is the key of success! Be positive, stay with an open mind, use your talents and shine bright like a diamond.


Adam MakonnenName: Adam Makonnen
Major (or career direction): Medical (endocrinologist)
Where are you from/Hometown: Phoenix
High School graduated from: Pinnacle High School 
Co-curricular activities you are involved in? Playing basketball, working out, playing Xbox, & watching sports. 
Favorite Movie: Titanic, Love & Basketball, and Alpha Dog. If I have to pick one, Love and Basketball. 
Favorite Sport: Basketball
Favorite Food: Lasagna
What do you like to do during your free time? I enjoy playing basketball, working out, going to the movies, and going on hikes. 
Favorite Music: J.Cole 
Favorite Candy: Starbursts
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? Ethiopia, because it is my home country
Favorite Quote: "You can't concern yourself with standards when your chasing greatness"- Bei Maejor 
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you? The 3 things I would take would be my family, my dog, and a tv. 


Jerry RaburnName: Jerry Raburn
Major (or career direction): Public Policy, History, Law
Where are you from/Hometown: Born overseas in Bangkok, Thailand and raised in Orange County, Southern California
High School graduated from: Marina High School in Huntington Beach
Co-curricular activities you are involved in? Volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul, Various political rallies and town halls.
Favorite Movie: Billy Elliot
Favorite Sport: Water Polo
Favorite Food: Thai Food
What do you like to do during your free time? Movies, bars, theatre, musical performance, listening to music, swimming, read periodicals
Favorite Music: Everything except heavy metal.  I love hip hop and country dance music.
Favorite Candy: Mochas from See’s Candies
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? Turkey because there is a lot of history and archaeological sites.
Favorite Quote: "Let honor be to us as strong an obligation as necessity is to others"- Finny the Elder
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you?  A cruise ship, water, and a GPS
Most important piece of advice for new students: Keep track of your academic progress, follow your syllabus, and participate in class.


Amanda NolanName: Amanda Nolan
Major (or career direction): I plan to be a Physical Therapist but I am also majoring in Mathematics.
Where are you from/Hometown: I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and have lived here all my life.
High School graduated from: I have been homeschooled for all of my schooling minus college.
Co-curricular activities you are involved in? I run a charity yard sale through the Valley Home Educators home school group. I also volunteer at Horses Help, a therapeutic riding center for special needs children and adults.
Favorite Movie: The Disney movie Mulan
Favorite Sport: Although I don’t play any sports I like swimming because my sister is a competitive swimmer.
Favorite Food: warm brownies with ice cream and raspberries.
What do you like to do during your free time? Hang out with friends, work with horses, swim or bead.
Favorite Music: I like all music except heavy metal and rap.
Favorite Candy: Reese’s Pieces!
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? I would like to visit Ireland because of its green landscape and because my ancestors were from Ireland.
Favorite Quote: “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted” -Albert Einstein
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you? I love to read so I’d take books, water, and for company I’d bring my dog.
Most important piece of advice for new students: Use your resources and take full advantage of what PVCC has to offer. The library and tutoring centers are great places to do homework at and the professors are more than happy to talk to you during office hours.


Ian JeffName: Ian Jeffs
Major: Undecided, but leaning towards something in the history or international studies field(s).
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
High School graduated from: Shadow Mountain High School
Co-curricular activities you are involved in: Campus Job (Student Ambassador)
Favorite Movie: Right now, it is Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Favorite Sport: Soccer
Favorite Food:I like most food, but my fav. types have to be Mexican, Italian and Indian cuisine.
What do you like to do with your free time? Hang-out with friends, movies, read, swim (in the summer).
Favorite Music: Folk-rock, Folk, Alternative, Alternative-rock, EuroPop, Electronic (I like a lot of different types of music).
Favorite Candy: Cadbury’s
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? I have a few, but the main ones are Spain and Italy because I want to experience and see the culture, people, food, history, languages and places in those nations.
Favorite Quote: “Be curious, not judgmental.” -Walt Whitman (American Poet).
If you were on a deserted Island, what three things would you take with you? I would bring with me: a small plane to get off the island, fuel for the plane and navigating equipment.
Most important piece of advice for new students: Don’t be afraid to branch out and experience new things and people! You won’t regret it


Megan FritzName:Megan Fritz
Major (or career direction):Criminology (Detective)
Where are you from/Hometown: Scottsdale
High School graduated from: Pinnacle High
Co-curricular activities you are involved in?
         Ex-Lacrosse player and member of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society at PVCC
Favorite Movie:Transformer movies and/or anything suspenseful
Favorite Sport:To Play: Lacrosse. To Watch: Basketball.
Favorite Food:Chinese!!
What do you like to do during your free time?
         Play lacrosse, horseback ride, kayaking, and hanging out with friends
Favorite Music:Country and Eminem!
Favorite Candy:Twix, Kit Kat, and anything sour
What foreign country would you like to visit and why?
         Spain! I strive to become bilingual someday and hope to study abroad!
Favorite Quote:         “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” –Hilary Cooper
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you?     My cat, my iPod for music, and my mom
Most important piece of advice for new students:
         Don’t stress, and to take one day at a time!


Name: Eli Leiber
Major: Mechanical Engineering
High School I graduated from: Boulder Creek High School
Co-curricular Activities: None...yet!
Favorite Movie: Whatever movie gives me the most entertainment!
Favorite Sport: College Football
What do you like to do on your free time: Gaming, working on my 2001 Kia Sportage, hanging out with my friends, etc.
Favorite Music: That ranges from bands like Metallica, to the peaceful Beatles or Billy
Joel, to the classic 90's rap like Dr. Dre or 2Pac
Favorite Candy: Hershey's (bar none!)
What foreign country would you visit and why: Honestly, I'd love to go anywhere and everywhere. However, if I had to pick one, I'd go to Israel; just to experience the adventure of being in one of the most controversial countries all over again
Favorite Quote: "I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage from Mythbusters
If you were on a deserted Island, what three things would you take with you: A rifle with stockpiles of ammo, water, and an axe
Most important piece of advice for new students: Follow your heart's desire and do what YOU want to do. Don't let everyone else's commentary get TOO much say in your affairs. If you do this opportunities open up that are just ripe for the taking, new allies emerge, and I guarantee you'll have the most amazing time of your life (as it does for me personally)


Neishma Shakyra GerenaName: Neishma Shakyra Gerena
Major: Forensics
Where are you from/Hometown: Puerto Rico
High School graduated from: Paradise Valley High School
Co-curricular activities involved in: dance,singing
Favorite Movie: Titanic
Favorite Sport:Volleyball
What do you like to do during your free time?Listen to music, read, sing
Favorite music: Any, just not country
Favorite candy: any that my braces will allow me to eat
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? France, it is so beautiful and I would like to know about another culture.
Favorite quote: “live everyday as if it were your last”
If you were on a deserted island, what are three things you would take with you?Food,Water,and a Boat.
Most important piece of advice for new students: become a part of the campus in any way you feel comfortable doing so.


Name: Anastasia Ovchinnikova
Major: Associates in Science
Hometown: Moscow, Russia
High School graduated from: Arizona School for the Arts
Favorite movie: Heartbreakers
Favorite sport: tennis & basketball
Favorite food: pasta
What do i like doing in my free time: spend time with family and friends, watch movies, be outdoors
Favorite candy: Twix
What foreign country would you visit and why? All over Europe-such beautiful places full of rich culture, I would also like to experience Brazil, more specifically Rio De Janeiro during the festivals
Most important advice for new students: Just be you. This isn’t high school- there are no cliques. Just do what you love with happiness and passion and your true friends will find you.


Tanner WagnerName: Tanner Wagner
Major (or career direction): Kinesiology
Where are you from/Hometown: Phoenix
High School graduated from: Horizon
Co-curricular activities you are involved in?
Diversity Incorporated
Favorite Movie: Inception, Never Back Down
Favorite Sport: Basketball, Football
Favorite Food: Wings
What do you like to do during your free time?
Play Basketball, Hang with friends
Favorite Music: I’ll listen to really any type of music.
Favorite Candy: Kit-Kat
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? Italy because I also work for an Italian olive oil company and Italy has very interesting dynamics to it.
Favorite Quote: “To the world you may be only one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you? Fishing pole, Seeds, A radio
Most important piece of advice for new students: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, Faculty and Students are here to help.


Name: Allison Olshove
Major (or career direction): Pre-Medicine
Where are you from/Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
High School graduated from: Shadow Mountain High School
Co-curricular activities you are involved in? Other than being one of the new
Student Ambassadors, I have participated in activities within Student Life and am
working on getting further involved on campus. I also enroll in a community band class
every spring.
Favorite Movie: The Butterfly Effect
Favorite Sport: It is not always considered a sport, but Marching Band!
Favorite Food: I love food. I like all assorted cultures/types but have not developed a
taste for seafood yet.
What do you like to do during your free time? I like to do projects for the home
or something that can just occupy my mind and soul. I am musically inclined so I love to sing and dance or play my flute. I do yoga, shop, and I hang out with my friends or family!
Favorite Music: I appreciate all types but specifically anything I can sing or move to.
Favorite Candy: Red Vines
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? I am intrigued with the history involving the Holocaust so I would love to visit Auschwitz in Poland (also because I am Polish), and Greece because their culture, architecture, and history fascinate me.
Favorite Quote: - “You will reap what you sow” - “Live and let live”
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you? I think I would bring some sort of medicine to take care of wounds, another human, and a big knife.
Most important piece of advice for new students: Take advantage of everything there is here. For example, the people- ask all questions because odds are there isn’t one that someone can’t answer, and build those connections and support systems, the services, like the fantastic library and tutoring center we have (tutoring just might save your life), as well as all of the different extra-curricular clubs and activities. So basically, get involved and maximize your time here!


Megan Brindley Name: Megan Brindley
Major (or career direction): Social Work/ Social Worker
Where are you from/Hometown: Soldotna, Alaska
High School graduated from: N/A
Co-curricular activities you are involved in? Phi Theta Kappa and Peer Mentoring
Favorite Movie: McLintock, Pan’s Labyrinth, Gone with the Wind, and Serenity
Favorite Sport: Soccer (Futball)
Favorite Food: Green apples
What do you like to do during your free time? Error 404-freetime not found
Favorite Music: Various Jazz and Blues
Favorite Candy: Basically anything coated in toffee or salted caramel
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? Germany, to visit family
Favorite Quote: "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well. If it is worth having, it is worth waiting for. If it is worth attaining, it is worth fighting for. If it is worth experiencing, it is worth putting aside time for." - Jack London
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you? A fishing rod, Bait, A Book (a big one, probably the unabridged version of Les Miserables)
Most important piece of advice for new students: No matter where you are in life, no matter what situation you are, the only limitations you have on success, are those you give yourself


Nathan Name: Nathan
Major: Applied Computer Science
Where are you from/Hometown: Phoenix
High School graduated from: Thunderbird High School
Co-curricular activities you are involved in?
None at the moment.
Favorite Movie: Léon: The Professional
Favorite Sport: Boxing
Favorite Food: Steak, beef.
What do you like to do during your free time?
Write, fix & build computers, PC gaming, Netflix binge.
Favorite Music: 1960’s - 1990’s rock & pop, movie OSTs, electronica
Favorite Candy: Smarties, Runts
What foreign country would you like to visit and why?
I would like to visit Vatican City, for the purposes of examining faith and history.
Favorite Quote: It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and
resolute courage that we move on to better things. – Theodore Roosevelt
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you?
Three people who each would be carrying the compliment of things needed to make the island habitable and into a productive settlement.
Most important piece of advice for new students: Communicate; it is the backbone of making it as a student.


Name: Ashley Goddard
Major (or career direction): Film and Media, screenwriting, higher education
Where are you from/Hometown: Kalispell, MT
High School graduated from: GED
Co-curricular activities you are involved in? Peer Mentoring
Favorite Movie: Oh, so many but right now I’d say Silver Linings Playbook is my favorite.
Favorite Sport: I like watching basketball and football
Favorite Food: Too many to name one! But right now, Sushi!
What do you like to do during your free time? I love watching movies, writing, reading, listening to music.
Favorite Music: All music but mainly anything I can sing to.
Favorite Candy: Gummy Bears
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? All of them! More
recently I’ve have an interest in Ireland
Favorite Quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission”
(Eleanor Roosevelt) AND “If you don’t like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree.”
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you?
A good book, a journal and writing utensil, and another human
Most important piece of advice for new students:
Find what you’re passionate about and follow that passion, let it drive you and include that passion in everything you do.


Anthony HaddadName: Anthony Haddad
Major (or career direction): Undecided
Where are you from/Hometown: Phoenix
High School graduated from: Deer Valley High School
Co-curricular activities you are involved in? Honors Program
Favorite Movie: Coach Carter
Favorite Sport: Basketball
Favorite Food: Pizza and Wings
What do you like to do during your free time?
Play basketball, lift, and hangout with friends and family
Favorite Music: Rap, hip hop
Favorite Candy: Kazoozels or mini lemon heads
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? Jordan, because my parents were born there
Favorite Quote: “Confidence is a stain they can’t wipe off.” - Lil Wayne
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you? A beautiful woman , a cooler full of food, and shoes
Most important piece of advice for new students: Work hard, Study, and attend class


Mitch WoodName: Mitch Wood
Major (or career direction): Law
Where are you from/Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
High School graduated from: Deer Valley High School
Co-curricular activities you are involved in? Student Ambassador, Honor’s
program, Peer Mentor
Favorite Movie: Inception
Favorite Sport: Baseball
Favorite Food: Shrimp
What do you like to do during your free time? Gym; be active
Favorite Music: Everyday life music
Favorite Candy: Kazoozoles
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? I would like to visit as
many as possible to become exposed to all different types of cultures.
Favorite Quote: “Only a life lived for others is worth living.” – Albert Einstein
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you? Boat, flint, water
Most important piece of advice for new students: Do what you have to do to not make excuses down the road.


Bethlehem Name: Bethlehem Makonnen
Major (or career direction): Dermatology
Where are you from/Hometown: Chandler, Arizona
High school graduated from: Pinnacle High school
Co-curricular activities you are involved in? Nurses of America community service club
Favorite movie: Coach Carter
Favorite sport: Basketball
Favorite food: All sorts of salads!
What do you like to do during your free time? Run, engage in community service activities, travel, shop, listen to music and spend time with family and friends.
Favorite music: Hip hop
Favorite candy: Reeses
What foreign country would you like to visit and why? I would love to go back to the motherland, Ethiopia, which is where my family is initially from.
Favorite quote: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us."
If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you take with you? My family, cell phone, and a bikini
Most important piece of advice for new students: Stay focused, don't slack and try your best. Hard work truly pays off

Contact Us

E-mail your questions to : ask.us@pvmail.maricopa.edu

Student Development
Paradise Valley Community College
602-787-7170