Student Life

Student of the Month


Broken hand steered Harken toward pre-med studies


February 2003

Kyle HarkenKyle Harken, Cowley County Community College's February Student of the Month, always liked math and science. So after he broke his hand his senior year at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, he decided pre-medicine studies were right up his alley. "I always knew I wanted to go into pre-law or pre-medicine," said Harken, the son of Karel and Steve Harken of Leawood. "I decided, after going through all of the orthopedics and all, that that's what I wanted to do. Orthopedics is the nuts and bolts of medicine. I found it interesting." Harken, a sophomore at Cowley, holds a 3.89 grade-point average. He plans to transfer to the University of Kansas to complete a bachelor's degree in bio-chemistry. And after that, he plans to apply to KU's School of Medicine. But his performance on the baseball diamond this spring could affect his future. Harken, 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, is battling for a starting outfield position for the Tigers. And if all goes well, and schools take an interest, Harken could wind up just about anywhere. "I'm hoping to play ball somewhere," he said. "Eventually, I want to go into orthopedics after my residency and either join a practice or start my own orthopedic practice." Harken is very confident in his abilities. Besides making the Dean's List, he's a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Mu Alpha Theta, and Cowley's Math and Science Club. He also has volunteered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Cowley County, the Boys and Girls Club of Kansas City, assisted in the Greater Kansas City Food Kitchens, and participated in the Angel Tree project at his United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Harken has an older sister, Kari, who is a senior at KU, and one younger sister, Kandace. His grandmother, Helen Briden, lives in Mesa, Ariz. Harken said being named Student of the Month was special. "I was pretty excited" when told of the award, he said. "It's a pretty big honor to receive at Cowley. I appreciate (Natural Science Instructor Pam) Mrs. Smith for nominating me." Harken said a Student of the Month was someone who was "hard working and dedicated toward your major, and also involved in school activities. The more you get involved, the better opportunities you'll have." Out of high school, Harken thought he was going to become another Tiger, the University of Missouri variety. But that plan fell apart, and by July 2001, Harken was without a school. "I didn't have a place to play," he said. "(Cowley head baseball coach) Dave (Burroughs) saw me as a junior, and I called him up and he said to come on down." Arkansas City doesn't compare to Columbia, Mo., home of the Missouri Tigers. Nor does it compare to his hometown of Leawood. He had to adjust. "After a few months, I got used to the small town and the small class sizes," Harken said. "It's pretty neat to get one-on-one instruction from your instructors." Harken graduated high school with a 3.7 GPA, ranking him 111th out of 413 students. Because of his prep grades, he could have gone to KU to play football. "I think it was a good decision to come here," Harken said. "Coach Dave is well respected. He's one of the best in the nation. When I had the opportunity to play for him, I took it. I'm getting good experience, and I've learned a lot." Harken was born in Omaha, Neb., but his family moved to Ponca City, Okla., when he was 2. Ten years later, Harken moved with his family to Leawood. "It's kind of weird because I used to drive by that field (City Ball Park) all the time," Harken said. "I hadn't seen that field for a long time." Harken, who enjoys fishing, playing golf, listening to music and hanging out with his friends, said his parents have been most supportive. "My parents have provided me with everything I've needed," he said. "They've given me opportunities to succeed. They've left it up to me to take advantage of those opportunities."