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GCC Alumni Association

The GCC Alumni Association was established in 2001 and reaches over 30,000 alumni. Membership is open to all students whether or not you graduated from GCC. There is no fee to join but in order to receive an alumni ID card and receive the benefits that come with the card, you must register online through the website.

Mission Statement: The Glendale Community College Alumni Association honors GCC’s heritage and fosters lifelong connections among alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends. We encourage meaningful involvement and leadership to benefit the College. We cultivate goodwill and support for GCC by sponsoring social, educational, philanthropic, and service-oriented programs.

Alumni Profile of Success

First-generation American sisters find passion in education

Angie Wiśniewski Bauer (Right) and her younger sister Joanna (Left) celebrating at graduation in 2008.

Actress Tia Mowry once said, “There's nobody in the world that knows me better than my sister.” And that rings true for the Wiśniewski sisters – the formidable duo that made Glendale Community College home before going on to universities and finding separate homes in education.

Angie Wiśniewski Bauer and her younger sister Joanna graduated from GCC in 2008. Angie had initially started ASU as a psychology major but ended up taking a year off. When her sister headed to GCC, Angie felt the pull to return to school.

“We loved being able to experience college together! It was so much fun taking the same classes, and we eventually became known as “the sisters” around campus. However, at first, we didn’t know what to expect or what to do, really,” said Angie.

“Our family immigrated to the United States from Poland when we were in elementary school. While our parents were extremely supportive in their expectation that we graduate college, as first-generation Americans we relied on one another to figure things out -- everything, from classes to finances. We asked a lot of questions, enrolled in the same classes together, and became part of the campus community.”

Angie and Joanna did exactly what college’s like GCC encourage for student success: Get involved! The Wiśniewski sisters were in the Honors Program, Phi Theta Kappa leadership, and applied for several scholarship opportunities. “We took ownership of our experience here and made it much more than just class-work-home. It made a huge difference,” Angie said.

Joanna started out exploring journalism. “Attending GCC was a great option for me because I was able to complete all of my undergraduate course work while taking my time to discover what I was truly passionate about before transferring to the University,” she said. She was very involved in the college publication The Voice, working her way up to be the Editor-in-Chief.

“Although I loved the experience, I knew my true fulfillment was in working with children. I began taking courses that prepared me to transfer to ASU’s Mary Lou Foulton Teachers College.”

After graduating from GCC, they both transferred to ASU West where Joanna pursued a degree in Early Childhood Education and Leadership at the Mary Lou Foulton Teachers College, while Angie majored in Communication Studies. They both received Master in Education degrees from NAU. Joanna a degree in Multicultural Education with an emphasis in ESL; and Angie, Human Relations.

The sisters credit many who made their experience at GCC memorable, fulfilling, and successful.

“We need to give a shout-out to Rick Watts and Dr. Jim Reed! Rick was our academic advisor during our time at GCC. From the get-go he was very personable and approachable and we quickly built a bond. Let’s admit, we were those students who were frantically trying to enroll the day before the start of classes!” they both admit.

“Rick always managed to help us out (and then schooled us on deadlines!) He got to know us over the semesters and was always spot on with course suggestions. Rick told us one day, “You have to take Dr. Reed’s COM class.” That was COM110 (Intro to Human Communication,) which we, of course, took together. It was a game changer. We took all the COM classes from there.”

Dr. Jim Reed was a guide and a huge support system for Angie and Joanna as they continued down their educational journey. “He is an example of a teacher that truly leaves a lasting imprint. We are so fortunate that 10 years later, he is still very much a part of our lives. We both credit Dr. Reed with helping shape our futures into what they are today,” they said.

He helped the sisters set goals but more importantly, he made them feel like they were close within reach. He introduced them both to a lot of people on campus and which helped them build a great network of support.

“One semester I told him that I was going to take a break from school to go to LA to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. He actually told me, “NO.” He said, “You will get you bachelor’s degree first and then you can do whatever you want’,” Angie said. “I took his advice, stayed in school and majored in... Communication.”

“We also can’t forget to mention Frances Mateo, who was instrumental in helping us navigate the world of scholarships by connecting us with opportunities and assisting with the application process. It pushed us to stay involved and motivated us academically.”

Joanna is currently a fourth-grade teacher at Phoenix Country Day School. “I am in my 8th year of teaching and have taught grades ranging between first and fourth. I absolutely LOVE what I do and I find it a privilege to be able work with my wonderful students every single day.”

Angie returned to GCC – this time as one of the people who impacts students, like she had been - as the Coordinator of Student Success Programs, including New Student Orientation and first-year advising, Gaucho101. “I am also an adjunct instructor with the department of Communication. I, too, am lucky to get to say that I truly love my work!”

Both women remain passionate about education – at both ends of the spectrum. “I love working with children in the primary grades. There truly is something magical that takes place in primary classrooms and I love helping kids explore, navigate, and discover through their learning experiences. Every day is full of excitement, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of my students.,” Joanna said.

“As a former GCC student, I find getting to be part of the students’ journey most rewarding! Having the opportunity to design streamlined experiences is both exciting and fulfilling, as navigating college was something I had to learn through trial and error. Joanna and I were fortunate to have met incredible people along the way who supported us and encouraged us to get involved. If my team and I can do the same for just one other student, it makes it all worthwhile,” Angie said.

If they were to give advice to new students, they both are reassuring, saying: We get that this can be scary and overwhelming. Maybe you feel completely lost and feel as though you have no one to guide you? Or maybe you’re still trying to figure out if this is even for you? Speaking from experience, take the initiative to make this experience amazing! This is your experience! Don’t wait around to be told only to say, “nobody told me.” Be your own advocate. Ask questions. Meet with a counselor. Join a club. Study with a friend. Get to know your instructors. Seek help. Be a critical thinker and problem solver. And most importantly, know that you are not alone and there is a whole lot of people around you who are rooting for you to succeed!

Remember: “It is never too late to be who you might have been” - George Elliot

 

 

 

Contact:

Staff

Room: A-111
Phone: (623) 845-3147
frances.mateo@gccaz.edu

Staff

Room: A-129
Phone: (623) 845-3477
suzanne.smelser@gccaz.edu