The Daily Express

Owens Student Blazes Trail
Curtice Resident Earns Three Years of Education at the Two-Year Community College

Melissa Kapp of Curtice.

For Melissa Kapp of Curtice, being raised on a farm meant agriculture was a logical choice for a career when considering a college or university.

Taking the first step towards her bachelor's degree, she chose Owens Community College to earn her associate's degree with the intention of transferring to Ohio State University to complete the last two years of her education.

What's makes Kapp's educational journey unique, is her ability to become the first student in the College's 37-year history to acquire three years of education at Owens prior to enrolling in classes at Ohio State. When Kapp arrives on Ohio State's campus as a senior in the Fall, she will be only one year of classes and her student teaching shy of earning a bachelor's degree in Agriculture Education.

"It's pretty amazing that I've been able to take three years of coursework at Owens Community College," said Kapp, an honors student who earned her associate's degree in Agribusiness Management from the College in December.

"I decided to attend Owens because of the school's proximity to home and the affordable cost," she said. "By being able to commute from home, I saved a lot of money that would have been spent on housing."

Kapp also was impressed with the College's Agribusiness Management program. "Owens was the only college or university in Northwest Ohio to offer the particular program that I was interested in."

Kapp, who always envisioned being involved in agriculture, later included a career in education to her dream. "I figured the best way to combine the two areas was to pursue a career as an agriculture education high school teacher," she said. "The only classes I have left at Ohio State before I start my student teaching are very specialized education classes."

A 1999 graduate of Genoa High School, Kapp attended her first classes at Owens in Fall 1999. Upon completion of her studies this summer, she will have earned more than 95 credit hours which will transfer to Ohio State.

Achieving a 3.8 grade point average while attending Owens, Kapp also served as a student worker in the College's Counseling Center and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa International Honor Society. Her community involvement includes serving on the Senior Fair Board for the Ottawa County Fair and president of Future Farmers of America (FFA). She also was an 11-year member of a local 4-H Club.

"I am extremely proud of Melissa and all of her hard work and dedication that she has put forth in pursuing both her associate's and bachelor's degrees," said Glenn Abke, Owens Professor of Arts and Sciences. "Many of the College's Agribusiness Management students have taken advantage of the Owens' partnership with Ohio State, however, Melissa is the first student to earn three years of education which will go towards her bachelor's degree."

Although Kapp's situation is rather unique, on the College's Toledo-area and Findlay-area Campuses there are currently more than 3,500 students who have transferred to Owens from another college or university, or who after taking classes at the College intend on transferring to another four-year institution.

"In the coming year, I only see the trend of students choosing to earn an associate's degree at Owens, and then transferring their credits to any college or university in the Northwest Ohio area and beyond, to continue," said Dr. Bill Ivoska, Interim Vice President of Student Services.

According to a recent Ohio Board of Regents study, more freshmen and sophomore students in Ohio are choosing to pursue their education at community colleges versus four-year colleges or universities. During Fall Semester 2001, three of the top four public institutions in Ohio, ranked by the total number of freshmen and sophomore students, were community colleges.

Cuyahoga Community College, Sinclair Community College and Owens Community College ranked first, second and fourth, respectively, in the study. The only four-year college or university in the top four was Ohio State University.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing community college of its size in the nation. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 36,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for entry-level college students in Northwest Ohio. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 140 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.

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