Tenacity Leads to Sociology Degree for Single Mom: Rocina Garcia, '21

May 7, 2021

Rocina Garcia, who is graduating with a 3.8 GPA and a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Spanish, is the recipient of the SBS Tenacity Award for spring 2021. This award recognizes a graduating senior in the College of SBS who has persevered in the face of significant adversity to earn his or her university degree.  

Rocina has raised two children as a single mother for the past 16 years. Rocina’s son earned a degree from UArizona in Chemical Engineering and her daughter graduated this spring from NAU with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Nutrition. Rocina is very proud that she will soon be joining them as a college graduate.

“I am very proud and would love to be an inspiration to other single mothers out there by letting them know that it is never too late to accomplish your dreams,” Rocina said.

Rocina started her academic journey at NAU in the summer of 1990, but left as other obligations in her life took precedence. She returned to school in the early 2000s at Coconino Community College, only to have to stop once again to take care of her ailing father after her mother passed away from cancer. When she contacted University of Arizona sociology advising in the summer of 2019 to review her transfer credits, she was insistent that this time she would complete her bachelor’s degree.

An excellent student, Rocina also worked full-time as a student academic specialist in the Graduate College while she was taking a full class load.

“Rocina always approached advising prepared with multiple plans of action, and she has never shied away from difficult coursework, no matter how busy or complicated her work and family life got,” said Derek Christopher Martin, lecturer in the School of Sociology.  “Rocina is an outstanding individual who possesses not only the academic acumen to be successful in school, but the insight and passion to step beyond the classroom and apply her knowledge to the greater world.”

“During my educational journey with the College of SBS, I can say that I have enjoyed every step of the way because the department has been so supportive in every aspect,” Rocina said. “My advisor, John McNeil, was awesome in guiding me to ensure that I took the appropriate courses and gave me great recommendations. All my professors were great to work with and were very knowledgeable, and I can truly say that each one helped me grow in one way or another.”