Get To Know Our 2020 Scholarship Recipient – Carson Watts

We’d like to formally introduce our 4th Place 2020 Scholarship Recipient, Carson Watts. The Lisa Michelle Memorial Fund was established to assist and recognize students who have lost a parent to substance abuse. We are proud to award a $200 scholarship to Carson this year.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, my name is Carson Watts. I was born and raised in Clarksville, TN, but currently reside in Knoxville, TN, where I attend school at the University of Tennessee. (Go Vols) I am pursuing a degree in Marketing with a collateral in Entrepreneurship from the Haslam College of Business. I am also a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at UT. I spent my summer interning with Northwestern Mutual in Nashville. In my free time I enjoy going out with friends, occasionally golfing, and spending time outdoors.

Q: Imagine yourself 10 years from now. What goals and ambitions do you have for yourself, personally, academically, and professionally?

In 10 years, I hope to have accomplished quite a bit. In a professional sense, I hope to be well in to my business career. I imagine that I will likely find a career in financial advising for clients. Whatever I find myself doing, I hope to be helping others in some capacity. Personally, I hope in 10 years I am married and beginning a family in Nashville, or another large city in the South.

Q: Aside from a college degree, what do you hope to gain from your college experience?

Outside of a degree, I hope to have gained life-long friendships and lasting memories from college. While it may sound cliche, I think friendships and memories together are just as important as a degree. I am grateful to have joined a fraternity at UT, where I have made those friendships and memories. I also hope to learn and appreciate diverse perspectives. I believe a big part of what makes college so great is that you’re away from home and are forced to learn new ways of life, so learning from others would be a huge gain, aside from just a degree.

Q: What motivates you to continue working towards accomplishing your goals?

Hugs motivators for me are the expectations and standards that others have set for me, including my mother and late father. Addiction aside, so much of me aspires to be like my father. His success, generosity, and how deeply he was loved is a huge motivator. Along with that, I am deeply motivated by my mother’s sacrifice she’s made for me and her continued resilience. I’ve seen first hand what having to put a child through college as a single parent looks like and I am motivated by my mother’s sacrifice. Finally, I find myself driven by others’ expectations for me. I feel many people expect me to “rise to the occasion” and live up to my potential, and I am motivated every day to do just that.

Q: What advice would you give to other students who have been through circumstances similar to yours?

When I found myself in my situation, I noticed that I had two pretty clear choices: I could either feel sorry for myself and wallow in my grief, or, I could pick up the pieces and persist through whatever lies ahead. My advice is to always persist. I quickly realized that the world around me was continuing to move and certainly wasn’t stopping or slowing down for me; so, I found that my ability to press on and become resilient, was not always easy, but undoubtedly made me stronger and more prepared for the future. Definitely allow yourself time to grieve, but know that your ability to adapt and persist will always set you apart.