Meet Rio Salado’s 23-24 Student Senator Beka Namachanja


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Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Meet 2023-2024 Student Senator Beka Namachanja

Albert Einstein once said "In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity." For most of us, the pandemic was a very challenging time. For Beka Namachanja, 2020 was both a time of global crisis and a time of personal opportunity. Namachanja responded to the uncertainty of the world by building a foundation of education to keep her on steady ground. She enrolled at Rio Salado College in November 2020, kicking off a rewarding academic journey that deepened her passion for Behavioral Health Sciences.

Drawn to Rio by the college’s mission to “provide high-quality, flexible, and accessible education,” Namachanja found she was able to seamlessly balance her personal and professional commitments while pursuing her academic goals. Her interest in Behavioral Health Sciences led her to specializing in Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling; Namachanja is set to soon complete her associate degree in Behavioral Sciences.

In addition to excelling at her studies, Namachanja is an active part of the student community. Rio Salado selected her to be this year’s student senator. Namachanja was also elected as the chair for the Maricopa Community Colleges District’s Student Senator Board. This isn’t Namachanja’s first time participating in an MCCCD group: last year she served as a member of Maricopa’s Student Policy Forum (SPPF), which gave her the opportunity to take part in one-on-one meetings with congressional staff and advocacy groups in Washington, D.C.

Namachanja often cites her mother as a source of inspiration in her drive for personal development and community work. Part of her motivation for becoming a senator at Rio Salado was in gratitude for all the opportunities she’s been afforded over the years. Having been supported by family and  community throughout her life, Namachanja was eager to give back. She aspires to be a conduit for positive change and wants to amplify the voices of students within the college community. Namachanja is a tireless advocate for increasing communication and transparency between students, faculty, staff, and the college administration. Namachanja understands that it isn’t enough to amplify voices: you have to make sure they’re being heard.

Rio Salado isn’t the end of Namachanja’s story as a student. The student senator plans to continue pursuing her studies at one of Arizona’s state universities with the goal of earning a graduate degree in Psychology. When asked how she’s been able to stay so fixated on achieving her goals, Namachanja offered some words of wisdom to her fellow students.

“It’s not easy, but it’s simple,” Namachanja said. “‘Just keep swimming’ because life is about progress, not perfection.”

Rio Salado is named after a river, so it’s only fitting that Namachanja has been able to swim so assuredly from enrollment to graduation. Her buoyant spirit is a testament to her determination and to the transformative power of education.


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