Thank you for joining the virtual Year Up Arizona graduation ceremony!

View the Year Up Arizona  Graduation video, here.

Thank You to our College Partners

Graduation Program

Graduate Welcome
Maximiliano Pinon, Year Up Intern at American Express

Year Up Welcome
Antoine Andrews, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Year Up

Site Director Remarks
Jennifer McChristian, Site Director

Certificate Presentations
Gabriela Gonzalez, Program Manager
Corey Lewis, Program Manager
Jennifer McChristian, Site Director

Keynote Address
Kara Lynn Jackson, Year Up Intern at American Express

Award Presentations
Meghan McGilvra, Director of Recruitment and Admissions
Pedro Huerta, Recruitment Specialist
Tara Renee Donahue, Year Up Intern at McKesson Corporation
Diana Vidal, Year Up Intern at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Congratulatory Remarks
Cece Bustoz, Regional Director of Enrollment

Alumni Oath
DuShawn Nelson, Year Up Graduate 2020, Customer Advocate, Carvana

Closing Remarks
Cece Bustoz, Regional Director of Enrollment


Graduate Speakers

Maximiliano Pinon
Year Up Intern at American Express

Kara Lynn Jackson
Year Up Intern at American Express

Welcome Letter

Welcome to the Year Up Arizona Commencement Ceremony! 

Today we celebrate six successful years of closing the Opportunity Divide for hundreds of young adults in Arizona. It is an absolute privilege to be here today, witnessing these talented and motivated young adults graduate from their Year Up journey, ready to launch their careers and achieve their dreams. 

We at Year Up Arizona are honored to have been a part of the journey of these dynamic young adults. Their drive, energy, and commitment to reaching their full potential has certainly inspired each one of us here tonight. The 57 students presented this evening are graduating during an unprecedented time. They launched their Learning and Development phase full of hope and expectations, eager to embark on a yearlong journey towards their professional careers. Each young adult has faced adversity and remained steadfast on changing their career trajectory. Their Year Up journey provided them the space to continue to demonstrate how their resilience would lead to success. Our young adults persevered through the changing environments and impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Shelter-in-Place orders, state-mandated curfews, civil unrest, and economic turmoil. They’ve shown us that through hard work, eagerness and a positive attitude, that it’s possible to achieve anything we strive for in life. In September 2019, Year Up Arizona opened an East Valley campus, in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University. Today, we graduate the second class of exceptionally talented pioneers from this campusEach one has successfully navigated the complex journey to build the skills necessary to launch their careers. These young adults trusted the vision of Year Up and our founder, Gerald Chertavian, to embark on a path of competency-based learning where they tackled applying classroom learning to practical circumstances and demonstrated mastery of these skills. They have leveraged their learning and demonstrated adaptability in their internships, which, for many, existed in a virtual and work-from-home environment. Their grit, energy and unyielding willingness to reach their potential have shaped the culture and defined the expectations for future cohorts at Year Up Arizona. Congratulations, East Valley and Central City Class of Winter 2021. You are the 21 Crew with the 2020 View, Dynasty XI, and Legacy. You have achieved a major milestone; one of many more that will surely come in your life. 

This journey wouldn’t be possible without the support of those in the audience who believe, as we do, that talent is equally distributed in this country, while opportunity is not. You recognize that the Opportunity Divide will only be exacerbated by our current economic state and stand firm in your commitment to ensuring that the urban youth of Arizona have the training and access to professional careers. My thanks to our corporate partners, funders, community partners, volunteers, friends and family who have come to believe in this program and believe in you. As a community, we are committed to helping the more than 145,000 young adults in Arizona who deserve the chance to realize their fullest potential in education and careers. Without supporters such as yourself, Year Up Arizona would not be possible. 

On behalf of all of us at Year Up Arizona, congratulations to our graduates! 


Cece Bustoz                                                                     Jennifer McChristian
Regional Director of Enrollment                                         Site Director 

Cece Bustoz

Regional Director of Enrollment

Jennifer McChristian

Site Director, East Valley Campus

Alumni Oath

I PLEDGE that as a member of the Year Up National Alumni Association, I will continue to uphold and promote Year Up’s mission and core values. I will strive for excellence and realize my potential. I will use my time and talents to contribute to the success of Year Up, its students, and its alumni. I will take action in the movement to close the Opportunity Divide. I take this oath freely, as a promise to lift while I climb, and to be a lifelong ambassador of Year Up.

Thank You to our Local Sponsors

Heidi Jannenga Foundation

Thank You to our National Sponsors
Thank you to our National Community Partners

Copyright © 2020 Year Up, Inc.