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Faces of CNM: Sarah Rivali

A single mom and 34-years-old, Sarah didn’t think college was for her until she walked into CNM
Faces of CNM: Sarah Rivali
Sarah Rivali

Mar 21, 2018

Here’s the short version of Sarah’s story: she came to CNM back when it was called TVI, but had a rough go and eventually dropped out. The next couple years were also rough. She was involved in a bad relationship, was a survivor of domestic violence, and quickly found herself as a single mom of two small kids.

She knew returning to college was one way she could turn her life around, but she was scared. Scared of getting lost in the college system, scared of being an older student, and scared of failure. Eventually, however, she worked up the confidence to enroll in CNM’s Paramedic program and brought a friend to help her through the first day.

“That friend was great, but I quickly realized I didn’t need her,” Rivali says. “As soon as I walked into CNM, there was literally someone to greet me and help me through every step of registration. The employees didn’t give me a chance to feel lost or scared, right from the beginning.”

Rivali says that level of support continues to this day. She’s now in the second semester of her paramedic program and has worked with numerous instructors who have gone out of their way to help her. She says they all view her as more than just a student.

“I have a true, genuine love for the instructors because they’ve found ways to impact my life beyond just education,” she says.

Once she graduates, Rivali hopes to return the favor by putting her training to good use. She says she chose to be a paramedic because she wants to be on the front lines of healthcare in Albuquerque and serve those that need it the most, like sex workers and addicts.

“These underserved communities need to be served, and the best way for me to do that is to be in the streets,” she says.