Paradise Valley

Emma Magaña

Emma Magaña

Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Emma is proud to be a first-generation college student and exults that “This will be my first graduation ceremony!” (Of any kind.)

What were Emma’s biggest obstacles to reach this graduation day? “The unexpected loss of my mom. She was one of my biggest supporters and the main reason I enrolled in college. Grieving, coping and healing from the loss” while studying full-time plus working a part-time job required — even on nearly “unbearable days” — the “resilience, determination, and perseverance my mom instilled in me.”

Who am I? Emma wondered. What do I want? How can I make a difference in the world by helping others?

She found answers to these questions by engaging on campus, transforming herself, and learning to be the leader, she tells us, that she never knew she could be. She believes a huge amount of her professional and personal development came from working in the office of Student Life.

While earning her Associate of Arts degree, Emma also threw herself into campus involvement, including Emerging Leaders, LeaderShape Institute (PVCC/MCCCD leadership programs), Peer Mentoring, and the Student Public Policy Forum. While working in Student Life, she helped organize the Chancellor’s Visit, Diversity and Inclusion Training, Title IX Training for students, Food Distribution Events, Community Service Fairs and Club Advisor Training.

She received the Chancellor's Civic Medallion and the PVCC’s Golden Puma: Distinguished Student Leadership Award (only four students collect this annual honor). Her nominator for the Golden Puma Award shared that while Emma often credits her peers and mentors for helping her, it is clear that, while she may not realize it, Emma actively inspires those around her, too.

As if these accomplishments weren’t enough, Emma was also selected to travel to Washington D.C. as a representative of the Maricopa Community Colleges in order to meet with Arizona’s Congressional Delegation and advocate for higher education issues.

Emma's vision for her future includes promoting better educational policy in Arizona while working in Student Affairs at an institution of higher learning. To build on her ability to do this, she will transfer to Northern Arizona University to earn a bachelor's degree in Public Administration and then proceed to Arizona State University for a master's degree in Higher and Post-secondary Education (M.Ed).

Emma, you have earned your mother’s pride.