U.S. Army veteran named 2018 Outstanding Adult Student

May 02, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Staff Sgt. Timothy Bowen said he built his career by honing his craft. For the past eight years, Bowen served in the U.S. Army and National Guard, including one year in Iraq. He viewed his ability to lead and train soldiers as the best way to keep them alive during their next deployment.

Bowen’s dedication continued as a materials science and engineering major at Penn State. While earning his degree, he worked at the Applied Research Lab and appeared on the dean’s list six times. Bowen is the 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Adult Student Award.

“My biggest challenge was learning how to be a student again. In the Army, I could work my butt off each day and be done. Back in school I had to learn that I couldn’t take my work home and get anything done with the TV on behind me,” Bowen said. “I set myself up for success by using course reserve books in the library, which saved money and forced me to spend time in the library — free from distractions. My second biggest challenge is balancing work with school. It is an on-going struggle that I may never master, but seem to be holding it together.”

Bowen said he learned while in the infantry that the best way to be trusted with his responsibilities was to know his job, and to learn the two jobs above him. As a student, he said he applied the same rule.

“I jumped on research opportunities as soon as I realized they were important. I also made a point to challenge myself by taking classes that I knew would be difficult, even if I didn’t need them to graduate,” Bowen said. “I will continue to use the communication skills that I learned from the infantry, where constant communication was key to victory.”

Leslie Laing, director of Adult Learner Programs and Services in Student Affairs, established the Outstanding Adult Student Award in 2008 as a way to recognize nontraditional-age students and veterans who are balancing financial and family responsibilities while earning their first-time undergraduate degrees. Laing said Bowen was nominated for the award this year because of his dedication, competence, integrity and intense drive — which all helped him to excel.

“Timothy juggles multiple levels and roles of responsibility on campus; he has overcome transition issues and helped other students. His commitment and level of service is commendable,” Laing said. “We certainly want to recognize and support his success as a valuable member of our Penn State community. His campus involvement as an adult learner has been exemplary and has propelled him into leadership at the next level while continuing to open doors for him. He makes us Penn State proud.”

Bowen said Adult Learner Programs and Services helped him feel welcome when he first arrived at Penn State.

“It is a great support group for adult students,” Bowen said. “Leslie pointed me in the direction of some really good resources as soon as I showed up to one of the meetings. I found out about free tutoring services offered by Penn State and found my roommate.”

Bowen will begin graduate school at Penn State in the fall as part of the one-year master’s program in materials science and engineering.

The Outstanding Adult Student Award includes a Penn State diploma case and a $500 grant from the Adult Learner Opportunity Fund. To contribute and help other adult learners at Penn State, visit the Adult Learner Opportunity Fund in Student Affairs online.

  • 2018 OASA Timothy Bowen

    Leslie Laing, director for Penn State Adult Learner Programs and Services presents diploma case to OASA Recipient Timothy Bowen with his adviser Meg Abplanalp. Pictured in the photo left to right: Abplanalp, Bowen and Laing.

    IMAGE: Penn State Adult Learner Programs and Services

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 03, 2018