What more can we say? At long last, it’s time to feature one of the premier admirers of JIMBO TIMES!

Stephanie Guzman; Pasadena City College, 2009

I first met Steph during a snowball fight in 2010 at a Leadership Retreat organized by the Cross Cultural Center of Pasadena City College. We were were happy to be friends over lunch and activities at the retreat, but when the hugs and high-fives came to an end, she and I both were on an all-out assault against each other on the snow-field.

Looking back at it now, it was a natural match: while neither of us had known the other person longer than two days, it didn’t matter; we took well to each other as rivals from the start and have enjoyed one-upping one another ever since. And how couldn’t we? We’re both avid news junkies, long-time WWE fans, and rabid hip-hop aficionados. In other words, we both know a thing or two about braggadocio.

Even more true, however, is that in certain respects there’s simply no competition. For instance, when it comes to fact-checking and trivia, as Steph proudly shared with me for this article, one of her colleagues at a conference recently called her a “walking encyclopedia”, which I begrudgingly can’t disagree with.

After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that Steph’s knowledge left me cold out of a job!

Water under the bridge; Glendale, California; 2013

The year was 2010, and a mutual friend of ours had shared with me that there was an opening for a certain position with PCC’s transfer center, for which the right candidate would be friendly, knowledgeable, and apt at sharing their knowledge with prospective students and other visitors to campus.

For this, I can still recall the interview. A few days after applying online, I went into the transfer center and met with two representatives from the transfer center. Though I should have been on my A-game for the meeting, I decided to approach the interview rather non-nonchalantly, figuring that I could just cruise my way to the position. I was wrong.

By contrast, Steph went into the interview determined to make her skills known, and though I wasn’t there, I can imagine rather well how it went: like me, Steph has a tendency to overstate herself sometimes, although not in a way that’s off-putting, but in way that’s more charming and endearing instead.

A few days later, Steph got the call, while I was left wondering what in the world I did wrong!

Steph Guzman winning in the school newsroom; Phoenix, Arizona

Of course, today the reason is clear: the walking encyclopedia rocked the house!

And though I might have been mad at the result at the time, today it’s safe to say that it was all for the best. After all, it was through the position at the transfer center that Steph learned about a wide array of out-of-state options for college. This was especially important knowledge, since it helped her avoid a defeat at my hands over a seat at one of our universities in California! When the time came to apply in 2012, Steph submitted her candidacy to schools as far from home as Houston, San Antonio, New Mexico, and Arizona. Ultimately, she went with the Cronkite school of Journalism at Arizona State University in Phoenix, at which she started in the fall of that year.

Can you guess why she chose ASU?! I’ve got a good hunch: though school in Arizona is far from home in California, it’s not that far! That is, if she wanted to see her family, a seven or eight hour drive was more manageable than it would have been for some of the other schools.

Regardless of the ultimate reasoning, however, one thing is clear: Stephanie’s accomplishments as a Sun Devil throughout her two-and-a-half years at Phoenix has left no one second-guessing her decision. She’s worked on several journalism teams, gone to conferences across the country, and met a wide array of household-name journalists and reporters from all over the field.

Posing while attending the National Association of Hispanic Journalists 2014 conference in San Antonio, TX

Currently, Steph is an integral component of Cronkite News, a five-day-a-week news broadcast at which Steph is serving until just before graduating this following Spring. But like a true go-getter, Steph’s going after yet more credentials at ASU while she’s got the chance. In fact, she has one more major conference that she’s currently fundraising for.

This coming December, the Associated Press Television and Radio Association is holding a two-day camp in Malibu at which a number of prominent journalists will pair up with up-and-coming reporters like Stephanie for mentoring. The experience will serve as another major milestone for her and a number of her colleagues. To find out about how you can support Steph’s trip there, she’s set set up the following page for donations.

And of course, though Steph and I might be old rivals, I can’t help but endorse my old friend for the money! The truth is: ever since our wicked snowball fight in the rocky mountains with the cross-cultural retreat, I’ve seen Steph grow into a trailblazer not only for her family, but for an entire community of fellow dreamers, both in L.A., Phoenix, and beyond! As such, it is both a pleasure and an honor to feature her on JIMBO TIMES!

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