Their Story – Chevy Humphrey
This is the tenth installment in a series of articles featuring the Board of Directors of College Success Arizona.
College Success Arizona is a 501(c)3 educational foundation founded in 2005, to increase the number of bachelor’s degree holders in the state of Arizona by providing scholarships and College Success Services to high potential, low-income students. The vision of College Success Arizona is to create an educated workforce ready to take Arizona into the future.
These articles are designed to give a more personal insight into each of our Board Members, to give them the opportunity to share why they care so deeply about Arizona, college attainment, and the mission of College Success Arizona
1. Please tell us a little about your background.
“I grew up in a neighborhood in Houston, Texas that my parents felt would not offer me a good education or comprehensive opportunities; and they also were not comfortable with me going to school in, so they worked really hard, sometimes paycheck to paycheck to enroll me in to a rigorous and prominent Catholic school that would allow me to see what broader possibilities were out there. Even though they took me out of our neighborhood to send me to school, I would come back and hold class for all the kids in the neighborhood in my garage because I wanted to teach them what I learned at my school. I’ve always thought that ‘knowledge is power’ and that it was the one thing that no one could ever take from you. I was taught that at a very early age and I’ve always wanted to ensure that others have every opportunity to make decisions and have the same opportunities as others.”
Chevy is continuing her quest and thirst for knowledge and is currently working on her doctorate in business administration from Grand Canyon University. She also received her MBA with two specializations and certifications in entrepreneurship/innovation and marketing from Northeastern University.
2. What does your organization do? What do you do within your organization? What are your responsibilities?
“The Arizona Science Center is the best job ever. We provide a platform for people to wonder and continue to learn about things. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and engage curious minds through science; and we provide the tools for them to learn, to critically think about things, to problem solve, and to ask questions. We’re a lifelong learning organization. It’s fully aligned with my values and personal growth of people. As President and CEO, I do what is necessary to provide the vision and leadership and empowerment of my team and provide them the resources to do their job. I like to tell them: ‘Everybody’s job is important. No one job is more important than the other and we all have to do our part to make this organization work. Every day is very different. The people make an organization work; and I have to provide the resources and tools for them to be successful so that the institution can fully realize its mission.”
3. What other projects, activities, groups, are you involved in?
Chevy holds a position on the ASU charter school’s board of directors, and is chairman of International Association of Science and Technology Centers, a global organization with over 660 members in 53 countries. She is also treasurer of the Downtown Phoenix partnership.
4. How did you come to be associated with College Success Arizona? Who was your connection? What made you want to support us? What made you so passionate about our mission?
“I was approached by Don Budinger to join the board. He told me a little bit about the organization, and it struck a chord in my heart because it reminded me of my father. My father was a first generation college graduate who chose not to go on to medical school so that he could stay and work to send his sister and niece to college; he felt like that was the most important part of how their family could grow and be self-sufficient and independent. My father decided to put his dreams off so that he could give the gift of education to his sister and his niece.”
5. What is your vision for the Arizona of the future?
“My vision for Arizona’s future in education is that everyone has an opportunity to gain a college education, and they have the resources to be able to complete it.”
6. Why do you feel increasing Arizona’s College Attainment Rates is so important?
“I think it’s important because it helps build the knowledge base of your community and it helps the community grow. It’s also not just financial growth, it’s a smarter growth. It’s about sustainability. There are so many things that we could do more effectively and efficiently; but without people who have that expertise, we are unable to become that better community.”
7. If you had a message for a student just beginning their college career, what would that be?
“Never give up. Stick to your goals. If you need help, ask. You can do it. Make sure to have a support system through it all to encourage you, empower you, and get you engaged and excited. I think that’s the most critical aspect to success; and that’s what I like about College Success Arizona. They provide the mentors that are there to support you.”
Junelle Bautista is a Communication and Engagement Intern and attends the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.