When Sam Harden graduated from high school in 2001, he decided to attend Owens Community College. He was working two jobs and going to school full-time. After working at that pace for a few semesters, Harden decided to move to Sarasota, Fla.
In Florida, Harden had a great job, a job that would pay at least as much, if not more than he could make at most entry-level college grad positions. Harden had a choice to make - should he continue to work full-time or return to school to pursue his dreams. With the encouragement of his parents, he decided to take a risk and return to Toledo for school.
He enrolled at Owens for the second time in the fall of 2004. This time he decided to take it slow and only attend part-time at first. After two semesters, he was back to attending school full-time and working full-time.
"There are so many more student activities now than there were the first time I attended Owens, and it keeps growing," said Harden.
Harden took full advantage of the extracurricular activities offered at Owens. He became a representative on Student Government and was elected as the President of Student Government for the 2006-2007 academic year.
During his Student Government tenure, he was able to work for a number of new initiatives and projects for the Owens student community. Student Government was able to bring the "New York Times" to campus so that students would be connected to the happenings in the world.
He and the members of Student Government worked with other clubs on campus to get a new policy approved by the Owens Board of Trustees. Thanks to the students' hard work, fifty cents per every credit hour is distributed to student activities and clubs. Prior to this policy, bake sales and similar fundraisers provided the only budgets for student organizations.
"Owens was a great opportunity. It is a large college with a small college feel. The personal attention and guidance I received helped me so much," said Harden.
His involvement in Student Government led to great opportunities. He interned for the City of Toledo in the economic development office during the summer of 2006. This internship led to appointment on the City of Toledo's College Advisory Board, a group formed to bring colleges together and involve college students in the community.
Harden graduated with an Associate of Arts and Science and this fall will attend the University of Toledo.
"This is what I always wanted when I was younger. Graduation day was one of my happiest because I had reached my goals," said Harden.
He will be pursuing a degree in Political Science, with a specialization in Public Administration and a minor in Law and Social Thought and Pre-law. He hopes to go into defense law and then eventually become involved in local politics.
"Toledo is home to me. I want to stay home and do the
best I can to make a positive impact on the community," said Harden.