Christina Garbuz’s path through higher education isn’t a traditional one – and that’s just the way she likes it.
Currently a student at Gonzaga University, Christina originally began her journey at the University of Washington. It wasn’t long before she decided it wasn’t the right fit, and this defining decision brought her to Spokane Falls Community College to pursue her associate degree. Christina simply wanted to complete her core classes before attending another four-year institution, but her time as a community college student was more fruitful than she imagined.
At SFCC, Christina felt at home among the diverse student body and reignited her passion for science, thanks to the exciting classes and mentorship. The amount of care Christina received from her teachers came as a surprise, and they continually challenged her to work hard and make the most of her time at community college.
“Some people say that community college is just an easier way to get a good grade,” she said. “I would 100% disagree. The courses challenged me and yet I had so much more support.”
Her desire to be actively involved in the local college community has extended past her time as a student. Christina now works as a tutor in the SFCC chemistry department several times a week. Gonzaga’s partnership with SFCC allows Christina to use her work-study hours for the tutoring sessions. Alongside tutoring, Christina also advocates for the students, collaborating with SFCC to meet less-recognized needs, such as providing free school supplies.
Christina’s passion for science has continued to expand. At Gonzaga, she is majoring in human physiology with a minor in psychology and aims to attend prosthetics and orthotics school after graduation.
“My goal is to create and design sustainable and affordable prosthetics so that everyone can have quality care,” Christina said.
With her varied experiences in higher ed, Christina offers a unique perspective on the student journey. She advises incoming students to understand there is no one correct path. She cautions that the only thing a student can truly count on is that things will change, and flexibility is the key to finding success.
“I followed an untraditional path and was able to really set myself up for a better future,” Christina said. “I take a lot of pride in that.”