Crystal Hernandez

Student Highlights

Crystal Hernandez

Crystal Hernandez
Degree/Area of Study: Health Science

Crystal is a proud mother of four who earned two associate degrees and hopes to help others become the best version of themselves through health and fitness.



What were your next steps after graduating from CGCC?: I graduated from CGCC in 2020 with two associate degrees. I then transferred to ASU to complete my Bachelor’s in Health Science (Lifestyle and Coaching) Degree.

What is your ultimate career goal?: I would love to work in the health and fitness area. Since being at Chandler-Gilbert and having the exposure and mentors that I had, I’ve realized how passionate I am about fitness and how much it has changed my life in a good way. I would love to help others become the best version of themselves.

What makes your story unique (first-generation college student, veteran, parent, employed full-time, etc.) to inspire future students like you?: I started college right out of high school but moved to Austin for a year. I moved back to New Mexico and tried to go back to school. I got married and had four children and was unable to finish my degree while taking care of them. I tried so many years to go back, but it never worked out. When my youngest child was old enough to start school, I got the courage to register for classes. It was a hard decision, but I’m so grateful I did it.

What campus resources did you use at CGCC (Computer Lab, Tutoring Services, Library, etc.)?: I took advantage of the tutoring center computer lab, as well as the library, which has some incredible resources.

What surprised you the most when you arrived at CGCC?: I was so nervous when I started at CGCC. I didn’t know what to expect, and so many things were going through my mind. I thought the campus was big. I thought I would get lost. I thought I was too old to be going back to school, but it wasn’t like that at all. The instructors and students were so nice and welcoming. I felt like I fit in and was part of the CGCC community.

How did CGCC faculty and staff support your success?: I had the best support system at CGCC through the Exercise Science department. They helped me discover my passion. I didn’t realize until I was there that fitness is what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to help people become stronger, not just on the outside but also on the inside. If you have the inner strength the outer strength will fall into place. One concept I learned throughout my experience at CGCC is health isn’t a number but a feeling.

How did you choose your major/program of study?: When I registered at CGCC, my plan was to go to school for nursing, but during that time I discovered fitness. I decided to take one of Dr. McGee’s Exercise Science classes on top of the required courses for Nursing to see if I liked it. I ended up loving it, and I’ll never forget our meetings. This is when she introduced me to the new NASM program. At first I wasn’t sure, but convinced myself to register for it. During the semester I learned so much about fitness. The hands on experience was so helpful. The Exercise Science instructors who managed our cohort gave me a new way of looking at fitness and really understanding it. They were always available. They figured out new teaching methods to help us learn and understand the concepts. I felt prepared when I took my NASM certification exam.

Why did you choose CGCC?: I moved to Arizona in 2017. My children were all in school, and I felt like I needed to focus on me. I’ve always felt like a failure because I couldn’t finish school. I wanted something I could be proud of. I wanted something I could say I worked for, I earned. I decided to register at CGCC, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. CGCC made it happen for me.

What experiential/hands-on projects did you participate in?: I was very lucky to get the hands on experience I got from the Exercise Science faculty. We got experience with recognising distortions and different heart rate zones. We had the opportunity to use the fitness center to work on training methods and how to train clients based on their goals. We learned about fitness assessments and were able to perform these assessments on each other.

What would you tell a prospective student considering their college choice?: Don’t be afraid to take the risk. CGCC has so much to offer students. They care about each and every one of the students. I chose CGCC because I wanted to make it happen and I did. I made it happen and now I feel like I am prepared to go to the next step in my life. CGCC prepared me for this. CGCC gave me the confidence I need to feel like I can do this. I’m not giving up until I’m done. Because of the experiences I had at CGCC, I had the courage to register at ASU for my bachelor’s degree. Thank you CGCC for helping me see what I am capable of doing if I believe in myself.