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A. T. Still University Provost to Speak at Polytechnic Convocation

December 07, 2005

Crystal Garcia is not your typical college student. She is a mom of three boys in her late thirties who decided to go back to school to finish her bachelor's degree. On December 15, she will be one of the 4,000 Arizona State University students who achieved a major milestone.

Garcia, an elementary education major at the Polytechnic campus, is graduating with a degree that she started to pursue more than 12 years ago. Now she says she is realizing her dream.

"When I started my associate's degree I was majoring in elementary education, but ended up taking accounting courses, so I graduated with a general studies degree," explains Garcia. "After graduating, I took a job in bookkeeping for about eight years and then became a stay at home mom. But teaching was always my first love and choice."

Completing a bachelor's degree was always a goal, and a life changing event was a great motivator to get her back in the classroom to finish it.

"I realized I needed my college degree to support my family, and it was a great opportunity to be a role model for my children. Now they say they plan to attend and graduate from college," says Garcia.

During her studies she has been field teaching at various schools in Gilbert and Higley. In November she received a verbal offer for a position, which she started this month with the Higley School District teaching third grade.

"I love this grade because students are more independent and still so excited about learning," says Garcia.

Garcia is one of 430 students graduating from programs offered at the Polytechnic campus.

The Polytechnic campus will hold a convocation ceremony, at 5:30 p.m., on Dec. 15, at Wells Fargo Arena where students will be able to walk across the stage and be recognized by family and friends.

"My children are so proud of me; they can't wait to see me actually graduate," says Garcia.

In addition to being able to be recognized, students will receive a parting message from Dr. Craig M. Phelps, provost of A. T. Still University of Health Sciences Mesa campus.

The A. T. Still University is literally a neighbor of the polytechnic campus, says Jerry Jakubowski, ASU provost for the Polytechnic campus. "He was selected as our convocation speaker because of the mutual desire to have a greater cooperative working relationship between our two institutions, especially as the Polytechnic campus will be developing new degree programs in health technologies," adds Jakubowski.

As provost at A. T. Still, Phelps oversees the development of the campus's Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, and programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, audiology and athletic training.

In addition, Phelps is a fellowship trained primary care sports medicine physician and board certified in family medicine. Practicing for over 20 years in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Dr. Phelps currently serves as primary care physician for the NBA Phoenix Suns, WNBA Phoenix Mercury, physician for Ballet Arizona, team physician for Grand Canyon University, team physician for Scottsdale Community College, Paradise Valley Community College and Gateway Community College.

For those attending, an early arrival is recommended. For information, contact (480) 727-1140 or visit