Photo courtesy of Paradise Valley Community College

Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) announced its two 2024 All-Arizona Academic Team honorees, Christine Collado-Frost and Halle Goral. Both students will receive a two-year scholarship to one of PVCC’s transfer institutions: Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, or the University of Arizona.

“We are extremely proud of Christine and Halle for their hard work, focus, and contributions to the PVCC community,” says PVCC Honors Director Jenny Hall. She highlighted that participants are required to create a community-based project with significant impact. “We are grateful to have them represent our college so exceptionally and show future students what is possible at PVCC.”

Christine Collado-Frost initially approached the process with uncertainty but found inspiration in her passion for reptiles. She chose to combat the stigma surrounding snakes through educational presentations, bringing her snakes to campus to shift perceptions. Collado-Frost conducted surveys to measure changes in attitudes before and after her presentations.
“I was sitting with my [snake] and thinking about how no one could be afraid of a beautiful little face like his and then it hit me; he is my endeavor. I truly love these animals,” she says. Despite her initial fear of being bitten, working in a reptile shop helped her overcome this fear, which was replaced by love.

Since receiving the scholarship, Collado-Frost has experienced a transformation in her self-confidence and mental health. “I’ve dealt with mental health issues my entire life and I genuinely believe in myself now. I’ve improved in my writing and in how I teach others about snakes,” she says.

Halle Goral was driven to apply for the scholarship to continue her education at a four-year university and to make a positive impact in her community. Her project focused on addressing the volunteer recruitment challenges faced by nonprofit organizations. Utilizing her design skills, Goral created a website to inspire college students to volunteer, listing opportunities and links to their sites. She also organized a community volunteer fair on the PVCC campus with the help of Student Life.

“This scholarship has had such a positive effect on my life because now I know that I have the ability to achieve big things if I put my mind to it and give it my all,” she says.

The All-Arizona scholarship award criteria include a strong academic background and the application of learned skills to benefit the community. Students compete locally and are ranked in teams—first, second, and third. First team winners advance to the national level, where additional scholarship monies are awarded. Students must create an endeavor project with significant community impact as part of the competition.