Monday, June 15, 2015

Grossmont College grad Robyn Sarvis: From Disneyland tour guide to nursing degree

Grossmont prepares you well for whatever you want to do, whether you want to transfer to a four-year university or prepare for a job." - Robyn Sarvis
Robyn Sarvis
Shes been a Disneyland Ambassador to the World and an assistant director on Princess Cruise ships in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and the Pacific. Now Grossmont College graduate Robyn Sarvis is off on a new adventure: she’s embarking on a career as a registered nurse.

I’m a big believer in lifelong learning, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with changing your path,” said Sarvis, who had already earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology when she returned to Grossmont College for an associate degree in nursing. “I was telling a friend a couple years back that if I spend two years in nursing school, I’ll be like 42 when I graduate – and how crazy was that? And my friend said, `Well, how old are you going to be in a couple years if you don’t go to nursing school?’ You know, she had a point. So off I went.”

Sarvis, who graduated in fall 2014 with an associate of science degree in nursing, squeezed everything she could from her experience at Grossmont College. She excelled academically while serving in a leadership position with her nursing class cohort, coordinating several fundraisers that raised nearly $10,000 for cancer research and volunteering her time freely – all while caring for a young son who is battling leukemia. She also worked as events director for the National Student Nurses Association’s Grossmont College chapter.

Her accomplishments led Sarvis to be recognized at an awards ceremony last month as a Student of Note, an honor reserved for those who have successfully battled a plethora of obstacles to reach their educational goals.
“Robyn deserves all the recognition in the world because she truly is a superstar,” said one of her former professors, Zeke Sanchez.

“Robyn is a true example of leadership and perseverance,” agreed nursing Professor Peter Brooks.

Her journey has had more than a few turns. After graduating from Santana High School (Class of ’89), Sarvis landed a job as a Disneyland tour guide before being promoted to a manager at the main entrance and being selected as an Ambassador to the World – a position with responsibilities that included riding on parade floats and visiting hospitals with Disney characters. Next came Princess Cruises, where Sarvis served as a cruise director.

Sarvis married and moved back to East County in 1999, enrolling at Grossmont College and earning an associate degree in psychology before securing a bachelor’s degree in the subject from San Diego State University, giving birth to two boys along the way. When the family moved to Texas, where her then-husband landed an oncology fellowship in San Antonio, Sarvis worked as a doula. The family returned to East County in 2009, and a couple years later Sarvis decided to enroll at the Grossmont College Nursing Program.

She took a leave of absence to care for her son, now 10, when he was diagnosed with leukemia. He is on pace to complete his treatments in the summer of 2016, about the same time Sarvis will wrap up an online, bachelor’s degree in nursing program at Cal State San Marcos.

She hopes to work in a pediatric or neonatal intensive care unit.

Sarvis said Grossmont College has played a pivotal role in her life.

“Grossmont prepares you well for whatever you want to do, whether you want to transfer to a four-year university or prepare for a job,” she said. “It’s a wonderful college and the education you get here is commensurate with the education you’d get at any four-year college or university.”