Sunnyside C.A.T.S.

In order to create a greater University of Arizona-going culture within the Sunnyside Unified School District, we have joined UArizona to create a comprehensive partnership! We created Sunnyside C.A.T.S. (Connecting for Access & Transition Success) to provide student support around college preparation, planning, and social integration to familiarize high school students with the university campus, community, and culture.

Goals of the Program

  • Increase enrollment of Sunnyside and Desert View High School graduates to the University of Arizona
  • Provide college preparation resources and support specific to the SUSD community
  • Assist in preparing students for STEM fields
  • Ease the transition from high school to college by providing opportunities to engage socially and academically

In the Media Story: How the U of A is recruiting more local, underrepresented students

AZPM Story: A partnership blooms after UA dissertation highlights recruitment biases in higher ed


How are we supporting students?


We currently have two UArizona staff members dedicated to supporting SUSD students with their post-secondary education aspirations.


Nadia M. Rodriguez

Nadia M. Rodriguez is a School Relations Coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Arizona. Her position provides direct support to SUSD students in their college-going journey. As a first generation student, she is committed to helping as many students as possible reach their post-graduate plans. Nadia is very excited to see all the amazing things our students will do.

Felisia Tagaban Gaskin

Felisia Tagaban Gaskin (Navajo/Tlingit/Filipino) was hired by Sunnyside, in partnership with UArizona and the College of Education, to create pathways for Native American SUSD students into higher education. Felisia is here to support Indigenous SUSD students as they pursue their goals beyond graduation AND to address systemic and structural barriers that deter their success. Felisia is so thankful to be a part of both institutions! In her spare time, she is a UArizona PhD student with a passion to serve Native American students, families and communities.

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