NRHS’ Bowden picks CNU

Published 9:21 pm Saturday, March 22, 2014

Nansemond River High School senior Parker Bowden recently made a choice to do battle on the gridiron and put his nose to the academic grindstone at Christopher Newport University.

He described what it means to head to the next level in sports while pursuing a career in engineering.

Bowden

Bowden

“It definitely is like the best of both worlds, honestly,” he said. “It’s going to be challenging — I know that — but I’m definitely confident that I’ll put forth the work and be able to succeed with both athletics and academics at CNU.”

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Bowden’s high school work ethic in both athletics and academics put him in a good position when it came to the college selection process. He had many options.

“I was heavily recruited out of the Division I-AA level,” he said, referring to a level now known as the Football Championship Subdivision.

Interested schools included the College of William & Mary, James Madison University, Cornell University and the Virginia Military Institute.

“I never was offered any scholarships,” Bowden said. “I was always offered a preferred walk-on, but then I sat down with my family, and I went through this whole process, and I decided to go (to the) Division III level.”

He did this, knowing the college emphasis would strongly shift to academics rather than pursuing sports fame, but he already appears comfortable with this focus.

“Right now, I have a 4.15 (grade point average), and I think I’m going to probably end up graduating around that, and I’m seventh in my class right now,” Bowden said.

His leading choices for college were CNU and Randolph-Macon College.

But Christopher Newport’s four-year engineering program and its Presidential Leadership Program both appealed to Bowden.

“It’s a program that you go through, you get to meet with leaders around the community and you get to study leadership, and by the end of it, you actually minor in leadership,” Bowden said.

He said many participants in the PLP are Canon Scholars, who have received the top academic scholarship at CNU. Bowden is among that group.

“It’s a $5,000 scholarship, and with it, you have to maintain a 3.5 GPA to keep it each year, and also you get the opportunity to study abroad in the Oxford area over in England,” he said.

He has also applied for the Bonner Scholarship, which he said focuses on servant leadership, includes community service and offers $2,500 per year. The review process for applications will begin at the end of the month.

Bowden already has goals in mind for his first year at CNU.

“As a freshman, I believe I can work hard enough and get on the field,” he said. “That’s my goal athletically. Academically, my goal is to maintain that 3.5, to get that scholarship and work hard in the classroom.”

He also has a long-term aspiration.

“I would like to be an Academic All-American at the Division III level,” he said, noting the honor requires him to perform well as both a student and an athlete.