Family and community.
These 10 graduates found them at the University of Arizona, and 10 years after graduating, their experience as Wildcats continues to evolve and deepen. Through giving and service, they’re helping new members of the UA family discover what community means to us.
Look back with the Class of 2009 as they reflect on favorite dorms and classes — and learn what excites them today about their alma mater.
Geosciences, Ph.D. | Geophysicist, Coal Creek Resources, Inc. | Denver
Favorite Memory: I participated in a geology field trip to Wyoming with fellow students. The diversity of our group made it especially interesting. We all grew up in different countries and cultures, and it was great learning about each another.
Reason to Return: Geodaze is a student-run symposium that gives geosciences students a platform to showcase their research. I enjoy coming back to campus to see students’ research and catch up with my professors.
Unexpected Help: I wasn’t expecting to get financial help, so it was very much appreciated. Scholarships really can make a difference to a graduate student, so I want to pay that forward.
Rock Solid Memorabilia: I have several rock specimens from the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. An amethyst geode reminds me of my time at the UA whenever I look at it.
Psychology, B.S.; Business Administration, B.S.; MBA | CFO, Hess-Rountree, Inc. | Maricopa
Wildcat Convert: I grew up in Phoenix as an ASU fan. Going to the UA to be close to my brother ended up being one of my better decisions. Now I’m a UA fan first.
Friendly Competition: I played rugby as an undergrad. While you’re on the field it can be rough against the other team. But afterward the home team would usually host a party or event for the visiting team. It was fun to be a part of.
Expanding Horizons: My international MBA trip was to South Africa, where we heard from executives at different businesses. Apartheid had ended relatively recently, and it was interesting to see how that affected perspectives.
Proud Eller Grad: Eller is constantly improving and offering more. As an alumnus I have access to helpful networking and resources. I want to give back and help others have the same opportunities.
Civil Engineering, B.S. | Civil Engineer, Central Arizona Project | Phoenix
UA Champion: I played rugby for the late Dave Sitton, who was the coach for 35 years and an Arizona Basketball TV announcer. He taught and inspired hundreds of guys over the years, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for him.
Home Field Advantage: I’ll always remember playing against ASU in Tempe. More than half the crowd was UA alumni, friends and family, and all you could hear was the “U-of-A” chant. It felt like a home game.
"Tie" to History: I have a red UA necktie that was worn during the UA rugby team’s first tour of New Zealand in the 1980s. It was passed down to me by an alumnus and former player.
For Tradition: UA Rugby means a lot to me, and I give back so the traditions instilled by Dave Sitton can live on for another 50 years.
MBA | Manager of High Performance Computing, Raytheon | Tucson
A Different Union: As an undergraduate in the ’90s, I loved Sam’s Place in the old Student Union. I went to see a friend perform at Comedy Corner on Fridays.
Positive Correlation: My favorite class was statistics with Lisa Ordóñez, Eller professor and vice dean of academic programs. She made it interesting and relevant, and statistics is a big part of what I do now.
Greek for Life: I support Greek life because of the lifelong friendships and professional networking opportunities it’s given me.
Stocking Up: I always go to UA BookStores when I visit campus. My family goes to football games in our UA shirts.
Good Company: Fellow UA graduates that I work with have become successful, and I’m proud to be a part of that tradition. The MBA program was challenging, but the reward is great.
Landscape Architecture, B.S.; Liberal Arts, B.A.; Nursing, B.S.;
Urban Landscape Planning, M.S. | Manager, City of Tucson | Tucson
Another Path: I came to the UA almost 30 years ago to study nursing. As a nurse I learned that people heal faster when they go outside or can see outside. I decided to improve people’s health by taking care of the environment.
Favorite Campus Spots: The Krutch Garden in front of the Administration Building is a little bit of the desert on that greenway. And the Women’s Plaza of Honor has beautiful archways and kumquats.
Motivation to Give: The university promotes lifelong learning for the community. I love the College of Science’s lecture series, and the College of Medicine and CAPLA have good outreach programs. I’ve also taken workshops with Southwest Folklife Alliance that help people appreciate differences in cultures.
Advice for Students: Cherish your classmates. There’s a lot to learn from them, and friendships are just as important.
Business Administration, B.S. | Senior Manager, Ernst & Young LLP | Phoenix
Why UA: I was the first one in my family to attend college, and at the time I had only been in the U.S. for three years. The UA offered a great education that was close to home.
A Second Home: The Adalberto and Ana Guerrero Student Center group was my family at the UA. There were so many people who were ready to support and guide me along the way.
Inspired to Give: If not for the generosity of others who invested their financial resources in students like me, my path through college would have been very different and I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities.
Wildcats for Life: Ernst & Young has a huge alumni population, and it’s just so nice to have the UA as something that connects us all. It almost feels like we’re back in school because we talk about sports and reminisce about our experiences.
Nursing, B.S. | Nurse | Tucson
Learning to Work Together: As a nursing student, I worked closely with students in fields like pharmacy and social services. It helped prepare me to work with others in making sure patients’ diverse needs are met.
Fast but Lasting: I did an accelerated program for people with degrees in other fields. I had a shorter time at the UA, but it was a good fit, and I’m proud to tell people this is where I got my degree.
Giving for the Future: I want to support students who are enthusiastic about nursing. As the population ages, more and more patients will need good care.
Steele Supporter: I’m involved with Kids of Steele and give to the Steele Children’s Research Center. I hope to contribute to research that results in more individualized medicine for sick children.
Systems Engineering, B.S. | Program Manager, Microsoft | Mountain View, Calif.
Still Camping: I was a volunteer counselor for Camp Wildcat, which holds weekend camps for underprivileged elementary and middle school students. We introduced them to art and science activities they might not normally experience. It was great, and I still go camping with friends I made there.
Favorite Dorm: Yavapai! It was a central part of my experience, and I loved the sense of community there as both a resident and resident assistant. The building’s shape naturally leads people to pass by one another’s rooms, and it was home to a lot of awesome people.
UA Gratitude: I fondly remember the sense of community and opportunity at the UA and the mentorship and support of faculty that helped me get to where I am today.
On Giving Back: I’m grateful for the chance to empower others the way so many people at the UA worked to empower me.
Anthropology, B.A.; Classics, B.A.; Public Health, MPH;
Epidemiology, Ph.D. | Research Epidemiologist, Leidos Inc.
for the Naval Health Research Center | San Diego
What Excites You about the UA: The College of Social & Behavioral Sciences lecture series. I read the lecture titles and I really wish I could go. I love that the UA is sharing what research is going on with the community.
Supporting Inquiry: I give back because I’m interested in supporting the science, research and spirit of inquiry. Hearing about the exciting discoveries is what keeps me tethered to the UA.
Time to Reflect: It’s not there anymore, but I will always remember the corner convenience store right outside Main Gate. I would get a Diet Coke and sit under a tree by the Arizona State Museum and read a book — that area is so pretty.
Tucson Foodie: A few of my favorite restaurants that I try to get to when I visit are Cafe Poca Cosa, Cup Cafe and Sausage Deli. And Eegee’s. You can’t beat a cold Eegee.
Shalane Simmons and Devin Simmons
Shalane: Journalism, B.A. | Community Relations Manager, Raytheon
Devin: Journalism, B.A.; MBA | Program Operations Manager, Raytheon | Tucson
Devin’s Early Start: As seniors at Tucson High, my friends and I went to campus and pretended we were in college, but I’m sure the girls knew we weren’t.
So Much Love: We love baseball, and we started dating the first year the UA played at Hi Corbett Field. We fell in love as we saw the team advance to winning the national championship.
Shalane’s Gratitude: I was the first female manager for volleyball coach Dave Rubio, who is a phenomenal person, and I was fortunate to have a scholarship.
Wildcat Priorities: Our daughters are 2 and 3 1/2. They can sing “Bear Down” — Devin made sure of it.
Zen Moment: We take our kids for a walk along the Mall and to the fountain in front of Old Main. It’s peaceful, even though we’re in the middle of a city. And our good memories are calming.
Why Support Students? They’re at a transformative time in their lives, and it’s a big deal.