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Paul Davis Shares Student Experience

football player holding a ball near his face with a second image of the same player running on the field

Paul Davis is a sophomore environmental engineering major on the football team and hails from Columbia, South Carolina.

Paul was recently asked to share thoughts on his collegiate football experience and life as a CMU student-athlete.

What would you like to share about how your Tartan football career has helped shape your college academic experience?

Part of our culture as a team is to be your best in everything you do. Our coach made it our priority to take care of business not only on the field but in the classroom as well. With a culture of hard work, dedication, and willingness to win, these values transfer into the classroom and life in general. 

What has been a memorable Tartans athletics experience?

A memorable experience was probably winning the PAC Championship this past year, but solidifying it with the win at Case Western, our rival, was extremely memorable. The snow during pre-game and warm-ups just gave more excitement and meaning to the atmosphere. I was grateful to be where I was, with my teammates. The bond I have with my teammates is unlike any other team I've played for. Even though I'm one of very few black players on the team there's great chemistry between everyone on the team.

What student-athlete exposure have you taken advantage of during your college experience and why?

We have a great strength and conditioning program that I've been taking more advantage of lately in our off-season. We've had many lifts and running sessions designed to make us better as a team and also improve personal performance. In addition to that, we have an extensive alumni network within the football program. Many of these alumni reach out to us about potential job and internship opportunities at their prospective companies, so I'm definitely taking advantage of these opportunities. 

What classes do you believe have contributed to your academic development the most - in major and outside of your major? What class have you enjoyed that you would recommend for future Tartans?

As I'm only a sophomore I haven't had too many major intensive classes. However, this semester I have more of these classes. Environmental engineering, a course I'm currently taking, has been the most enjoyable thus far this semester. We get to discuss real-world problems and learn about some of history's most prolific environmental issues, which in turn provoke the thoughts of students to develop solutions or prevent them from reoccurring. I enjoy that there's a lot of discussion during class along with real-world applications to my desired major.

As far as class recommendations, I'd recommend any entrepreneurship course or entrepreneurship mini course. Extremely beneficial.

How have any other groups/activities on campus contributed to your growth?

I am a member of BLAC which is the Black & Latinx Athlete Coalition which is a club for minority athletes at CMU. We host meetings and celebrate each other's success athletically and academically. In addition to this, I also serve as the Pre College Initiative Chair for the CMU NSBE Chapter. NSBE stands for National Society for Black Engineers. NSBE has positively impacted me in so many ways both academically and professionally. Through the program, I have been able to plan and facilitate community service events, host NSBE events for students, and orchestrate events.

Did you have an internship that helped shape your future?

I was an engineering intern at Tetra Tech Inc. at the Estero, Florida, location. There I performed water resources engineering for surface water management systems and stormwater collection/conveyance systems in Florida. I got the internship by attending the career fair at the NSBE National Conference. There I connected with a recruiter who sent out my resume which eventually led to me getting the position. 

What's next?

My next steps include working at a high-level company specializing in sustainability and green infrastructure. After a few years, the ultimate goal is to start my own environmental engineering firm that promotes innovation and design of green infrastructure in less-developed countries. I hope to provide people with sustainable clean water and air. I plan to implement systems that monitor the quality of the environment and give people the opportunity to be informed about the health of their environment.