Biotech Students While Honoring Their Son
loves agricultural biotechnology, as anyone who has ever heard him
speak on the subject can attest. He loves teaching it to students,
too, and his enthusiasm for it sneaks unashamedly into his conversation
Ruby, have combined his
love of teaching with their desire to see talented young biotech
students succeed by creating the Keven Glenn Collins Endowed Scholarship
Fund in Agricultural Biotechnology.
bears the name of their son, who died in the early 1970s just shy
of his fifth birthday. Keven was special to us, and so are
our Kentucky students who are striving for their education,
said Glenn Collins, a professor who has been with the Agronomy Department
yet another way of being a part of the education process,
he said about the new scholarship. Its rewarding to
see our financial resources at work.
biotechnology is the use of biological systems and organisms for
scientific and commercial applications. Biotech involves genetic
engineering, antibody and vaccine production, fermentation technology,
plant regeneration from single cells, and many more emerging scientific
name is synonymous with biotechnology in the College of Agriculture
and who is internationally renowned in the field, was instrumental
in creating the biotech program in 1988, when it was first offered
under the individualized curriculum option in the College. Thirteen
students enrolled that first semester in the degree program that
now is 146 students strong.
Collins serves as the director of undergraduate studies for the
degree; teaches ABT 101, a first-semester course that all ag biotech
students take together; and advises all biotech students for their
first three semesters at UK. Fifteen permanent academic advisors
take the students through the remainder of their degree.
The first recipient
of the Keven Glenn Collins Endowed Scholarship is April Winstead
from Slaughters, Kentucky. Collins taught Winstead in ABT 101 and
served as her academic advisor; she worked part-time in his laboratory.
April is a super young woman; we enjoy seeing her happy and
pleased to receive this scholarship, Collins said. She
is a fine role model. Winstead has been accepted to attend
UK Medical School this fall.
Collins, he and his wife had established the scholarship in their
estate plan and will some years ago, but decided to activate it
talking one day a couple of years ago about things we had planned
and wanted to do, and the scholarship came up in the conversation.
I said to Ruby, You know, it would be nice to be around to
see and interact with the Keven Glenn Collins Scholarship recipients
rather than to have it activated after we are no longer around.
She immediately said, I agree totally.
I had been thinking of the same thing.
Glenn and Ruby
knew theyd made the right decision when they were seated with
the Winstead family at the Ag Scholarship Banquet last fall. It
was pretty special to interact with the first Keven Glenn Collins
Scholarship recipient and her parents, Collins added. There
were very nice warm and fuzzy feelings for us and a lot of appreciation
from April and her parents.
The $3,000 scholarship
is designed to attract and provide an excellent level of financial
support to an outstanding high school senior who is a biotechnology
degree major. It is offered to the same student for all four years
of the B.S. degree, provided the recipient maintains a 3.0 grade
point average or higher.
involves rigorous course work but with the assistance of high school
science teachers and counselors (and word of mouth from graduates),
the degree attracts a very high caliber of high school science-
and math-oriented students, he commented.
contribute to the strength of the
program. Collins credits ABT 101 with getting the students off on
the right foot. They get to know each other and form study
groups and many friendships. We also get them subscribed to a biotechnology
majors listserv that gives them the ability to communicate with
each other and the faculty, and to receive information on seminars,
special events, part-time jobs, internships, and career opportunities,
are also highly committed to the program and the students, Collins
said. Their offices are always open and they do all the teaching
and advising for the degree. Many of the faculty hire biotech students
as part-time research assistants and this gives the students excellent
one-on-one interaction with a faculty member. This is very supportive
during the degree and it often leads to a positive career-deciding
The Collins daughters have their own success stories. The
elder, Leslie Marie, earned a bachelors degree in electrical
engineering at UK and went on to earn a masters and Ph.D.
from the University of Michigan. She is currently an assistant professor
of electrical engineering and biomedical engineering at Duke University.
Their third child and second daughter, Ashli Nicole, received a bachelors degree in biology from the University of Louisville and an M.D. degree from the U of L School of Medicine.
She is in her second year of a residency in pediatrics there.
Both daughters are married, and Ashli and her husband have two young children.
Glenn and Ruby Collins are both UK Fellows and Scovell Society members. They have named their daughters and sons-in-law UK Fellows, and Keven a Fellow in memoriam. All are Scovell Society members as well.
Glenn and Ruby
Collins are both UK
alumni, Glenn having earned his
bachelors and masters degrees in agronomy, and Ruby
a bachelors in business. They left Lexington in 1963 while
Glenn completed his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University,
returning in 1966, the year he joined UKs agronomy faculty.
retired in 1996 from a 16-year career as the executive secretary
of the Kentucky Society of Radiologic Technologists. When not entertaining
their grandchildren, she enjoys running, reading, boating and swimming.
Glenns spare time is filled with running, woodworking, fishing,
tennis, and boating.
While retirement is not on his radar screen at the present
time, Collins is confident that the outstanding faculty
which comprise the biotechnology degree will provide all the continuity
and leadership needed to keep the degree going strong when I do
decide to join the emeritus ranks.
agricultural biotechnology degree is one of the most rewarding things
that I have been involved with in my career, he concluded.