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Angie Buenrostro sits smiling in the veterans center at Northwest Campus

Aiming High: Air Force tech pursuing her higher-ed goals with Pima's help

Pima offers classes at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (DMAFB) for DMAFB personnel and members of the public residing nearby.

By Anne Denogean, External Relations

Air Force Tech Sgt. Angie Buenrostro is an example of how Pima Community College makes it possible for a busy person serving their country to also pursue a college education. Being a member of a fighter squadron takes a lot of time and requires attention to detail. Buenrostro’s assigned shop manages the many details pilots need to fly A-10 fighter jets.

“We all have a job to do and each of us rely on one another to get it done right the first time,” she said. With Buenrostro’s work schedule, taking time to drive off base to attend classes is a deterrent. Having the classes on base is a game changer. Pima offers classes at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (DMAFB) for the convenience of DMAFB personnel and members of the public who live nearby.

“Being enrolled at Pima helped me with my crazy schedule. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience than what Pima provides,” she said. “Being at work and knowing I had my class on base was an amazing relief. I didn’t have to hurry and change out of my uniform or get bogged down in rush hour traffic. I knew the struggles of trying to attend classes off base and I’d rather not have to deal with that. I’m thankful Pima made it less hectic by offering classes on base.”

Angie Buenrostro stands smiling at Northwest Campus, her uniform in the background
Angie Buenrostro
Photo by Tanner Grammar, External Relations

The instructors and advisors at DMAFB have also been incredibly helpful, she said. “I don’t hesitate to drop by with questions.” On one recent day, she stopped by and discussed CLEP exams with advisor Lydia DeYoung. Students at DMAFB receive the same services available on Pima’s campuses, including assessment exams, financial aid services, and admissions and registration advising,” said Sheila McBride, manager of the Pima program at DMAFB. “It’s a one-stop center.”

Buenrostro said McBride “worked her magic” to get Buenrostro into a public speaking class that was supposed to be open only to another squadron. Until she was admitted to it, instructor Gail Fey met with Buenrostro via Zoom on weekends so that Buenrostro wouldn’t fall behind.

Buenrostro said other potential students with busy lives should give it a try with Pima. “You can do it,” she said. “They will work with you and get you the classes and schedule you need.”

Buenrostro’s immediate goal is to complete an Associate of Applied Science with the Community College of the Air Force. The courses she completes at Pima apply to that degree and will help achieve her goal. Ultimately, she wants to earn a bachelor’s degree in an aviation field. With 18 years in the Air Force and about four years left before her military career ends, Buenrostro is looking to the future and her goal of earning a college degree. Her motivation for success comes from a deep well of family love and pain.

“It means a lot to earn a degree as well as an extra stripe. Nobody can ever take them away from me.” ~ Angie Buenrostro

“After both parents passed, I didn’t think that I would lose a sibling too. In September of 2021 my oldest brother passed away unexpectedly. I knew how supportive they all were of me joining the military and making a career out of it. Coming from a very traditional Hispanic family meant fighting some stereotypes with some family members. While other family members cheered on my military successes and provided inspiration, my brother’s voice was the loudest,” Buenrostro boasted and added, “I love the support my remaining siblings offer.”

At the time of his death, she was enrolled in the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy. Her brother’s sudden passing made her even more determined to finish the academy (which she did). Now, with Pima’s help, she will achieve her college dreams. “It means a lot to earn a degree as well as an extra stripe. Nobody can ever take them away from me,” Buenrostro said.

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