Seven Maine community college students were honored for their academic success and campus and community involvement at a luncheon ceremony on Wednesday, April 26 at Maple Hill Farm in Hallowell. During this event, Northern Maine Community College recognized graduating senior Owen Martin of Caribou as the 2023 NMCC Student of the Year.
Martinis an electrical construction student who graduated from Caribou High School in 2020. Beyond his interest in working with his hands, he also appreciates the science of electricity.
“NMCC was not the start of my college journey,” Martin explained during his acceptance speech. “Having aspirations of becoming a civil engineer, I started at the University of Maine at Orono in the fall of 2020. Unfortunately, the pandemic moved classes online, and I was stuck trying to balance a massive digital workload. It was not a good fit for me, and I knew something had to change.”
He enrolled at NMCC in the spring of 2021 and felt an immediate difference. “The more hands-on approach to education and the close-knit community was a perfect fit for my personality and learning style,” he said. “Everyone on campus exhibits a profound passion for creating both a successful learning environment as well as a warm and vibrant home away from home.”
At the ceremony NMCC Dean of Students Matt Grillo introduced Martin. “We had a number of strong nominations this year, and the final decision was no easy task,” Grillo explained. “We reviewed students who regularly go above and beyond. Who work diligently to balance school with family, work and all the other responsibilities that come with life. NMCC’s 2023 Student of the Year rose to the top of this list. Owen is the kind of student who we all recognize on campus. His friendly demeanor and kindness are contagious.”
Dean Grillo added that Martin has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his time at NMCC.
In an interesting turn of events, Martin will return to the engineering world after graduation, having accepted a job at Bulldog Automation, an engineering firm in Portland. He interned at Bulldog last summer and was offered a full-time position with the firm.
“Though this is not the typical path for electrical graduates, I feel my education at NMCC has prepared me for the role with a practical and application-based approach that will make me stronger in my field,” Martin said.
He is an avid reader and hiker. He’s submitted Katahdin multiple times and has traversed almost all trails in Aroostook County. He was nominated for Student of the Year by NMCC staff member JR Kierstead, who oversees Martin’s work as a tutor in the Academic Success Center.
Student of the Year recipients are selected by NMCC faculty and staff for their academic success and their campus and community involvement. In addition to being named Student of the Year, recipients receive a John and Jana Lapoint Leadership Award in the amount of $1,000. The Lapoints both served as trustees of the Maine Community College System. After John’s death in 1995, Jana Lapoint helped establish the fund for the annual awards. “I know how proud (John) would be of all of you,” said Jana Lapoint while addressing this year’s recipients.
Due to this recognition, Martin will address the graduating class at NMCC’s 58th annual Commencement on May 13 at The Forum in Presque Isle, which will be available for streaming on nmcc.edu and the college’s Facebook page.