Behind The Scenes

Learn more about screenings, the students and making of No Greater Odds here as you go behind the scenes of this Emmy-nominated groundbreaking documentary.


Join us as we continue to tour the country sharing the story of No Greater Odds.  We travel to conferences, institutions, organizations and other engagements around the nation and invite you to become part of the No Greater Odds family.   Please Contact Us to inquire about scheduling a screening, speaking opportunity, or professional development engagement near you.


We are delighted to have had the honor of working with the following institutions and organizations across the country who are now part of our No Greater Odds family:

  • NC State – Charlotte, NC (May 2021)
  • NC State (Virtual) – Raleigh, NC (May 2020)
  • NC State – Charlotte, NC (May 2019)
  • NCMPR – San Antonio, TX (March 2019)
  • CoNVerge Conference – Henderson, NV (March 2019)
  • Complete College America Annual Conference – Chicago, IL (December 2018)
  • Porterville College – Porterville, CA (August 2018)
  • Pensacola State College – Pensacola, FL (August 2018)
  • Williston State College – Williston, ND (August 2018)
  • NISOD Conference – Austin, TX (May 2018)
  • NC State – Raleigh, NC (May 2018)
  • Edgecombe Community College – Tarboro, NC (April 2018)
  • South Plains College – Lubbock, TX (February 2018)
  • Cuyahoga Community College – Cleveland, OH (February 2018)
  • LATTE Conference – Lake Havasu, AZ (December 2017)
  • MCTA Conference – Columbia, MD (October 2017)
  • Georgia Adult Education Conference – Atlanta, GA (September 2017)
  • MCC-Penn Valley – Kansas City, MO (September 2017)
  • TYFY Conference – San Antonio, TX (September 2017)
  • NISOD Conference – Austin, TX (May 2017)
  • UNLV Higher Education Student Leadership Association – Las Vegas, NV (April 2017)
  • Boys & Girls Club – Las Vegas, NV (April 2017)
  • Batteries Included – Las Vegas, NV (April 2017)
  • WASFAA Conference – Seattle, WA (April 2017)
  • AHSIE Conference – Las Vegas, NV (April 2017)
  • The Morning Blend – Las Vegas, NV (March 2017)
  • KCLV – Las Vegas, NV (March 2017)
  • NROC Conference – Monterey, CA (March 2017)
  • CCSSE – Austin, TX (November 2016)
  • CASFAA Conference – Anaheim, CA (November 2016)
  • College Promise – Las Vegas, NV (October 2016)
  • ELICon Conference – Green Bay, WI (October 2016)
  • Santa Fe College – Gainesville, FL (October 2016)
  • Innovative Educators – Boulder, CO (September 2016)
  • TYFY Conference – Denver, CO (September 2016)
  • Aiken Technical College – Graniteville, SC (August 2016)
  • Glendale Community College – Glendale, AZ (August 2016)
  • GateWay Community College – Phoenix, AZ (August 2016)
  • Democratic National Convention – Philadelphia, PA (July 2016)
  • Republican National Convention – Columbus, OH (July 2016)
  • College Board Accuplacer & CLEP Conference – Las Vegas, NV (July 2016)
  • League Learning Summit – Paradise Valley, AZ (June 2016)
  • Capitol Hill Tour, Library of Congress – Washington, D.C. (June 2016)
  • Big Bend Community College – Moses Lake, WA (June 2016)
  • Las Vegas Film Festival – Las Vegas, NV (June 2016)
  • NC State – Raleigh, NC (May 2016)
  • NISOD Conference – Austin, TX (May 2016)
  • College Transition Publishing – Bainbridge, WA (May 2016)
  • League for Innovation Conference – Chicago, IL (March 2016)
  • Hobsons – Washington, D.C. (March 2016)
  • DREAM Conference – Atlanta, GA (February 2016)
  • CCA Annual Convening – Denver, CO (October 2015)
  • NACADA Conference – Las Vegas, NV (October 2015)
  • NSHE Diversity Summit – Las Vegas, NV (October 2015)
  • KNPR – Las Vegas, NV (August 2015)

Cast Bios

Barbara Ayarza has lived a life filled with challenges. From failed marriages, to health concerns, to being a single mother of six children, she felt like she never deserved a chance at education. After being accepted at the College of Southern Nevada, yet another challenge emerges that makes her realize that she won’t be able to go to college after all – but she attends the orientation day anyway, knowing that she can’t stay but wanting just for one day to have felt like a college student. Who she ends up meeting on that day ultimately changes her college journey – and her life.

Barbara Ayarza

Carlos Holguin

Carlos Holguin faces family hardships that culminate with the realization that a semester before graduation, he is pursuing a degree that doesn’t align with his passion, which is music. With the encouragement of an instructor, he decides to change his path right before graduation. When an unfortunate turn of events leave his future career hanging in the balance, the help that comes from unexpected sources ensures Carlos can still make his dreams come true.

Jaklin Guyumjyan had one birthday wish as a child – to move to the United States from Armenia with her family to have a better life. They arrive to the United States full of hope on September 10th, 2001. What happens the next morning not only changes the course of her family, but also that of the entire nation around her – leaving her to struggle to find both her place and her future with a family whose culture is very different from everyone else around her.

Jaklin Guyumjyan

Monique Makhlouf

Monique Makhlouf began working at the age of fifteen after her mother broke her back while on the way to see Monique in her first play. Working multiple jobs to try to take care of her mother and save enough for school, she struggles to make ends meet. Foreclosure, family health issues, and missed school all threaten to derail Monique’s future after graduation…until a conversation – and a visit from faculty and administration at her job – ultimately change the direction of her life.

Tyrone Foster, a sexual assault victim also diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type II, walked out of a college classroom one day and never looked back – breaking a promise to his mother that he would be the first in his family to graduate from college. Twelve years later, he decided to go back to school to become a victim advocate and motivational speaker. While facing the challenges of working full-time and battling a mental disorder, his life would be changed – by six words written on a piece of paper.

Tyrone Foster


John C. Aliano is the Producer and one of the Cinematographers for the Emmy-nominated documentary, No Greater Odds.  He is an experienced filmmaker, instructor and Program Director for the College of Southern Nevada’s Videography & Film Program.  He is the founder and producer of the annual CSN Short Film Showcase, a compilation of the highest quality CSN student films in a competitive festival.  His students have won numerous awards, including five Student Production Emmy Awards in 2015, eight in 2016, fourteen in 2017 and seven in 2018.  John has been nominated twice for Emmy Awards and won an Emmy Award for Location Lighting.  In 2014, he was honored with the Faculty of the Year award at CSN.

With a background in academia, urban planning, and photography, director Patrick Wirtz entered filmmaking four years ago at the College of Southern Nevada. While working in production on studio films, television commercials, and a feature documentary, Patrick has directed several short films and has produced for other rising directors many shorts which are currently screening at film festivals around the country. No Greater Odds is his first major project as director, and his work was honored with an Emmy nomination for Best Director.  He is grateful for this experience to use the filmmaker’s craft to tell an important story of equal access to education and the opportunities it inspires in individuals.

James R. McCoy is the Co-Creator and Executive Producer of the acclaimed Emmy-nominated documentary No Greater Odds and currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the College of Southern Nevada.  Since joining the institution in 2003, he has served as the Associate Vice President for Academic Success, as Chair and Lead Faculty for the Department of Communication, and is a tenured Communication Professor.  James has also taught at several community colleges in California where he taught several different communication courses. Prior to working in academia, he worked in radio broadcasting as a radio morning show host and radio station program director. A highly sought after keynote speaker and presenter, James often talks about the important work that community colleges do in the United States. James is excited to share No Greater Odds with the world!

Charlene S. Gibson is Co-Creator and Associate Producer of the acclaimed Emmy-nominated documentary, No Greater Odds. She is a tenured professor in the Department of Communication and serves as Faculty Initiatives Coordinator for Achieving the Dream at the College of Southern Nevada. Known as an incredibly passionate, dynamic, and engaging instructor, Charlene challenges her students – known as #TeamGibson – to find their passion and reach their fullest potential through excellent public speaking that opens doors and changes lives. Charlene also shares her passions for public speaking and excellent teaching as a motivational speaker and trainer. Frequently asked to speak to students and train faculty and corporate clients, her inspirational specialties include the art of creating community in the classroom, fostering student engagement and success, creative teaching methods, customer service, relationship building, and of course, No Greater Odds. Additionally, Charlene loves sharing her stories of teaching and working overseas in Japan, Germany and the Netherlands while traveling all over Asia and Europe, which she did for eight years before joining the College of Southern Nevada.