December 10, 2009
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Fall grads offer stories of success
One peek into a ceramics class changed Adesola Owolabi’s career path.
Adesola Owolabi’s husband thought she was crazy when she decided to switch her studies from computer information systems to art with an emphasis in ceramics. It started in 2006 with a simple glance into a ceramics class. From that point, she was hooked. The 35-year-old, Nigerian-born art major is among the more than 1,000 graduates of Metropolitan State College of Denver’s Dec. 13 commencement ceremony held at the Colorado Convention Center. When her husband Bola, a 2001 Metro State grad in engineering technology, took a software engineer job in Kansas City, Mo. in 2007, the couple created a plan where she could remain in Denver to finish her program. Adesola stayed in Denver with their son, Justin, who was 3 at the time. Then they had another son, Jordan, who stays with Bola. It has worked, but Adesola is looking forward to joining her husband in Kansas City. She also plans to go to graduate school.
Before the end of the fall semester her work, along with other students was exhibited at the BFA Thesis Exhibition at the Center for Visual Art. Her exhibit “Ikoko Ibile” features a series of vessels—averaging two feet tall—which take a critical view of decoration within her cultural identity, the Yoruba culture.
Eva Vasquez plans to use her management degree to start her own business.
At 23 years old, Eva Vasquez has experienced more than her share of adversity. When she was in high school, her brother and cousin were killed in the same car crash. “When my older brother Edgar died, I missed school for a month. I was not focused,” she says. When high school graduation came, “the school put a seat for him next to me” and she made it through.
Also while she was in high school, her grandparents were assassinated in Mexico. Since then, the Denver native has married and is the mother of two but her husband was deported.
Now, Eva is graduating with a degree in business management and a minor in Spanish. She hopes to start her own business with the guidance of her father, who owns a local Mexican retail shop in Denver. “I grew up working in the store.”
She notes the College’s TRIO program helped her with the transition from high school to college. “I was in doubt about college. I thought it was too hard. But the TRIO program helped.”
The first in her family to go to a four-year college, Eva understands that she is a now a role model—her younger sister is a sophomore at Metro State.
Kevin Darcy hasn't allowed his blindness to hold him back; he hopes to teach high school history.
Kevin Darcy had only been driving a year when he started to go blind. For anyone, the thought of going blind is horrifying. It is even more so when you are only 17. “It started really slow at first and was only in my right eye. Then, while I was reading books, pieces of letters weren’t there. Teachers thought I was out of my mind,” says Darcy, now 29, who graduates with a double degree in anthropology and history.
The cause turned out to be a genetic condition that surfaces in the teen years. Though the (now) father of two has not let the obstacle stop him from moving forward, he admits that time has been a huge factor. “I have to scan worksheets and texts so that I can enlarge letters to about an inch or so. All of my books get scanned into a Word document and my computer has a program that speaks to me.”
Darcy, who has 20/400 vision, does not have a seeing-eye dog. He says he sometimes “misses a step and goes down, but that’s life.” He just gets up and continues moving forward. It’s a great lesson to share with others, he believes, specifically teens. Darcy is also working towards teacher licensure and says his ideal job would be to teach history to high school students.
A soccer player and coach, David Morgan used the Individualized Degree Program to earn a degree in sports administration.
David Morgan, 44, has played and coached soccer for Metro State. Now the assistant coach for women’s soccer can add college graduate to his list of accomplishments.
Morgan began at Metro State in 1983 on a soccer scholarship. In 1986, he left the College mid-semester of his senior year to travel the country playing professional soccer for the Colorado Comets. After his experiences in the professional realm of soccer he came back to Metro State, and has been an assistant coach for six years. From 2000-2005, he coached under Danny Sanchez. The Roadrunners won the national championship in 2004.
“Education is everything,” says Morgan, an education student his first three years at Metro State. He returned as a result of recruitment efforts funded by a grant from the Department of Higher Education to encourage former students to complete their degree.
For Morgan this was the perfect opportunity, as his real-world experience gained over the years could be used to supplement classroom credits through the Individualized Degree Program. This allowed him to personalize a degree concentrated on sports administration.