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home : features : features July 23, 2016

4/24/2012 6:00:00 AM
First ASU-Havasu transfer student accepted, others follow
From left: MCC students Brittney Weber, Jen Smith and Shawn Gall are among the first transfers to ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu.
From left: MCC students Brittney Weber, Jen Smith and Shawn Gall are among the first transfers to ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu.

Shawn Gall, a student at Mohave Community College on pace to receive an associate degree with a 4.0 grade point average, is the first student accepted to the Arizona State University Colleges at Lake Havasu.

The 42-year-old Gall is now a part of the town's history, as ASU officials confirmed that he was the first accepted to the new location, which opens for the first time this fall.

"It's pretty cool when you put it like that," Gall said. "Hopefully, I'll be leading the way for other MCC transfer students to go there."

Gall, who plans to major in psychology and minor in communications, has taken an interesting path to get to this point. After high school, Gall traveled the world instead of enrolling in college.

After bouncing from one county to the next, Gall ended up in Orlando and started a carpet and pressure cleaning business, which he operated for more than a decade.

He moved to Lake Havasu City in 2006 to help care for his ailing stepfather. His friends were prospering in the housing industry, and in 2008 Gall obtained his real estate license. Then the market collapsed.

"All of a sudden, there were real estate agents out here with much more experience than me who were in big trouble," he said. "I realized pretty quickly that I needed to do something different."

Not ready to leave town, Gall enrolled in Mohave Community College and quickly became an active student leader on campus.

Gall may be the first, but he wasn't the only MCC student recently accepted to ASU-Havasu.

Jen Smith, a 30-year-old Lake Havasu City resident, trained employees for a major dental corporation in California for many years before deciding it was time to keep a promise she made to herself after high school. She will receive her associate degree from MCC next month and has been accepted to ASU-Havasu.

"I set a goal for myself a long time ago that I was going to continue my education and finish college," said Smith, who will major in psychology.

Brittney Weber, 22, graduated from MCC last year and will pursue a bachelor's degree in psychology.

"MCC is my foundation," Weber said. "It inspired me to become more interested in my community as a whole, which is a big reason I chose the path I'm about to take."

Not every transfer to the new university resides in Lake Havasu City. Travis Foley, who graduated last year from MCC, is going to make the commute from Mohave Valley.

Foley, 39, worked as a casino dealer and truck driver most of his life before taking an interest in child development. After receiving his associate degree at MCC, he transferred to South Carolina University but struggled with the out-of-state fees.

Foley hopes to work with adolescents at a mental health facility or shelter after receiving his bachelor's degree in psychology.

"It wasn't until I got to MCC that I really started enjoying taking classes and enjoying learning," Foley said. "Now I'm better prepared to take this step in my education."

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