Who's Who of Professional Women


Elizabeth Paulus

Elizabeth A. Paulus, MEd, is the distinguished co-founder and executive director of College Bound AZ, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides greater access to higher education for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Since its founding in 2010, the nonprofit has helped thousands of students find financial assistance and pursue their academic aspirations. College Bound AZ’s RISE Scholars program, an acronym for “Reaching Impact through Student Excellence,” gives students one-on-one assistance to bolster them to accomplish their goals. Through the organization’s Fueling Minds With Heart program, Ms. Paulus considers it a privilege to be in a position to combat food insecurity for students and unhoused individuals, including some college students.

As executive director at College Bound AZ, Ms. Paulus is responsible for writing grants, researching and finding funding avenues, conducting regular meetings with college students, managing the budget, developing outreach strategies, and engaging with the community through presentations and events. Citing her genuine commitment to social justice, as well as her boundless energy and curiosity, she is proud to help those in need through her work. Fueled by a decades-spanning career in various arenas, Ms. Paulus is grateful for the opportunities she has had to retire from multiple careers and make room for College Bound AZ. First, she served in the United States Army as part of the Arizona Army National Guard for 30 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel before her retirement in 2008. She subsequently found success as an environmental scientist for the Arizona Army National Guard and later for the city of Phoenix, Arizona.

Holding a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Arizona State University, earned in 1986, Ms. Paulus resumed her higher education journey following her retirement from her military service by studying at Upper Iowa University. She earned a Master of Education in educational leadership in 2018, which she leveraged in College Bound AZ’s collaboration with the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT), creating the RISE Scholars at EVIT program. The partnership has resulted in more than $44 million in financial aid, including scholarships and grants that have benefitted more than 2,000 students to date. Ms. Paulus treasures the incredible opportunity of supporting 60 students every year to achieve their academic aspirations. Looking ahead, she is dedicated to the continued success and prosperity of her nonprofit. She aims to secure the organization’s future by establishing an improved funding mechanism while facilitating a smooth transition for her eventual successors.

An honoree featured in the U.S. Army Women’s Museum, Ms. Paulus played a key role in Camp Navajo’s takeover by the National Guard in 1993. As part of her service, she saw the location transformed into a vibrant economic hub in Arizona, creating numerous employment opportunities and economic growth. Within this effort, Ms. Paulus authored “An Environmental Assessment.” She later served on a White House task force on recycling in 2000. Also notably, in January 2024, she and her husband’s DNA samples were included on the inaugural memorial voyage of the Vulcan Centaur rocket. Further, in 2005, Ms. Paulus received the Crescordia Environmental Excellence Award, and in 2023, she was recognized with the Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award for promoting social and economic justice.

Ms. Paulus believes her success is the result of her tenacity, persistence, and pursuit of continual professional development. Away from work, she enjoys staying involved in her community through the Mesa West Rotary Foundation Inc., where she has been a member since 2019. She has been involved with the Women’s Army Corps since 1975 and maintains her affiliation with the Central Christian Church and Mesa Sister Cities. In her free time, she enjoys researching genealogy and traveling the globe. During her travels, she has visited more than 25 countries. Ultimately, Ms. Paulus hopes to be remembered for trying to make the world a better place.


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