Outstanding Islander Graduate Kirbi Guthman ’22 Earns Bachelor of Science in Nursing

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – When Kirbi Guthman sets her mind to something, she gets it done – and then some.

When she was in eighth grade, Guthman visited her newborn niece in the hospital, and instantly knew she wanted to be a pediatric nurse. That very night, she and her mom researched nursing programs online and discovered Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has one of the best in state. She set her plans and never looked back.

At 21 years old, Guthman, the 2022 Outstanding Islander Graduate for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, is set to cross the stage Aug. 6 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which she completed in just under four years. With more than 700 students graduating this summer, it’s the university’s largest-ever summer ceremony. The designation of Outstanding Islander Graduate is sponsored by the TAMU-CC Office of the Provost.

Guthman’s time as an Islander has been intentionally busy, filled with classes, clinical rotations, student organizations, and service opportunities.

“I selected TAMU-CC because I fell in love with the atmosphere after my first visit,” Guthman said. “I appreciated the laid-back lifestyle and felt at home in the salty air. I also appreciated that our personal campus allowed me to become more involved than some of my other friends who found their homes at larger universities.”

Guthman, who hails from Lissie, an unincorporated town of about 500 located west of Houston, came to treasure that involvement which would define her college career.

“I hadn’t experienced ‘big city’ living and I was honestly pretty shy – until I started getting involved on campus,” she said. “After getting more involved, I found my stride. I have become a better version of myself in all areas. I am a more organized, time-oriented, responsible, outgoing individual.”

Much of Guthman’s involvement came through the University Council of Student Organizations (UCSO), of which she was hired as president in October 2020. One of her favorite parts of this role was working with incoming freshmen at Islander Launch to help them find the best-fit organizations to get them connected with the Island.

“I got to talk to students about how important it is to be involved,” Guthman said. “I was able to guide and lead students to organizations that met their needs, and if we could not find one, help them create new organizations on our campus.”

During her tenure with UCSO, 23 new student organizations were created.

“I was fortunate to be Kirbi’s advisor while she served as UCSO President,” said Stephanie Schmidt, TAMU-CC Student Activities Director. “In this role, I saw her love for TAMU-CC and passion for student involvement on campus. She set the example by stepping out of her comfort zone and she shared that message. Kirbi gained confidence as a leader as she led the UCSO funding committee where she developed and led events and training for over 100 UCSO organizations. She truly made an Islander Impact in her time on campus.”

Guthman also stayed involved through the Student Nurses Association, where in 2021 she was president-elect, and in 2022, president. Through the association’s mentorship program, she received mentorship her first two semesters, and was able to give back by providing mentorship her last three semesters. In five semesters, she accrued more than 50 service hours at local nonprofits.

Guthman’s love for campus involvement led the campus leadership to choose her to emcee both the Lighting of the I and the President’s Ball, the latter of which proved the biggest speaking engagement of her college career.

Kirbi Guthman at president's ball

“At first, I wasn’t too sure because I had mostly spoken to large groups of students, not adults; especially those who donate money to our university,” Guthman said. “After being assured that we would have a script and plenty of practice, I accepted the position, and I am so happy I did. Not only was I able to visit with donors at the event but I was able to thank them for their generosity.”

While she loved engaging in extracurricular activities, Guthman also kept a firm hand on her original plan – to become a pediatric nurse. She excelled in her classes and is expected to graduate with a 3.6596 GPA. In preparation for patient care, she engaged in multiple clinical rotations at numerous local hospitals.

“Kirbi is energetic, reliable, and proactive,” said Leigh Shaver, TAMU-CC Clinical Assistant Professor. “She is a leader among her peers. She demonstrates the passion for growing as an individual while serving her profession and community.”

Guthman also took the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica this summer, where she and her cohort worked with local school children, conducted family home visits, and organized a community health fair.

Now, as she prepares to begin her career in the pediatric unit at Baylor Scott and White-Hillcrest in Waco, she says her future goals include coming back to the Island University for a master’s degree.

“After this, I also hope to become a nursing school clinical instructor to give back to nursing students as all of my instructors have given to me,” Guthman said. “I am so fortunate that I entrusted TAMU-CC’s faculty and staff with my education because I am sure that it has put me on the track to success. I am very proud to, very soon, be an alumna of the Island University.”