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First-ever Conroy Scholars pave the way for future honors students at NMSU

Six freshmen are paving the way for future Conroy Scholars at New Mexico State University.

Group of six students outside (three standing, three seated)
The six first-ever Conroy Scholars began their studies at New Mexico State University in the fall 2015 semester. They are (back row, left to right) Leah Stiff, Adam Books and Guadalupe Ochoa; (front row, left to right) Angela Kearns, Caroline Korte and Haley Stewart. (NMSU photo by Karrie Lucero)

In their first semester at NMSU, the scholarship recipients are meeting the challenges of honors courses, acclimating to a new environment and juggling the many responsibilities college students face.

The first-ever Conroy Scholars include Adam Brooks of Albuquerque, Angela Kearns of Las Cruces, Caroline Korte of Albuquerque, Guadalupe Ochoa of Tucson, Arizona, Haley Stewart of Oklahoma City and Leah Stiff of Yucaipa, California.

?This was an initiative by Provost Dan Howard in an effort to recruit high-achieving students,? NMSU Honors College Dean Miriam Chaiken said.

The scholarship is named for William B. Conroy, who served as NMSU president from 1997-2000. He also served as interim president and executive vice president. While at NMSU, Conroy was a strong supporter of the honors program. He also supported the renovation of the historic YMCA building that was constructed in 1909, and the newly renovated building was dedicated as the William B. Conroy Honors Center in 2002.

High school students who are national merit semi-finalists or national Hispanic merit semi-finalists are eligible for the scholarship beginning with their freshman year at NMSU. Students? PSAT scores determine whether they will be invited to apply for the Conroy scholarship.

Invitations to apply for the scholarship were extended to hundreds of students in the western United States. Of those students, 42 applied and were invited to Conroy Day on the NMSU campus in February. Of those invited, 11 students attended Conroy Day and were given a scholarship offer letter. Six students accepted the offer, which includes tuition, room and board.

Conroy Scholars may choose any field of study as a major. The scholarship is a four-year offer if a 3.5 grade point average is maintained.

?The Conroy Scholars Program encourages students who might not initially consider New Mexico State University to give us another look,? said Provost Howard. ?In doing so, they discover a university rich in diversity, where every student is challenged and encouraged to achieve more than they thought possible. Once the invitees visit campus, they realize that their highest aspirations can be attained here.?

According to Chaiken, NMSU is indeed attracting high-achieving students and is competing with Ivy League schools.

?One student who received a Conroy Scholarship offer from NMSU selected Yale instead,? Chaiken said.

Chaiken said that as the Honors College makes the Conroy Scholar program more visible, she hopes that more students will begin to show an interest. She also emphasized the significance of the six first-ever Conroy Scholars.

?We hope that they are the first of many high-achieving national merit and national Hispanic merit students who choose to come to NMSU because of what we have to offer,? Chaiken said. ?The students who are in the program are clearly going to make a mark on the world. They will be the first generation of leaders from the Conroy program.?