65-year-old graduate student lives in dorms, wants to attain Ph.D.

Feb. 15, 2016

Joe Hollmann
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There are not many adults who can call themselves a grandparent, industrial researcher and a college student who lives in a dorm.

But Carol Collins can.

Collins is a 65-year-old graduate student in the public affairs program and lives in the dorms with other students. Collins will graduate in the spring of 2017 and hopes to obtain her Ph.D.

She has grandchildren older than her dorm mates.

“I talk and converse with everyone on campus. The students in the dorm are exceptionally nice and polite,” said Collins, who loves to have a drink at Clyde’s and talk with the employees.

“I think living on campus at any age is really special.”

Collins said she is always focused on school and really enjoys that she doesn’t have to cook her own meals.

Originally from California, Collins worked on the east coast under former New Jersey Gov. John Corzine, implementing sustainable and renewable projects in the 526 municipalities of the state before moving to Maryland to do research for the military.

She worked with the Department of Defense and has over 40 years of experience in industrial research development and hopes to write science-fiction books along with government policy. She also co-owned a law firm.

Of all of the places she has lived, Collins said she loves Colorado the most. Collins came to UCCS because of her retirement.

“I wanted to retire in the mountains, to come back to the west,” said Collins.

She decided to enroll in the School of Public Affairs, in hopes of writing public policy, particularly in areas respective to her extensive industrial research career.

She is currently a research assistant to Edin Mujkic, assistant professor in the School of Public Affairs, and is on the student advisory board for the program.

Her interest at the moment lies specifically in cybersecurity and public policy put in place if electricity and internet grids go down.

Collins said she came to Colorado after retiring from a self-made water harvesting business. She moved to Colorado to be with her daughter, but enjoyed not having a specific goal to achieve.

“Being destitute was cool,” she said.

Collins is still unsure of what she will do with her degree.

“I don’t know what I really want to be when I grow up,” said Collins.

Her advice to her fellow college students is to understand that careers will change over time, and to accept challenges along the way.