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Faces of CNM: Kermin Turner

Kermin came back to school at age 63 and says CNM has helped him turn his life around
Faces of CNM: Kermin Turner

Nov 17, 2021

If you work or take classes on the Montoya Campus you’ve likely seen Kermin Turner. He’s a 63 year-old returning student who’s there nearly every day and he’s become known as one of the most outspoken advocates for CNM.

“Everyone here at CNM has treated me with a kindness I have never experienced in my life and I want to return that favor,” he says. “There is no one at CNM who I have encountered who has not tried to help me achieve whatever it was I was trying to achieve. As soon as I found this place I told myself ‘I need to be a part of that school.’ Now I tell everyone that if you have the desire to challenge yourself, CNM will make sure you succeed.” 

Kermin is especially thankful for the opportunity to study at CNM because he’s had his fair share of bumps in life. He lived on the streets, went to prison on a charge that was eventually dropped (he’s been fully exonerated), spent many years addicted to cocaine, got sick as a result of his addiction, lost touch with his parents… and the list goes on.

He moved here from Atlanta just recently to help take care of his parents who are now in their 80s. He wanted to re-establish his relationship with them and immediately took a liking to New Mexico. After moving back he took a job working for DoorDash but wanted something more.

That’s when he came across CNM. He’d tried for a college degree at a community college in California and at a four-year school in Wisconsin but found both places to be alienating and unhelpful. At CNM, it was exactly the opposite. 

“As soon as I stepped foot on campus to try and register I ran into the nicest people in the world,” Kermin says. “Everyone from the grounds crew to the security officers to the financial aid folks did everything they could to help.” 

Today, Kermin is fully registered and working tirelessly toward an Integrated Studies degree. It hasn’t been easy, but he’s 100-percent dedicated to pulling himself through college, whatever it takes. He’s gone from not knowing how to participate in an online discussion group to being one of the most vocal people in his classes.

“These last couple months have been some of the hardest in my 63 years, but I know that if I hold on I will be a better student,” he says. 

The plan after graduation is to use his degree to help him become a drug counselor so he can help others who are facing problems like the ones he’s worked through. It might take him a while, but he says that thanks to all the help he’s received from CNM, he has no doubt he’ll succeed.

“CNM has opened up possibilities to me that I didn’t even know were possible and it has already gone such a long way helping me become a new man,” he says. “I am truly thankful.”