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Alexis Rose Young stands smiling in front of the Student Service Center at Pima's West Campus

A New Trajectory

From a future EMT to one day working at Hollywood's largest studio; 2023 Pima grad Alexis Rose Young is dreaming big

By Paul Schwalbach, External Relations

In late 2019, Alexis Rose Young was looking forward to starting a career as an Emergency Medical Technician. She had passed the national certification exam for EMTs after earning a certificate from Pima Community College. Then Covid hit the world in early 2020 and changed the trajectory of Rose's life.

The pandemic led her to re-examine her priorities. It brought her back to Pima and put her on a path that she hopes leads to a career in the film industry. 

Rose took the first step toward that goal by earning her second credential from Pima, an Associate’s of Arts degree in Communication, which will be conferred at Commencement on May 24. 

Alexis Rose Young Profile Image
Alexis Rose Young
Photo By Josh Lamoreaux, External Relations

A duty to give back

The last few years have been a flurry of activity for Rose. In early 2020, Rose’s parents started an assisted caregiving home for about a half-dozen elderly residents, with Rose taking a role in the family business as a caregiver. The work–bathing, dressing, and feeding the residents each day–was a grind. “It wore on me mentally and physically,” Rose said.  She felt she had a duty to give back to society, she said, but realized it didn’t have to be through working in healthcare.

Instead, she chose to study Communications at Pima, where she excelled. She has earned a full-ride scholarship to the University of Arizona, where she will seek a bachelor’s degree in Communications. 

“Rose is so creative, curious, and an active problem solver,” says Communications Division Instructional Faculty member Terry Filipowicz. “She loves examining media and communication and is able to see the little details in the content and then take the analysis to a whole other level,” Filipowicz says, adding that Rose’s scholarly work in her Research Methods in Communication class focused on Asian representation and intercultural communication in films such as “Crazy Rich Asians.” 

“She is driven and focused but witty and wonderfully enthusiastic and exuberant. She is going places,” Filipowicz says.

Next stop: DreamWorks

One of those places, Rose hopes, is a major Hollywood movie studio, namely DreamWorks SKG, founded by director Steven Spielberg among others.

Rose says she’s always had a love of films, and especially documentaries that chronicle how films are made. “My dream job is to be a production manager at DreamWorks,” Rose says. Production manager is a behind-the-scenes position that combines logistics and time management with the people skills necessary to keep passionate, creative people on task.

She credits another professor, Anthony Dalessandro, with instilling in her the confidence to talk to groups of people when she took a class in Public Speaking. “I didn’t know I had a passion for public speaking until I took his class,” Rose says. 

"Community college credits transfer to universities. You can get your education at a fraction of a cost without having to worry about debt." ~ Alexis Rose Young

The power of Pell

To fund her Pima education, Rose took a job as a nanny to kids ages 5 and 18 months, and then received an internship in Pima’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships (OFAS). She also received a partial Pell Grant, which was critical for the completion of her education.

With the grant, Rose says she could do lots of things, from “saving for transferring to the U of A," to "paying for my car insurance, gas, upkeep," and even help her parents.

Her job at OFAS also gave her insights into students' perceptions about applying for financial aid. Rose has informed many students that even though they’re technically adults at age 18, their parent or guardian must sign their FAFSA or other financial aid form. “That’s just the way the system is,” she says. 

Rose also has volunteered at Pima’s Career Cafés, which help students prepare for the world of work. She helped students break down the daunting job search process into digestible chunks – résumés and job interviews and. “I teach them how to show their best self,” she says.

Transition from homeschooling

Rose’s own Pima experience began by taking an American Sign Language class at Northwest Campus. The credits counted toward her language requirement, and also helped socialize her into a traditional in-person classroom setting, as she and her three siblings had been homeschooled. 

Homeschooling provided an excellent academic foundation, Rose says, but transitioning to Pima still was a bit of a challenge. She worried about interacting with professors, given that when you’re homeschooled, “The professor is your mom.” But she persevered and mastered the art of communicating via email and other interpersonal skills. 

Passion and price

Looking back on her Pima experience, Rose’s advice for anyone starting their post-high school academic journey starts with simple questions: “What do you really love to do? What do you find fascinating?” The answers will determine what you study in college, she says.

As for paying for school, Rose’s advice is simple: “Avoid going into massive amounts of debt. Go to a community college. . . . Community college credits transfer to universities. You can get your education at a fraction of a cost without having to worry about debt.”

When told that her comments sound like an advertisement for community college, she says, “Absolutely.”

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