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On the spot

Collins Watson

Collins Watson 

UT Arlington affiliation: biomedical engineering graduate student

Stopped: 9:07 a.m. Saturday, April 14, outside an east Arlington home. Students, staff and faculty braved blustery conditions to paint houses for the Big Event community service project (see Service with a smile).

Isn’t it a little cold to be painting a house today?
Yes, but we are tough!

Have you done much painting before?

Why did you decide to participate in the Big Event?
We’re trying to build a stronger relationship between UTA and the community. This seemed to be a great way to do that. I hope this is a tradition that we can keep building on every year.

Are you pleased with the turnout?
I haven’t seen the whole group, but I’m very pleased with how many people I know have come out. I have eight friends here helping paint this house, and I knew five people at the last house.

Why is it important for students to serve their communities?
You always feel good after doing something like this. The woman at this house even baked us cookies to say thanks. As students, we don’t usually have much to give except our time and effort, so this is important.

When will you graduate?
I’m almost finished with my course work but haven’t even started my dissertation. So it’s going to be a while.

Is house painting in your future?
I’m sure I’ll do this many more times. My goals right now include doing a postdoc somewhere prestigious, then coming back to Arlington and starting my own biotechnology company. We have so many brilliant minds here in the Metroplex, both professors and grad students, but almost no industry in biotech. I see this as a huge opportunity and hope that I’ll be able to contribute a lot.

Will you continue to volunteer after you get your Ph.D.?
I plan on being very involved in the community. I currently serve on the board of one nonprofit and am trying to help start another. I want to volunteer both for my own benefit and to try to inspire others to do so as well.

Interview by Mark Permenter

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