Montana State University

"Phenomenal" work ethic sends Helena native sailing through MSU

March 26, 2003 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU Research Office

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Mark Rocque may not be in the Navy any more, but he's still sailing.

After only four semesters at Montana State University-Bozeman, the Bozeman man who grew up in Helena plans to graduate this spring with two majors and two minors. He's doing it all while working an average of 20 hours a week for MSU's Information Technology Center, tutoring MSU students through a program called Advance By Choice, and volunteering at MSU's media services. He's also involved in research through the Undergraduate Scholars Program (USP).

"School is my life right now," said Rocque, a 45-year-old honor roll student who graduated from Helena High in 1976 and spent the next 20 years in the Navy.

Credits that transferred from elsewhere are partly responsible for his lightning pace through MSU, Rocque said. He did take 27 credits in the fall, though, and admits he's always tried to live a focused life.

"It's phenomenal," Bill Freese said about Rocque's work ethic. Freese is director of media services at MSU.

Noting that Rocque donates equipment to media services and offers to help wherever needed, Freese joked, "He just seems to be a swell all-round guy, to the point we have become suspicious of him and wonder what he's been up to."

Academically, Rocque has been busy majoring in technical education and philosophy, while minoring in Native American Studies and library media science. For his undergraduate research project, Rocque visited Hailey, Idaho last year to examine innovative tech ed programs in the middle schools. In February, he conducted an on-line survey to see how Montana schools were doing at meeting new state standards for tech ed courses. In March, he attended the annual conference of the International Technology Education Association (ITEA) to learn about tech ed programs in other states. He planned to compile his data and make a final report for his senior capstone project when he returned to campus.

"It's a great outsource for independent research and study in areas that are not offered in the course of the classroom," Rocque said of the Undergraduate Scholars Program that made his research possible.

Scott Davis, Rocque's faculty mentor, added, "The program offers us (faculty) a good chance to introduce students to research and the application of research to the real world."

Rocque said he wanted to pursue an education all along, but he joined the Navy after high school because he wanted to see the world. He was stationed primarily at San Diego, but also lived in Australia, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines. It was his seven years of teaching in the Navy (He taught advanced avionics and fire control) that swayed his interest from engineering to teaching.

Once he completes he bachelor's degree, Rocque said he would like to proceed on to his master's and doctorate degrees.

"I enjoy going to school," Rocque said.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu