SU Health Professor ROBELYN GARCIA PhD: Fascinating People by Raina Shaw

FASCINATING PEOPLE: ROBELYN GARCIA PhD by Raina Shaw the Salon Chair Therapist

Dynamic scholar athlete and multi-disciplinary professor Robelyn Garcia, PhD. speaks on her extraordinary career and how higher education benefits women and society.

SCD: Where did you grow up?  And, how old were you when you became interested in sports?

RG: I moved around often while growing up. My age of adolescence was time well spent in the Bible Belt. I became interested in sports when I was six years old, living in Burbank, CA.  I started zealously watching the L.A. Lakers with my adopted brother.  Two years later I began my scholastic sports participation in track and field.  My first team sport was soccer at the age of 10.  Once I started playing basketball, at the age of twelve, I was hooked!

SCD: What honors did you receive as an all-star college basketballer?

RB: My top three honors as a college player are leading the nation in scoring my freshman year with 31.5 ppg, being a NJCAA VI All-American, and being the career all-time leading scorer at Dodge City College.

SCD:  What are the benefits of being a scholar athlete?

RG: The benefits of being a scholar athlete are vast and varied.  Student athletes have a built in support system before they even step foot on campus.  Coaches, trainers, tutors, academic and athletic staff are readily available to assist the scholar athlete on and off the field.  Access to a college education is just one of the advantages a scholar athlete receives from playing their sport.  Beyond the reward of a free undergraduate education via full-ride athletic scholarship, sports gave me the opportunity to live a lifelong dream of continuing my basketball career after high school and beyond college.  Basketball and sport as a whole positively impacted my self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of accomplishment.  A deeper reflective analysis reveals that the largest impact basketball and team sports had on my life was providing the sense of belongingness I had inherently desired and yearned for as an adoptee.  My teammates were my sisters; my coaches bestowed guidance and the fans instilled acceptance!

SCD: You are a Multi-Disciplinary Professor. What are your fields of study and how many degrees have you earned?

RG: My education is as diverse as my teaching.  I have earned eight college degrees and I am currently working on my second doctorate.The chronological break reflects the years I spent as a Kinesiology Professor before my beginning my progression to becoming a Multidisciplinary Professor and Scholar.

1985 – Associate of Arts & Sciences: Broadcasting & Kinesiology

1990 – Bachelor of General Studies: Social & Health Sciences

1992 – Master of Science: Exercise & Sport Science

1993 – Master of Education in passing: Athletic Administration

1994 – Doctor of Philosophy: Education Administration

2009 – Post Graduate Certificate: Gerontology

2011 – Master of Science: Aging & Lifespan Development

2014 – Master of Arts: Criminal Justice & Criminology

2017 – Doctor of Behavioral Health (exp)

SCD: Explain to young women why getting an education is so important and how it helped you.

RG: Young women can create their own life-changing opportunities through education as I have. Research perpetually reveals that the single most effective way to improve the lives of women and families is to educate young women.  Educating girls yields some of the highest returns of all investments at the societal and individual level.  Getting an education not only empowers girls it also increases a woman’s potential income, increases her lifespan, improves her health, improves skills that allow women to make their own life decisions, provides opportunity for travel domestically and abroad, and provides endless life choices that would not be available otherwise. Educating our young women is the right thing to do, the just thing to do, the moral thing to do and the smart thing to do!

SCD: You’re also a basketball coach. What teams have you coached?

RG: I currently coach and I am the president of Southwest Jr. NBA – Jr. WNBA charter basketball program. We offer scholarships, clinics and contests for youth ages 4 to 23.  I have been a volunteer coach for the Special Olympics for the last 25 years and I just started volunteer coaching for the Senior Games.  I am also currently the Vice President of American Community Team Sports.  I previously coached two seasons at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas while doing post-graduate studies and working at The University of Kansas.  This was a truly rewarding and unique experience; all of my players were Native Americans with 90% of them coming directly off the reservation.  Haskell is the premiere tribal university in the United States providing a tuition-free education for Native American Indians and Alaskan Natives since 1884.  I highly recommend this university to all Native Americans interested in receiving a gratis post-secondary education. Throughout the 90’s I also coached several semi-pro, exhibition and club teams including the touring team Christian Basketball and Team Garcia.

SCD: Are men intimidated by your smarts and accomplishment?

RG: Not that I am aware of; it seems most men respect my independence.  Possibly because I have an inclination to keep company with others that are more accomplished than I am.  In addition, I tend to surround myself with friends that also have advanced terminal degrees.   

SCD: Because you are gorgeous, do you find that your colleagues underestimate your knowledge and know how when they first encounter you?

RG: Thank you, but no I have not perceived this from my colleagues. On a similar note, I did repeatedly have the typical undergraduate male jock student in my Kinesiology courses that seemed to underestimate my knowledge. The school boy doubt would quickly fade and mentoring these male students often became some of my most fulfilling teaching experiences.

SCD: You have accomplished so much in your life.  What’s next for Robelyn Garcia PhD?

RG: Thank you, I still have more to do and more to share.  My athletic goals include winning four medals at the Senior Olympics and Senior Olympic Festival.  I have been looking forward to 2015 since I started teaching my gerontology students in 2009.  My senior students have motivated me to lace up for competition one more time through the senior games movement.  I will continue to coach my senior athletes as I compete by their side. Athletes are first eligible to compete in senior games during the calendar year they turn 50; 2015 is my year!

My career goals include continued multidisciplinary teaching and research in kinesiology, gerontology, criminology, behavioral health, therapeutic lifestyle change, sport science and online higher education.  My academic goals include the completion of my Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH) degree from Arizona State University in 2017.  After finishing the coursework and capstone of my DBH program, I believe I will be able to provide improved leadership and scholarship within the health, wellness and academic community.  Following my DBH I plan on getting one more diploma.  Attending Harvard has long been a dream, no a fantasy for me.  But with my post-graduate 4.0 GPA and the new Harvard University EXT School programs I am going to make that fantasy a reality in 2017.  Harvard now offers degrees combining online courses and residential on campus courses.  With a Harvard diploma on my résumé, my formal education will be complete in 2019.

To stay abreast of Robelyn’s events and endeavors follow her on Twitter @Rgphd