By Monica Perez
Arizona's oldest state university went local in Yuma in 1990. When the University of Arizona first opened their doors here they only offered one degree, a B.S. in Sustainable Plant Systems. This B.S. focuses on the study of plants, soil, and water in order to develop better crop production, which is perfect for the Yuma area.
Since then, they have expanded their offerings here to 11 different B.S. degrees, 6 B.A. degrees, and 14 minors. The most popular degree programs are Family Studies, Engineering and Agriculture.
"We emphasize the degrees that are needed in the community," said Alberto Urbieta, the Administrative Assistant and Program Coordinator at UA Yuma. "We are building bridges between social and academic levels so students can achieve their academic potential without academic gaps by waking up their curiosity in education."
The Family Studies & Human Development B.S. degree is very hands-on and a huge part of the program involves internships, research and student organizations such as FSHD Ambassadors. The FSHD Ambassadors reach out to the community with activities such as their December drive to collect toys for local kids.
The Engineering degrees UA Yuma offers are Biosystems Engineering, Civil Engineering and Systems Engineering. Biosystems engineers develop systems to manage soil and water resources and also develop biological and biomedical substances. Civil engineers design buildings, bridges and roads among other things through their knowledge of math, physics and chemistry. Systems engineers design technological systems such as transportation, and robotics and are involved in all parts of industrial and military research and design.
The Agriculture degrees here at UA Yuma are Agricultural Technology Management & Education, Animal Sciences and Sustainable Plant Systems. The Agricultural Technology Management & Education degree focuses on technological management. The Animal Sciences degree focuses on the use of animal products in agriculture, entertainment and companionship.
Currently there are around 600 students taking classes dually at UA and AWC. UA's goal is to prepare students for the job market.
"There was a need for an accredited university to help our students who cannot afford to go to main campus," said Urbieta. "They stay here locally and do out 2+2 programs."
The way that the 2+2 programs work is that students take their AGECs, the lower-division classes, at AWC and then transfer to do the upper-division classes at UA Yuma or UA's main campus in Tucson. The minimum GPA to transfer from AWC to UA is a 2.0, but some degree programs like Engineering require at least a 3.5 GPA.
Count the benefits
There are many advantages of going to UA Yuma:
- Support during transfer process: The staff at UA Yuma collaborates with AWC to provide a smooth transition process. Tanya Hodges the Regional Academic Coordinator and Urbieta are very accommodating despite their busy schedule.
- Faculty Availability: UA Yuma's student-to-teacher ratio is 20:1.
- Class Flexibility: Your schedule fits your needs. There are a variety of options available so you can have time for family, work and other things.
- Internships and Scholarships: A variety of scholarships are available to current and students and future UA students. For one, the UA Alumni Association Scholarships has given away more than $1 million to local students over the years. Another is the UA-only scholarship-matching site scholarshipuniverse.arizona.edu, which identifies the scholarships that individual students qualify for and that are the best fit for them depending on various factors such as area of study and GPA.
By the time they graduate, UA students are not only well prepared academically; they also develop people skills as well as leadership skills. As students and then as graduates, they contribute to the Yuma community and help make it a better place.
Photo by Carlos Perea