Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) students Taina Rodriguez and Ethan Kilduff have big plans. Taina’s is to become a veterinarian caring for exotic animals all over the world and Ethan’s is to practice as a licensed physical therapist. Both will need to move onto a four-year university after graduating from EMCC to accomplish their goals.
But they’re not going to have to pay for it.
These Mountain Lions are the recipients of the All-Arizona Scholarship. The award provides two students from each Arizona College with full tuition waivers to an in-state college or university of their choice. Both have chosen to attend Arizona State University (ASU).
Requirements for the incredibly competitive scholarship include having a GPA of 3.5 or higher and demonstrating exceptional leadership, service, and academic excellence.
Taina is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), a Presidential Scholar in the Honors Program, and a lead for the Animal Ambassador program.
“My passion for animals and people has led me to my current position as a Veterinary Technician Assistant at an animal emergency hospital,” she said.
Ethan is a PTK Honors in Action (HIA) officer and an ACE Program Success Coach.
“I get to mentor incredible students from high schools throughout the Valley,” he said.
Ethan said he’s also been fortunate to work on projects close to his heart including Feed my Starving Children Mobile Pack events, EMCC’s 2019-20 Alternative Spring Breaks, the 2020 Educational Empowerment Open House, and the 2020 Hermanas Conference.
“Taina and Ethan are two very deserving and exceptional young people who give me hope for our future,” said Life Sciences Professor Dr. Jarod Raithel, who runs the Animal Ambassador program.
Born in Newark, N.J., and raised in Arizona, Taina said her faith, values, and morals were an essential part of growing up in a single-parent household.
“Family is important to me,” she said. “Therefore, I make it a point to spend time with my family.”
Family is high on Ethan’s list of priorities, as well.
“When I’m not on campus or studying online, I enjoy hiking, biking, spending time with my family, and playing music with my twin brother,” he said.
Taina also enjoys hiking, as well as skydiving, reading, and organizing trips.
“We are so proud to be a part of Taina’s and Ethan’s academic journey and lucky to enjoy their leadership and service in college life,” said Dr. Manuel Gomez, Vice President of Academic Affairs.