Written by Tiyana Hardney Vela as part of our Impact Stories series, highlighting students impacted by philanthropy through scholarships at UCCS.
Isaiah Watkins believes a UCCS degree is a stepping stone that helps you reach beyond your goals.
A Colorado Springs native, Watkins grew up knowing UCCS was a campus for the community. He now knows what it means to have the community help him reach his personal and academic goals.
“After graduation I hope to pursue my master’s degree in counseling to become a counselor in Colorado,” said Watkins. “I would like to be a high school counselor or do family and marriage counseling.”
Watkins always knew he wanted to attend college because of his love for learning and the academic setting. UCCS has offered both a rigorous and rewarding learning environment that has fostered connections for Watkins.
“I love making new connections and college has been the perfect place to do so,” said Watkins. “I lived on campus my first year and made so many memories with amazing friends. I thrived in my academic world and my social world, and I grew so much.”
Watkins contributes his growth and new possibilities to the Kane Family Foundation scholarship.
“The Kane scholarship allows me to have freedom and flexibility during my journey at UCCS,” said Watkins. “My scholarship also motivates me to perform better in the classroom because not only am I going to college for myself, but I also have a group of donors who believed in me before I even started school.”
There have been a few experiences that stand out for Watkins since becoming a UCCS mountain lion, but the one he most recalls started before he stepped foot on campus. A vivid memory for Watkins was interviewing for the Kane scholarship.
“Because of COVID-19, my scholarship interview was done over the phone, and I was unsure about how I did because it was a phone conversation, and I didn’t think the interviewers could actually get to know me.”
The interviewers must have been impressed, and on Apr. 8, 2020, Watkins received an email congratulating him on being selected as a Kane scholar.
Watkins is more than grateful for his scholarship and shared that without the support he would not be where he is today.
“You’ve given me the freedom to focus wholeheartedly on my academics and to explore my options.”
Because of donor support, Watkins will one day become a compassionate counselor who will inspire others.
When asked his advice for fellow students Watkins shared this: “Find what works for you! Yes, it may take a long time to find what scheduling, school, social life, and your method of studying looks like but be patient with yourself. Know that there are new possibilities out there that will work for you.”