Women of Impact: Tanya Hodges

Oct. 19, 2023
Tanya Hodges

Dr. Tanya Hodges, Regional Academic Programs Manager at the University of Arizona at Yuma, has been honored with a Women of Impact Award by the University of Arizona Office of Research, Innovation & Impact.

Each year, the University of Arizona Office of Research, Innovation & Impact recognizes women who are dynamic leaders within their field and contribute to the ongoing world-class scholarship of UArizona. These members of the university faculty and staff are selected to be the year’s Women of Impact. Tanya Hodges, Regional Academic Programs Manager at the University of Arizona at Yuma, is among the 2023 recipients.

Tanya Hodges is an accomplished educator and program manager, advocating on behalf of the students in La Paz, Imperial, and Yuma counties. A Yuma County native herself, Hodges brings her knowledge and passion for the community to her work. Since joining the UArizona staff, Hodges has helped countless students access higher education through the UAYuma Academic Center.

But her journey with the university started well before then.

Hodges earned both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Education in Agricultural Education degree from UArizona, graduating from the College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences in 1987. She would then go on to earn her Doctor of Education degree in Innovation and Leadership from Arizona State University.

Hodges joined the UArizona staff in 2007 and now serves as the Regional Academic Programs Manager and Director of Workforce Development and Grants for the UAYuma Distance Campus. She also lectures for the university, teaching upper-level Agriculture Systems Management and Plant Sciences courses. In these roles, she has grown the Yuma center into a higher education resource that offers local students 20 majors, while working with regional industries and agencies to ensure that the degree programs will serve the surrounding communities and provide successful life trajectories for graduates.

Additionally, in the past three years, Hodges and her team have been awarded nearly $4 million to provide support tools and resources for local students, such as internships, travel and regionally supported senior capstone projects. Her team has made it a priority to address any factors that might affect a student’s success – from finances to access, culture to beliefs.

As a researcher, her area of focus centers on the felt barriers to higher education for first-generation Hispanic college STEM students. She aims to shift the perspectives that would act as barriers to earning a bachelor’s degree, so students can achieve their highest potential. Her dissertation, Breaking Down Barriers Through the “STEAM” College Success Program: Increasing STEM Bachelor’s Degrees for First-Generation Hispanic Students of the Desert Southwest, studies these barriers and offers a solution through her own unique outreach program, "Growing Our Own Initiative," which focuses on developing students into the future workforce of STEM-related industries.

Over the course of her career, she has been awarded the Yuma County Farmer of the Year, the CALES Young Achievers Award in 1998, the CALES Outstanding Achievement Award in 2010, the UA Award for Excellence, and the UAAA Sidney S. Woods Alumni Service Award.