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NMJC Student Focus of Newspaper Article

NMJC Student Focus of Newspaper Article	  photo 8/19/2008 4:03:45 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. One New Mexico Junior College student recently enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame, thanks to a local newspaper. Mark Owen, an incoming freshman, was "shadowed" on the first day of fall classes by Hobbs News-Sun education reporter Marie Wadsworth, along with staff photographer Kimberly Ryan, for a front-page story about Lea County college students heading back to school.

Describing his preceding evening as "nerve wracking," Owen, a 2008 Hobbs High School graduate who plans to be a pharmacist, admitted to Wadsworth that he arose around 5:45 Monday morning in preparation for his first day at college. Arriving on campus over an hour before his first class, Owen went to the Ben Alexander Student Learning Center to get his student ID, swung by the snack bar to purchase a bottle of water, and then headed across campus to find Heidel Hall, the location of his first class, General Biology for Science majors, taught by Professor Dale Kenison. "I guess I'm just excited about starting college," laughed Owen. "I wanted to make sure I wasn't late for anything."

Explaining to Wadsworth that he had looked at a number of other colleges and universities, both in and out of state, Owen told her that the decision to come to NMJC was an easy choice. "NMJC offers a pre-pharmacy option, and it was a lot more affordable than any of the others. That, and if I went off to college, I'd be in a dorm and wouldn't get to have all my stuff. The way it is now works out a lot better for me," said Owen, referring to the fact that he had moved earlier in the summer from his room at home to a garage apartment. "I have my own place now, so it's really neat. I wanted this as a transition, a transition from high school to being completely on my own. It's been really neat so far."

Owen shared with Wadsworth that his mother, nursing professor Delores Thompson, is another reason he chose NMJC. "I like being on my own, but it's still nice to know that my mom's just a door away. She's been able to give me some good tips and pointers about college life. I'm looking forward to meeting my teachers and getting involved with some of the student clubs she mentioned," he said. The quiet, introspective 18-year-old is especially excited about joining the Young Republicans club. "I think it's important for young people to be involved in politics, and this should be a good way to meet others who feel the same. Besides," he added, "it's sort of a family tradition to attend NMJC. My grandmother attended back in the 60's and got a secretarial degree, and I had two cousins who went through the nursing program."

Owen, whose qualifying Advanced Placement scores in high school earned him nine hours of college credit in U.S. History, U.S. Government, and Microeconomics, deliberately chose what some would consider "tough" classes for a first semester, such as Biology, Chemistry, Composition & Rhetoric and Calculus/Analytic Geometry. In addition to an already full course load, Owen will also be taking an online Pharmacy Tech class. "Maybe I'll get all the hard classes out of the way," he joked with Wadsworth, "and the rest will be easy. I think they'll definitely be interesting."

After a morning of interviewing, traipsing across campus, attending class, and photographing Owen both in and out of the classroom, Wadsworth and Ryan finally had their story and their photos and headed back to the News-Sun to put it all together for the next morning's issue.

And whether his future classes turn out to be as easy or as interesting as he hopes, one thing is for certain: Mark Owen strives to master whatever is before him. That alone qualifies him as one student who has earned his 15 minutes of fame. And maybe then some.

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