‘Perfect student' receives recognition at Merced College

Merced College’s Academic Senate has announced its Student of the Month for April.

Joseph Newman, a math and engineering major, is described as “the perfect student,” computer science professor Kathy Kanemoto said in a Merced College news release.

“Joseph always comes to class on time, many times an hour early,” Kanemoto said. “He asks engaging questions during class. He helps other students, and he does excellent work.”

Carrying a 4.0 grade-point average, Newman has completed two internships, one with Honeywell Energy Solutions and one with Hilmar Cheese Co. He has been accepted to UC Merced, where he plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. He said he would like to work in an industrial field such as food processing when he graduates, the release said.

“My educational goals have changed over the time I have been at Merced College,” Newman said. “I have always loved knowing how things are made, thus my desire to work as an engineer.”

Newman’s road to success hasn’t been easy. Incarcerated for three years on drug violations, he entered Merced College to rebuild his life.

“Upon my release in 2009, I decided I wanted to change, to rebuild my life for me, my wife and my family,” he said. “That’s why I came back to Merced College. The college has been pivotal in my current success and any future success I might achieve. It’s the only place where a person from my background can start over from scratch and entirely change their life.”

According to counselor Raul Alcala, Newman “has undoubtedly overcome” recidivism statistics. “The thought of a young adult male imprisoned for several years and who returns to college to achieve a 4.0 GPA in one of the most demanding majors is unique.”

Newman owns and operates a computer repair service, is active in his church, and helps recovering drug addicts as a volunteer, the release said.

“Joseph has overcome many obstacles in his life,” Kanemoto said. “He’s a great person and an inspiration to other students.”