UNM-LA student a part of All-State team

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By Bonnie Gordon

University of New Mexico-Los Alamos may be a community college but its influence extends beyond county lines. For instance, student Lise Lookman has been named to the 2010 New Mexico All-State Academic Team.

Team members were recognized at a ceremony held Feb.11 at the State Capitol in Santa Fe. In addition to being eligible for state scholarships, New Mexico team members are eligible to compete for the USA Today sponsored All- USA Academic Team.

The honor recognizes academic achievement by students attending community colleges and encourages students to maintain their hard work and dedication.  

A selection committee of 12 individuals, including previous All USA academic winners, university scholars and the former executive editor of the USA Today newspaper will choose the All USA applicants.  There will be 20 winners. They are chosen from more than 600 nominated applicants from different universities and colleges across the nation.  Those chosen have shown initiative, leadership, focused attention to their studies and shown involvement within the university and local community.

The 2010 All-USA Academic Team will be chosen in March and will be featured in USA Today newspaper.  More than $40 million in scholarships are designated exclusively to All-State Team members from a number of sources.

Lookman will receive her associate of arts degree in liberal arts this May.

When she completes her degree at UNM-LA, Lookman plans to transfer to the Albuquerque campus of UNM to pursue her interest in history, especially medieval history.

“Professor Melanie Shirk really got me interested in history,” Lookman said.

Lookman never found time for college in her early life. When she began attending UNM-LA in 2003, she was a full-time mother.

Lookman has three daughters, ages 14, 16 and 20. She stuck with her studies after becoming employed, maintaining an “A” average.

With a young family, going out of town to pursue her degree was not an option for Lookman. She was happy to find a campus close to home where she could pursue her dream of a college degree.

In 2008, Lookman joined the UNM-LA chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society for students attending two-year colleges. She became the secretary of the organization in September.

PTK performs community service functions and seeks to honor students who achieve academic excellence. She also finds time to volunteer at the Los Alamos Animal Shelter.

“I want to encourage students to apply for scholarships, bursaries and awards,” Lookman said. “It’s a bit of work filling out applications, writing essays and getting letters of reference, but it is really worthwhile, and it is money that doesn’t have to be paid back.”