Mary Justine Owen
Health and Human Performance
Mathematics Teaching Option
Outstanding Senior/Golden Merit Award
Being a fulltime college student is a fulltime job. And for student athletes, there’s additional work at the end of the day and on weekends.
As a student-athlete, Mary Owen, of Broadus, excelled in both arenas and still found time for leadership in campus activities, community service to Billings’ underserved Southside and engagement in extracurricular activities such as summer work in wilderness areas.
Recognized for achieving those high marks, Owen is this year’s recipient of the MSU Billings Golden Merit Award and is one of two recipients of the Outstanding Senior Award.
Her nominator said, “Simply put, and expressed in what sounds like hyperbole but definitely is not, Mary Owen is as outstanding an undergraduate student as I have encountered in 40 plus years teaching. There literally is no area of achievement in which Mary is not exceptional.”
An enthusiastic and dedicated student, the 24-year-old will graduate this weekend with a degree in health and human performance with a mathematics teaching option, and a nearly perfect GPA.
As a cross-country, track athlete for the MSU Billings Yellowjackets for four years, Owen was inducted into the Athletic Honor Society. She was named an honoree to the GNAC Track & Field All-American team four times—only the eighth woman in GNAC history and the first from MSUB, to have made the list four times.
“My experience as a student and as an athlete has had a profound impact on me,” Owen said. “When you are a part of a community, it does so much to enrich your life. For me, it makes me want to give so much more back.”
And in her busy schedule, she has found time to do just that. Owen has served in several student leadership positions, including vice-president for student government. She has twice served her college as a teaching assistant and been an exceptional Noyce Scholar and Honors Program student.
In addition to campus involvement, Owen volunteered her time with The Friendship House, which serves Billings’ Southside community youth in a wide array of after school and summer programs. She developed an entire curriculum for this upcoming summer program.
She has simultaneously been working at Skyview High School as an assistant cross-country coach and assistant coach for track this past year.
But more important than all of Owen’s academic, athletic and community service achievements, her nominator said, are her resolute character, her sincere respect for others, her indomitable work ethic, her steadfast values, and the honor she brings to her every endeavor.