UTA Student Stories

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Movin' Mavs Alumni John Watson blocking an opponent

Meet John

When I first visited UTA for wheelchair basketball summer camp, I was looking for motivation to get back into school and earn my degree. I had a passion for hooping, but never played for an organized team. After talking with Coach Garner at camp and meeting the Movin’ Mavs community of players, alumni, and Paralympians, I found the motivation to go back to school and enrolled at UTA. I had real goals and support from lifelong friends and teammates, which was a great feeling. During my time at UTA, I gained the skills to be a good teammate, focus on my diet, exercise, and manage my time. I received a bachelor’s degree in journalism; and with the help of a generous scholarship, I also earned a master’s in communication. As a doctoral student at the University of Kansas, I currently teach courses in news writing, information management, and diversity in the media. I recently had the chance to call Coach Garner and let him know that an extension of my master’s thesis about media coverage of wheelchair basketball was accepted for publication in the field’s premiere academic journal. Along with my coauthors, I continue to produce award-winning academic articles and have presented them at top international mass communication conferences. In spring, I began my dissertation about adaptive sports and social media. Years after my time in Arlington, my friends from UTA continue to collaborate with me on projects and support my goals of becoming a professor and changing the way we communicate about disability. I’m eternally grateful for the Movin’ Mavs program and the University of Texas at Arlington.

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