By Paula Cronic: PNT Staff Writer
Speaking in a soft, soothing voice lightly accented by a slight southern drawl, Betty King-Lowry or “Miss Betty” as her students know her, opens up about the life she’s had and what it’s taken to get to her level of contentment.
After graduating from Eastern New Mexico University with two degrees, one in recreation and psychology and the other in education, King-Lowry moved to Houston for four years.
During that time, she helped her brother with his engine compressor system business but ultimately felt she was being called back to Portales.
In 1994 she obtained a job at ENMU and then became involved with ENMU’s Trio program in 1995. The program’s goal is to help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to obtaining higher education.
“I enjoyed the classroom but I enjoy Trio much more,” she said. “The classroom is a wonderful place to be but I touch many more lives by being involved with Trio.”
As the current mentor coordinator of the College Success Program, one of Trio’s programs, King-Lowry interacts with students on a regular basis.
For her, it’s imperative she build relationships with her students and does her best to understand them and where they’re coming from.
“When I connect a name that’s been on a list and I can go across campus and be stopped or stop them and talk on a personal level that means a lot to me,” King-Lowry said. “And I hope it means a lot to our students.”
She also works with student mentors, training them in ways she hopes are beneficial not only to the students being mentored, but the mentors themselves.
“I try to treat them with fairness and kindness, so they pass that on too because I know my mentors will be managing people sometime in their future,” King-Lowry said.
She added she is accountable every day for what she says and teaches her mentors, and hopes she’s training them on how to work well with people.
“She sees the potential in everyone and has the ability to look past fault and see people’s strong uses and strengths,” Graduate Assistant to CSP Andrew Fotopulous said.
Malala Tai has been a mentor for two years and in some ways has always seen King-Lowry as a mother figure.
“She is always concerned about everybody and she always has been and always will be someone I can confide in,” Tai said. “She has a heart of gold.”
King-Lowry is happy with where she’s at in life but said it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have future aspirations such as being an independent business owner, which she is well on her way to accomplishing.
She and her husband John own their own photography and videography business called 2 Talents AV Productions.
As for the CSP program, King-Lowry plans to continue working as mentor coordinator and hopes to keep inspiring students to reach their goals no matter what obstacles come their way.
“I encourage people to shoot for the stars because what if you hit one?” she said.