Volunteering inspires Ian Watt

Erica Pennington
Published: May 15 2011 | 7:35 am - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 4:09 pm in

Ian Watt has always been surrounded and influenced by the beauty of sound.

As the son of parents with master’s degrees in music, the St. Paul, Minn., native began playing trumpet in sixth grade. Since then, Watt, a 22-year-old graduating senior at Cornell College in Mount Vernon has worked tirelessly to spread his love of music through volunteering at Taylor Elementary in Cedar Rapids.

“When I was growing up I had a lot of privileges and had the opportunity to make music,” Watt said. “It’s great being able to help teach kids that wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to play (an instrument).”

Watt also has been an extremely active volunteer for youth programs offered through Cornell, taking on responsibilities as a “lunch buddy” for a student at Washington Elementary school in Mount Vernon and mentoring middle school students. Watt has also helped with local flood recovery projects.

A sociology/anthropology and ethnic studies double-major with a minor in music, Watt describes himself as being “pretty boring,” spending what little free time he has hanging out with friends, reading, playing video games and having music jam sessions.

Watt attributes his success at Cornell to having familial support and a personal drive to do the best work possible.

“My family has always been behind my decisions as long as I made them soundly,” Watt said.

After graduation, Watt hopes to continue philanthropic work through working for a non-profit that addresses poverty and cross-cultural issues. He also plans to attend graduate school, though he is not yet sure of when or where that will happen.

For now, Watt is mostly focused on obtaining a yearlong position with AmeriCorps in the Twin Cities.

“It’s a lot of fun working to help youth — it’s refreshing,” Watt said.

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