The Department of Health Sciences is pleased to present Tony Watkins of Bloomington as our latest featured student.

Defying the college student norm at 52 years old, Watkins is thriving in the Safety program and has contributed a long list of outstanding qualities among students. In his 27 years of experience as a worker at Mitsubishi Motors, he developed a passion for safety. This newly developed interest ultimately swayed his decision to enroll in the Safety program at Illinois State University.

When Mitsubishi Motors permanently closed its operations in Normal in 2015, Watkins took advantage of the Career Link program, a nonprofit equal opportunity employer/program provider that operates under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), offering programs in the areas of advanced schooling, internships and work experience, and on-the-job training. Career Link’s services include career services for individuals and training assistance for dislocated workers and has provided financial assistance to train individuals in a wide variety of fields.

Watkins sees himself as a family man, happily married with two children. His experiences as a father have given him the opportunity to connect with younger students in the Safety program. He has found the willingness in students to help one another, even older students like Watkins, to be one of the most amazing experiences in the program.

In the future, Watkins hopes to enjoy the company of his children and wife in retirement. Watkins recognizes his parents as the people who have inspired him in all of his endeavors, and he aspires to be like them in all of his pursuits.

Thank you, Tony, for being a part of the Safety family at Illinois State University!

Tony Watkins was recommended as a featured student from both the Health Sciences office staff and Angie Almeda, the academic advisor.

From the office: “Tony is inspiring, and always seems to give 110% of his efforts into everything he does.  He is such a great role model for setting a goal and a focus, and then taking the necessary steps to achieve it.”

From his advisor: “I admire Tony for taking the step of returning to school. While it is an exciting opportunity, it can also be overwhelming. Tony showed tremendous courage in jumping into a rigorous and fast-paced college program that is very different from what he’d been doing for the past 27 years. His experience, determination, and work ethic, along with good study habits, are proving to be a winning combination. I’m confident that Tony will continue to succeed, not only in the classroom, but as a leader among his classmates and colleagues.”