Student success starts at Pima, can take you anywhere
Growing up in an impoverished neighborhood in Barranquilla, Colombia, Francy Luna Diaz excelled in school and dreamed of attending college.
When her mother, a single parent just able to provide for the basic needs of her three children, married and moved the family to the United States, Luna got a cold dose of reality. In the land of plenty, she found college was expensive while resources for immigrants to attend school were few.
But where there’s a will … Well, let’s let Luna say it.
“I didn’t really see it as possible… but if you work hard and are invested and passionate in what you’re doing, you will find a way,” she said.
In 2016, Luna graduated from Pima Community College with an Associate of Liberal Arts with an Honors Certificate and a Certificate in Translation and Interpretation Studies. Today she is enrolled at The University of Arizona, studying for a bachelor’s degree with a double major in Political science and Law and a minor in Gender and Women Studies. She wants to continue toward a doctor of law and has a vision of working in U.S. foreign relations with Colombia, and ultimately becoming an ambassador to her native country.
Luna credits her boyfriend’s mother with the generous gift of paying for Luna’s first semester at Pima, at out-of-state rates. From there on, Luna was able to earn scholarships based on grades, leadership activities, community service and minority status.
Starting her educational journey at Pima couldn’t have turned out better, Luna said. She was still learning English and benefitted from both the small class size and personal attention from instructors.
“The experience is so much different when you get to know the teacher, and the teacher gets to know you beyond the papers you turn in or your test results and can judge your knowledge based on your participation in class and interaction with other students,” Luna said, noting, “I’m in two classes here (UA) with 550 students each.”
Luna also attributes her success as a college student at Pima and her easy transition to the UA to the time she spent in Pima’s honors programs and club. She met other students who were smart and interested in improving themselves through community service and developing their leadership skills.
“It’s important to surround yourself with people who have high standards for themselves. It makes you work harder and push yourself,” Luna said. “I made really good friends. Some of us have moved on to the UA and we still text and check on each other. I can count on this group of friends for help.”
- Anne T. Denogean
Transfer Students: Start Here, Excel Anywhere
More than one-third of transfer students enrolling at UA come from Pima.
Since fall 2015, about 2,500 current or former PCC students have enrolled at some of the country’s best schools, including Cornell, Emory, Illinois, Penn State, Purdue and UCLA.