With nearly 100,000 students, Maricopa County Community College District understands its worth and isn’t afraid to reshape the traditional narrative of higher education.
To prove it, MCCCD is the nation’s first community college system to be featured on “The College Tour,” an Amazon Prime Video series that offers prospective students an inside look at what campus life is truly like at some of the nation’s largest universities, according to a press release.
The district, with ten individually accredited colleges throughout the greater Phoenix area, will offer four-year degrees in fall 2023, pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission, and begin competing with some of the nation’s most established universities.
Even more important, MCCCD is now the first institution in the show’s history to develop and produce a fully dedicated Spanish-language episode that reflects the system’s diverse student population, the press release stated.
MCCCD’s English episode kicks off Season 5 of “The College Tour” and can be viewed across a number of streaming platforms, including the district’s dedicated landing page, The College Tour’s website and mobile app, IMDb TV, and Amazon’s premium free streaming service.
Additionally, the Spanish-language episode can be found on the district’s website, with a forthcoming Amazon Prime release currently in the works, the release explained.
Each of MCCCD’s twenty unique student segments showcase all the system has to offer including affordability, re-careering, adult learners, dual enrollment, and state-of-the-art programs — told through the eyes of each student.
“We are taking a bold step forward to join the ranks of top-tier, four-year universities in offering premium bachelor’s degrees in some of the most highly-sought after industries,” MCCCD’s interim chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales stated in the release.
“It is important that we leverage new communication channels like this to increase accessibility to students, and meet them where they are when searching for a high-caliber education," Gonzales detailed. "This amplifies our student’s message, increases awareness of our capabilities, and demonstrates the System’s commitment to meeting the lifelong learning needs of the students and communities we serve.”
The episode highlights the fact that with more than 40 college and university partnerships and over 600 degree and certificate programs, students have plenty of options to choose from based on their goals and whether they want to transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree, learn new career skills or enter the workforce right away.
“The story of the Maricopa Community Colleges is so important, and unlike anything we’ve ever created before,” stated executive producer and host, Alex Boylan. “We live in a media-driven world, where diverse stories matter, so to be able to capture the essence of ten colleges that are part of one of the largest community college systems in the nation is really special and I can’t wait for the audience to see it.”
Boylan takes viewers on a road trip from one end of the Valley to the other to listen to the amazing and diverse stories of MCCCD students, such as engineering student William Boutin, a re-careering student and former race car engineer, who attends Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
Boutin stated in the release, “One of my engineering professors works full-time for an aerospace company and still takes the time to teach at CGCC. This type of connection is critical because students can learn real-world problems that current industry engineers are facing.”
The English episode features two Scottsdale Community College students.
The first, Amaya Ellis, is a health and exercise science major who fell in love with the campus during a tour, according to the release. Thanks to the flexible learning modalities, she was able to take classes online and utilize in-person resources that allow her to work at her own pace while spending time with the 27 animals she cares for.
Curtis Wilmer, the other student from SCC and a psychology major, is a re-careering student who is pursuing a career as a clinical psychologist. He found passionate faculty, interesting classes and affordable tuition at SCC. Wilmer loved the sense of community and encouragement offered by the professors and staff, the release stated.
Additionally, two students from Paradise Valley Community College were also included in the episode: Jeremiah Horton and Jennifer Chaudhry.
Horton, a dental hygiene major, is a first-generation student who relocated from Mississippi and considers PVCC his home away from home. As an African American and a part of the LGBTQ+ community, he always felt welcomed on campus and was part of the college’s film club and emerging leaders club.
Chaudhry is a nursing major who went back to college to re-career. The release explained that when her first child was born with a cleft palate, she found her calling and set out to work in a NICU, but didn’t have the opportunity until she found PVCC, an affordable college with an online curriculum.
Visit https://www.maricopa.edu/college-tour to hear the students’ stories and get a behind-the-scenes look at how this episode came together. Learn more about the new four-year degrees that they hope to offer as soon as fall of 2023.