Small Town News


Engineering electronics, engineering minds

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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Connie Mendoza never really had much interest in taking things apart to find out how they worked. She just wanted to find ways to make them work better.

It was the principle that guided her when Mendoza worked for Motorola at its Phoenix plant.

Mendoza started there working in assembly, but her interest in the product she was making eventually led to her becoming a technician for the company.

"I was always asking questions," Mendoza said. "How does this work? How can we make it work faster?"

It was a matter of pride to some degree. "I don't want people buying a crummy product if I'm making it," Mendoza said.

It was that interest in making things work that led Mendoza to study to become an engineer.

That all got put aside when Mendoza's children were born. She has a son and a daughter, both now grown. Now she also has grandchildren.

"Raising my kids was just more important to me," Mendoza said. Still, while life can take us to unpredictable places, Mendoza has still found a way to be an engineer of sorts.

These days, she's working to make young minds work faster.

"I always liked working with kids," Mendoza said.

Mendoza decided to get involved in the education field, working at a junior high school for seven years and eventually at a charter school.

A native of Casa Grande, Mendoza said she's just kept moving north.

It eventually brought her to Camp Verde, where she came to help her brother take care of their mother.

It was the same brother who suggested Mendoza apply for a job at the Camp Verde Head Start Program.

She got the job and has been working there for the last five years.

Mendoza said she loves working with 3, 4 and 5-year-olds.

"They're a lot more likely to do what you say, not like some of the older kids," Mendoza said.

Mendoza said the Head Start program is fantastic for preparing children to enter kindergarten.

In fact, she was at the Camp Verde Community Library's book sale last week picking up a few selections to read to the children.

When you read to children, Mendoza said, especially at a young age, they are more likely to develop a love of reading and learning.

"They're like little sponges," Mendoza said. "They just want to learn. I really think reading to them makes a difference."

Mendoza said she looks for books both in Spanish and English to help children from different linguistic backgrounds learn their ABCs.

Mendoza said she really likes the area, although she admits to sometimes missing the conveniences of a larger city.

"I miss malls," Mendoza said. "I miss not having to drive 45 minutes to go to the movies."

The limitations of living in a small town haven't kept Mendoza from traveling, however.

She's been to 45 of the 50 states. Mendoza just hasn't made it to New England yet.

It's hard to say if she'll miss Camp Verde while she's on her upcoming cruise to the Caribbean.

How 'At Random' Works

Through experience, reporters learn every person has a story. To prove it, each week The Camp Verde Journal reporter hits the streets in the Verde Valley to intercept unsuspecting members of the public as they go about their daily business.

With brief introductions and the chance to flee, the interview begins with the fated question, "If your story was in the newspaper, what would it be?"

Copyright 2012 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: April 11, 2012

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